Spain always represents a go-to for Irish tourists and that shows no signs of changing in 2017 as the Iberian country gears up to welcome another year of tourists to its wildly diverse country.

As well as the usual attractions that the country has to offer from city breaks in Madrid and Barcelona, to beach breaks on the southern or eastern coasts, Spain also has some special events lined up that you may not be aware of. We take a look at the best of those events that you may want to schedule into your calendar.

Gastrofestival
Held in the capital Madrid between 21st January and 5th February, Gastrofestival brings together all the best of Madrid’s cuisine. Organised by the Madrid City Council the festival arranges for bars, restaurants, markets, shops bookshops, museums cultural spaces and chefs to collaborate and open the city out into a gastronomic gold mine.

Across the festival there will be tastings, workshops, music and films related to gastronomy.

Madrid LGBT
The largest event in the world for the LGBT community, WorldPride 2017, will also take place in the capital Madrid. Rome, Jerusalem, London and Toronto have all hosted the event in the past and now the Spanish capital will take its turn at hosting the festivities.

The festival will centre around the hub of Madrid City Centre and will have events taking place in the squares dotted around that area between 23rd June to 2nd July.

Among the specific events that will run are the International Human Rights Conference, Pride Park (which is a cultural and exhibition space with stalls geared towards the GLBT community), and obviously the pride parade on 1 July.

The Guggenheim Bilbao 20th anniversary celebration
It’s been 20 years since the Guggenheim Bilbao opened its doors and since then it has marked itself out as a world leader in the arts scene. The year coming will be marked by events to celebrate the success of the museum. There will also be an opportunity for young Basque artists to display their work, as well as conservation project relating to the museum collection. Anyone who’s been to see Frank Gehry’s silver-spaceship-style building will also know that a trip to see it alone is worth a visit alone.

Fallas of Valencia under UNESCO
For the first year in its history the Fallas of Valencia Festival will be celebrated as part of UNESCO. It’s a traditional celebration of light and fire that will run in the city from 15th to 19th March.

The festival will incorporate firework displays, mascelatas and cardboard monuments to represent different cities.

The festival dates back to the Middle Ages and as such keeps alive the traditions of the cities past for new generations.

Like the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, on the last night the satirical creations are set on fire.
 

Volvo Ocean Race
The next edition of the world’s premier long-distance sailing event will leave from Alicante, Spain, as it has done for the last three years and will do for the next three. A race village is set-up for the big departure with events for children and adults between 14 to 22 October.

Granada, Sierra Nevada, Snowboard and Freestyle Ski World Championships
For sports fans who want things on the slopes, the Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard Championships will take place between the 7th and 19th of March in Granada.

The event gives you a chance to ski yourself while also getting to watch some of the best in the business do their thing on the slopes.