A trip to Barcelona can seem like one long party, with a calendar jam packed with festivals, events and public holidays. With so much going on throughout the year, you’re guaranteed to find something to suit every taste.
The following are just a handful of cultural offerings to choose from.
1) Día de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day)
Día de los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings Day is a holiday celebrating the arrival of the three kings. Largely ignored in other countries, in Spain families get together on 6th January to exchange presents and eat a traditional ring-shaped cake. On the evening of 5th January, people take to the streets to watch local parades, where sweets will be given out to local children from extravagant floats.
Spain is a predominantly Catholic country, meaning most people will recognise the festival of Lent, where they will abstain from something for forty days. Carnival is seen as a final celebration before Lent begins, with a week of parties, parades and celebrations, coming to a climax on the day before Ash Wednesday, Shrove Tuesday.
3) Dia de Sant Jordi (Saint George’s Day)
Dia de Sant Jordi, or Saint George’s Day, takes place on 23rd April and is considered one of the most romantic days of the year to be in Barcelona. To celebrate Sant Jordi, Catalonia’s patron saint, men will give women a rose, while women give men a book in return. Couples will take a walk through the city, looking for a gift for each other amongst the many book and flower stalls lining the streets.
4) Formula One Spanish Grand Prix
Each May, the streets come alive with the roars of engines, as the annual Grand Prix come to Barcelona. Taking place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo, this three day event attracts racing fans from all over the world.
5) Sonar Festival
Barcelona plays host to a number of different music festivals, but none quite as popular as the annual Sonar Festival. An absolute must for fans of electronic music, Sonar sees hundreds of different events taking place, with DJs, live bands, cinema, art and multimedia installations. And that’s not including all of the “off programme” unofficial parties and events taking place at the same time.
6) L’Alternative, Barcelona Independent Film Festival
L’Alternative takes place each November and acts as a platform to allow new directors and filmmakers to promote their independent, original works. As well as the international competition, the festival also holds retrospectives, workshops, round tables, free screenings and more. According to the organisers, the festival is all about exposing the general public to “films that shake you up, make you feel alive and make you think.”