Virgen del Carmen - Barbate

The whole town of Barbate join in the Virgen del Carmen celebrations. © Michelle Chaplow

Virgen del Carmen Festival in Barbate

Barbate is well known for its maritime traditions and a strong fishing community. Not surprising, the patron saint of the town is the Virgen del Carmen. What was once a yearly tribute to the Virgen del Carmen has evolved into the annual “féria” which, of course, involves not just a day, but a whole week of drinking, dancing and general partying.

Barbate’s fair is called the “Fiesta del Carmen” and encompasses the traditional Virgen del Carmen processions which take an image of the virgin out to sea as well as all the newer féria traditions.



Every year on July 16 in Barbate one local fishing boat is chosen in a lucky draw to take the image of the Virgen del Carmen out to sea. The rest of the local fleet forms a procession with fog horns blowing full steam. The mayor and other local officials traditionally join the seafaring procession.

In addition to this floating parade there are numerous activities on the beaches with sand castle building and all kinds of games and contests. Barbate is literally overtaken by festivities with both annual fair and patron saint day in full swing.