For a beach party with a difference, head to Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife next June for the Midsummers Day celebrations.
- When? 23rd - 24th June 2017
- Where? Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife
- Price: Free
What do you expect when you book a holiday to Tenerife? Sun, sea and screaming goats? If you’re on the island in June, you might just be (un) lucky enough to experience the latter. On the 23rd and 24th of June locals celebrate the Fiesta de San Juan in Puerto de la Cruz with fireworks, a beach party and yes, the bathing of goats.
The festival dates back to the days of the Guanche people, Tenerife’s native residents, who were believed to be of African origin. They settled on the island in the 5th century living there until the Spaniards invaded the land in the 15th century. Their traditions have been upheld through the Fiesta de San Juan, which centres around lighting bonfires and setting off fireworks, as the Guanche tribes believed that fire gave energy to the sun.
The fiesta begins on the 23rd of June, Midsummers Eve, and sees locals gather at the Playa Jardin beach with picnics of food and wine. Bonfires are lit along the beach and children dig holes in the sand to plant pink bougainvillea and luminescent yellow hibiscus flowers, which are then accompanied by candles as the evening draws in and darkness descends. Hundreds pitch up along the beach so avoid this area if you don’t like big crowds. If you want to join one of the islands biggest beach parties however, then grab a bottle of wine and join in the celebrations with the locals. At midnight, everyone strips down to their swimming costumes and goes for a dip in the ocean to mark the advent of Midsummers Day. The Guanche people believed the sea to have rejuvenating powers that could banish bad spirits and heal ailments. In addition, people who washed themselves using the flower petals from those planted by the children, were believed to find their soul mates shortly after.
You can enjoy fireworks and music from traditional Canarian bands with the party carrying on into the early hours. On the day of San Juan, the 24th of June, the El baño de las cabras (the bathing of the goats) sees farmers drag their goats into the cleansing water to be washed, followed by other animals such as horses. Expect to hear yelps and squeals from the resistant animals, whose incessant owners will not stop until they have all been cleaned.
You might get a little more than sun, sea and sangria at this annual festival but if you want a true taste of life on the island of Tenerife you better start washing that goat.
- Get there: Fly into Tenerife Norte Airport and take the train to Puerto de la Cruz in just over half an hour.
- Stay: Book accommodation near the Playa Jardin to be in the thick of the action.
*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!