Do you remember those old movies that featured drive-in cinemas? The first image that comes to mind is probably from the movie Grease. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, sitting in the Cadillac, waiting for the movie to start at the cinema in a small American town. Well, drive-ins have come back with a bang—and they’re here to stay. While it’s a wholly American tradition, as you well know, at Jean Leon we like to make connections with film and if it has to do with the USA, then even better.
Drive-ins aren’t seasonal. In other words, they’re not only open in summertime. Completely the opposite, actually, as many offer listings all year-round. But do they exist in Spain? Yes! We’ve found some scattered around the country, and there’s bound to be more than one of you who’d like to try out a really unique experience with an American twist.
There are around ten drive-in cinemas in Spain. They are normally found in areas with good weather and in big cities, almost always on the outskirts. Prices are usually lower than in traditional move theaters, but that doesn’t they skimp on anything: there are good movies, good food, and, of course, good popcorn (a must!).
Valencia is home to Autocine Star, open since 1981 and with space for 350 cars. Its design is totally inspired by the original American drive-ins, allowing you to enjoy good movies and burgers or traditional hot dogs. It’s part of the Autocines del Mediterráneo drive-in network, which also includes Autocine El Sur in Alicante.
The Drive-in cinema, with space for 300 cars, is also in the same region, namely Les Marines beach in Denia, and has been around for over 40 years. This drive-in is one of the few that offer two sessions for the price of one.
Turning from the coast to head north, we come to Asturias. Autocine de Gijón opened in 1994 and is still up and running, and is currently open every day of the year except for Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and the fireworks night during the city’s summertime Semana Grande festival.
Three regions that have joined the trend more recently are Cantabria, the Basque Country, and Madrid. Autocine Cantabria, in Torrelavega, Cantabria, has space for 100 cars and a 52-foot screen. It’s open every day in summer and Wednesday to Sunday in winter.
Continuing along the north, in Getxo there’s another drive-in that opened in 2015. It’s only a few years old but has established itself as one of the benchmarks in year-round open-air cinema thanks to having the biggest screen in the area.
To finish, the most recent city to join this phenomenon: Madrid. Autocine Madrid RACE opened a couple of years ago, with space for 350 cars and an area of over 25,000 square meters, making it the biggest in Europe. It may be the newest kid on the block, but it’s already made an impression.