Three of the best places to enjoy Carnival in Spain

Chirigotas de Cádiz
Credit: top10listas

Every year, crowds of people come to experience this fiesta where everything is allowed and you have only one obligation: to have fun.

Carnaval Queen
Credit: eleconomista

Jueves Lardero or Fat Tuesday, marks the beginning of carnival with a huge celebration of local dishes and the arrival of the King of the Carnestoltes and ends with the Burial of a Sardine on Ash Wednesday. You can see processions, concerts, comedians, children’s shows (puppet theatre) and fireworks, as well as plenty of spontaneous singing in the street… Dance, drink, laugh, make merry and enjoy one of Spain biggest party.


This riotous, raucous, annual ten-day celebration of music and humor is what Cadiz looks forward to all year. Dating back to the 16th century, Cadiz copied the carnival of Venice, a city with which it had much trade. And since then it has become the liveliest and most dazzling carnival town in mainland Spain, famous for its amusing and creative characters and satirical song groups. However, music is possibly the most outstanding feature at this particular marathon event with locals working hard throughout the year to develop their acts and perfect their performances. The singing competition (chirigotas, choirs, comparsas, quartets and romanceros) takes place over the three weeks before Carnival starts, with the grand final on the day before Carnival starts officially.


The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the most participatory of all those held in the Canary Islands. Rhythm, colour, flamboyance, luxury and of course the most brilliant spectacle. The Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival is the most “Brazilian” of all the Spanish carnivals, and it is famous all over the world for its popular flavour. For fifteen days, the streets of the city come alive with joie de vivre, freedom and extravagance.

In 1980, holds the distinction of being officially declared “Fiesta of International Tourist Interest”. And since 1987, is contained in The Guiness Book of Records with the largest share of the public – more than 200 thousand people – at a dance held in open place. The population santacrucera prepares its participation in the festival, as part of any of the groups or making carnival floats, costumes or any other item involving an art and craft activity to be exposed, or to the individual and collective enjoyment. A feast of deep popular roots combining some elements such as costumes, shows and parades with a mass dance, healthy and boisterous party that admires by the huge public participation and the extraordinary hospitality in healthy coexistence and shared fun.

Live Carnaval in an atmosphere of revelry that is contagious, living and enjoying the celebration recognized as one of the best carnivals in the world.

Carnaval de Tenerife
Credit: Top10listas


Carnival has to be Sitges‘ wildest party. On the most popular days you will find more than 300,000 partygoers dancing on the major streets across the town. This fabulous winter festival of parties and parades eclipses the Barcelona carnaval and is definately worth a visit. There are several parades for all ages during carnaval week in Sitges. The biggest parades are the evening parades called “Rua de la Disbauxa” -the Debauchery Parade- and the “Rua de l’Extermini” -Extermination parade-. Both feature around 50 floats and 2-3000 dancing participants.

The Sitges Gay Carnival takes place 4 days before the regular Sitges Carnival begins. Gay boys and girls from the 4 corners of the world descend on our little town and party the week away! Some of Europe’s top drag performers make their way to Sitges. The Pink night, La Noche de las Mantillas – where people wear traditional Spanish normally worn at weddings & funerals. The tourist night (great fun) and finally the Widows night (probably because you’ve murdered your boyfriend for being bold).

Like Rio, Notting Hill, Venice and other world-renowned carnivals, as soon as it’s all over (well, after a well-earned rest), the people start planning for the next one, with the famous singing groups (below) spending as much as six months preparing their performances and costumes.


Picture: eleconomista, teinteresa,