Things to do in Barcelona

Cultural and Creative Festivals in Barcelona

Festivals in Barcelona, Spain, take place at all times of the year. Check out this calendar of events to find the ideal celebration for your trip!

If you're looking for things to do in Barcelona, be sure to check what festivals are taking place during your stay. From traditional festivals to renowned musical events, there's always fun to be had in this exciting city.

Traditional and Cultural Festivals

From Holy Week to Sant Jordi and Sant Medir, traditional festivals in Barcelona are a source of cultural richness. Join us as we explore the colorful array of festivities that bring communities together year after year.

1. La Mercè

A kaleidoscope of cultural richness, La Mercè sweeps into town in late September, filling the city with displays showcasing the talents of local musicians, artists, and more. The Our Lady of Mercy feast day is on September 24, but festivities typically begin a few days before.

Human towers are one of the most famous parts of La Mercè. Known as castells, this involves performers climbing atop each other to construct a tall tower of people. It’s right up our acrobats’ alley!

From the pulsating beats of the Barcelona Acció Musical to the mesmerizing street art displays adorning every corner, there’s something for everyone to enjoy amid the hustle and bustle of La Mercè.

In addition to the castells, we find ourselves drawn to the rhythm of Acció Cultura Viva, which features concerts in various musical genres, from flamenco to rap. La Mercè events occur at various famous Barcelona venues, from Jardines del Doctor Pla i Armengol to Nau Bostik.

Making it a little easier to get around, the metro trains run all night while the festival is on. There’s no excuse for missing out!

In addition to celebrating Barcelona’s culture, La Mercè includes a different “guest city” each year. In 2024, that’s Casablanca, which means the local Moroccan community has a chance to show off its music and culture.

Photographer: Angela Compagnone

2. Nit de Sant Joan

Nit de Sant Joan takes place on the eve of St. John’s Day. Festivities occur on June 23. Traditionally, this is the time when Barcelona residents come together to share food, light bonfires, and play music.

The festivities officially start in Plaça de Sant Jaume, where the Canigó Flame is received by city officials in a glorious ceremony. The flame is then taken around the city to light bonfires so the party can really get started.

Nit de Sant Joan takes place close to the summer solstice, so you have only a few hours to fill with reveling before the sun rises.

Turn your gaze to the skies and be wowed by firework displays. Or, seek out one of the many bands playing music to dance to. You can also sip Catalan champagne and feast on coca de Sant Joan — a cake topped with fruit and nuts or filled with cream.

3. Corpus Christi

The Corpus Christi festival occurs in Sitges, a town close to Barcelona. The Catholic feast day of Corpus Christi takes place 60 days after Easter, but in Sitges, the festival starts several days before. Local residents create floral decorations that coat the town with spring colors.

Attend on the feast day and watch the Holy Sacrament being carried over carpets of flower petals adorning the streets. You can also check out the National Carnation Exhibition, the Floral Decoration of Façades and Balconies Competition, and the Bonsai Exhibition. It’s a botanist’s paradise!

Photographer: radoslaw_zmudzinski

4. Sant Medir

In Gràcia, one of Barcelona’s most charming districts, Sant Medir Festival takes place each year on March 3.

Dating back to 1828, this super-sweet festival is steeped in history. Its origins trace back to a pilgrimage by a local baker, Josep Vidal i Granés, who sought to honor Sant Medir. Today, the festival continues to captivate locals and visitors alike with its unique blend of religious devotion and joyful revelry.

At the heart of the Sant Medir Festival lies the captivating procession of colles. These colleges, or festival groups, parade through streets adorned with vibrant banners. It's all accompanied by the rhythmic beat of musicians.

What truly sets this festival apart is the spectacle of sweets and toffees raining down from horses, floats, and lorries. Like magic, streets are transformed into a whimsical, candy-filled wonderland. It’s a sight to behold as young and old alike eagerly collect as many treats as they can carry.

After the morning parade, pilgrims journey to the Ermita de Sant Medir in the picturesque Collserola mountain range. Upon their return, the streets come alive once more with a vibrant musical procession known as the cercavila, where the spirit of Sant Medir is celebrated with exuberance and joy.

5. La Fiesta de Sant Jordi

In Barcelona, April 23 isn’t just another day; it’s a celebration of love, literature, and the blooming beauty of spring.

La Fiesta de Sant Jordi is a charming Catalan tradition that intertwines World Book Day’s joy and Valentine’s Day’s romance, creating a single festival where the streets transform into open-air bookstores and flower markets.

As the city comes alive with the scent of roses and the excitement of literary discoveries, couples exchange gifts. Traditionally, men receive books and women are gifted roses. Nowadays, both genders exchange tokens of affection. Venturing through Barcelona on Sant Jordi's day is an enchanting experience in itself.

Streets overflow with stalls offering the latest literary gems and fragrant blooms. Amid the literary buzz, visitors can partake in workshops, attend author signings, and immerse themselves in the vibrant cultural tapestry of the city.

But Sant Jordi's day isn't just about books and roses. It's also a time for traditional dances, such as the sardana, and the awe-inspiring castells, which grace squares such as Plaça de Sant Jaume.

Photographer: Dario Fernandez Ruz

Music and Arts Festivals

Barcelona has a rich musical and artistic heritage. No matter what kind of music you prefer, you can find a festival celebrating it right here in the heart of Catalonia. Here are a few of the best things to do in Barcelona for music lovers.

6. Primavera Sound

Looking for the biggest music festival in Barcelona? You’ve found it in the form of Primavera Sound, which takes place from late May until early June. This is when the city hosts some of the biggest musical acts in the world, from Pulp to PJ Harvey.

The party occurs at Parc del Fòrum, a huge open-air venue with space for several stages and excellent public transport links. Tickets sell out quickly, so don’t delay if you want to combine this music festival with a trip to one of our Barcelona shows.

7. Sónar 2024

The Sónar Festival celebrates music, creativity, and technology. Taking place from June 13-15, 2024, it’s a great opportunity to see some of the hottest musical acts in Catalan and beyond. The festival is split into two halves: Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night.

You can be inspired by talks, installations, debates, live shows, and more by day. By night, the city rocks out to global electronic music, with four stages ensuring the party goes on until the sun rises. Book your tickets, and head down to Fira Gran Via L'Hospitalet, where the city’s best entertainment awaits.

8. Guitar BCN

Like guitar music? Then you’ll love Guitar BCN. Founded in 1990, it’s an event that hosts guitarists in a full range of styles, from classical to jazz and Latin. Tributes to some of the most ground-breaking pop and rock acts, such as Pink Floyd and Genesis, also appear.

Book tickets for individual concerts that take place as part of the festival to curate your perfect journey through glorious guitar music. The festival takes place at various venues throughout spring.

Photographer: _cbudd

9. LOOP Barcelona

We’re no strangers to awe-inspiring performances. That’s why we’re always thrilled when LOOP Barcelona takes place in November. For two weeks, more than 800 artists transform the city into a celebration of video art.

Events occur at various venues, from museums to quirky restaurants and trendy shops. The city becomes a canvas for artistic expression, inviting nearly 200,000 visitors to immerse themselves in the wonder of video art.

Every year, artists participating in LOOP Barcelona tackle taboo topics like climate change or how being a female artist can be overlooked.

The best video artwork wins the MACBA award and becomes part of the artistic background of the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona.

10. Voll-Damm Barcelona Jazz Festival

From free concerts to master classes by leading jazz musicians, the Voll-Damm Barcelona Jazz Festival has something for everyone! At this festival, you can see performances by some of the biggest names in the genre, as well as up-and-coming newbies making their debut.

In addition to live performances, the festival offers opportunities to meet your musical heroes. There are also discussion events where you can learn about the history of jazz and reflect on its importance in contemporary society.

Seasonal Celebrations and Events

There are certain times of year when we don’t want to be anywhere other than Barcelona. Be sure to add these seasonal celebrations and events to your calendar.

11. Carnival in Barcelona

The Barcelona Carnival takes place in the week leading up to the beginning of Lent. With more than 150 events taking place across the city, Barcelona knows how to put on a party to remember!

Watch the Carnival parades as they wind through the city’s diverse neighborhoods. Alternatively, get involved with the costume contests, masked dances, and dress-up workshops that take place in the Cases de la Festa.

As performers who take the need to fuel our gravity-defying acts seriously, our favorite thing about Carnival is the food. From botifarra d'ou (an egg pork sausage) and crackle cake to traditional omelets. Sample the best paella in Barcelona, but be sure to leave some room for dessert!

12. New Year’s Eve in Barcelona

There’s no better place to ring in the New Year than Barcelona. Here, you’ll find some of the world’s most bizarre traditions. For example, have you heard of the nose man? This character has as many noses as there are days in the year, and his appearance marks a New Year’s Eve tradition.

Look for people dressed up as the nose man participating in the Cursa dels Nassos (nose race) running event, which has taken place in the city for decades. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Catalan tradition of eating a grape with every chime of midnight on New Year’s Eve in Barcelona?

This tradition is taken very seriously, as it’s thought to bring good luck. Once the chimes have finished, it’s time to raise your glass of cava in a toast and kiss your neighbors to start the new year with good cheer.

Stay up all night to party, but be sure to be up at noon on New Year’s Day, when it’s traditional to plunge into the cold Mediterranean Sea. Don’t worry — there's hot broth available to warm you up afterward.

13. Setmana Santa

Holy Week, or Setmana Santa, is a time of deep religious significance and family traditions. Spanning from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, each day commemorates a pivotal moment in the life of Jesus Christ.

However, the solemnity doesn’t mean there isn’t fun to be had. In Barcelona, good food and good times are never far away. The city comes alive with a fair on Rambla de Catalunya, offering woven palm leaves and branches for blessing.

Our favorite part is the Monas de Pascua, an Easter cake adorned with chocolate eggs. Godparents traditionally give this cake to their godchildren on Easter Sunday, but plenty are available to buy and sample.

Photographer: jackmac34

14. The Three Kings Parade

Every year on January 5, Barcelona recreates the journey of the three kings to visit the baby Jesus. Melchior, Caspar, and Balthasar arrive at the Portal de la Pau, where they're greeted by the mayor and given the keys to the city.

They then lead the Three Kings Parade through Avinguda del Paral·lel and Ronda de Sant Pau with a spectacular display of star-like lights. After our shows, it’s one of Barcelona's most visually delightful spectacles.

Embracing the Heartbeat of Catalonia: A Journey Through Barcelona's Festive Spirit

We love Barcelona’s fun-packed yearly schedule of festivals and cultural events. Our acrobats take inspiration from the human towers, while our choreographers tap their feet to diverse and dynamic musical acts.

Whether you're in Barcelona to celebrate New Year, participate in religious celebrations around Easter, or attend a music festival in the hope of seeing your favorite band, why not round off your trip with one of our shows in Barcelona?

Our performers can’t wait to put on a show that makes your jaw hit the floor. We promise you’ll remember the spectacle forever on both the city’s streets and our stage.

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