Art and culture Sara  Martinez

Agenda: 500th anniversary of the first trip around the world

Five hundred years have passed since the first circumnavigation of the globe. Iberia has joined the celebration by naming one of the new A350s the Juan Sebastián Elcano, and numerous events will be held in the various places that played an important role in Magellan and Juan Sebastián Elcano’s journey.

Spain’s government and a National Commission have coordinated a programme with more than 200 different activities to be held worldwide. The Juan Sebastián Elcano ship will set the pace for the events and, over the next four years, it will retrace the same route the expedition took five centuries ago. In addition, during this period, participants in the most important national and international sailing competitions – such as the King’s Cup of Palma de Mallorca, the Prince of Asturias Trophy and the Americas Cup – will vie for the Juan Sebastián Elcano trophy.

El trofeo Juan Sebastián Elcano, exclusivo para el V Centenario de la primera vuelta al mundo
The bronze bust of Juan Sebastián Elcano is the limited edition trophy created exclusively for the commemoration

The first voyage will set sail from Cadiz on 3rd November, dropping anchor in La Palmas de Gran Canaria between the 8th and 13th of the same month, then reach America on 10th December. Consequently, from autumn, many of the events will take place across the pond.

Until then, these events will be some of the most significant:

In May, the celebrations will be part the Seville Book Fair

From 23 May to 2 June, the Seville Book Fair will be dedicated to the commemoration of the 500th Anniversary. Portugal — Magellan’s birthplace – will be this year’s guest country, and there will be a variety of literary activities dedicated to the anniversary.

June: Dorantes’ Roda del Viento in Madrid

On 14 June, this musical epic – which relives the trip around the world and focuses on what it meant for global relations and communications, marking the beginning of the process of globalisation – debuts in Madrid.

Getaria and the world of cinema join the anniversary

Getaria, the city in Gipuzkoa where Juan Sebastián Elcano was born, will be offering a wide-ranging programme of gastronomic and educational activities. There will also be a special regatta and a rally for all kinds of boats. 

On 12 July, Elcano y la primera vuelta al mundo ­­­­– an animated feature film that recounts the adventures of this expedition – will debut in Spanish cinemas. It will also be shown in different parts of the world. To date, countries such as China and Russia have reached agreements to screen it.

Discover Lo que Magallanes No Vio

On 10 August, the interpretation centre on the first circumnavigation will open in Marqués de Contadero Palace. From that date until the end of the month, Seville's Aquarium will offer a guided tour called Lo que Magallanes no vio: Un viaje por las profundidades marinas, which tells the story of this adventure in search of the Spice Islands by learning about all the ecosystems Magallanes and Elcano sailed through.

The month the expedition sets sail: September

On 12 September, the exhibition and documentary El viaje más largo debuts at Seville's Archivo de Indias. Its aim is to show this milestone to the public from a more emotional perspective, detailing the challenges of the voyage faced by the sailors five centuries ago.

At the same time, the Festival del Mar will be held in Santander from 12 to 15 September after a ten-year absence. This leisure, sport, cultural and tourist-orientated event includes participation from all kinds of boats, although the stars of the show are the big sailboats.

On 19 September, the Museo Naval de Madrid opens the Fuimos los primeros: La vuelta al mundo de Magallanes-Elcano exhibition. One of its main objectives is to disseminate Spain’s contribution to navigation and exploration.


Fly to Seville, Madrid, San Sebastián or Santander from 9,000 Avios (return flight).