If you’re in the vicinity of Almunecar in mid-August be sure to visit the town on the evening of 15th for La Fiesta de la Virgen de la Antigua. This is by far the biggest Almunecar festival of the year and is highly recommended as the firework display is quite amazing. Here’s a summary of the annual calendar of festivities:
New Year’s Day (1st January)
New Year’s Day is a national holiday when all businesses are closed .
Epiphany (6th January)
Epiphany is more important to most Spanish children than December 25th as this is the day when the Three Kings bring them their presents. For a visitor the main time is the evening of 5th when the Three Kings arrive on the back of lorries. They throw sweets to the awaiting children and hand out gifts.
Carnival (February dates vary)
Carnival is celebrated to varying degrees in different parts of Spain. It’s fairly low key in Almunecar with fancy dress costumes cropping up around town. As is common in many towns the festival ends with the burial of a sardine on the beach!
Andalucía Day (28th February)
Andalucía Day is a public holiday in these parts though not a lot of interest happens for visitors. Shops will close.
San Jose (19th March)
San José (St Joseph) is the patron saint of neighbouring La Herradura where there are celebrations along the beach.
Semana Santa (March/April dates vary)
Semana Santa (Easter Week) is an enormous celebration throughout Andalucia. In Almunecar there are processions through the streets at set times during the week. Check for timetables at the tourist office or at the church.
El Día del Trabajo (1st May)
El Día del Trabajo (Labour Day) is another public holiday here when all the shops remain closed.
Cruces de Mayo (2nd and 3rd May)
San Sebastian Festival (1st-3rd May)
The neighbourhood of San Sebastian, which is the beginning of the Otivar road on the way out of town, celebrates its annual fiestas. This consists of the usual Spanish rituals of food, drink, dance and fireworks.
Corpus Christi (June dates vary)
Corpus Christi is a popular festival in some parts of Spain which takes place on the 2nd Thursday after Whitsunday. A procession takes place in Almunecar on the Sunday following Corpus when flowers are thrown along the route of the procession and townsfolk hang colorful shawls from their balconies.
Gastronomic Fair (June dates vary)
In mid June is the annual Gastronomic Fair (Feria Gastronómica) in the Parque Majuelo when a selection of Almunecar’s better tapas bars and restaurants put up stalls and sell samples of their dishes. Food is served at both lunchtime and in the evening from Friday to Sunday. Very popular event attracting large crowds.
Día de San Juan (24th June)
El Día de San Juan is a big day in the calendar for the young people of Almunecar and visitors from Granada. It’s the one night of the year (summer solstice) when camping is allowed on the beach so young people turn up during the day with their tents and booze and begin their all night party. To their credit the local beach cleaners have the beaches spick and span by lunchtime the next day.
Almunecar Jazz Festival (July dates vary)
The annual week long Almunecar Jazz Festival takes place in the Parque Majuelo every evening from around 10.30pm. Major artists often perform. Dates and ticket information appear on the Jazz en la Costa website (in Spanish)
Día de la Virgen de Carmen (16th July)
El Día de la Virgen de Carmen is celebrated in select locations along the south coast of Spain usually amongst fishing communities. As the patron saint of sailors statues of the Virgin of Carmen are carried out to sea by local fishing boats. Almunecar is one of the best places to see this celebration which culminates in a firework display over the sea.
Flamenco Festival (July dates vary)
Near the end of July is the annual flamenco festival which takes place in the evenings in Parque Majuelo.
La Fiesta de la Virgen de la Antigua (15th August)
This is the biggest night in Almunecar’s list of annual festivals when a week of celebrations ends with an incredible firework display on the main town beach to celebrate La Fiesta de la Virgen de la Antigua, the town’s patron saint. Get there early as every parking spot in town is occupied from very early. Better still book a table at the upmarket Museo Gastronomico Casa Morgan restaurant and watch the display from their terrace overlooking the town.
Fiesta de San Miguel (29th September)
The three day Fiesta de San Miguel is held in the old neighbourhood of San Miguel near the castle. There are local street parties, plenty drinking, dancing and fireworks.
Fiesta de la Chirimoya (12th October)
The long established Fiesta de la Chirimoya celebrates the start of the chirimoya (custard apple) harvest in the Torrecuevas. To get there take the Otivar road along the tropical valley road where there are various celebrations leading up to this day. The fiesta coincides with the national festivals of El Pilar and Hispanidad (when Columbus discovered the New World). This is a public holiday nationally.
Todos los Santos (1st November)
Todos los Santos (All Saints’ Day) is an important local and national public holiday when people from all over the country return to their place of birth to remember deceased relatives. The local cemetery on the Otivar road is beautiful as thousands of flowers are placed on the graves.
El Día de la Constitución (6th December)
El Día de la Constitución is an important day in the history of modern Spain as it commemorates Spain’s transition into a democratic state in 1978. This is another public holiday when all shops will be closed.
Immaculate Conception (8th December)
This national holiday celebrates the Immaculate Conception.
Christmas (24/25/26th December)
On Christmas Eve most shops and many bars and restaurants are closed from early evening so that families can get together for one of their most important meals of the year. The 25th is a public holiday though many bars stay open. There is little of the commercialism of other countries and Christmas day is a chilled out affair with many visitors dining at one of the beach restaurants. The 26th isn’t a public holiday. Check out planned local events at the tourist office.
Noche Vieja (31st December)
Noche Vieja (New Years Eve) is an enormous night in Spain’s social calendar. Many bars are closed until after midnight as owners and staff dine with their families, restaurants are often fully booked in advance. The midnight bells are celebrated in the town hall square where the Spanish tradition of eating one grape per chime is a must. After midnight many bars open their doors and the festivities can go on way beyond sunrise.