10 of the best: carnivals and festivals - 8. Cante de las Minas, Murcia, Spain
The event: The village of La Union, in Murcia, is the setting for the world’s most important annual flamenco festival, which translates as the Song of the Mines Festival. www.fundacioncantedelasminas.org (Spanish only)
When: August 6-15, 2012
What happens: Song, dance and guitar playing are the three disciplines in an event packed with authentic flamenco. La Union’s Public Market is the site for this major festival, which represents the flamenco history of the mining tradition in this area and includes prestigious competitions. Gala performances feature top stars and during the festival, parallel activities include exhibitions, wine tastings, flamenco soirées, and courses in guitar playing, dance and percussion. Admission to all the festival’s parallel activities is free.
Do it: Murcia-based travel company Olympia Mar has a two-night stay in a four-star hotel in La Manga del Mar Menor for 385 euros, including transfers to and from La Union and entry on two nights to festival events. Airport transfers to Murcia and Alicante airports are optional extras, as is an excursion to historic Cartagena.