Calendar of festivals and cultural and sporting activities

Tarragona is a city awash in light and colour. The mild climate and Mediterranean character, the charm of the streets and the warmth of the people make it an ideal spot for outdoor leisure and cultural pursuits. Tarragona is also synonymous with festivities, and here the festivities take to the streets. Thanks to the many traditional local and Catalan regional holidays, the agenda is packed with celebrations all year long.

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© Pep Escoda
5 January

The Three Wise Men arrive to the city by boat, after a long journey to fulfil the dreams of young and old people.The kids wait impatiently for the Tree Wise Men who arrive at the Escala Reial to tour the city accompanied by the pages and floats.

© AQ
1-28 February

The restaurants in the Part Alta (historic quarter) offer menus for all budgets.

22 February-1 March

During one week the streets are filled with colour and music to celebrate the great festival of the king of debauchery. The highlight of the festival is the float-filled parade on the Saturday, and of particular note are the concerts, the tasting of botifarra d’ou (egg sausage) and the crema de la bóta, the burning of the Carnival King figure in an enormous wineskin at the festivities' end.

© Rafael López-Monné
17 March - 3 April

Twenty-three of Tarragona's best restaurants will offer set menus featuring rice à la marinière.

© Alba Rodriguez
18 March-3 April

This March the city is organizing a series of events with an emphasis on Flamenco. Internationally-recognized flamenco stars and local artistes will be headlining a programme that includes flamenco shows, concerts, workshops and exhibitions.

Festival Internacional de màgia Teatre Màgic - Festival Internacional de magia Teatre Màgic
3-29 April

The world of illusionism comes together on the stages of Tarragona to offer a selection of the best magic shows today.

Festival waterpolo formatiu HaBaWaBa Spain - Piscina Olímpica Sylvia Fontana de Tarragona
9-12 April

A three-day tournament plus a day dedicated to fun and excitement at PortAventura Park. The world’s leading grassroots water polo festival will take place at the Sylvia Fontana Olympic outdoor pool in Tarragona.

© Pep Escoda
10-18 April

One of the manifestations with the most solemnity in the city of Tarragona is Easter Week, which main event is the Holy Burial Procession on Good Friday.
The first documented proof of the celebration of this procession through the streets of the Part Alta (Old Town) goes back to the year 1550. Currently more than 4000 people group in 13 associations, brotherhoods and congregations and carry 20 pasos (episodes of the Passion of Christ) in this procession. The procession is preceded by the armed soldiers who break the silence with the sound of their kettledrums.

© Manel R. Granell
23 April

This day recalls the heroic deed of Sant Jordi (Saint George), patron saint of Catalans. It is customary for couples to exchange roses and books. There is also the chance to see a human towers exhibition with the four colles (groups) of the city.

Dixieland. Festival de jazz de Tarragona
30 April-15 May

The only festival in Spain dedicated to dixieland, the origin of Jazz, popular music from New Orleans from the end of the 19th century. Every year it holds more than fifty concerts and activities in different areas as theatres, bars, restaurants and also in the open air.

Tres Tombs Tarragona
15 May

Els Tres Tombs, held in many towns throughout Catalonia, gathers a wide number of riders, carts and horses who go round the streets of the city-centre three times and receive the blessing of Sant Antoni (Saint Anthony), patron saint of domestic animals.

Jornades gastronòmiques 'Tàrraco a Taula' - Jornadas gastronómicas 'Tarraco a Taula'
13-29 May

A series of culinary events which take place as part of Tarraco Viva, the international festival celebrating Roman history. Some restaurants participate in this event which brings back recipes from the Roman era.

Tàrraco Viva, el festival romà de Tarragona - el festival romano de Tarragona
15-29 May

Tarragona travels in time up until a period of great splendour for the city: the Roman times. During these international symposiums to raise awareness of ancient Roman history, the visitor lives the Roman Tarraco through historic performances such as gladiator fights, Roman theatre, music and dance and historical re-enactments of life in Roman times.All of this within an incomparable setting: the monumental sites declared World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.

DO Tarragona
20 May-5 June

An opportunity to taste and get to know DO Tarragona (Designation of Origin) wine

The DO Tarragona is launching a leisure and cultural programme that will connect the city with the inland areas of the region.

4 June

You too can feel like an Olympian for the day at Tarragona’s Mediterranean Ring!

Take part in the SB Hotels Tarragona Marathon which is now a key fixture on Tarragona’s sporting agenda and a landmark event on the national calendar of athletics competitions.

© Patronat Municipal d’Esports de Tarragona
12 June

A festival for bicycle lovers to enjoy a non-competitive fun ride through our city, free of traffic. When you reach the finish line, the Great Bicycle Festival begins with lots of activities and raffles.

© Manel R. Granell
23 and 24 June

The flame of Mount Canigó, according to tradition, lightens the bonfires that will illuminate the Summer solstice event. The parties, the coques dolces (sweet flatbreads) and the fireworks are welcome on the night of the witches.

© Manel R. Granell
29 June

This is the main festival of the fishermen’s quarter, El Serrallo, and one of the most traditional local festivals in the city of Tarragona.

© Pep Escoda
6-9 July

The Fireworks Competition has a long tradition (1990) and it has become one of the most important on the Mediterranean. The winning pyrotechnics will be commissioned for the fireworks during the city’s biggest fiesta (Santa Tecla).

© Patronat Municipal de Turisme de Tarragona
16 July

The procession of Mare de Déu del Carme is an excellent example of a very traditional event in Tarragona’s fishermen’s quarter. Fishermen and sailors carry the Virgin of Mount Carmel ceremoniously across the waters of the Mediterranean, disembarking in the El Serrallo neighbourhood.

© Pep Escoda
12-19 August

This is one of the city’s major festivals and is celebrated with fascinating elements of local popular culture, such as Magí de les Timbales, the giants, the Gegantons Negritos, dwarves,

© Manel R. Granell
16 August

This is the celebration of one of the best known streets in the Parta Alta (historic quarter) and one of the most traditional in the city. A cannon signals the start of the parade, in which giants and other popular figures dance through the streets to bring the neighbourhood to life. You won’t want to miss seeing the Cós del Bou giants, known as the Gegants Vells (the old giants), which are the oldest giants in the city (1825) and were given to the residents of the Cós del Bou neighbourhood by the city hall in 1904.

© Albert Rué
31 August-3 September

The Tarragona international theatre festival aims to bring together all the new plays of contemporary authors and directors of different origins, whether from home or abroad. An open door to new talents performed in different languages. The main distinctive trait is that these new dramas will be performed in places that are not theatres, but rather other of the city’s emblematic or historical sites.

© Manel R. Granell
11 September

Tarragona lives the Catalan National day with the Catalan traditions par excellence: Sardana dances and human towers.

© Pep Escoda
12-25 September

There is no other time of the year as lively as during the great festival, Santa Tecla. In 2002 was declared “Festival of tourist interest” by the Spanish government and in 2010 was declared “Patrimonial festival of national interest” by the Catalan government. The origins of this celebration held on the streets go back to the year 1321 when the arm relic of the patron saint arrived to the city from Armenia.

© El Perfil Bueno
18 September

The most festive and traditional sporting event in Tarragona.

 

© Joan Capdevila Vallve
1 and 2 October

The Castells Competition is an event with the best colles (human tower groups) in the country, held every two years in Tarraco Arena Plaça (ancient bullfighting ring).
The most important human towers groups from around Catalonia, together with the local ones, gather to participate in the most contested and attended human castle day of the entire season.

In Autumn

Special menus in the city's restaurants. Treat yourself to Tarragona's most celebrated dish.

© Manel R. Granell
1 November

The streets abound with stands selling fresh-roasted chestnuts. This holiday is best known for the panellets (traditional pine-nuts sweets) that fill the pastry shops and for the flowers for the departed.

In Autumn

Come and taste these new wines while enjoying regional gourmet products and cultural attractions!

In Autumn

In autumn, events take place to commemorate the horrific siege of Tarragona at the hands of Napoleon’s troops. 

© Rafael López-Monné / Tarragona Turisme
November-December

Themed routes, dramatized tours, and Open Doors days, among other activities.

© Patronat Municipal d’Esports de Tarragona
6 November

As has been the tradition for over 25 years now, the “City of Tarragona” Half Marathon +10K will be held in November. Some 2.500 participants fill the city’s streets, free from circulating traffic, in order to reach their personal goal.

© Alberich Fotògrafs
End of November-beginning of December

One of the city’s most traditional fairs, where you can sample the different olive oils produced in the protected Designation of Origin of Siurana.

© Montse Riera
December

From the beginning of December Tarragona is decked with festive Christmas lights and hosts its annual Christmas fair. Two very rooted traditions are re-enacted: el Tió (log that gives presents) and the nativity scenes exhibited in premises of different associations and in the city’s parks. The festivities are completed with different Christmas activities: Performance of the theatre show Els Pastorets (The Little Sheperds), Christmas carol singing, and the children’s park, among others.

© Jaime Rojas
Beginning of December

Showing of national and international fiction or documentary feature films. A great opportunity to get to know new directors or rediscover well-known directors through their first works.

Enjoy newly released films, new directors, discoveries, emotions and much more.

4 December

A proposal with 5 different disciplines, from the Walk through to the Marathon, with highly entertaining, attractive routes that will reveal the great monuments of Roman Tarraco such as its Amphitheatre, the top of the Circus, the Mèdol Quarry and the Devil’s Bridge; options that will enable you to travel to the beaches on the Costa Daurada, fly along the paths and tracks of our region and reach the finishing line by crossing over the Plaça de la Font where, in Roman times, there was the arena in the circus in which the chariots raced.

© Pep Escoda
31 December

In this Catalan tradition, a jumping jack with as many noses as days left in the year (a large nose) walks through the city's streets giving out sweets to the kids.

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