Holiday calendar 2018

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 disembark at the port and tour the town handing out candy to children.

© AQ Restaurant
1-28 February

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

© Pep Escoda
2-13 February

One of the most widely attended carnivals in Catalonia, it is known for its spectacular float-filled parades and citywide dancing.

© Manel R. Granell
11 March

Procession of horses and carriages through the city's different streets. Blessing of the animals, handing out of gifts and of the typical "coques de Sant Antoni".

© Pep Escoda
25 March-1 April

The city celebrates the passion, death and resurrection of Christ with masses, rosaries and processions. On the afternoon of Good Friday, armed “soldiers” embark on traditional marches in preparation for the Holy Burial procession. The custom dates back to the year 1550 and has been officially declared a Festival of National Heritage Interest.

© Manel R. Granell
23 April

On this Catalan holiday dedicated to love and culture, the city brims with scarlet roses, endless books, sardana dancing and human castles. 

© Pep Escoda
25-30 April

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.

© Pep Escoda
29 April-13 May

Symposium designed to raise awareness of ancient Roman history and culture with maximum scientific rigor: conferences, workshops, re-enactments of daily life in the ancient Roman era, as well as period soldiers, gladiatorial fights, theatre, music and cuisine.

© Manel  R. Granell
1-3 June

Over the first weekend of June the city is hosting Minipop, the leading contemporary culture and music festival for the whole family. The event features three packed days of concerts, creative workshops, cinema, theatre and games in one of the most beautiful settings in Catalonia with views over the Mediterranean and the Roman amphitheatre. Put your bracelet on and come and discover the most contemporary side of Tarragona. Your entrance ticket includes visits to historic monuments, activities and special discounts for hotels and restaurants. 

© Manel R. Granell
1-3 June

Some wineries and cooperatives from the four counties that make up Tarragona’s Denomination of Origin take part in this event, providing an excellent opportunity to taste and get to know wines.

© Manel R. Granell
3 June

The scent of flatbread with cherries permeates the air, while “dancing eggs” are held aloft on the sparkling jets of fountains. The city holds a parade renowned for its religious and traditional elements, including the Magi de les Timbales (a drummer who announces the festival by horse), towering giants and dances.

22 June-1 July

The Mediterranean Games Tarragona 2018 is a multisport competition that is organised within the Olympic movement, with the recognition of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

© Manel R. Granell
23 and 24 June

This celebration of the summer solstice dates back to before the Christian era. It is a night of roaring bonfires, witches, dazzling fireworks and parties till dawn.

© Rafael López-Monné
24 June-7 October

Tarragona brings us closer to the human towers, a cultural element declared World Heritage by the UNESCO. Share the strength, the bravery, the equilibrium, the smartness of the human tower world; a unique experience, a living culture.

© 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
4-7 July

10.30 pm - Location: Platja del Miracle

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).

© Albert Rué
12-21 July

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.

© 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.

© Kim Castells & Simbòlic Comunicació

Join us on an exciting journey to Tarragona’s Roman past through historical re-enactments.

© Pep Escoda
14-19 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, bastoners (dancers hitting sticks together in rhythm) and more.

© 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.

© Manel R. Granell
11 September

Elaborate flower arrangements are laid and Catalan nationalist acts are held to commemorate historical events.

© Pep Escoda
14-24 September

The City Festival in capital letters, Santa Tecla is a burst of joy, music and colour that courses through the city for ten straight days. It blends all the traditional elements of the Seguici Popular with an endless variety of dances, human castles, spark-throwing nighttime parades, mythological beasts, mediaeval treats and “spoken dances” (verse re-enactments of the struggle between good and evil) conserved or recovered throughout Catalonia.

© Joan Capdevila Vallve
6 and 7 October

The best colles (human castle troupes) gather in Tàrraco Arena Plaça for the longest, most contested and most thrilling performances imaginable.

© Vilaniu Comunicació
11-14 October

Exhibition of traditional professions, giants and big-heads, medieval passacaglia, crafts, gastronomy...

18-21 October

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

© Manel R. Granell
1 November

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

© Alberich Fotògrafs
End of November-beginning of December

At this fair visitors can taste different olive oils from Siurana Protected Designation of Origin.

© Jaime Rojas
Beginning of December

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

© Montse Riera

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.

© 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.