With summer in full swing there are all kinds of festivals in Spain in June in Spain ranging from the fiery Hogueras de San Juan in Alicante to the bizarre baby jumping festival in Castrillo de Murcia. Music enthusiasts are in for a treat at the Granada International Festival of Music and Dance and the El Grec Summer Festival in Barcelona. Sheer madness prevails at the Batalla del Vino in La Rioja where attendees soak one another with thousands of litres of wine. And for sports fans the big event this month is the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya.
What’s On in Spain in June?
Hogueras de San Juan
The Bonfires of Saint John is a traditional festival celebrated in many towns along the Mediterranean coast on the evening of June 23rd (Midsummer Eve). Its origins can be traced back to ancient celebrations related to the summer solstice where bonfires were lit to protect against evil spirits. Typically people build bonfires on the beach with friends then get together for parties before setting fire to their bonfire.
The city of Alicante takes this celebration to a whole different level with the Fogueres de Sant Joan which is the city’s largest annual event which lasts from 19th to 24th June. The event was first proposed by José María Py in 1928 as something similar to the Fallas of Valencia. Today the festival is officially recognised as being of International Tourist Interest (Interés Turístico Internacional) and of Intangible Cultural Interest.
During the year effigies are built of local, national and international characters (often politicians). These effigies, known as ‘ninots’, are set up in the streets on 19th (la plantà). The following morning the ‘despertà’ wakes up the town and the festival of fireworks and firecrackers is underway. over the following days there are street parties and all kinds of parades and competitions. The highlight of the festivities is known as ‘La cremà’ (the burning) which takes place on 24th and marks the end of the festivities.
Festival Grec de Barcelona
The Teatre Grec on Montjuïc hill was built for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition. The venue had fallen into disrepair when it hosted the first El Grec Festival in 1976. The success of this first edition of the event saved the theatre and laid the foundation for what has become one of Barcelona’s most popular cultural events. Beginning in late June and lasting throughout the summer, El Grec celebrates the very best of theatre, music, dance and art in the Catalan capital.
What began as a relatively small event has now become a major fixture on the city’s cultural calendar with many performances taking place throughout the summer months. The event showcases top Catalan and Spanish talent as well as attracting talented performers from around the world. Whilst the Teatre Grec hosts some of the main events there are now shows which take place at a number of historic venues throughout the city.
El Salto del Colacho
Where? Castrillo de Murcia (Burgos)
Among the many weird and wonderful festivals in Spain, the baby jumping festival in Castrillo de Murcia is perhaps the most bizarre. The festival is believed to date back to the 1620s when it was believed that the devil had taken up residence in the bodies of the town’s newborn babies. According to legend the only way to relieve babies of their ‘original sin’ was to have men dressed as the devil jump over them. Over time this tradition evolved into a more lighthearted celebration in which men dressed in red and yellow suits jump over rows of babies lying on mattresses in the street.
Despite its seemingly dangerous nature, the baby jumping festival is completely safe. The babies are carefully placed on the mattresses by their parents and are never in any danger of being hurt. In fact, the festival has become a symbol of the strong bond between parents and their children and is seen as a way of protecting them from harm.
The baby jumping festival has become increasingly popular in recent years and is now an important tourist event for the picturesque town. The festival also offers plenty of other attractions for visitors to enjoy including traditional food and drink, live music and street performances.
Batalla del Vino
Where? Haro (La Rioja)
It seems that the origins of the Haro Wine Festival can be traced back to 13th century land disputes. Citizens of Haro were obliged to mark their land boundaries with purple banners on 29th July (La Fiesta de San Pedro y San Pablo) every year or risk losing land to their neighbours in Miranda de Ebro. In the early 18th century, following this annual marking procession, an impromptu wine fight broke out at the Cliffs of Bilibio which would turn into an annual celebration.
Over time, this tradition evolved into the Wine Battle (Batalla del Vino) which takes place every year on 29th June. Since its official recognition as a ‘Festival of International Tourist Interest’ in 2011 the event has been attracting visitors from all over the world.
The day begins with local people taking thousands of litres of wine to the Cliffs of Bilibio which lies 6km north of Haro. The city’s mayor then leads a procession on horseback to the Ermita de San Felices de Bilibio where he mayor plants a purple flag before the mass is celebrated. The firing of a rocket after the mass marks the beginning of the Wine Battle when participants soak one another in red wine. Following the battle everyone heads to the bullring in town for food, drink and more partying.
The origins of Madrid’s Gay Pride Week can be traced back to the late 1970s when Spain was emerging from the Franco dictatorship. In 1977 the first public demonstration for gay rights was held in Barcelona. The following year hosted its first Pride parade and has done so ever since. Over the years the festival has grown to become one of the largest and most inclusive Pride events in the world attracting an estimated two million people. The week-long celebration includes parades, concerts and parties whilst serving as a platform for social change in a city committed to equality and diversity.
Music Festivals in Spain in June
Sónar, the International Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art, has become one of the biggest events in Barcelona’s cultural calendar. The festival dates back to 1994 when a group of music enthusiasts in Barcelona decided to organize a festival which celebrated electronic music and its emerging sub-genres.
Since that first edition of the festival which attracted around 6,000 visitors, the event has gone from strength to strength to become one of the largest and most influential electronic music festivals in the world. This 3-day event in June showcases some of the most influential artists in the world of electronic music and attracts over 120,000 visitors from around the world. It takes place across multiple venues in Barcelona, including the iconic Fira Barcelona Montjuïc and Fira Barcelona Gran Via.
Primavera Sound Music Festival
Where? Barcelona and Madrid
The Primavera Sound Festival began in 2001 with the aim of bringing international indie and alternative rock acts to Barcelona. The festival first took place in the Poble Espanyol on Montjuïc hill attracting around 7,500 music lovers. Over the years it has expanded the genre of music it offers and has moved to a larger venue at the Parc del Fòrum.
An increasingly impressive lineup of international and local artists has seen Primavera Sound grow into one of Europe’s biggest music festivals which saw around 500,000 people in attendance at the 2022 event in Barcelona. Such is its popularity that an additional Primavera Sound Music Festival will be held in Madrid a week after the Barcelona event.
Granada International Festival of Music and Dance
Where? Granada (Andalucía)
Beginning in June and lasting well into July, the Granada International Festival of Music and Dance has become one of Spain’s most important cultural events. Whilst the festival’s origins can be traced back to late 19th century, it wasn’t until 1952 that a group of artists and intellectuals in Granada formally came together to create a festival that would showcase the city’s rich cultural heritage. From its earliest days the festival has focused on bringing together artists from different disciplines and cultures whilst showcasing the best of Spanish music and dance.
Over the years the event has grown into a major international festival which attracts an impressive lineup of musicians and dancers from around the world. The festival’s program includes everything from classical music concerts and flamenco performances to contemporary dance shows and experimental music events. Performances take place at historical venues around the city including the grounds of the Alhambra Palace and in the Generalife Gardens.
Sporting Events in Spain in June
Spanish F1 Motor Racing Grand Prix
Where? Circuit de Catalunya (Barcelona)
The annual Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix is held at the Circuit de Catalunya which is located in Montmeló, some 20km north-east of Barcelona. The circuit can accommodate up to 140,000 spectators so tickets are usually available for race goers. The circuit has proven a happy hunting ground for both Michael Schumacher and Lewis hamilton who have both wond the event six times. This year’s event takes place on June 4th, 2023.
Useful Links to June Festivals in Spain
|Hogueras de San Juan||Alicante||Valencia||https://www.hoguerassanjuan.com/en/|
|Festival Grec de Barcelona||Barcelona||Catalonia||https://www.barcelona.cat/grec/en|
|Primavera Sound Music Festival||Barcelona||Catalonia||https://www.primaverasound.com/en/primavera-sound-barcelona-madrid-2023|
|Granada International Festival of Music and Dance||Granada||Andalucía||https://granadafestival.org/en/|
|Spanish F1 Motor Racing Grand Prix||Barcelona||Catalonia||https://www.formula1.com/en/racing/2023/Spain.html|
Frequently Asked Questions:
What’s The Weather Like in Spain in June?
The weather in Spain in June is generally warm and sunny with temperatures varying depending on the region. Here’s what you can expect in different parts of the country:
Mediterranean: Along the Mediterranean coast (eg. Barcelona, Valencia and Málaga) temperatures are warm and pleasant, averaging around 25-30°C during the day. The skies are usually clear with plenty of sunshine and low chances of rain.
Atlantic: Along the Atlantic coast in the north (eg. Bilbao, Santander and A Coruña) temperatures tend to be cooler than the Mediterranean with average temperatures around 20-25°C during the day. There may be occasional showers but the chances of sunshine increase as the month progresses.
Interior: Inland cities (eg. Madrid, Zaragoza and Seville) can get very hot and dry in June with daytime temperatures often reaching 30°C or higher. The skies are typically clear and rainfall is scarce.