A messy running festival between two rival Spanish villages, based on an incredible legend is now a whole series of running events that marks the occasion every year. Enjoy a cultural road running race like no other, running in a hot evening race, encompassed by local villagers.
By latest estimates up to 20,000 people take part in the event, running through the streets and covering each other in black olive oil in Baza and coloured paste in Guadix, Spain. It’s now been declared an event of great tourism interest, and the villagers are inviting the wanderlust to join in with them.
There are a whole series of events to mark this important festival including cultural presentations and even a children’s run. The main highlights for the visitor are the two runs. There are two main running events in the festival, the first one in Baza, on 6th September, and the second part in Guadix on 9th September.
The first traditionally takes place in Baza, where ten thousand villagers go up onto a nearby hill to cover themselves with black oil. When the Cascamorras (chosen villager) makes his run down the hill and through the streets of Baza, they are well prepared to ‘dirty’ the Cascamorras (by simply rubbing against him) and the first to do so is honoured.
The second is held in Guadix, when thousands of villagers head up to the field near the railway station armed with coloured paint in plastic bottles. They proceed to cover themselves in paint, and each other, and any onlooker is likely to be covered as well.
A rocket marks the start of the Cascomorras run. The local fire brigade helps cool the supporters with a water hose. Along the route the villagers hurl buckets of water from balconies and when they pass through the town hall square they are sprayed with foam. They then move on to the church and the evening run finishes at 9pm. For those who wish to take part the common attire is a white T-shirt and black shorts, but anything goes and all ages take part. The uphill run is reasonably strenuous, specially if trying to head out the front of the crowd.
To watch the madness unfold a good place is Plaza Constitution near the Town Hall, where you can sit in a café and await the tumultuous arrival. The roads in the area are closed to traffic several hours before, but you can arrive on foot to Plaza Constitution.
‘From being painted in black olive oil to bright colours, being pelted by water and exhilarated by the crowds, there’s nothing that can compare to the cultural immersion of the Cascamorras running event.’
The Altiplano region of Baza is one of the unspoiled jewels of Andalusia. Situated in the north of the Granada Province, is the town of Baza, which is the capital. This historic city is next to the Baza Mountains Nature Reserve. Baza also has important archaeological and historical sites, such as the remains of the Iberian-Roman city of Basti, the town’s two necropolis and its Moorish baths.
Bus and coach travel in Andalusia is a comfortable and affordable way to see beautiful countryside. The closest airports to Baza is Costa del Sol and Madrid Airports, with coach and train connections possible to Baza.
Guadix is the nearest train station, at 48 kilometres away. There are various bus companies, offering many travel options to Baza from many main towns. In particular, there are regular bus services between Granada and Baza.
Car and 4WD hire and ridesharing options are available.
Hostal Venta Del Sol is situated on a main road lined with shops and eateries, it’s rooms feature free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and minifridges, while some have bath tubs. Some of the apartments have kitchenettes and separate living rooms. Parking is complimentary. There’s also a comfortable restaurant, a bar and a furnished terrace.
Balneario de Zújar is a rural hotel come villa with mountain views. There’s a spa featuring indoor pools with thermal water, as well as amenities that include a café, bar, a library, and an outdoor pool flanked by sun loungers. Rooms come with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Upgraded rooms offer scenic views. Suites have sitting areas and balconies, while upgraded suites have in-room whirlpool tubs.
There are many hotels, hostels, guesthouses and Airbnb’s available in Baza. Find the latest deals on the map below.
El Museo Municipal de Baza is a museum open to the public that has some incredible exhibits of archaeological interest. There are four sections in the museum dedicated to permanent exhibits covering the Iberia, Medieval, Roman and Prehistoric eras.
Balneario de Zujar is a spa and hotel that provides an outdoor heated swimming pool with views of the lake. Multi pools on offer, as well as aqua aerobics, sauna and steam room. Facilities are clean and well cared for with friendly, welcoming staff.
The dates for the Festival are 6-9 September 2019.
Rad Season is providing you with hotels and Airbnbs at the lowest prices available online. Book your stay for Cascamorras Festival 2019 using the map below!
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