The Camino de Santiago routes take pilgrims to towns and cities of fascinating history, culture and traditions. The best way to discover them is by joining locals in their ‘fiestas’, the Camino’s best-loved celebrations.
Here are 6 Camino festivals not to miss in 2018:
SEMANA SANTA – EASTER
Semana Santa, Easter or Holy Week, is an impressive display of holy imagery, marching bands and solemn processions in many towns and cities, some of them along the Camino.
Seville, on the Via de la Plata, is the most famous and dramatic of them all and some of the sculptures in the parades date back to the 16th century.
In Galicia, the most traditional and spectacular Easter celebrations take place in Ferrol, on the Camino Ingles. CaminoWays.com has a guided tour from Ferrol departing 31st March.
SAO JOAO FESTIVAL IN PORTO
The arrival of Summer is a big celebration in the city of Porto. Visitors and locals descend on the stunning river front, the Ribeira, to celebrate Sao Joao (St John) and welcome the happiest season of the year. Dancing, bonfires and grilled sardines are all part of the evening fun.
If you are planning a trip on the Portuguese Coastal Camino, we suggest you spend a few couple of days in Porto to experience this unique festival.
PEPPER FESTIVAL IN PADRON
If you travel across Galicia from June to September, chances are you will encounter some sort of festival where the main focus is food. Any local delicacy is a good excuse for a festival.
The town of Padron, on the Camino Portugues, hosts a festival to celebrate its most famous produce the first Saturday of August. After the traditional tractor parade, 3000kgs of Padron peppers are cooked and enjoyed by attendees for free in the town’s Alameda park.
WHEN: First Saturday in August
WHERE: Padron, Camino Portugues
ST JAMES DAY IN SANTIAGO
St James Day, which is also Galicia Day, is a holiday in Galicia and where else you should celebrate but in the city of St James, Santiago? The capital of Galicia receives many visitors and pilgrims for its Festas do Apostolo, in the days leading up to St James Day, which is 25th July.
Fireworks at the cathedral, music concerts and plenty of cultural events take place in the lively streets of Santiago from mid-July.
If you can’t make it to Santiago for those dates, the CaminoWays.com team organises an annual event at our office in Dublin 8.
WHEN: 15th-25th July
WHERE: Santiago de Compostela
SAN FROILAN IN LUGO
The walled city of Lugo is the backdrop for the festival of San Froilán, one of the most traditional festivals in Galicia. Dating back to 1754, when it started as an agricultural fair, the festival celebrates the city’s patron saint and the city becomes a hive of activity with traditional dances, music, markets and shows for all ages taking place in the Old Town.
Octopus also plays an important role in San Froilán celebrations, as the city’s park becomes a giant restaurant where visitors and locals sample Galician octopus, pulpo a feira.
WHEN: 4-12th October 2018
WHERE: Lugo, Camino Primitivo
HARVEST FESTIVAL IN LA RIOJA
La Rioja is Spain’s most international wines. The Rioja capital, Logroño, has been celebrating a harvest festival and honouring patron Saint Mathew for many generations. The Festival de la Vendimia Riojana, the La Rioja Harvest Festival, takes place at the end of September each year and is a must-see for Camino and wine fans. Traditional activities such as grape pressing, regional dancing and tapas tasting are part of the week’s festivities, as well as concerts, fireworks and activities for visitors of all ages.
WHEN: 20-25th September
WHERE: Logroño, Camino Frances
For a monthly list of festivals on the Camino de Santiago routes: Camino Festival Calendar.
*Images courtesy of Semana Santa de Ferrol, Turismo de Portugal, Turismo de Santiago.
For more information about the Camino de Santiago routes or to book your Camino trip, contact our travel specialists.