The sun always brings out the best in people. Smiley, happy party-goers follow tradition with an inimitable join-in-the-fun attitude that prevails in Spanish social life. To cater to these revellers, time-honoured fiestas, cultural attractions and parties are on the summer agenda year after year. If you’re planning a holiday on the Costa del Sol, keep an eye on these events and activities, as they could well become highlights of your trip...
Nerja Caves Festival, image courtesy of Visit Costa del Sol
Festival of Music and Dance in the Nerja Caves
Having been discovered by some adventurous young people in 1959, the Nerja Caves with their multitude of Salas and Galerias opened to the public on 12 June 1960. The inauguration was celebrated with a special performance by ‘Le Tour de Paris’ ballet with the Malaga Symphony Orchestra in the Sala del Ballet.
Once the caves were declared an 'Historic and Artistic Monument' in 1961, the International Festival of Music and Dance became an annual event. Alumni included José Carreras, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, violinist Yehudi Menuhin and ballet dancer Julio Bocca. Capacity in the Sala del Ballet is 800, booking your tickets early is essential. End of July, www.cuevadenerja.es
Virgin del Carmen, source: Flickr/Iglesia en Valladolid
Virgen del Carmen
One of the most important Saints Days is Virgen del Carmen who has her very own day on 16 July. As Saint of the Sea, Virgen del Carmen is an important figure for the fishing villages along the coast. On this day, her effigy is lovingly carried around the streets before leading a flotilla out to sea.
In Malaga, all lovers of the open waters, including scuba divers, embrace the Virgen. In 1981, an effigy was placed on the seabed and divers pay an underwater homage to her every year. Of course, this being Spain, the memorable evening ends in fireworks.
Malaga 16 July 2015
Pedro Romero Fiesta, image courtesy of Visit Costa del Sol
Pedro Romero Fiesta
Once called The September Fair, it became the Pedro Romero Fiesta in 1954. The programme includes a performance by the Goyaesque Ladies, a Flamenco Singing Festival, the International Folklore Festival of Music and Dancing and a parade.
The Feria del Centro draws the largest crowd as locals and visitors take to the streets. The week culminates in the bullring where a traditional bullfight thrills the crowds. This grand event was named after Ronda’s famous son, the bullfighter Pedro Romero. But if bullfighting is not for you (join the growing crowd), stick around for the Carriage Contest and Ronda’s Horse Bullfighting Parade. September, Ronda
Starlite Festival, image courtesy of Starlight Festival
The Starlite Festival
A natural auditorium converted from a quarry hosts the month-long Starlite Festival. This summer sees Lenny Kravitz, Lionel Richie, a host of Spanish celebrities and a closing show by Signor Andrea Bocelli on stage. Tom Jones, Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin and Tony Bennet have been on the bill.
But Starlite is not confined to music concerts. It also hosts Hollywood cinema premieres, fashion shows, art exhibitions, international gastronomy and a charity gala hosted by Antonio Banderas. VIP boxes are available, but the overall proximity to the performers is what makes this intimate and exclusive venue so special. August, www.starlitemarbella.com
Traditional costume at Moros y Cristianos, image courtesy of Visit Costa del Sol
Moros y Cristianos
The Moors and Christians were fighting in the 15th century and the battles’ reenactment is still a sight to behold. This event has a special place in the hearts of villagers who grew up participating in this annual event. The authenticity with which it is staged will take you five centuries back in time.
The battle in question is the Mudejar Riot. The locals don realistic costumes, the Moros in colourful garb and the Cristianos in formal wear. It takes place in towns around the Costa del Sol, the most spectacular version is that in Benalauria. First Sunday in August, other weekends along the coast