The best Spanish fiestas
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Date: 27 February 2013If there's one country in Europe that really knows how to let loose and have a good time, it's Spain. The country hosts numerous fiestas, celebrations and festivals throughout the year, with something to suit every taste. So if you want a holiday to remember, head off to Spain and check out some of the events listed below.
Spain is quickly gaining a reputation as a must-visit destination for music fans thanks to the top festivals held in the country. Benicassim is one of the best known of these and regularly attracts big name acts, with this year's line-up set to include the likes of The Killers, Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age. Held at a beautiful seaside resort on Spain's east coast in July, Benicassim is the perfect antidote to its typically wet and muddy UK counterparts such as Glastonbury and the like.
The world famous La Tomatina is a giant tomato fight that takes place at the end of August each year in the town of Bunol, not far from Valencia, and although copies have sprung up in numerous other countries, nothing beats the original. The event sees thousands of participants hurl approximately 150,000 crushed tomatoes at each other in what is thought to be the world's biggest food fight. There are also plenty of other events and activities held over the festival period to keep visitors entertained.
The Running of the Bulls
For those with the daredevil spirit, the Running of the Bulls at Pamplona is something you simply have to experience at least once in your life. This dangerous but exhilarating event sees hundreds of people running in front of 12 huge bulls down an 825-metre stretch of narrow streets of a section of the old town of Pamplona, ending at the bullring. It forms part of the annual San Fermín festival, which is held each year from July 6th to 14th and also sees a number of other interesting events take place. These include El Struendo (The Roar) in which people gather outside the Town Hall to make as much noise as possible for several hours, using drums, whistles or whatever they can get their hands on.
For a truly spectacular sight and an awesome party, check out Las Fallas, held across five days leading up to Saint Joseph's Day (March 19th) in Valencia. Throughout the year, organised committees are tasked with designing and constructing giant puppets, depicting all sorts of wonderful characters from modern celebrities to mythical beings. The five days and nights of Las Fallas are pretty much one constant party involving puppet processions, street celebrations and fireworks. On the last night, all the puppets, after being laden with fireworks, are burned in gigantic bonfires.
Finally, for an experience that's a little more sedate than those above but fascinating nonetheless, head to Spain during the Semana Santa celebrations during the last week of Lent. In locations including Seville and Malaga as well as the Castilla-Leon cities of Valladolid and Leon, spectacular processions are held throughout the period featuring numerous 'pasos' - lifelike wood or plaster sculptures of individual scenes from the Passion of Christ - in a tradition that dates back to medieval times. The floats are carried through the streets by penitents dressed in long purple robes, often with pointed hats, followed by women in black carrying candles before being deposited at the city cathedral.
There are numerous other events taking place across Spain throughout the year well worth checking out on a visit to the country. Best of all, Spain is in easyy reach of the UK via ferry services, ideal for travellers who want to take their cars with them to better explore the country.
Ferries from Portsmouth to Santander, Portsmouth to Bilbao and Plymouth to Santander are among the most popular routes.
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