The very idea of Spain conjures up beautiful images of a rich and passionate culture steeped in centuries of vibrant history. Whether it is the delicious Spanish cuisine that brings foodies from around the world together, the picturesque natural vistas of the countryside and the beaches or the amazing carnivals, festivals and events that inject so much excitement and thrill into the lives of locals and tourists alike, Spain is simply an adventure waiting to be experienced through and through. If you are a fan of Spanish festivals and events, and if you’ve heard of the famous La Tomatina or the Corrida De Toros, you’ll know that the Spanish know how to party. So, read on as we explore the popular festivals in Barcelona, Spain.
1. Barcelona Carnival
Celebrated in the months of February or March, depending on the lunar calendar, Barcelona Carnival offers seven days of non-stop fun and enjoyment. The exact time of celebration has a religious significance as it goes through a cycle of preceding Lent. Each of the seven days of the carnival offers something new to experience, including a day of food, a parade day, the arrival of the Carnival King, the burial of the symbolic sardine, and so on. This festival originated in Roman times and has been celebrated every year since then to represent a rebellion against tradition and authority. It also functions as an indicator of freedom. It is also symbolic in a religious sense as it allows you to let go of your inhibitions right before Lent.
Place: Barri de La Ribera neighbourhood
Takes place: February or March
2. The Calçotada
Celebrate the harvest of calçots at this unique festival that takes place during harvest season in February. A calçot is a special type of scallion that originated in Spain, and it is milder in taste as compared to Western scallions. Celebrated in most of Catalonia in Spain, this festival involves grilling these calçots over a fire and serving them with wine, bread, and a special salvitxada sauce. Along with this, the traditional feast also includes roasted lamb, white beans, and oranges. This gastronomical festival is perfect for the foodie in you.
Takes place: End of January or beginning of February
3. Fiestas De Gracia
Are you interested in attending a street festival competition? Fiesta de Gracia is one of the biggest festivals in Barcelona and it is frequented by tourists across the world. The month of August brings in beautiful installations and exhibits along the streets of uptown Barcelona, and the interesting thing about this is that each street competes for the best decorated barrio. Take a walk through the quaint boho streets of Barcelona during this festival and with its beautiful street cafes and glittering nightlife, you are sure to find some unforgettable and picturesque moments.
Fiestas De Gracia
Website: Fiestas De Gracia
Takes place: August
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4. Candy Festival
Also known as the Fiesta de San Emeterio and Fiesta de Sant Medir, Barcelona’s Candy Festival is one of its hidden gems. Featuring beautiful exhibits and processions of candies and animals, this colourful and vibrant festival oozes with sweetness and it is a dream come true for anyone with a sweet tooth. It is an indulgent festival with an estimated 100 tons (91 metric tonnes) of sweets distributed every year.
Place: Vila de Gracia, Barcelona
Takes place: March
5. Primavera Sound Festival
Usually takes place between May end and the beginning of June, Primavera Sound Festival is a celebration that gives a wide variety of musical artists and bands a platform. It is a must-visit festival in Barcelona if you are into music and listening to a wide variety of musical genres. This is also a great networking space if you wish to enter Barcelona’s music scene yourself as it has nurtured a lot of world-famous artists.
Primavera Sound Festival
Place: Parc del Forum, Barcelona
Website: Primavera Sound Festival
Takes place: June
6. Three King's Day
Three Kings’ Day is an important Christian festival that celebrates and honours the three kings, or the three wise men, who came to visit Jesus Christ after his birth to acknowledge his holiness and bring him gifts. This festival originated in the 19th century in Spain, and the celebration of these important figures is one of the most important events celebrated in Barcelona. On this day, children are brought gifts given by the three kings, in a similar fashion to Santa Claus. The child is supposed to have behaved himself or herself throughout the year in order to receive gifts.
Three King's Day
Takes place: January
7. Sonar Festival
Sonar is arguably one of the biggest festivals in Barcelona, bringing together art, design, and electronic dance music all in one heavenly combination. The entire festival is divided into two different events, Sonar by Day and Sonar by Night. This gives this festival an incredible edge and allows different themes to shine through during the day and at night. Sonar also hosts shows all over the world and it is frequented by thousands of music lovers every year.
Place: Gran Via Fira Centre, Barcelona
Website: Sonar Festival
Takes place: June
8. Barcelona Independent Film Festival
Barcelona Independent Film Festival, also known as L’alternativa, is established as a world-famous platform that showcases amazing, independent movies from around the world. This film festival aims to highlight movies that challenge our way of thinking, push the envelope, and create true art. Over 30,000 people have attended the festival in the past, including a lot of famous faces in Spain and abroad. If you are an indie movie lover, this is sure to be an awesome treat for you.
Barcelona Independent Film Festival
Website: Barcelona Independent Film Festival
Takes place: November
9. La Mercè
This official holiday and festival is celebrated almost exclusively in Barcelona. The festival involves a delicious feast and almost two million people attend the processions and events that take place throughout Barcelona. The colourful street parades, exhibits, and processions are a must-see, and each day represents a different theme of the processions. The best part of this festival is that all the events and parades are completely free for you to visit and witness. You will see some of the best in dance, music, and street art at this festival.
Takes place: September 24th
10. Cruilla Festival
Cruilla Festival makes one of the topmost three music festivals in Barcelona, holding a special place in the hearts of locals and tourists alike. Cruilla offers a wide variety of entertainment, including music, dance, art, and comedy. If Primavera is too indie and obscure for you and Sonar has too much electronic dance music for your taste, you are sure to fall in love with Cruilla. Cruilla translates as “crossroads” from Catalan and it symbolises the harmony between different genres and themes, offering the widest variety of acts among most of the festivals.
Place: C/Pujades 77, 2º 7ª 08005, Barcelona.
Website: Cruilla Festival
Takes place: First week of July
11. Festival Grec de Barcelona
Festival Grec de Barcelona is celebrated every year some time between June and August. It attracts tons of locals and tens of thousands of visitors from around the world. Celebrating a beautiful combination of music, dance, art, and of course, international theatre, this festival is the ultimate place to be in Barcelona during summer. Situated at an open-air theatre, you can watch concerts and performances under the beautiful night sky and because of sponsorship, you are likely to see a lot of world-famous artists here.
Festival Grec de Barcelona
Place: Passeig de Santa Madrona, s/n, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
Takes place: Mid-June to early August
12. Barcelona Beach Festival
Are you a music lover and a fan of electronic dance music? Enjoy an entire day of EDM’s very best performances in Barcelona at this amazingly electrifying festival. Dance all evening to famous DJs showcasing their very best dance floor hits as the crowd goes crazy. The location is amazing as it is celebrated right next to the beach. You can enjoy delicious local cuisine from the food trucks available at the festival as well as awesome cocktails and other drinks for your enjoyment.
Barcelona Beach Festival
Place: Moll de la Vela, 1, 08930 Barcelona, Spain
Website: Barcelona Beach Festival
Takes place: First week of July
In Christianity, the day it was revealed that Jesus Christ is the incarnation of God is called Epiphany. A feast and plenty of enjoyment are held on this day around the world, and Barcelona is no exception. With huge parades and processions on the streets, it is a beautiful sight to witness. On this day, people get involved with the community and engage in customs such as chalking their door, singing carols, eating Christmas cake, and going to the church.
Takes place: January 5th or 6th
14. Pride Barcelona
Pride is the opposite of shame. Pride encourages us to accept ourselves just the way we are, with all our diversity and humanity. Creating a world where people from all walks of life can accept and celebrate each other and maintaining the sacred human ideals of equality and freedom were the main ethos behind celebrating Pride. Barcelona, with its progressive and welcoming people, is an amazing place to experience this festival and celebrate love in all forms. So, go experience the magical energy of Pride Barcelona and you will make unforgettable memories for life.
Website: Pride Barcelona
Takes place: Usually held in June
15. Catalonia April Fair
Also known as Feria de Abril in Spanish, Catalonia’s world-famous April Fair is celebrated every year to welcome the arrival of spring. Over 10 days of festivities occur, including plenty of singing and dancing, usually towards the end of April until May. You can find typical fairground activities and events here, from cotton candy stalls to Ferris wheels, and it is a wonderful place to take your kids to. You will find colourful and vibrant marquee tents that serve food and drinks here and witness traditional Spanish dance forms, including couples doing salsa and flamenco dancers and artists.
Catalonia April Fair
Place: Parc de Forum playground, Barcelona
Takes place: End of April to the first week of May
16. Feast of Saint George (Saint George's Day)
Celebrated throughout the world by Christians everywhere, the Feast of Saint George, also known as Saint George’s Day, falls on April 23rd every year. This festival has been growing in popularity in recent times, and there are even campaigns to make it a public holiday in several parts of the world. In Barcelona, you can find people waving the St. George’s Cross flag everywhere or wearing it with medieval chainmail gear. Street processions enact army skirmishes between Moors and Christians while people sing hymns in church and prepare a feast for their families at home. Boys and girls give each other red roses and books, and as a result, you can see plenty of roses and books being sold along the streets. It is quite a different celebration as compared to other Christian countries.
Feast of Saint George
Takes place: April 23rd
17. Circuit Festival
Possibly the biggest gay and lesbian festival celebrated in the world, Circuit Festival is a week-long circuit party that brings the world’s best DJs and performers together to have an amazing party with electrifying music. This lavish festival is a great place to visit if you wish to party hard to great music, make plenty of friends, or even meet someone special. The festival is open to everyone of all ages. It is a way for people to openly express their gay pride and showcase the gay community’s support and strength. You can attend the various events hosted during the week-long festival such as movies, parties, competitions, and more.
Website: Circuit Festival
Takes place: Mid-August
18. Cajon! Flamenco Festival
This festival is one of the biggest Flamenco festivals in all of Spain and it lasts for almost three months. Celebrating the beauty and grace of the flamenco dance and the skills of various singers, the festival is hosted by a group that has nurtured a lot of amazing live music artists from Spain. You can witness some of the big names in flamenco, including Antonio Vargas, Rosario the pop star, and more. You can explore all the different aspects of flamenco, including the dance, the singing, the art, and the culture. Learn some flamenco moves at one of the workshops or read about the history of flamenco at the installed historical exhibit.
Cajon! Flamenco Festival
Takes place: December to February
19. Festival Castell de Peralada
Have you ever been to a festival celebrated at a medieval castle? The Festival Castell de Peralada is hosted every year at Peralada Castle, located in the small town of Peralada. Reconstructed in the 19th century, the premises of this castle consist of a beautiful garden with a pond and a former monastery. Held for two months in July and August, the festival is spread across the lavish and sprawling grounds of the castle and features a variety of concerts and full production performances that are sure to blow you away. This festival supports new singers and artists and gives them a platform to showcase their talent. It also brings famous artists from all over Spain together. In addition, there is plenty to eat and drink with the castle’s own Michelin-starred restaurant as well as food trucks and stalls that have been set up for the festival.
Festival Castell de Peralada
Place: Carrer Sant Joan, 17491 Peralada, Girona, Spain
Website: Festival Castell de Peralada
Takes place: July or August
20. Festival Jardins de Pedralbes
Barcelona has enough festivals during the summer that you will find your itinerary full for several months in a row. However, one destination you cannot miss if you are a music lover is Festival Jardins de Pedralbes. With world-famous artists such as James Blunt, Lana Del Rey, Bob Dylan, Earth Wind & Fire, and local indie artists, this festival offers something for everyone. This outdoor evening festival promises to create an eclectic and beautiful world where a variety of genres come together to offer you an incredible experience.
Festival Jardins de Pedralbes
Place: Avinguda Diagonal, 686, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
Website: Festival Jardins de Pedralbes
Takes place: June to July
21. Barcelona Jazz Festival
One of the most popular and important jazz festivals in the world, Barcelona Jazz Festival hosts a special place in the hearts of jazz lovers everywhere. Offering some of the topmost talents in the world of jazz and new artists, this festival makes itself as attractive and eclectic as possible within a single genre of music. One advantage of this festival is that even if you are new to jazz, you are welcome to purchase individual tickets to a single show and not pay a cover charge.
Barcelona Jazz Festival
Website: Barcelona Jazz Festival
Takes place: Usually held October to November
22. Paral•lel Festival [Last event in 2019]
Emphasising uniqueness and youthful energy, this outdoor festival offers lovely glamping options if you wish to stay here. DJs from around the world are invited to keep you on the dance floor for hours. Usually held from September to October, over the course of three days, this festival offers a wide variety of ambient, techno, and electronic music that is sure to make you want to dance.
Place: Carretera B-402, Km 2,100 08694 Guardiola de Berguedà
Website: Paral•lel Festival
Takes place: September
23. Barcelona Acció Musical
Renowned for its long-running time of over 25 years, Barcelona Acció Musical has only been growing exponentially in popularity since its inception. This festival is mainly for newer independent artists who value experimentation in music and creativity. Each year, you will be introduced to up-and-coming artists that will showcase their talents in this must-visit festival. Enjoy plenty of amenities provided here such as food trucks when you get hungry. Drinks and cocktails are available as well.
Barcelona Acció Musical
Takes place: Usually held in September
24. Wake Up Call Barcelona [Event has passed]
Situated at the heart of Barcelona, Wake Up Call is one of the most popular music festivals that bring in all the big names from the world. If you love music festivals, but dislike the crowds, the dust, and the crazy summer heat in Spain, this music festival is perfect for you. It is hosted in a luxury hotel so you don’t need to wait behind a 100-person queue just to go to the bathroom. From Charli XCX to Phantogram, all the big names in music have performed here in the past, making it a must-visit festival.
Wake Up Call Barcelona
Place: Plaça Rosa Del Vents 1, Final, Passeig de Joan de Borbó, 08039 Barcelona, Spain
Takes place: September
Make the most of Barcelona's bright and vibrant festivals
Barcelona represents a rich combination of Spanish, French, and Catalan culture that is simply a feast for the eyes, ears, and tongue to experience. From the delicious, lip-smacking cuisines to the glittering, vibrant festivals, there is just so much to witness here that you are sure to have your itinerary full no matter what time of the year you choose to visit this part of the world. So start making plans today for an unforgettable vacation.
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