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Valladolid, the previous capital of Spain until 1561 and again from 1601-1606, is undoubtedly a historically rich province.

This spanish city was the residence of the Kings of Castile, Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, where Christopher Columbus died, home to Miguel Cervantes while he finished his masterpiece, Don Quijote, and also the city of Jose Zorrilla, the famous Romantic writer.

Surrounded by the Douro river, the zone is famous for its vino tinto (red wine), making it a popular location for wine tasting.

Like most of Spain, Valladolid is also known for their festivals. Though Valladolid has many festivities throughout the year, September 8th is the official date of the Virgin of San Lorenzo and this means that from the 1st – 9th of September Valladolid will be full of food and fun for nine days.

We’ve picked out a few of our favourites for this years festival, but of course there are many more activities which you can consult in the downloadable festival program here.

How to get there? Airport of Valladolid (VLL) or you can catch Train/Bus from Madrid if you fly into Madrid Barajas (MAD)

Keep reading to see our top picks for concerts, parades, food, folklore, tours, fireworks, children’s activities, and fun.

Concerts

image by ciudadarcoiris

A festival isn’t a festival if it isn’t chock-full of musical acts. Valladolid has made sure to fill each day with tunes for every musical taste. These are the concerts we won’t be missing.

Andy & Lucas – Saturday September 1st – 11pm

Peret – Sunday September 2nd – 11pm

Antonio Orozco – Wednesday September 5th – 11pm

Manuel Carrasco – Thursday September 6th – 11pm

Dance Party with Dani Moreno + various DJs – Saturday September 8th – 10pm

Location: Plaza Mayor

Falete – Monday September 3rd in  Plaza Marcos Fernandez – 10:30pm

Location: Parquesol neighborhood

Parades

image by Iglesia en Valladolid on flickr

Spain is world renown for its religious processions, so of course this Festival can’t be missing that key part. However, there’s a wide variety of other parades that are not all to do with the Virgin of San Lorenzo.

Harley Davidson Brigade – Sunday September 2nd – 1pm

Location: Plaza Mayor (start) to Plaza de la Universidad (finish)

Religious Procession, Our Lady of San Lorenzo – Saturday September 8th – 11am

Location: Church of San Lorenzo (start) to Cathedral of Valladolid (finish)

Luxury Motor Day – Saturday September 1 – 10am-4pm and 5-6:45pm

Location: Paseo de las Moreras (start)

Food

image by elnortedecastilla

Though Valladolid is inland, it’s cuisine is mainly based off of fish and seafood brought in from the Cantabrian Sea. However, if you ask any one from Valladolid they’ll tell you the speciality dish has nothing to do with the sea, as it is lechazo (suckling baby lamb). During the festival there are hundreds of opportunities to try local cuisine, whether it be at the food stalls placed around the cities streets and plazas or at the numerous food fairs. Here’s a few of our tastiest picks.
Food & Drink Stalls – Saturday September 1st, 8th and Friday, September 7th from 12 noon to 1am. Sunday September 2nd, 9th and Thursday September 6th from 12 noon to 12:30am.

*Insider Tip: Try the Ribera del Duero wine, spicy potatoes (patatas bravas), bite-sized snacks (pinchos) of various types including chorizo, pork, and deer

Location: Throughout Valladolid’s city center

Folklore and Gastronomy Fair – Saturday September 1-9 – 1:30-8:30pm

*Every day features different autonomous communities around Spain:

Saturday 1 – Galicia, Avila & Canary Islands

Sunday 2 – Castile and León & Valladolid

Monday 3 – La Rioja & Segovia

Tuesday 4 – Melilla & Salamanca

Wednesday 5 – Aragón & Soria

Thursday 6 – Cantabria & Burgos

Friday 7 – Extremadura & León

Saturday 8 – Navarra, Catalonia & Andalusia

Sunday 9 – Castile-La Mancha & Zamora

Location: In the parking lot next to the Jose Zorilla football stadium

Taste Test Desserts from Pastry Shops Across Valladolid – Tueday September 4th –  7pm

Location: in the main walkway of Campo Grande park

Folklore

image by espormadrid

Valladolid is rich in culture and there are many opportunities to experience the traditions of Castile first hand during the Festival.

Traditional Castillian Dances – September 1, 7, 8, 9 – consult schedule below

Saturday 1 – 8:45pm

Friday 7 – 6:45pm

Saturday 8 – 6:45pm

Sunday 9 – 6:45pm

Location: Plaza Mayor (start) to Plaza de Colon (finish)
Tours

image by abc.es

Sometimes it’s nice to drop the guidebook and let someone else take over. In Valladolid there are many guided tours available, both for those who like to get around on wheels and those that prefer a bit more exercise.

Hop on, Hop Off Touristic Bus – Saturday September 1 and 8, Sunday September 2 and 9 at 12pm, 1pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm. Friday September 7 at 5pm, 6pm, 7pm – 5 euros adults, 3 euros children.

Location: Numerous stops across Valladolid, consult below

The Palace Route (Ruta de los Palacios) – August 31, September 7, 14, 21, 28 at 12pm leaving from the Plaza de San Pablo

**Throughout history Valladolid has been home to royalty, on this tour you will see the city’s many palaces

Price: 3 euros adults, 2 euros seniors (65+) and children (14u)

Duration: approximately 1h 1/2 to 2 hours

Location: Plaza de San Pablo (meeting point)

Rivers of Light Route (Ruta Rios de Luz) – August 31, September 7, 14, 21, 28 at 10pm leaving from the Tourism Center

**See Valladolid’s most famous historical monuments by night

Price: 3 euros adults, 2 euros seniors (65+) and children (14u)

Duration: approximately 1h 1/2 to 2 hours

Location: Tourism Center (meeting point)

Fireworks

image by Julio Codesal (juyma) on flickr

What could be better than 5 straight nights of amazing fireworks shows? In Valladolid they do just that, and make a contest out of it! The winning group wins some cash and you get to see Spain’s most spectacular pyrotechnics. We call that a win-win situation.

Pyrotechnics Shows – Monday September 3-Friday September 7 at 10:15pm.

Watch from: the Parquesol neighborhood (right next to the Jose Zorilla football stadium)
Children’s Activities

image by Emilio del Prado on flickr

The youngest crowd won’t miss out on the fun during the festivities. Funfairs will be set up in plazas around the city. The most popular attraction is the Tio Tragaldabas slide.

Funfairs Schedule: 12-2pm and 5:30-9pm.

Locations: Paseo de las Moreras, Plaza Cantarranas, Plaza del Milenio

Fun

image by elmundo.net

Still looking for more to do? Here’s an eclectic mix of some cool events going on that you won’t want to miss.

Guinness Record 2012 – Sunday September 2 – 9:15pm

**Every year there’s a new record to break, last year was the most people fanning themselves at once, this year the goal is to get the most amount of people keeping beach balls up in the air

Location: Campo Grande park

Graffiti Contest – Monday September 3 & Tuesday September 4

Location: Alameda Park

Gigantes y Cabezudos – Saturday September 1-9 – 6:30pm

*”Giants and Big-Heads” is a popular tradition across Spain where larger than life figures are paraded through the town. The figures represent both historical and pop-culture icons

Location: various plazas across Valladolid

Did we miss something? We’d love to hear your comments and top picks for events at the Festival of the Virgin of San Lorenzo.

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