Party Hard at Spain's Seven Wackiest Fiestas

With a calendar full of fiestas, you're almost guaranteed a party going down during your Spanish holiday. We've selected the wackiest, from silly Saints' days to all-out hedonism. Relax, enjoy and brace yourself for the inevitable hangover the morning after.

Extreme Pamplona – San Fermín

Pamplona - San Fermines

Q: What's red and white all over? A: The crowd at Pamplona's annual San Fermín shindig. Held since 1385, partygoers wear the traditional combo of white shirts and trousers, along with a red neckerchief, in honour of the saintly Fermin who was beheaded by the Romans.

Starting at midnight on the 6th July, this party, Navarre's biggest celebration, ends at the same time eight days later. The highlight is the Running of the Bulls. Top tip: if you fall down, adopt the foetal position as it's preferable to be trampled upon rather than gored.

Fire starters – Falles

Valencia - Las Fallas

Valencia hosts this tribute to pyromania. Held throughout the province in March to coincide with the Feast day of St. Joseph, you'll find the best and biggest celebrations in the city itself. The falla, or falle, in the local dialect is the structure which supports the ninot, a satirical model of someone who has made news in the previous year.

Ninots are giant papier-mâché creations. Displayed in the run-up to the fiesta's big send off on the 19th March, they're then fire-crackered into oblivion as the fallas are set alight. It's easily Spain's noisiest fiesta.

Grape nuts – Fiesta de la Raima

The last Friday of August marks another Valencia fiesta. In the wine region of La Pobla del Duc, locals celebrate the end of the grape harvest. This culminates in a lorry delivering 50 tonnes of local grapes which revellers then proceed to throw and indeed smear on each other.

Mercy me – La Mercé

Barcelona - Fiesta de la Merce, correfoc

Mayhem hits Catalonia in late September when Barcelona pays tribute to La Mare de Déu de la Mercè, Our Lady of Mercy. One of the highlights of the festivities is the parade of the gegants i capgrossos, monstrous papier-mâché giants and big heads worn by younger revellers. Look out for the correfroc too where party-goers sport devil costumes and let off fireworks.

Pulp fact – La Tomatina

Prepare to get very messy indeed at Buñol's legendary tomato fight. Wear goggles and gloves if you choose to visit this Valencian town on the last Wednesday of August. The whole event is a squash and a squeeze, with the thousands of participants instructed to pulp tomatoes before hurling them.

The drums – Tamborrada


Move your feet to the beat of what sounds like the whole of the Basque County drumming at San Sebastián's Tamborrada. Held on the 20th of January to celebrate the day of the city's patron saint, locals dressed as either cooks or soldiers march along the streets. The loudest part of San Sebastían over this period is the Konstituzio Plaza where drummers begin and end their drills.

Water party – Fiesta del Charco

The 11th September sees 20,000 locals descend on the western outpost of Gran Canaria's La Aldea de San Nicolás. The oldest fiesta on the Canary Islands predates the 15th-century Spanish Conquest. To appease the church, merry revellers sport both t-shirts and swimming costumes as they try to catch fish in a lagoon, using just their bare hands.