Barcelona, the capital of Catalan, is a city that is rich in art, music, food, theatre and dance – and the city loves to celebrate this through the year! No matter what time you visit, you will find a host of Barcelona festivals to participate in.
Some of the most famous festivals take place during the warmer months, towards the end of spring and during the summertime. If you have the time, we highly recommend experiencing one of them, as it will give you a real insight into the culture of the city and an opportunity to mingle and celebrate like a local.
Feeling festive already? Come chat with us at your neighbourhood SOTC branch, and we will help you plan your itinerary with wide range of Barcelona packages and Spain packages , making sure that you can tick off all the Barcelona festivals on your bucket list.
People travel from all over the world for the Primavera Sound, a Barcelona festival in June. It takes place in the grand Parc del Forum which is located in the north of the city and easily accessible by public transport or taxi. The festival is known to feature some of the biggest names in dance and alternative rock music, and in the past, has featured some household names like Radiohead, Bloc Party and The Pixies. In additional to the festival itself, there are a host of concerts and events that take place around the city in open-air spaces and nightclubs – some are even free! But make sure to book your tickets in advance – they sell out very quickly and trust us, this is a music festival that you do not want to miss.
If alternative rock music is not your cup of tea, you could opt to go for the Sonar Festival instead. This also takes place in June and is focussed on electronic music, having featured major artists like Skrillex and the Pet Shop Boys in the past, while also providing a platform for local talent. In addition, Sonar hosts parties across the city during the week of the big event - in bars, restaurants, nightclubs and even, beaches. Whether you go for the main event or not, we highly recommend visiting one of the smaller parties by the beach, because a Barcelona beach festival is truly an event to remember. As with any major music festival, it is important to plan and book your tickets in advance – they sell out very quickly and you won’t be able to buy them on the day of the festival itself.
In Catalan culture, the summer solstice (the shortest night of the year) is a very important day and is celebrated with the most iconic Barcelona summer festival called Sant Joan. In fact, it is a public holiday in the city, giving people the opportunity to celebrate the summer and the power of the sun, which is believed to bring fertility and wealth. Catalans believe in strengthening the power of the sun through fire so they celebrate the day of Sant Joan with fireworks and bonfires throughout the city. Many people will organise parties with friends and families to see the spectacular fireworks. As a tourist, we recommend heading to the beach, where many restaurants and bars will build extended seating in time for the festival to make sure that there is plenty of room to party and watch the fireworks.
In July, Barcelona holds a cultural festival on the hill of Montjuic, which is a key tourist attraction. The best part is that this festival is free, so it can be enjoyed by everyone! On the night of the festival, you will be able to enjoy screenings of short films in the Teatre Grec, pulsating music by the infamous pool and free entry into all of the museums at Montjuic – it’s definitely worth a visit.
Taking place in the middle of August, the Festa Major de Gracia is the major festival of the Gracia district in Barcelona and very popular amongst the locals. For the entire week of the festival, the streets of Gracia is decorated with statues, ornaments and lanterns, and the public squares turn into concert venues, with plenty of musical and dance performances on show. At this time, the bars, restaurants and nightclubs are buzzing with energy and excitement, and it’s infectious. Every Barcelona district, also known as a barrio, has its own festival, and they are definitely one of the most authentic, local celebrations to take part in.
A Barcelona festival in August, Gandules is an eye-opening experience for anyone who is fond of film. It takes place at Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, which is a popular venue for a host of events and exhibitions. In this particular one, you can feast your eyes on some of the best cinema from across the world in an open-air, festive environment. While most films are shown in their native language, many of them come with subtitles that make them easier to understand and appreciate.
Festa de la Merce is a Barcelona festival in September with an interesting history behind it. A few hundred years ago, the city suffered from an invasion of locusts. After being unable to get rid of them, the city put its faith in the patron saint Virgin of Grace, to help in getting rid of the pesky insects. When she did, the city decided to create this festival to honour and celebrate her. Today, the festival is celebrated over several days with fireworks, presentations, street parades, concerts and re-enactments of traditional scenes from history. In addition, on the 24th of September, all the museums in the city provide free-entry for anyone who wants to visit.