Barcelona rarely pauses for breath. Between spring and autumn the city rushes from one party to the next, from international music festivals to traditional town street parties. If you're planning a trip to the city, consider timing it to coincide with one of the following festivals for an opportunity to party with the locals.
Sónar Electro Fest (June)
Groove to the latest beats at Europe’s biggest electro music fest. Locations and dates change each year.
Festa Major de Gràcia (August)
Of all Barcelona’s summer barri street parties, Gràcia’s is the biggest, noisiest and longest (taking place over about nine days). More than a dozen streets in Gràcia are decorated by their inhabitants as part of a competition for the most imaginative street. People pour in to listen to bands in the streets and squares, fuel on snacks and drink at countless street stands.
Festes de la Mercè (September)
Say goodbye to summer in true Catalan style. This is the city’s biggest party, with processions of giant heads and fire-breathing dragons, plus some outstanding free concerts. There's a swimming race across the harbour, a fun run, and a bewildering programme of cultural events. All the ingredients of a major Catalan festa are here: castellers, sardones (traditional folk dancing), parades of gegants and capgrossos (giants and big heads), and a huge carrefoc.
Festival Internacional de Jazz de Barcelona (November)
As the autumn chill takes hold, warm yourself up with a month of jazz. For most of the month, the big venues (from the Auditori down) across town host a plethora of international jazz acts. At the same time, a more home-spun jazz fest takes place for about a month in bars across Ciutat Vella.
Good Friday (March/April)
Follow the floats and hooded penitents in dramatic processions from the Església de Sant Agustí, reminiscent of southern Spain's festivities.
Tempted by the prospect of good times in the Barcelona sunshine? Get the lowdown on the city's jam-packed festival calendar with our Barcelona city guide, or in our free downloadable chapter, Introducing Barcelona.