Things To Do In Spain This Summer
Things To Do In Spain This Summer
The time is here to begin pre-planning for our 2019 Euro trips. Given that Europe barely has any boring zones, and the depth of culture, hedonism and good times stuffed into each and every corner of the continent, planning for a Europe trip can be overwhelming due to the sheer volume of things you can – and want – to do. Well, we’re going to make it a little easier by insisting that you include España in your plans, because who doesn’t love long afternoons soaked in sangria, tapas, and that consistently warm, southern European weather? Also, there are so many things to do in Spain this summer that you could probably just do your entire Euro trip there.
Food and drink tourism in Spain
While France is fancy and Italy fresh as fudge, there’s something about the Spanish way of sharing plates, drinking too much, and spending an extra hour at the table just to do shots and talk rubbish that we can’t help but adore.
Pintxos in San Sebastian
The Basque seaside resort is a world leader in gastronomy, and nowhere is this better evidenced, or accessed, than in the city’s old town. Every second shopfront seems to be a bar, and every bar top is laden with pintxos, the Basque tapas so named because of the skewer that impales them. Basque pintxos are more interesting than in the rest of Spain, with ingredients fresh from the farm and sea, mixed in ways you never thought possible.
Pro tip: only eat the treats on the bar tops if you’re in a rush. The real local way is to order food from the menu, usually handwritten behind the bar, and have it prepared fresh then and there. And always share everything!
Wine tasting in Catalunya
Yeah, you know about Barcelona, and you know that it’s absolutely wonderful, but did you know that the Mediterranean hot spot bumps into some of the world’s best wine regions? From the cava fields in the north, the white wine fields of Penedes, or Priorat, an area that could be the best for red wine IN THE WHOLE WORLD (in our humble, well practiced, opinion). Or if you can’t get to Priorat you can always go to the adjoining wine regions of Montsant, or Terra Alta, or Emporda up on the Costa Brava, or Alella that is right next to Barcelona itself… you get the idea – there’s a lot of wine to be tasted, swilled and used to get you on the dancefloor in and around Barcelona.
Pro tip: you can visit the vineyards for organised tastings, which is nice, or you can simply find a bodega in the villages near the vineyards and try wines from all of them…
Surfing in Spain
The sport of kings, if kings spend their days baking on beaches attached to hand-rolled wacky-tabaccy cigarettes… can you think of a better way to spend your summer holidays than to catch some curlers and then retreat to the beachside bar for an after-shred snack and cerveza? Us neither.
Ok, so something keeps on bringing us back here, but look, the city has the best food in the world, and it has ok waves, too. Like, good enough, for beginners and for shred lords, but if you’ve got wheels you can always scope neighbouring Zarautz, where the long beach will offer more opportunity with less crowds, or Mundaka, which is a world-class rivermouth left that breaks rarely, but when it does, wowee. All along the Basque Coast you’ll find beaches, bays, reefs and points that are open to Atlantic swells.
Pro tip: surf early, because the locals are lazy – and that way you’re free for other activities later in the day.
The Canary Islands
Not really a summer destinations, but these Spanish islands, off the coast of Morocco, are sometimes known as the Hawaii of the Atlantic, for the way big ocean swells smash into volcanic reef. The islands are all beautiful, in their own, inhospitable, martian way, and in the space of circumnavigating them you’ll be sure to find all kinds of hot setups to shred.
Pro tip: watch out for the boogieboarders, they nasty.
Music festivals in Spain
Come summertime and all the hot bands, DJs, singers and assorted music makers are crawling over themselves to get to Spain for the festival circuit. While you’re here, why not catch some of your faves?
On the beach, in Barcelona, for three main days (and another three lesser, but still sick days), featuring a diverse bunch of the best musicians across genres and from around the world. This is Spain’s Glastonbury, its Coachella, it’s Splendour in the Grass, with the beautiful bonus of being so central in Barcelona that you can sleep in a real bed once your done with raging for the day and not in some mud infested half-constructed tent.
Not far from San Sebastian and Pamplona, Bilbao is the Basque Country’s industrious heart, and by far the region’s biggest city. Bilbao BBK Live is regularly voted the world’s best mid-sized festival and attracts a cooler lineup of musicians than the much larger, and sometimes more commercial, Primavera Sounds. Plus, you can combine this festival with a surf trip, the Running of the Bulls, or both…
The little festival that could, Stoked in the Park is located just outside the fun times of the Running of the Bulls and exists to attract tourists who aren’t so interested in bull running back to Pamplona for the famous festival. Lesser known, but no lesser fun, acts from around the world, and always with a sneaky headliner, Stoked in the Park combines pool parties with concerts, a regular shuttle into Pamplona for the all-day-and-night street parties, and an open and unlimited beer and sangria bar.
Traditional Spanish fiestas
Don’t worry about the term “traditional”, these street parties are as wild as they come.
Don’t let the bull run turn you off, it’s just five minutes of the day, and not really something that the locals are overly interested in. The real fun at San Fermin is the sangria-soaked street party, the bars that spill into the streets, the free concerts around every corner and in every plaza no matter the time of day. The Running of the Bulls is Spain’s biggest traditional party, and one that is moving further away from the bull run every year. If you want to run, fine! Come and try your luck, but for everybody else the all-day-and-night street party is where it’s at. We like to party all night until the bull run is about to start and then go home, sleep for the five minutes of the run, and then get back into the streets again for the next round.
What’s better than hurling a tomato at a stranger’s face in the world’s biggest food fight? Using the opportunity to check out Spain’s third city, Valencia, and trying the region’s typical paella.
Aka the wine fight, San Vino is a smaller festival that sees crowds gather on a hill above the vineyards of La Rioja and soak each other and everybody in the region’s red wine. This is a must-visit fiesta for wine lovers, intrepid travellers and anybody who loves a good party.
The Best Spanish Beaches For Partying
If you want to experience most of these, learn Spanish, and become a better travel writer with mentoring from young industry professionals, check out the Global Hobo writing course in Spain this summer.