Carnival in Spain, but where and how?

by Lorraine Williamson

Carnival in Spain – but where and how? Let’s dive into the colorful world of Spanish Carnival, where festivities, costumes and traditions come together to create a vibrant experience. In this article we will explore the most notable Carnival celebrations throughout Spain.

Whether you’re looking for an exuberant street party or a more subdued celebration, Carnival in Spain offers something for everyone. Though Carnival is a popular annual celebration in various parts of Spain, Spaniards celebrate it with their own traditions. Sometimes it resembles the Dutch and Belgian carnival, or the ever popular Notting Hill Carnival in the UK, but in other places you imagine yourself completely in Rio de Janeiro. 

Everyone comes dressed up and painted and there are parades almost everywhere. However, what all countries have in common is that it is a big party. 

Parades for the whole family 

Yet the carnival party in Spain also seems to be mainly a family affair with the beautiful parades and floats that ride through the streets of many Spanish cities. Some cities, including Cádiz and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, go all out with professional shows that seem to have come directly from Rio de Janeiro. 

Carnival is celebrated in these places in Spain 

In general, carnival this year starts on Thursday, February 8 and the party will be celebrated in many places until Wednesday, February 14. However, this is not the case in all of Spain as there are some places where the party continues even longer. Below we mention some of the most famous places and regions whether carnival is celebrated and on which days this takes place. 


Cádiz’s famous carnival reaches its peak on the first weekend with the parade on Sunday, February 11. Offering a program of parades and performances in this Andalucian city. All festivities in Cádiz will continue until early March. However, in Málaga, many festivities are already over by then. They started early in Málaga on Saturday, February 3 with the famous carnival parade and the Childrens Carnival on Sunday, February 4. On Friday February 9 the popular drag queen contest will take place. 

Canary Islands 

The carnival in Tenerife is the largest event of this kind happening in the Canary Islands and in Spain as well. It is the second largest in the world and considered by many the best carnival. In Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the inhabitants celebrate carnival from January 12 until February 18. So the carnival lasts more than a month on this Canary Island. During this month there are performances, the candidates for the queen of the carnival are presented and many piñatas are on display. 

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They also love carnival in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. This celebration has already started on January 26 and will last until February 18. The island is best known for the gala of the Queen of Carnival and the famous parade, the Gran Cabalgata, which will take place on Saturday, February 17. 


Barcelona and Tarragona are ready for their celebrations between February 8 and 14. The various parades were held over the weekend of February 10 and 11. Sitges also does not skip carnival and several parades were seen here over the weekend. Sitges’ really famous parade, the Rua del Extermini, takes place on Tuesday 13 February at 9 pm. 


The municipality of Madrid celebrates their colorful variant of this ‘fiesta’ from February 10 to 14, but there is no official day off. During these days, events will take place in various parts of the Spanish capital, such as on the Plaza de la Villa and in the Círculo de Bellas Artes. 


In Murcia, Aguilas is especially known as a real carnival city. Every year it is a party full of colour, beautiful parades, performances and singing and dancing competitions. It is celebrated from February 2 – February 24. The Concurso Drag Queen on February 2, the big parades of Aguilas are scheduled this year on February 11 at 6.00 pm. 


Carnival is celebrated in Valencia from February 10 to 18, mostly in the Barrio Rufazza in the centre of the town. The big opening is on Saturday February 10 on Muelle 4 del Parque Central.  The weekend of February 17 and 18 will be the most anticipated moment for carnival lovers, since the Mercat de Carnestoltes and the great parade will be held. The Mercat de Carnestoltes will be installed in the Parque Granero, and will offer music, dance, gastronomy, crafts, shows and workshops for all audiences. The hours will be from 12 to 22 hours, both days. 

Also read: Fiestas, Ferias, and celebrations in Spain 2023

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