Top Events

Festes de Santa Eulàlia, February

Primavera Sound, May or June

Festival del Grec, July

Festa Major de Gràcia, August

Festes de la Mercè, September

January

Barcelonins head to the Pyrenees for action on the ski slopes, while others simply enjoy a bit of post-holiday downtime (school holidays go to around 8 January).

Reis (Reyes)

On 5 January, the day before Epifanía (Epiphany), children delight in the Cavalcada dels Reis Mags (Parade of the Three Kings), a colourful parade of floats and music, spreading bonhomie and boiled sweets in equal measure.

Festes dels Tres Tombs

In addition to live music and gegants (papier mâché giants worn over the shoulders of processionists), the festival dedicated to Sant Antoni features a parade of horse-drawn carts in the neighbourhood of Sant Antoni (near the Mercat de Sant Antoni) every 17 January.

February

Often the coldest (and seemingly longest) month in Barcelona, February sees few visitors. Nonetheless, some of the first big festivals kick off, with abundant Catalan merriment amid the wintry gloom.

Carnestoltes (Carnaval)

Celebrated in February or March, the carnival (http://lameva.barcelona.cat/carnaval) involves several days of fancy-dress balls, merrymaking and fireworks, ending on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Over 30 parades happen around town on the weekend. Down in Sitges a wilder version takes place.

Festes de Santa Eulàlia

Around 12 February this big winter fest celebrates Barcelona’s first patron saint with a week of cultural events, including parades of gegants (giants), open-air art installations, theatre, correfocs (fire runs) and castells (human castles).

March

After chillier days of winter, March brings longer sunnier days, though still cool nights (light jacket weather). There are relatively few tourists and fair hotel prices.

Barcelona Beer Festival

Craft beer has hit the scene in full force in Barcelona. Come see the latest tastemakers in action at this three-day beer and food fest (www.barcelonabeerfestival.com), with over 300 craft beers on hand.

April

Spring arrives with a flourish, complete with wildflowers blooming in the countryside, Easter revelry and school holidays, although April showers can dampen spirits. Book well ahead if coming around Easter.

La Diada de Sant Jordi

Catalonia honours its patron saint, Sant Jordi (St George), on 23 April. Traditionally men and women exchange roses and books – La Rambla and Plaça de Sant Jaume fill with book and flower stalls.

Feria de Abril de Catalunya

Andalucía comes to the Parc del Fòrum with this weeklong southern festival featuring flamenco, a funfair, and plenty of food and drink stalls. It kicks off in late April.

Setmana Santa

On Palm Sunday people line up to have their palm branches blessed outside the cathedral, while on Good Friday you can follow the floats and hooded penitents in processions from the Església de Sant Agustí (Plaça de Sant Agustí 2), located in El Raval.

May

With sunny pleasant days and clear skies, May can be one of the best times to visit Barcelona. The city slowly gears up for summer with the opening of the chiringuitos (temporary snack bars).

L’Ou Com Balla

On Corpus Christi (late May or June), L'Ou com Balla (the Dancing Egg) bobs on top of flower-festooned fountains around the city. There's also an early evening procession from La Catedral and traditional Catalan folk dancing.

Festa de Sant Ponç

To commemorate the patron saint of beekeepers and herbalists, on 11 May Carrer de l’Hospital in El Raval is taken over by a long market selling artisan honey, herbs and more.

Primavera Sound

For one week in late May or early June, the open-air Parc del Fòrum stages an all-star line-up of international bands and DJs. There are also associated concerts around town, including free open-air events at the Parc de la Ciutadella and the Passeig Lluís Companys.

Ciutat Flamenco

One of the best occasions to see great flamenco in Barcelona, this concentrated festival (www.ciutatflamenco.com) is held over four days in May at the Teatre Mercat De Les Flors and other venues.

June

Tourist numbers are soaring as Barcelona plunges into summer. Live music festivals and open-air events give the month a festive air.

Festival Pedralbes

This summertime fest (www.festivalpedralbes.com) takes place in lovely gardens and stages big-name performers – many of them old-timers (Beach Boys, Sting, Blondie) from early June to mid-July.

Brunch in the Park

Every Sunday from July to mid-September, you can enjoy a day of electronic music (http://barcelona.brunch-in.com) at an outdoor space on Montjuïc. It attracts a mix of young families and party people.

La Revetlla de Sant Joan

On 23 June locals hit the streets or hold parties at home to celebrate the Revetlla de Sant Joan (St John’s Night), which involves drinking, dancing, bonfires and fireworks. In Spanish, it's called 'Verbenas de Sant Joan'.

Pride Barcelona

Barcelona's Pride festival (www.pridebarcelona.org) is a couple of weeks of celebrations held late June or early July with a crammed program of culture and concerts, along with the traditional Pride march on Saturday.

Sónar

Usually held in mid-June, Sónar is Barcelona’s massive celebration of electronic music, with DJs, exhibitions, sound labs, record fairs and urban art.

July

Prices are high and it's peak tourist season, but it's a lively time to be in the city, with sun-filled beach days, open-air dining and outdoor concerts.

Festival del Grec

The major cultural event of the summer is a month-long fest with dozens of theatre, dance and music performances held around town, including at the Teatre Grec amphitheatre on Montjuïc, from which the festival takes its name.

August

The heat index soars; barcelonins leave the city in droves for summer holidays, as huge numbers of tourists arrive. It's a great time to hit the beach.

Festa Major de Gràcia

Locals compete for the most elaborately decorated street in this popular weeklong Gràcia festival held around 15 August. The fest also features free outdoor concerts, street fairs and other events.

Festes de Sant Roc

For four days in mid-August, Plaça Nova in the Barri Gòtic becomes the scene of parades, correfoc (fire runs), a market, traditional music and magic shows for kids.

Festa Major de Sants

The district of Sants hosts an eight-day fest (www.festamajorsants.cat) with concerts, outdoor dance parties, correfocs (fire runs) and elaborately decorated streets.

September

After a month off, barcelonins return to work, although several major festivals provide ample amusement. Temperatures stay warm through September, making for fine beach days.

Diada Nacional de Catalunya

Catalonia’s national day curiously commemorates Barcelona’s surrender on 11 September 1714 to the Bourbon monarchy of Spain, at the conclusion of the War of the Spanish Succession.

Festes de la Mercè

Held around 24 September, the city’s biggest party involves four days of concerts, dancing and street theatre. There are also castells (human castles), fireworks displays, a parade of giants, and correfocs (fire runs).

Festa Major de la Barceloneta

This big September celebration in Barcelona honours the local patron saint, Sant Miquel, on 29 September. It lasts about a week and involves plenty of dancing and drinking, especially on the beach.

Mostra de Vins i Caves de Catalunya

At this wine and cava event, you can taste your way through some of the top wines of Catalunya. It's usually held at Port Olímpic over four days, coinciding with the Festes de la Mercè at the end of September.

October

While northern Europe shivers, Barcelona enjoys mild October temperatures and sunny days. With the disappearance of the summer crowds, and lower accommodation prices, this is an excellent month to visit.

Mercat de Mercats

The 'market of markets' is a celebration of Catalan cooking and those wonderfully locally sourced ingredients that have made Barcelona such a foodie destination. Over one weekend in October, this food fair features great foods, wines and workshops. Held in front of La Catedral.

November

Cooler days and nights arrive in Barcelona, along with occasional days of rain and overcast skies. For beating the crowds (and higher summer prices), though, it's an excellent month to visit.

Fira de Santa Llúcia

Held from late November to Christmas, this holiday market (http://en.firadesantallucia.cat) has hundreds of stalls selling all manner of Christmas decorations and gifts – including the infamous Catalan Nativity scene character, the caganer (the crapper).

LOOP Barcelona

LOOP (www.loop-barcelona.com) features video art and avant-garde films shown in museums, theatres and non-traditional spaces (like food markets) around the city. It usually runs for a few days in November.

December

As winter returns barcelonins gear up for Christmas, and the city is festooned with colourful decorations. Relatively few visitors arrive, at least until Christmas, when the city fills with holidaying out-of-towners.

New Year's Eve

On 31 December, the fountains of Montjuïc (Font Màgica) take centre stage for the biggest celebration in town. Crowds line up along Avinguda Reina Maria Cristina to watch a theatrical procession and audiovisual performance (plus castells), followed by fireworks at midnight.