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Choose from any of our existing Group Tours & Packages, carefully developed itineraries at pricings for all budgets, large or small. Set your own dates, decide if you travel with family, friends or work colleagues. Everything’s included: carefully selected hotels, transfers, guided touring, entrance fees, intercity transportation, meals… Our coordinators will adjust the trip to fit your needs and interests and operate your tour, plus 24/7 emergency line will be at your disposal.

Choose from any of our existing Group Tours & Packages, carefully developed itineraries at pricings for all budgets, large or small. Set your own dates, decide if you travel with family, friends or work colleagues. Everything’s included: carefully selected hotels, transfers, guided touring, entrance fees, intercity transportation, meals… Our coordinators will adjust the trip to fit your needs and interests and operate your tour, plus 24/7 emergency line will be at your disposal.

Across Spain brings together destinations in up to 3 countries: Spain, Portugal and Morocco and offers a broad range of itineraries of various length. Let us introduce a as sample programme.

Our journey will start in Barcelona, a city with a wide range of original leisure options, where we will spend 2 nights. Overlooking the Mediterranean sea and famous for Gaudí and his Art Noveau architecture, it is one of Europe’s trendiest cities. Discover a world of culture, fashion and cuisine, where creativity and design is combined with respect and care for local traditions. Enjoy the charm of the old town and its Gothic Quarters and La Rambla; visit amazing Modernist buildings as Sagrada Familia and Park Güell; walk around the seaside  avant-garde modern neighbourhoods; stroll around major shopping avenues with glamour and major brands or just walk around popular commercial streets with affordable options and traditional shops. And do not leave without having taken a break at some of its cafés and restaurants.

Source: spain.info

On day two, we will travel to one of the major surrounding sights, Montserrat,  an unusually-shaped mountain made from huge slabs of grey rocks. At the top of the massif stands a sanctuary dedicated to Virgin of Montserrat, the patron saint of Catalonia. This nature reservation offers different hiking itineraries and guided visits.

Source: spain.info

Let’s board on our fully equipped bus and travel to Spain’s capital city, Madrid. It take about 7 hours to reach destination so itinerary includes a short lunch stop in Zaragoza to admire its famous Basilica del Pilar. We will reach Madrid late afternoon, check in and offer you a free evening or dinner on request.

Let’s discover this cheerful and vibrant city after breakfast. Famous museums, busy streets with wide range of shopping options, great traditional, modern and world gastronomy and an unbeatable nightlife. We will walk around the charming historic spots in old Madrid centre, plenty of traditional family-run century-old bars where people meet up for a drink. We will offer you the possibility to visit great art museums and historical buildings: Prado Museum, the stunning Royal Palace, the Plaza Mayor with 400 years of history, the buzzing Puerta del Sol, the famous Gran Vía full of shops … And remember, Madrid also means relaxing in enormous parks such El Retiro, so take the chance and enjoy a promenade in the city centre green lung.

Source: spain.info

There are several sights outside Madrid, within easy reach for a day trip. One of clients’ favourites is Toledo, the “city of the three cultures” and one of the largest heritage sites in Europe, where you can see a Gothic cathedral, a 10th century mosque and two synagogues in the space of just few metres. Once an Imperial City, our guides will make sure visitors see its views, visit the Alcázar, walk around its winding streets and enjoy its local gastronomy.

Source: spain.info

Next destination is Seville. South Spain’s most charming and monumental city will leave you great memories. La Giralda Tower, the Cathedral and the Real Alcázar fortress are its best known sights but Seville is more than just fantastic monuments. Seville is a city of lively streets and courtyards of orange trees and neighbourhoods as Triana with countless tapas outings; it is a city of large open spaces as the huge Plaza de España and María Luisa Park; it is a lively night-life place where locals go out to eat “pescaíto” (fish) and drink a cold beer or a manzanilla sweet wine. End the evening with Spanish tradition at a flamenco show “tablao” and your day will be complete.

Source: spain.info

After breakfast we will take the bus and leave Spain to travel to Lisbon, Portugal’s capital city. A historical site full of authenticity where old customs and ancient history intermix with cultural entertainment and high-tech innovation. A sight-seeing will show you around its main avenues till Rossio square, the heart of Lisbon. Alfama district deserves a walk: the oldest and most picturesque quarter, known by its step streets and yellow trams and topped by a castle with stunning views. End with a tour to Betlem Tower and Monastery of Los Jeronimos.


When it comes to culture and tradition, a Fado music evening is a must. If you are a foodie do not miss its best restaurants, which offer a cuisine dedicated to creating over a thousand ways to cook the beloved “bacalhau” (salted cod).

After a relaxing evening and overnight in Lisbon, it is time to discover the surroundings. Our day trip will take you to Sintra & Cascais. Located 30km from Lisbon, Sintra is a place awarded by UNESCO with World Heritage Site status, with remarkable monuments as the Town Palace, the Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle. Our day-tour continues to the former fisherman village of Cascais, where you will enjoy a picturesque architecture. Nowadays Cascais is very lively and cosmopolitan town that still preserves a great deal of its earlier aristocratic atmosphere. A stroll through its streets is particularly recommended, where you can find shops of the highest quality or just relax at one of the many outdoors cafés.

A special mention is reserved for the local cuisine, especially the fresh fish and shellfish dishes, which can be enjoyed in the region’s many restaurants.

Our sample trip comes to an end in Portugal. Enjoy a last evening in Lisbon and take your flight home next day.

This is just one of our various ready-made programmes. Ask us about more options, let us know your main interests and preferred destinations, we will select a sample of itineraries and adapt them to your needs if required. Remember you can extend your stay in Morocco (Fez, Marrakech, Rabat are waiting for you), in Spain (Segovia, Valencia, Córdoba, Granada, Málaga …) and in Portugal (do not miss Porto, one of the top European destinations at the moment).

Please, drop us an e-mail and we will be glad to assist you:

info@across-spain.es

Sepharad is the name given by the Ancient Hebrews to the Iberian Peninsula. Jews, Muslims and Christians lived together in Spain for centuries until 1492 and their cultures, religions and customs coexisted in harmony.

We would like to introduce you one of the endless combinations to crafting a Sephardic Heritage route, covering, not only some of the most important Jewish settlements in middle-ages Spain, but also some of the most visited sites in our country. Barcelona, Girona, Segovia, Madrid, Toledo, Sevilla, Córdoba and Granada are sites of great beauty and charm, and the cradle of important and well preserved Jewish quarters. An itinerary from north-east to south Spain that will allow you to discover not only Sephardic gems but also astonishing monuments and buildings listed as Heritage Site by UNESCO. Stroll through the narrow streets of ancient Jewish quarters, enter a synagogue or visit museums that aim to preserve this legacy. Travelling to any of these cities is an experience that combines history, art, traditions and a very unique gastronomy.

Source: eSefarad
Source: eSefarad

Barcelona will be our entry airport. The city has much to offer but we will focus on its Call Jueu, the Jewish medieval district situated within the nowadays known as Gothic Quarters. Stroll around its well preserved net of narrow streets and small squares that hosts the oldest synagogue in town. Surrounding El Call, medieval churches as Santa Maria del Mar are worth a visit. Complete your day with Gaudí’s Modernist masterpieces, visit one of the countless art museums or just take a relaxing walk along the seaside and beaches.

Girona, situated 1 hour drive from Barcelona is our next stop. The so-called “City of the Four Rivers” invites visitors to trace its more than 2000 years of history through 2 fortified enclosures, dating to the Roman foundation. The city’s artistic heritage has been preserved in the numerous monuments that have survived until today.

Located within the Força Vella, the Jewish Quarter or Call is one of the city’s most emblematic areas. It consists of a labyrinth of narrow streets and patios that have maintained their medieval atmosphere and it is one of the best preserved Jewish quarters in the world and clear evidence of the importance of the Jewish culture in Girona. The heart of the district hosts a synagogue and centres of cabbalistic studies.

Set in this walled enclosure and dominating the city stands the Cathedral, with the widest Gothic nave in Medieval European architecture.

Madrid. The Jewish community of Madrid is as old as is the city. The first Jews settled here in the ninth century. The first “Judería”, name given to the Jewish neighbourhood, dates back to 1085 and laid near the present-day Teatro Real Opera House and Arenal street, right in the heart of historic Madrid. Next to the Judería was the cemetery, located in where today is Plaza de Oriente. Three centuries later, after Black Death pest, Jews were forced to move to a new district, made of some twenty homes and a synagogue, scattered across six blocks. Later on, Almudena Cathedral and the Royal Palace were built in this same area. The Jewish Community Museum of Madrid is aimed to preserve the medieval legacy of Jewish Madrid, with a collection of photographs, documents and published materials.

Source: Fundaciäon Madrid Centro Histäorico

Toledo. A true “city within a city”, this is how the madinat al-Yahud, or city of the Jews, was described, a urban space that occupies almost 10% of walled Toledo. Divided into different districts, corresponding to different stages of its expansion, the Jewish neighbourhood of Toledo is said to be one of the oldest and most important in the Iberian Peninsula.

A stroll in the Judería will bring you to visiting two emblematic synagogues: El Tránsito, hosting the Sephardic Museum, and the oldest one, Santa María La Blanca. In addition, the Casa del Judío, a house that preserves the traditional rooms can also be visited. Moreover, Toledo, the city of three cultures, has magnificent examples of architecture from different eras and styles: Mudejar, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque.

Source: Turismo de Toledo

Segovia. This smaller city north Madrid has a valuable rehabilitated Jewish Quarter. Start your visit at the Jewish Quarter Educational Centre – located in the old house of Abraham Seneor – and continue to the old main synagogue – now Corpus Christi Church – and the Gate of Saint Andrew, an exceptional viewpoint to take in views of the Jewish cemetery and its anthropomorphic tombs. 

Listed by UNESCO as Heritage Site, Segovia will greatly surprise you with its famous Roman aqueduct, numerous Romanesque churches, the Cathedral and its Fortress or Alcazar, one of the most distinctive castle-palaces in Spain by virtue of its shape.

Source: Segovia Audaz

Sevilla. Nowadays the capital city of Andalucia, Sevilla has a gorgeous heritage to offer. The Real Alcázar, Europe’s oldest palace, and the Giralda Cathedral, listed as well as UNESCO World Heritage sites, are just a couple of examples no visitor will miss. With focus into Jewish history, we will stroll in the most famous district of Sevilla, Santa Cruz Quarter, which was the place that hosted the old Judería – Jewish neighbourhood, a labyrinth formed by narrow streets and charming small squares.

Córdoba. Discover the European city that hosts most UNESCO Heritage World Sites. The Jewish Quarter reveals spots that still retain the medieval memory of the city of three cultures, with Sepharad house, Tiberiades square and the street where the old secluded synagogue is located. Maimonides was born within the walls of old Córdoba, the best-known part of the historic centre. We cannot leave the city without stopping to visit the impressive Mosque-Cathedral, a unique building in the world.

Source: Junta de Andalucía

Granada. Most famous for its spectacular Moorish fortress, the Alhambra, Granada was once a place of religious tolerance with thriving Jewish community. Situated at the foot of Sierra Nevada mountains and overlooked by the imposing Alhambra Palace, the city hosts a cosy Jewish Quarter –  El Realejo – and a cosy neighbourhood with white houses, step streets and squares, the famous Albayzin.

Like all Jewish communities in Spain, Jewish Granada prospered under the Ummayad caliphate (755-1013), the dynasty that ruled Al-Andalus from Alhambra city. They were involved in the cotton and silk trade, as well as in banking and jewelry.  

Source: Guías Viajar

Granada seems to us a suitable place to end this tour. It was here the Treaty of Granada was signed in 1491, also known as the Capitulation of Granada, to end the war between Sultan of Granada and Catholic Kingdom of Ferdinand and Isabella. This treaty was also the end of the Jewish era in Spain: as a result of the decree and the prior prosecution, Jews in Spain were forced to either convert or be expelled. Over 200,000 converted to Catholicism and between 40,000 and 100,000 left the new Catholic Kingdom.

Write us an e-mail or give us a call, we will be glad to design a suitable proposal for you.  

Nearly 50% of olive oils in the world are produced in Spain, with 25% of the entire olive oil growing areas and over 260 endemic varieties. Almost 50% of the production is exported, which means that 1 of each 2 bottles in the world contain Spanish olive oil. Harvesting season will start in autumn, which gives us the perfect excuse to invite you to come to Spain and discover the leading production regions, visit olive oil mills and experience a gastronomical tasting.

Source: Turismo Provincia de Jaén

Designation of Origin & the importance of varieties

Denominaciones de Origin (DO)

Denominación de Origen (Designation of Origin) is a seal a seal that recognizes extra-virgin olive oils produced in a specific area with particular olive varieties and under very strict production and quality standards.  There are 29 DO in Spain, with Andalusia and Catalonia leading the ranking. In Andalusia, Jaén region gathers 20% of DOs.

Varieties

More than 200 varieties of olives are grown in Spain, each one with its own unique flavours and aromas: Picual is the most extended variety in the world and its name refers to the fruit’s pointed tip shape; Picudo, one of the great Andalusian varieties, with significant presence in the provinces of Córdoba, Granada, Málaga and Jaén; Arbequina, characteristic of Catalonia (Tarragona and Lleida) and Alto Aragon, although its growth has spread to practically the entire country, and we could continue with the 26 sorts that complete the DO list.

Source: Olive Oils of Spain

Olive oil, the liquid gold, a treasure dating back to Ancient Greece

Olive oils had a leading role in the economy of Ancient Greece, who began to produce and sell throughout the Mediterranean.

“The liquid gold”, as the Ancient Greeks referred to it, was introduced in Spain by the Phoenicians for 3000 years ago but it was the Romans who spread the oil groves across their colonies. As a result of its expansion into the Iberian peninsula, olive oils produced in Spain became most appreciated throughout the Roman Empire and Spanish olive groves fed the commerce throughout the same.

Spanish olive oil production regions

Large extensions of olive trees can be found in 34 regions across Spain. Among them, one area outstands above the others, Jaén, known as the “world’s capital of olive oil”.

andalucia – Jaén

The Andalucian region occupies the southern third of the peninsula, and it produces approximately 75% of the total olive oil produced in Spain.
With a typical Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers, winters with mild temperatures, and irregular precipitation, throughout the year many areas of Andalucia enjoy over three thousand hours of sunlight.
The production of olive oil is concentrated primarily in the provinces of Jaén and Córdoba. It is interesting to note that the province of Jaén produces more olive oil than all of Greece, another large producer of olive oil in the world.
The types of olives cultivated in Andalucia for the production of oil are: Picual, Hojiblanca, Lechín, Verdial and Picudo.

This beautiful area of Spain is the perfect place to combine gastronomy & cultural heritage. Only 1 hour from Granada, you can enjoy olive oil routes, visits to “almazaras” (mills where olives are crushed), tasting & gastronomy experiences, while you let yourself be charmed by two cities full of history, Úbeda and Baeza, World Heritage Sites awarded by the UNESCO. These 2 small towns retain a 500-year old charm, with churches, palaces and museums, in an urban setting surrounded by a landscape of olive groves.

Andalucia – Córdoba

The province of Córdoba, is home to four different DO: “Bae­na”, “Priego de Córdoba”, “Montoro Adamuz” and “Aceites de Lucena”. In numerous villages it is possible to organize virgin olive oil tasting sessions and gui­ded visits. A must is Hornachuelos Nature Reserve, home to more than 100,000 ha. of oil groves.

Combine oleotourism and cultural heritage. Visit oil mills and small villages with ancient production history and take the chance to discover the fantastic heritage Córdoba city offers, with the impressive Mosque to its historic charming old town plenty of beautiful palaces and famous “patios”.

Castilla La Mancha

The Castilla – La Mancha region is located in the center of the peninsula, to the south of Madrid. This region produces about 14% of the total olive oil produced in Spain. With 4 designations of origin, the production of olive oil extends to the southeast of the region, concentrating in the provinces of Toledo and Ciudad Real.

The variety of olive that is cultivated in this community for the production of oil is Cornicabra, although in the southern region bordering Andalucia there are small areas that cultivate the variety known as Picual.

The historic city of Toledo may be the best known area of this region but, not only this UNESCO site is attractive. When we speak olive oil, the DO Montes de Toledo is a must. Its history with production goes back to Phoenician and Greek colonisations, that brought Cornicabra variety, which results in a production of an olive oil with remarkable health properties within cell aging and heart diseases.

Visit Mora and enjoy the “Fiesta del Olivo” in Mora, declared of National Tourist Interest, or the Virgin-Extra Olive Oil Fair. In this town, you will also be able to visit the Museo del Aceite, which keeps a collection of pieces to transmit the culture they witnessed, through the history and different periods, the olive tree, the olive and the olive oil; its uses, the farming olive elements and the machines to obtain it; the contrast of a 19th century oil mill with the 20th century ones. It Is structured divided in three rooms: container room (strainers, jugs, oil bottles), weights and measure room (weighting scales, steelyards and measure traditional system) and rural culture room (it shows the farmhouse with traditional jobs of the rural environment). We will end the visit with the tasting we all are waiting for: taste different varieties, visita an almazara and enjoy a walk through the olive tree fields.

Source: Turismo de Castilla-La Mancha

Catalonia

The Catalonian Community occupies the northeast corner of the peninsula and produces approximately 4% of the total olive oil produced in Spain. It is the second region in number of DO, with 5 designations, and production extends throughout the western region, bordering Aragón. The types of olives cultivated in Catalonia for the production of oil are Fraga, Empeltre and Arbequina.

Places not to be missed are: the olive oil eco-museum in Pobla de Cèrvoles; Castelldans olive oil museum; Uldecona’s greatest collection of thousand-year-old olive trees in the world and the olive oil theme parl in les Borges Blanques. A must not to be missed when speaking about gastronomy in this region is its famous pà amb tomàquet (sliced bread rubbed with tomato and topped with virgin olive oil as its best).

Olive oil products benefits go far beyond gastronomy. Did you know that olive oil is a great product for moisturising and exfoliating the skin? For years it has been applied as part of beauty treatments in various Catalan spas. What are you waiting for to live the olive oil experience?

Source: Agència Catalana de Turisme

Olive oil and gastronomy

Many are the travellers who when asked about “the best of Spain” respond sharply: “the food”. The importance of production of extra virgin olive oil and the boast of production of an excellent product has pushed Spanish gastronomy to a leading place in the world.

A tour to regions we introduced in this post will give you the needed knowledge about the common categories of Spanish olive oil and  you will be be ablre to pick out the one that best suits your needs.

With a strong flavour, extra virgin olive oil is the best choice to dress a salad or other cold dishes and it is the oil you will most find topping a cold tapa. It’s the best Spanish olive oil for preparing traditional Mediterranean dishes that are sauteed or pan-seared, too. But you do not want to use extra virgin olive oil to prepare fried dishes. It has a heavier taste and a lower smoke point. Instead, let’s use refined olive oil, the most basic, with a lighter taste and a higher smoke point that better withstands heat. Also, make sure to use the oil and not keep the bottle open for too long. Once opened, the olive oil should be used within a few months.

Source: Spain.info

 

Source: Mundo Agrario

As Las Fallas festival is just around the corner, it is important to know where the best traditional telas, costumes, accessories and outfits can be bought. To make the search easier, we have come up with a list of the top Valencian dressmakers for Las Fallas.

1) Alvaro Moliner

Alvaro Moliner Llorens is truly a leader in the traditional Valencian costume industry. Since 2006 his company has had the responsibility of creating the costume for the Fallera Mayor de Valencia at the opening of the Ninot Exhibition, which over the years has become one of the most anticipated parts of the event. The company has even become so successful that it has opened a store in Alicante to offer a specialised service for the Bonfires of San Juan. Despite having such a huge reputation for the best quality dresses, they offer an outlet in their store which means that almost anyone can own one of their breathtaking costumes at an affordable price. Better yet, the company has a deal with El Corte Inglés, making their products much more widely available. Álvaro Moliner reinvents himself every day, and continues to create innovative initiatives which are always promoted on social media.

alvaro moliner

some of Alvaro Moliner’s beautiful pieces 

2) Rafael Catalá

With origins dating back to 1770 and located in Albuixech (Valencia), Rafael Catalá is a designer, manufacturer and distributor of high quality fabrics, aimed at sectors such as haute couture, decoration, ornamentation and fashion in general. The company is arguably the biggest name in Valencian telas and for 8 years has been given the great opportunity to dress the Falleras Mayores of Valencia, who are some of the most important representatives during the Las Fallas festival. Their fabrics have dressed some of the most important people in the country, which even includes the nuptial costumes the Infanta Cristina and Princess Letizia. The company also makes a variety of beautiful customised products, which include upholstery, fabrics for decoration, curtains, sofas, fashion, luxury fabrics, silk fabrics and high quality fabrics.

rafael catala

a woman and girl wearing Rafael Catalá dresses during the parade 

3) Aguas de Marzo

The Aguas de Marzo store, dedicated to the making of Valencian regional costumes, is the result of the dedication of a lifetime to the Valencian clothing and a family tradition since 1948.  These two sisters and their time work tirelessly to deliver the highest quality products with unbeatable customer service. Each of their products is carefully prepared and handmade to perfection. They also have a wide range of the best fabrics and brands at their disposal. They primarily create Valencian costumes for women of the 18th and 19th century – but also cater to dance groups, for men from Xaragüell and Torrentí, children and even babies. As well as their stunning costumes, here you will also find a variety of accessories, including stockings, pololos, cuppers, petticoats, dressings, combs, shawls, blouses, pants, belts, vests, handkerchiefs, blankets, and hats. You can even order your own personalised shoes!

aguas de marzo

Aguas de Marzo is well known for its high quality customer service

4) Indumentaria Valenciana Pinazo

Founded in 1887 as a Valencian Fallas stage decorating company, Indumentaria Valencia will soon celebrate 55 years of dedication to Valencian clothing. The making of all of their costumes is done in an Artisan fashion and crafted to the highest quality. One advantage of this company is that they give you the option to purchase any costume you have rented from them. Their expertise in customised outfits mean that you can create the costume of your dreams, or you can rent one of their beautiful pre-made creations. Their products are well recognised for their high quality fabrics and components and stunning patterns. They also cater to traditional costumes for men and offer a variety of accessories which include dressings, combs, tablecloths and blankets.

pinazo

a customer having her tailor-made dress fitted

5) Indumentaria Valenciana Alan

Indumentaria Alan is a Valencian company dedicated to the sale and craftsmanship of traditional Valencian costumes, with more than 30 years of experience in the sector. Their professional and personalized treatment and advice is a one of the great things about shopping here, as well as good prices and the highest quality. Here, you can have suits and dresses tailored to suit your needs specifically, or you can buy one of their pre-designed outfits. They have clothing to suit men, women and children as well as all of those necessary accessories: dressings, combs, shoes, blankets, handkerchiefs, blankets, blouses, scarves, brooches, etc.

indumentaria alan

the wide range of beautiful fabrics available at Indumentaria Alan

6) Tejidos Dalila

Dalila was founded in 1948 by Salvador and Casilda. It is a purely family company with more than 60 years of experience, and today prides itself on its first-class customer service, highest quality products and unbeatable prices. They have maintained their family character while also adapting to the changing times over the years. It is currently the third generation of the family who dedicate their daily effort to the world of Valencian clothing and accessories. With experience and professionalism, they continue to offer the best advice both to those who are new to Valencian clothing, and those who already have extensive experience. Their products include dressings, complements, petticoats, fabrics, mantillas and a host of components of the Valencian costume.

tejidos dalila

the beautiful window display at the Dalila store 

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to follow the Across Spain Travel Chronicles blog for more posts about Spain’s most beautiful locations and rich culture. Also, don’t hesitate to contact us at across spain to find out more about our 2019 Las Fallas Packages.

map

Valencia, the home of Las Fallas festival

The first few things that come to one’s mind after hearing about ‘Spain’ are its gorgeous beaches, the delicious food, and the lively people. And that fits perfectly, the country has got an everlasting charm. But what you might not have heard about is that Spain is also a great winter destination and even a better winter festival destination. Continue reading to learn more about the top 4 festivals in Spain that takes place in the second half of the year.

December – Els Enfarinats

Flying Eggs, tons of flour and a lot of fun describes the Els Enfarinats festival the best. In the little town Ibi, Alicante every year at the 28th of December all inhabitants and a bunch of visitors celebrate the Day of the innocents by recreating a historical story. The Enfarinats against the opposite site. It is all playful fun, as the weapons used are merely flour and eggs, and occasional firecrackers. At the end of the day everybody is covered in a thick batter, no matter if it is a member from the one or the other side. All come together and have a lot of fun. If you want to read more about this bizarre fiesta check out our last news.

El Enfarinats

January  Tamborrada 

When you not just want to hear but also feel the music, then Tamborrada is the perfect choice for you. The magnificent drum festival is celebrated every year on the 20th of January in the city of San Sebastian. The celebration starts at midnight at the Constitution square with the raising of the city flag and lasts 24 hours. During the celebration, different costumed groups and corporations play melodies that will be heard in the whole city throughout the day. The origins of the festival date back to the Independence War around 1813, when some local women started to play music with their jugs to make fun of Napoleons troops that had invaded the city. This music parade developed to a yearly tradition and nowadays over 125 clubs and organizations participate in the event, dressed as a cook, in a soldier’s uniform or in the typical Basque women clothing.

Tamborrada

JanuaryJarramplas at Piornal

The Jarramplas, where your main enemy is a devil-like figure and your weapons are turnips, is a crazy festival that takes place every 19 and 20 January in Piornal in the province of Caceres, Extremadura. During this festival, one person is dressed up as the Jarramplas, wearing a costume with lots of colourful ribbons and a conical fiberglass mask with horns. This festival is an old tradition of which its history is still doubtful. But there is one myth, which is most commonly believed, it tells the story of a devil-looking character, who stole and killed cattle of the inhabitants and got punished for that by the villagers, who were throwing vegetables at him. Tradition, excitement and joy flood Piornal every January inviting the visitor to delve into the rites, stories and legends of this ancient and curious festival now turned into a Festival of National Tourist Interest.

Jarramplas

FebruaryCarnival

In the end of February and the beginning of March, when it is still chilly in the rest of Spain, islanders of the Canaries are dressed in colourful and tight outfits because it is carnival time again.  The Carnival on Tenerife is traditionally celebrated in the capital of the island, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. During the time, Santa Cruz is not to be recognized, the streets are full of locals and visitors from all around the world. This carnival is considered to be the second most internationally known carnival, after the one in Rio de Janeiro. It is loved for its colourful street parades and flamboyant costumes.

In Gran Canaria, the most exciting carnival takes place in Las Palmas, the capital of the island. Next year’s theme “Once upon a time…” encourages the participants to dress in their most fairy tale-like costume. Popular events during the carnival are the Queen Gala and the Drag Queen Gala. The Queen Gala features amazing dresses that are displayed by the candidates for the queen of the festival. The Drag Queen Gala is another high-profile carnival event with a lot of candidates and always a joyful audience.

The carnival celebration on both islands is ended with the traditional entierro de la sardina, the burial of the sardine, celebrated with a big parade through the cities. At the end of this parade, a huge sardine is burnt that symbolises the spirit of carnival.

carnival

If you have now the wish to listen to the sounds of drums, to throw some eggs or turnips or dance with costumed islanders at one of the amazing festival we wrote about, do not hesitate to write us a message to info@across-spain.es. With our festival packages you will experience the flair and fun of the unique festivals Spain has to offer and discover the beauty and culture of the country as well.

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