General information about Fiestas and Holidays
The Spanish are well known for their fiestas and festivals, and Lanzarote is no exception. Religious in origin, these events can be quite enjoyable and engaging, so if you’re planning a trip to Lanzarote, make sure it overlaps with one of them – you wouldn’t want to miss the fun!
Lanzarote has both national holidays and local fiestas too - they usually celebrate a ‘community day’ or a Saint. It is common practice to celebrate a holiday the next working day should it happen to fall on a Sunday. If a holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, many people would practice hancer puente which essentially means they would take Monday or Friday off to create a four-day weekend. During this period, you will see many businesses either closed or running on short staff.
Take into account that although hospitals and emergency services do not close on bank holidays, some restaurants and bars outside tourist areas might be closed, taxis may increase their fares and banks, museums and shops will be closed.
So if you’re visiting Lanzarote soon, take a look at our list of the main and best fiestas, public holidays as well as local festivals that take part year-round.
Island wide fiestas and holidays
31st December - 1st January - New Year's Day
The Spanish like to celebrate New Year’s Eve or Nochevieja with their family and close friends. They have an interesting tradition - the countdown to 12 o’clock on New Year’s Eve is marked with eating a grape at each stroke - 12 in total, each symbolising a month of the year. They believe it will bring them good health and luck in the year to come.
5th- 6th January - Epiphany / Dia De Reyes
Probably the most important holiday of the year for most children, Epiphany (also known as the Twelfth Night or King’s Day) is when the little ones receive presents for their good behaviour. Unlike in the UK and most of Europe, it is the Three Wise Men who bring gifts and sweets, not Santa Claus. In celebration of this cheerful holiday, a vibrant camel back parade can be seen throughout the island’s main towns and villages, where the Three Wise Men offer sweets to children. Arrecife, the island’s capital, is where the best festivities take place, the parade being held on 5th January from 6PM. The parade continues in Puerto del Carmen from 9PM and then makes it way to the rest of the island.
February - Carnival
After Rio de Janeiro, Spain hosts some of the greatest carnivals in the world. Lanzarote won’t disappoint you either - you’ll witness many parades, dancing, music, colourful costumes and beautiful decorations starting off usually at the end of February and lasting about a week. The best locations for the carnival in Lanzarote are Arrecife, Puerto del Carmen, Costa Teguise and Playa Blanca.
March/April - Easter Week
The Semana Santa or Holy Week is the most important religious celebration in Spain. It is when Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Day take place - a week full of celebrations, marked with lots of eating and drinking, time off work, quality time with family, as well as sumptuous street re-enactments of The Passion of Christ such as the bearing of the cross.
30th May – Canarian Day
Dia de Canarias has been celebrated since the Canary Islands first gained independence in 1983. It is a tribute to Canarian culture, filled with fiestas all around the seven islands. You will get the chance to listen to traditional folklore music, see children wearing traditional costumes and take part in competitions too. Wine tasting and themed food are offered by restaurants and hotels as well.
June – Corpus Christi
This colourful fiesta takes place on different dates each year, but is usually celebrated in mid-June. Vibrant and extremely detailed carpets of sea-salt are created along streets and footpaths by the islanders, around San Ginés Church. Major processions follow the next day starting from the church, so these wonderful artworks can only be seen on the day.
16th July - Nuestra Señora del Carmen
Should you be visiting Lanzarote in mid-July, then you’re in luck as Nuestra Señora del Carmen is celebrated through many events and fiestas around the island, and it is truly spectacular. The portrait of Saint Carmen is marched from the church, through town and onto a vessel garlanded with colourful flowers, surrounded by a fleet of ships. Fisherman bless the sea and ask the Saint for an abundance of fish in the coming year. The most exciting parades take place in Puerto del Carmen, Teguise and Playa Blanca – which all started out as small fishing villages.
15th- 25th August – Fiesta de San Gines
A tribute to Arrecife’s patron saint, Fiesta de San Gines is celebrated annually in Lanzarote’s capital, mainly around El Charco. Legend has it that a portrait of San Gines appeared on the El Charco lake at the beginning of the 18th century and he was then declared the Patron Saint of Arrecife. The day is marked with traditional island sports, such as wrestling or sailing, a Miss Lanzarote beauty contest and a wonderful fireworks show on the main beach promenade on 25th August.
September - Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores
This entertaining fiesta is celebrated all around the island, but especially in Mancha Blanca. Dedicated to the patron saint of the island, Dolores, it also marks the point where the lava stream came to a sudden halt just outside the village in 1824. This well-attended fiesta takes the form of a pilgrimage where people dress up in traditional costumes and carry refreshments to give away. In Mancha Blanca, the fiesta revolves around the church, where the saint is paraded.
24th - 25th December – Navidad / Christmas Day
Christmas is celebrated quite differently in Spain than in the UK. It is not a big commercial holiday building up from the end of summer. It is an important holiday to be celebrated with close family. Christmas decorations around Lanzarote will only be seen from the beginning of December and Christmas trees are only put in homes one or two weeks before Christmas. They would have a traditional meal and children will have to wait until 5th January to receive their gifts.
28th December - Santos Inocentes
The literal translation being – “Innocent Saints”. The equivalent to this day in the UK would be April 1st or Aprils Fools Day! And sees people playing tricks on one another.
Municipalities individual fiestas
Besides the island’s main festivals, there are many local fiestas organised in every village on the island, many celebrating their local patron saints. For example, 3rd May marks Día de la Cruz (Day of the Cross) in Teguise and Tías, where locals put flower-crosses on the front doors of their houses. 15th May is when Romería de San Isidro is celebrated in Uga, a locality in the southern part of the island. As Uga is where camels are bred, the festival includes a colourful camel parade, accompanied by diverse folklore shows.
July brings the celebration of San Marcial del Rubicón, another patron saint of the island, in the village of Femés as well as in other parts of Lanzarote. Villagers come to worship their saint in the church holding his name.
Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios is a fiesta taking place at the beginning of September, and it involves a traditional pilgrimage to the Los Remedios church in Yaiza.
Other Special Events
The Ironman Triathlon represents one of the most important sports competition worldwide. The Lanzarote triathlon is thought to be one of the hardest, attracting around 800 international athletes and comprising of approximately 226 kilometres of swimming, running and cycling. To be more precise, in order to finish the race, athletes must complete a 3.8 kilometre swim, 180 kilometre bicycle ride and a 42 kilometre run, all in one day! This event draws many visitors as well, so there are plenty of activities to do, spread across a few days, such as fun runs, ceremonies and festivities. Forty qualifying slots are allocated for the Ironman World Championships.
The Visual Music Festival takes place in October and it represents an international social event. Fusing contemporary music with Lanzarote’s remarkable natural resources: Jameos del Agua and Cueva de los Verdes – the volcanic caves found in the northern part of the island, it creates a unique experience for its audiences. Due to its rising popularity, new locations for concerts have been found, such as Volcán del Cuervo and the Santo Domingo Convent in Teguise.
International Running Challenge has been growing in popularity over the last 20yrs and takes place during November seeing athletes from throughout Europe compete in four races in four locations on four days! The distance of each race is not set to a certain amount and most compete for the fun of the event rather than the competiveness however it is always nice to win!
The Wine Run takes place in June and it comprises of three types of races: long race (23,2 km), short race (12,9 km) or trekking (12,9 km). Anyone is able to join on a first-come, first-served notice. The Wine Run starts in the vineyard area of Lanzarote – La Geria and finishes in Uga. Runners are awarded with gifts for finishing and a major part of the profit goes to supporting social projects. Participants can also enjoy wine tasting, local cuisine and concerts at the end of the race.