Festivals and Fiestas of the Costa del Sol

Find out about the origins of, and what to expect from, each of the main annual events in Cadiz and the Costa del Sol's towns and villages...

Most local festivals (fiestas) take place in honour of a patron saint. The majority of these are held during the summer months, where a procession through the saint's town culminates in celebrations, including fireworks and dancing.

This is an introduction to the most significant fiestas in the annual Costa del Sol and Cadiz province calendar.


Fiesta de San Juan is held at midsummer, in celebration of San Juan, and dates back to an ancient celebration of the midsummer solstice. There are bonfires and fireworks all over the town, and the height of celebrations is on 23 June when large juas, or dolls, are stuffed with paper and set alight. Málaga Town Hall organises festivities along the Costa del Sol.

Málaga Carnival is an annual event, held in the week before Lent, that sees the town come alive with colour and carnival floats. There are street bands and choirs, with the main parade on Carnival Sunday being a highlight.

Malaga Feria is held every August and is Europe's second most significant fair, with a week's worth of processions, music and Flamenco shows. Temporary bars (Casetas) are set up for the event, although related celebrations tend to run for most of the month of August.


San Barnabé takes place in June to honour Marbella's patron saint, San Barnabé, with a week of music and dancing. The celebrations begin with a firework display at the Paseo Maritimo, and each evening there are Flamenco shows and outdoor dining in all the plazas of the town.

Fiesta del Virgen del Carmen is held on 16 July and is a traditional festival for the fishermen as Virgen del Carmen is the patron saint of sailors. Festivities take place all along the coast, with a highlight being the procession of fishing vessels carrying a statue of "Our Lady of Carmen" which sails to Puerto Banus and back.


Feria de San Miguel is held at the end of September with a traditional Andalucian theme. Celebrations take place in the town centre during the day and at local fairgrounds by night. The event attracts around 150,000 visitors each year.


Feria del Rosario is held in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary in the second week of October. Many equestrian displays and traditional Andalucian activities are included in the festivities. Stalls fill the local fairground.

Cádiz Province

Cádiz Carnaval

One of the biggest and most raucous carnivals in Europe, Cádiz makes the most of the days in February or March leading up to Lent. The event usually lasts for 10 days. The Carnaval de Cádiz is most famous for the witty and satirical songs performed by chirigotas, groups that make fun of current events. More serious, though equally witty, are comparsas, singers who are more technically trained.

Exaltación al Río Guadalquivir

Taking place in mid-to-late August, the Exaltación al Río Guadalquivir in Sanlúcar de Barrameda is a light-hearted celebration of the river Guadalquivir. Made up of a series of fiestas and the popular horse races on the beach at the mouth of the river, the festival lasts for several days.

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