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What are the 3 best cities in Spain where carnival is celebrated?

Discover the Best Cities in Spain to Celebrate Carnival

Spain is renowned for its colorful and vibrant carnival celebrations, where locals and visitors alike come together to dance, sing, and let their hair down. From the lively street parties to the grand parades, each city boasts its own unique traditions and cultural experiences that make it an ideal destination for carnival-goers. In this article, we will explore the top three cities in Spain to celebrate carnival and discover what makes these events so special.

The Vibrant Carnival of Cadiz

Carnival of Cadiz

Cadiz is known for having one of the most vibrant and colorful carnivals in Spain. The city comes alive with music, dancing, and parades for 11 days straight. One of the most unique traditions in Cadiz is the chirigotas, which are musical groups that perform satirical songs and skits about current events and politics. The costumes in Cadiz are also a sight to behold, with many locals spending months creating intricate and elaborate outfits.

The Extravagant Carnival of Tenerife

Tenerife is home to one of the biggest and most extravagant carnivals in the world. The festivities last for two weeks and attract over a million visitors each year. The highlight of the carnival is the Gala de la Reina, a beauty pageant where contestants wear elaborate costumes and headdresses that can weigh up to 150 pounds. The streets of Tenerife are also filled with music, dancing, and parades, making it a truly unforgettable experience.

The Inclusive Carnival of Sitges

Carnival of Sitges

Sitges is known for its inclusive and welcoming atmosphere during carnival season. The city has a large LGBTQ+ community, and the carnival is a celebration of diversity and acceptance. The highlight of the carnival is the Rua de la Disbauxa, a parade that features colorful floats and extravagant costumes. The streets of Sitges are also filled with street performers, live music, and delicious food, making it a carnival experience unlike any other.

Overall, carnival in Spain is a celebration of history, tradition, and community. Whether you prefer the vibrant streets of Cadiz, the extravagant costumes of Tenerife, or the inclusive atmosphere of Sitges, there is something for everyone to enjoy during this festive time of year. Learn more about each city and their events in more detail below.


Cadiz is a city located in the southwestern part of Spain, in the Andalusia region. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe, with a history that dates back over 3,000 years. The city is situated on a narrow strip of land that is almost completely surrounded by water, giving it a unique and picturesque location.


Cadiz is known as the birthplace of carnival in Spain and is one of the most popular destinations to celebrate the festival. The city’s carnival dates back over 400 years and is steeped in tradition. The carnival is celebrated in the weeks leading up to Lent, with the exact dates changing each year.

The Vibrant Street Parties of Cadiz

One of the defining features of carnival in Cadiz is the lively street parties that take place throughout the city. Locals and visitors alike come together to dance, sing, and celebrate in colorful costumes. The atmosphere is electric, and the music is infectious.

Street Parties of Cadiz

During the carnival, the streets of Cadiz are filled with people of all ages, dressed up in costumes and masks. The most popular costumes are those that mock politicians and public figures, with many people using the carnival as an opportunity to express their views on current events.

Must-See Events and Parades

Carnival in Cadiz is filled with events and parades that are not to be missed. The most iconic of these is the Gran Cabalgata, a grand parade that takes place on the final Sunday of the festival. The parade features elaborate floats, dancers and musicians, and attracts crowds of over 100,000 people.

Another popular event is the Concurso Oficial de Agrupaciones Carnavalescas, a competition between local groups that perform satirical songs and sketches. The competition takes place in the Gran Teatro Falla, one of the most important cultural venues in the city.

Tips for Enjoying Carnival in Cadiz

If you’re planning on attending carnival in Cadiz, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, be prepared to party! The festival lasts for over two weeks and can be quite intense. It’s also a good idea to book your accommodations well in advance, as rooms fill up quickly during carnival season.

Make sure to bring comfortable shoes, as you’ll be doing a lot of walking and dancing. And don’t forget to try the local cuisine, which includes fresh seafood and traditional dishes like tortillitas de camarones (shrimp fritters) and churros con chocolate (churros with hot chocolate).

In addition to the carnival festivities, Cadiz is a beautiful city with a rich history and culture. Take some time to explore its narrow streets, historic buildings and stunning beaches. You won’t be disappointed!


Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and is home to one of the most colorful and vibrant carnivals in Spain. The carnival in Tenerife is known for its elaborate costumes and flamboyant displays. The festival takes place every year in February and lasts for two weeks, attracting visitors from all over the world.


The Colorful Costumes and Floats of Tenerife

The costumes and floats in Tenerife are truly a sight to behold. Every year, thousands of people take to the streets dressed in colorful outfits and masks, all vying for the title of carnival queen or king. The costumes are often inspired by traditional Spanish dress but are given a modern twist with bright colors and bold patterns. The floats are equally impressive, featuring intricate designs and stunning visuals. Some of the floats are several stories high and are adorned with feathers, sequins, and glitter. The parade is a feast for the senses, with music, dancing, and cheering crowds filling the air.

The Famous Drag Queen Gala

One of the highlights of carnival in Tenerife is the Drag Queen Gala, a fierce competition that pits the best drag queens from around the world against each other. The event is a celebration of diversity and acceptance and attracts huge crowds every year. The contestants spend months preparing for the competition, creating elaborate costumes and perfecting their dance routines. The gala is a riot of color and energy, with the audience cheering on their favorite performers.

Exploring the Island Beyond Carnival

While the carnival in Tenerife is undoubtedly the main attraction, the island has much more to offer. From its stunning beaches to its rugged mountain landscapes, there is no shortage of things to see and do. The island is home to several national parks, including Teide National Park, which is dominated by the towering Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain. Visitors can take a cable car to the summit for breathtaking views of the island. The coastline is dotted with picturesque fishing villages, and there are plenty of opportunities to try fresh seafood and local wine. For those looking for adventure, Tenerife is a popular destination for hiking, cycling, and water sports.

Overall, Tenerife is a destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away at the carnival or explore the island’s natural beauty, Tenerife is a place that will leave you with unforgettable memories.



Sitges is a charming coastal town located just a short train ride from Barcelona. The town is situated on the Mediterranean coast and boasts beautiful beaches, stunning architecture, and a rich cultural heritage. It is known for its welcoming LGBTQ+ community and its spectacular carnival celebrations.

The LGBTQ+ Friendly Atmosphere of Sitges Carnival

The carnival in Sitges is famous for its open and accepting atmosphere. The town has a large LGBTQ+ community, and the festival reflects this diversity. Many of the events and activities are centered around the LGBTQ+ experience, making it a truly unique carnival destination.

Sitges carnival

The carnival is a time for celebration, and the LGBTQ+ community in Sitges takes this to heart. The streets are filled with colorful costumes, music, and dancing. The parade is a highlight of the festival, with floats and performers from all over the world. The LGBTQ+ community is embraced and celebrated during this time, making Sitges a destination for those seeking a welcoming and inclusive environment.

The Exciting Nightlife and Beach Parties

Sitges is known for its vibrant nightlife, and carnival season is no exception. From beach parties to club nights, there is always something going on. The town is home to some of the best restaurants and bars in the region, making it the perfect place to unwind after a day of carnival festivities.

Sitges parties

The beach parties in Sitges are legendary. The town has several beaches, each with its own unique vibe. During carnival season, the beaches are transformed into party zones, with DJs, live music, and plenty of drinks. The atmosphere is electric, and the party goes on until the early hours of the morning.

Cultural Events and Performances

Despite its reputation for partying, Sitges also has a rich cultural heritage. The town is home to several museums and galleries and hosts a variety of cultural events and performances during the carnival season. Be sure to take some time to explore the town’s artistic side.

The Sitges Film Festival is one of the most prestigious film festivals in Europe. It takes place in October and showcases the latest in international cinema. The festival attracts filmmakers, actors, and film enthusiasts from around the world.

The Sitges Film Festival

The town also hosts a variety of music and theater performances during the carnival season. From classical concerts to avant-garde theater, there is something for everyone. The streets come alive with performers, and the town’s squares and plazas become stages for impromptu performances.

Overall, Sitges is a town that has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a party, a cultural experience, or a relaxing beach vacation, Sitges has it all. Its welcoming LGBTQ+ community, vibrant nightlife, and rich cultural heritage make it a must-visit destination in Spain.

Tips for Planning Your Spanish Carnival Adventure

If you’re planning to attend carnival in Spain, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, be prepared for crowds. The festivals attract thousands of visitors every year, so be prepared for long lines and lots of people. It’s also important to book your accommodations early, as rooms can fill up quickly during the carnival season. Finally, be sure to stay safe and healthy during the festivities. Drink plenty of water, wear comfortable shoes and be always aware of your surroundings.

Best Time to Book Accommodations

As mentioned earlier, it’s important to book your accommodations well in advance if you’re planning on attending carnival in Spain. The festival season typically begins in late February or early March, so aim to book your accommodations at least six months in advance to ensure availability.

When booking your accommodations, consider staying in a hotel or hostel near the carnival festivities. This will allow you to easily access the celebrations and avoid long commutes. Additionally, consider booking a room with a balcony or terrace, as this will give you a great view of the parades and festivities.

Navigating Transportation Options

Depending on where you’re traveling from and which city you’re visiting, transportation can be a bit of a challenge during carnival season. It’s important to plan ahead and book your transportation early to ensure you can get around easily.

If you’re traveling from another country, consider flying into one of Spain’s major airports, such as Madrid or Barcelona. From there, you can take a train or bus to your destination city. If you’re staying in a smaller town, consider renting a car so you can easily get around.

Exploring the Carnival Festivities

While the parades and costumes are the main attractions of carnival, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy during the festivities. Many towns and cities host street parties, live music performances, and food and drink vendors. Be sure to explore the local markets and try traditional carnival foods like churros and tortilla Española.

Additionally, consider attending some of the carnival events that take place in the days leading up to the main parade. These events often include music and dance performances, as well as costume contests and other activities.

Staying Safe and Healthy During Carnival

Carnival can be a wild and intense experience, but it’s important to stay safe and healthy throughout the festivities. Drink plenty of water, wear comfortable shoes and be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a break and relax for a bit. Remember, carnival is a celebration of joy and community, so be sure to take care of yourself and those around you.

It’s also important to be mindful of your alcohol consumption during carnival. While it can be tempting to indulge in the festive atmosphere, drinking too much can lead to dehydration and other health problems. Pace yourself and be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Finally, be sure to bring sunscreen and wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun. The carnival festivities can last all day, and it’s easy to get sunburned if you’re not careful.


Carnival is a time for celebration, joy, and community, and Spain is one of the best places to experience it. Whether you’re looking for vibrant street parties in Cadiz, flamboyant floats in Tenerife, or a welcoming LGBTQ+ atmosphere in Sitges, there is something for everyone. By following these tips and staying safe and healthy, you’re sure to have an unforgettable carnival experience in Spain!

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Hi, I'm Pablo, an internet marketer who enjoys travelling around the Costa Blanca, Spain. I have been fortunate enough to have met some amazing people on my travels and have been embracing the Spanish way of life since 2018.

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1 year ago

Sitges and Cadiz look absolutely beautiful, defo somewhere I would like to visit!

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