Ourense Carnival 2024

Carnival is one of the best times to come and discover Ourense. Here we give you some ideas for your visit.

The municipality of Ourense is immersed in the celebration of Entroido (Carnival), one of our most important festivals. Although the most remarkable days in the city are from February 8th to 14th, there are unique events in rural areas, such as As Pitas in Eiroás and Paquita & Nicanor in Seixalbo, which begin their celebrations weeks before, with events such as Floor Sunday (when there are flour wars) or Pot Sunday (when a game of throwing pots traing not to break them is played). In Ourense the party begins on Godmothers’ Thursday (when everyone must go out dressed as a woman) and continues on Saturday, Sunday with its traditional parade, Monday, Tuesday (a local holiday) and ends on Wednesday with the Burial of the Sardine. It is almost mandatory to always go out in costume; otherwise, one risks paying for rounds in bars.

Thanks to AVE (the high speed train), which leaves Ourense just over two hours from Madrid, you can discover this celebration from the capital or from any of the other cities connected to the network, and participate in all the lively day and night activities it offers: making a costume by hand with your family or a group of friends and going out all dressed as a troupe is one of the most fun ways to experience it.

We must not forget that the Entroido in Ourense is also about gastronomy, with its typical menu of this season, which highlights the Galician stew (with all types of pork) or the androllas, and for dessert the sweet ears.

Until the Burial of the Sardine, with a funeral procession of mourners who bid farewell to this fish, announces the arrival of Lent, in Ourense you will be able to discover how it is a perfect fusion of the urban carnival with the more traditional rural one; you will be able to see the parade of the Pitas, our local mask; or you will be able to learn about the particular tradition of the Frei Canedo brotherhood in the district of A Ponte.

Ourense is, in short, the capital of the Entroido in a province of unique carnivals, and these are some  of the best dates of the year to come and see it.

Ourense is the Capital of Thermalism but also the Capital of Carnival. Because in the same way that this valley brings together hot springs and open-air thermal baths, that same freedom is breathed in this festival that begins the triad of the Ourense holiday cycle (EntroidoMaiosMagostos): the first festival ends the retreat of winter and gives “entry” (which is what “entroido” means) to a new season; the second one means the arrival of spring and the last one that closes the annual cycle again.

In one day

The arrival of high-speed trains to our city highlights places for those who want to enjoy different experiences in the same day. On Carnival Sunday (a big day in the city), you can take a train at 10 a.m. from Madrid (let’s take this place as a reference) and arrive to Ourense in just two hours. In a short walk you can enjoy the panoramic view of the river (from the Roman Bridge), visit the historic centre (you can’t miss the iconic Burgas sources or the treasures of the Ourense Cathedral). Then, you may head without pause to a good restaurant and slowly taste a traditional Galician stew (a hearty and sumptuous dish, a perfect symphony for this farewell to the time of meat) and complete it with a dessert of the time such as pancakes or sweet ears.

After a well-deserved rest, go to the downtown area to see the great parade at 5 p.m., in which troupes from all the carnivals, associations, groups and individuals who wish to ejoy this time of fun and celebration participate. Finally, calmly return to the station where another train, at 8:47 p.m., will allow you to return to Madrid.

In two days

However, we propose you to extend your stay for one more day. This will allow you to enjoy not only the parade, but also the nightlife. The dining area, as it is usually called, becomes the centre of this festival where the wide gastronomic and leisure offer is concentrated with the costumes typical of this time that make this urban carnival famous. The Main Square and many more streets become a walkway of the imagination. If Saturday is used to get to know the city and its carnival, Sunday morning would be perfect to relax in one of the thermal baths, for example in Outariz, and recover your body before ending the visit with the great parade.

To discover Carnival in depth

Finally, the ideal proposal is to extend your stay until at least until Tuesday. Those who like the “tragic feeling” should stay until Ash Wednesday with the “Burial of the Sardine”, in which one can join in rigorous black to “mourn” for the end of the festival in a traditional and historic procession behind a giant sardine.

By extending your visit, you will be able to better understand the entire local festive cycle and explore not only the urban carnival but also the more rural traditional carnivals that are preserved within the municipality, which maitain original masks (such as the Festa da Pita in Eiroás) or unite to an entire hamlet around two figures (like Paquita and Nicanor in Seixalbo). Also, from the city of Ourense you can visit any of the many traditional carnivals of the province.

Be that as it may, we invite you to get to know our festival, and with it the city, its monuments, its hot springs and its gastronomy, with the unbeatable proximity of high speed.

Carnival 2024: Programme of Activities

You can check the city of Ourense‘s Carnival Programme on this link.

You can also download the programme for all the carnivals in the province of Ourense on this link. (pdf 7Mb)