With the release of the txupinazo (rocket) on August 19th, Bilbao's annual Aste Nagusia festival is set to open with a bang.
- When? 19th - 27th August 2017
- Where? Throughout Bilbao
- Price: free
For 9 days in the middle of August each year, over 100,000 festival goers descend upon the streets of Bilbao in preparation for Aste Nagusia. The txupinazo is fired to excited crowds gathered outside the Teatro Arriaga and the festival's mascot, Marijaia, is bought onto the balcony to begin nine days of celebration.
Running annually since 1987, the festival boasts over 100 free events including concerts, parades, bullfights and a whole lot of food and drink. As the festival is largely a celebration of Basque culture, you will find traditional Basque music and 'rural' sporting competitions like wood chopping and stone carrying if you fancy putting your athleticism to the test.
A must-see at the festival are the firework displays. Every day throughout the festival once the day's main events are over, fireworks light up the night sky. Most days the festivities continue well into the night however, with some concerts starting at midnight and finishing at 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning.
The end of the celebrations are marked by the burning of Marijaia at the Teatro Arriaga square before thousands of spectators.
- Get there: Fly to Bilbao, you can be in the city centre in under 20 minutes.
- Stay: Find a hotel in Casco Viejo for great bars and restaurants.
*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!