Barcelona's Calendar of festivals
Barcelona offers a never-ending supply of varied activities to satisfy even the most demanding visitors. The city’s calendar offers interesting displays in museums, music and film festivals, important expos and congresses, and various free activities that grant the city an unequalled cultural movement. All these attractive proposals are enhanced by the magnificent and vivid nightlife and the unique popular celebrations that attract millions of people each year to the city’s most emblematic neighborhoods.
La Mercè Festivals
Among the many celebrations held across the city, the Fiesta Mayor de La Mercè – patron saint of the city – stands out above all others. This celebration, which dwarfs all other Catalonian festivals, is held every year around September 24, it started back in 1871 and fills the city with special activities and shows. By attending you will be able to enjoy several live music concerts, exceptional street artists and first-rate firework shows while you taste the best in Catalonian gastronomy. Also, there are other typical regional activities to participate in, like the giants and big-heads (“gigantes y cabezudos”) parades, the amazing human towers made by the Barcelonan collas castelleras groups, or the fun Foc Festival (“Fiesta del Foc”) where the city’s streets are filled with dragons dancing to the beat of drums and fireworks.
Major Festival of Gràcia
Even though the Mercè Festivals are the most famous at the international level, the “Fiesta Mayor de Gracia” is growing in popularity with each passing year. This festival is held every year in mid-August in the Vila de Gracia area. It stands out against other big festivals thanks to the spectacular handmade decorations the locals make to adorn the streets and plazas. The singular character of this neighborhood is captured by these decorations, all different but sharing a central theme, that each year compete to become the most amazing ones yet. Aside from a wonderful atmosphere, this festival fills the de Gracia neighborhood with music, concerts and correfocs (“fire-runs”) who run and dance among fireworks.
Major Festival of Sants
Lastly, there is the “Fiesta Mayor de Sants,” celebrated every year towards the end of August and organizing more than 500 activities in the streets. This festival offers several interesting activities to rival any of the other big festivals found in the city, even if it is not as popular, having reduced reach and media attention.
During the festival, the de Sants neighborhood brings out homemade decorations, organizes open-air dancing and offers concerts, shows and outdoor cinema to all attendees. Furthermore, it also programs cycling races, guided tours in the MNAC and even a refreshing water party. For those looking for more typical and traditional activities, during the same time period you will also be able to enjoy the Castelers neighborhood streets, with correfocs and even the traditional offering to Sant Bartomeu.
Other festivities in Barcelona
Even though the abovementioned festivals are the most popular ones to be found in the city, Barcelona has a tight calendar of patron celebrations that flood the city’s streets with many and varied activities.