Festival in Tarragona, Catalonia

Fabulous Carnival in Tarragona or Letting Hair Down

There is no need to travel to Rio or Venice to spend a great day at the carnival. Every year lovely Tarragona comes alive during the magnificent must-go annual event. Carnival in Tarragona is one of the oldest and for sure one of the most majestic in all Catalonia region.
One of the most attended carnivals in all Catalonia starts with Fat Thursday (5 February) and finishes the following Wednesday ( 12 February, Ash Wednesday).
Great news, the best way to experience the carnival is completely free!

Carnival in Tarragona

Carnival in Tarragona is a unique event, representation Catalan culture, and traditions. Yet it is more than a simple tradition. It is a vacation from routine. A way to celebrate life, let the hair down, dance, laugh, play and simply be silly for a bit. All the town re-unites to spend few cold winter days having a great fun all together.

carnival in tarragona

Narrow streets of the city are packed with costumed people. Every little girl and boy turn themselves into beautiful fantastic creatures, animals, fairies, monsters, and superheroes. Mothers, dads, grandparents, and aunts genuinely support their little ones and have unrestrained fun too. I loved every single costume, as all of it was created with love.

Just look at this sweet family of hedgehogs. Aren’t they charming?

tarragona carnival costumes

I have decided to dress up a bit and take part in this gorgeous festivity. Luckily I had my piggy-wig. A wave of music snapped me up. Everyone was dancing like they would forget how to stay still. It felt like being at a big party where every single person is welcome. Everything about carnival made me want to celebrate and be happy.

Tarragona carnival

Visiting the gem of Tarragona

As already in Tarragona I took a walk in the buzzy city center and visited majestic Basilica Metropolitan Primada. In one of my previous articles, I have shared my love to historical part of the city, mentioning one of the most stunning cathedrals I have seen – Cathedral of Tarragona. This unique jewel, dominating the skyline was built in the 11th century and has many secrets to share. Amazing cathedral, decorated with ancient frescoes, stained glass artwork and stonework combines different styles, from gothic to baroque. Walking through the corridors you can immerse in history and enjoy the beauty of chapels and ancient tombs.
However, the most beautiful part of a cathedral is hidden.

tarragona cathedral yard

You will need to pass all the corridors to find a door that leads to the magic garden. Then divine cloisters will lead you to the soft fresh grass, juicy lemon and orange trees and iridescent blue sky. Allow some time to sit and feel the atmosphere of a place.

tarragona cathedral
I have spent almost an hour sitting there, listening to some charming singing, probably a Mass rehearsal. Though the calendar clearly showed it is winter yet, the heart was celebrating spring. The scent of the garden diffused in the air bringing peace to my mind. Just before leaving I have stopped by the little fish pond. After some time I have noticed a little turtle, hiding in the stones. She was so pretty. Even so I had to say “bye” to see the rest of the city.

Exploring the streets

I was walking narrow colorful streets of Tarragona, feeling more and more in love with this city. Dreaming of living in one of these little lovely houses.

streets of tarragona

I went all across the city center to Necropolis (Ramon y Cajal Avenue) to find the best spot to watch the spectacular parade. As I came early I had a chance to see the backstage of the event. All magical creatures were gathering from different parts of a city to join the Carnival in Tarragona.


And then the magic has begun! Rua de l’Artesania parade was a riot of colors. Processions of various costumed groups danced their way down the street of Tarragona to lit up the city. Few thousands of participants of all ages, from 3 to 70 were illuminating the winter darkness and scaring the winter away.

Tarragona parade

No matter young or old, everyone was a part of an amazing show, creating a unique festive vibe.

Festival in Tarragona, Catalonia

Lights flashed everywhere showing the jaw-dropping costumes. As colorful and sparkling as the fireworks in the night sky. It was definitely a result of a hard work, love and a lot of dedication. This time the winner’s award went to a fantastic team of “Zodiacs”. Well-deserved victory.

Carnival in Tarragona finished with the burning ritual, though, elaborate parties continue all night long. My heart was beating with joy and unrestrained happiness. Tarragona citizens, thank you for such an amazing carnival!









30 responses to “Fabulous Carnival in Tarragona or Letting Hair Down”

  1. Marvi Avatar

    This is such a fun festivity to be part of! I love how everyone dresses up and take part of the activity. The parade looks a lot of fun and very colorful! I’d love to watch it too when I get the chance! 🙂

  2. Anna Avatar

    It’s on my bucket list to travel to Spain and take part in such a parade 😀 I like the costumes and it’s nice to see when all the young and elder are having fun at the same time 🙂

  3. Sherrie Fabrizi Allbritten Avatar

    This looks like so much fun! The costumes are amazing, so fun, imaginative and colorful!

  4. Courtney from Antipodean Adventurer Avatar

    Woah, this looks absolutely unreal. I can’t get over how beautiful their costumes are! Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. Umang Trivedi Avatar

    Yay! Carnivals! I absolutely love carnivals. They are colorful, vibrant and always upbeat! The pics clicked by you portray the carnival perfectly. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Jas Avatar

    I definitely wouldn’t mind getting lost in the streets of Tarragona. And how fun is that carnival! Would absolutely love to attend and your piggy wig is just perfect too! Loving the bright pink/purply hues!

  7. Nathan Avatar

    Tarragona looks amazing and vibrant with all those great colours working in harmony in the architecture all around! I’d love to check out the magnificent cathedral and join in the lively parade 🙂

  8. Followingtherivera Avatar

    I never knew there was a carnival in Tarragona! Love you photo of the purple wig, it’s really snazzy! Great photos as usual of a lovely town.

  9. umiko Avatar

    It looks so much fun. Everyone dressed up for the carnival even when they just watched it from the side of the street. I like the hedgehog family. Did the after carnival party go until the next morning?

  10. neha Avatar

    To be honest I had never heard of the carnival in Tarragona before. It looks lovely and vibrant. Particularly the parade. I would love to see it some day. Thanks for sharing! Most of the time we read about carnivals from the more famous cities like Venice only.

  11. David Avatar

    This looks like such a fun festival! The different costumes are really cool. Great that you got to join in on the experience too

  12. Bruce Schinkel Avatar

    Wow, Tarragona really looks like a great place to visit, especially if you can plan it around Carnival! Thanks so much for this overview … really great introduction to a place I was never really aware of before 🙂

  13. Adrenaline Romance Avatar

    The costumes are very colorful; it must be fun to see an entire town’s/city’s population in costume. And those cobblestone pathways—we would love to walk on them.

  14. Amelie Avatar

    As my family is coming from Germany (just next to Cologne) I grew up celebrating carnival.
    The one in Tarragona looks like a lot of fun and very colorful. ☺️

  15. Alexander Popkov Avatar

    Oh, people there know how to have fun! Wish I was there together with my camera.

  16. Emma | The Gap Life Diaries Avatar

    I had no idea that Catalonia was so big on carnival until this year when my friend in Barcelona sent me some photos, and looks like Tarragona takes it just as seriously, so must’ve been a fun time to visit! Also so cute to see that little family of hedgehogs!!

  17. Unta Avatar

    My friend lives in Tarragona, he’s crazy about carnival. I’ve heard so many fun stories about this place, maybe is time to finally visit. I like the hidden garden with lemon and orange trees.

  18. Lerato LB Avatar

    Looks like a great festival. I’d love to attend one of these one day.

  19. Stacy Avatar

    It’s amazing how many different carnival celebrations there are around the world! Love hearing about these less popular ones where you can still get involved and celebrate.

  20. Inês Miranda Avatar

    I live so close to Tarragona an I had no idea they have such a nice tradition for Carnival. Maybe I can check it out soon 🙂 Great article, congrats.

  21. Simone Avatar

    You made me discover something new, i lived in Spain and never been to Tarragona!
    Great choice to go there during carnival, it is always great to be involved in such an experience!
    Good article!s

  22. RJ Avatar

    What a fun festival, and even more so that it doesn’t require a trip to Rio! So much more fun and inviting when you can actually participate and enjoy the festivities. Tarragona seems like a beautiful and fun place to visit!

  23. Danik Avatar

    I havent been to Tarragona in years! But never did the festival. Now that does look fun to take part in.

  24. amanda obrien Avatar

    Wow I had never heard of this carnival before! I loved the outfits in the early pictures that you have – so colourful and vibrant. Looks like a great experience!

  25. Christina Avatar

    What a beautiful cathedral from the outside and even more impressive find on the inside the with the lemon tree. The outfits are really cool,and I love that every citizen embraces it even the hedgehog family haha. It is nice to not have to go to Rio or Venice for this festival.

  26. Sandy N Vyjay Avatar

    Carnival in Tarragona looks like a really colourful and vibrant event. The costumes look really dazzling and it seems as if a fairy tale has come alive.The Parade too is a kaleidoscope of colourful design and the night itself seems to erupt in dazzling brightness.

  27. Beth Avatar

    I love to see how carnival is celebrated in different parts of the world. In the city where I was living in Germany, carnival (Fasnacht) was also huge. Everyone dresses up and it’s a huge week+ celebration. Enjoyed reading your post and learning about carnival in Tarragona. Beth

  28. Marky Ramone Go Avatar

    This festival is bursting with rich colors and by the way you narrate it, it sounds like a really memorable experience to witness it. Plus i am so loving the small town vibe of Tarragona 🙂

  29. Nicola Avatar

    I had never even heard of Tarragona Carnival before but it looks fantastic. Your post has really captured the carnival vibe and it made me smile. Good for you dressing up and getting involved.

  30. Jessica Avatar

    Wow! This is so colorful- I officially have Carnival on my radar now!

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