Barcelona's Top 10 : Catalan Folk Festivals & Traditions - Top 10 Music, Theatre & Art Festivals

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The English-language website has a section dedicated to Spanish festivals.

Tickets for Festival del Grec & Festival Internacional de Jazz are available from the Caixa de Catalunya ticket line 902 10 12 12.

  1. Festes de la Mercè

    Barcelona’s main festival is a riotous week-long celebration in honour of La Mercè . The night sky lights up with fireworks, outdoor concerts are held, and there’s barely a bottle of cava left in the city by the festival’s end. Processions and parades feature gegants (giant wooden figures operated by people).

    • Week of 23 Sep

  2. El Dia de Sant Jordi

    On this spring day, Barcelona is transformed into a vibrant, open-air book and flower market. Men and women exchange presents of roses, to celebrate Sant Jordi and books, in tribute to Cervantes and Shakespeare, who both died on 23 April 1616.

    • 23 Apr

  3. Verbena de Sant Joan

    In celebration of Saint John, and the start of summer, this is Catalonian’s night to play with fire and play they do, with gusto. Fireworks streak through the night sky and bonfires are set ablaze on beaches and in towns throughout the region.

    • 23 Jun

  4. Festa Major de Gràcia

    During this week-long festa, (the largest party of the summer), revellers congregate in Gràcia’s decorated streets. Parades, open-air concerts, fireworks and plenty of beer and cava fuel the infectious merriment.

    • Mid- to late Aug

  5. Carnaval in Sitges

    The buzzing beach town of Sitges explodes during Carnaval, celebrated in flamboyant fashion. Over-the-top floats parade among drag queens, lip-synching contests and a fresh-off-the-beach crowd warmed by sun and plenty of beer.

    • 3–4 days Feb–mid-Mar

  6. Festa de la Patum

    The village of Berga (90 km/ 60 miles north of Barcelona) hosts one of Catalonia’s liveliest festivals. The event gets its name from the folks who used to chant patum (the sound of a drum). Streets spill over with merrymakers as fireworks crackle and dwarfs, devils and dragons dance atop parade floats.

    • Corpus Christi (May)

  7. Festa del Aquelarre

    The small town of Cervera (100 km/62 miles west of Barcelona) erupts with parties, parades and concerts for this festival. The epicentre is C/de les Bruixes, a medieval alley that cuts through the old town.

    • Last weekend Aug

  8. Castells

    Castells is one of Catalonia’s most spectacular folk traditions. Trained castellers stand on each other’s shoulders to create a human castle – the highest tower takes the prize. The crowning moment is when a child scales the human mass to make the sign of the cross. Castells are often performed in Plaça Sant Jaume.

    • Jun

  9. Sardanes

    “The magnificent, moving ring” is how Catalan poet Joan Maragall described the sardana, Catalonia’s regional dance. Subdued yet intricate, it is performed to the tunes of the cobla, a traditional brass and woodwind band. Sardanes can be seen in Plaça de la Seu and Plaça Sant Jaume year round .

  10. Catalan Christmas & Cavalcada del Reis

    The Nadal (Christmas) season begins on 1 December with the arrival of the festive artisan fairs. On 5 January is the Cavalcada dels Reis, the spectacular Three Kings Parade. In Barcelona, the kings arrive by sea and are welcomed by city officials in front of transfixed children.

Top 10 Music, Theatre & Art Festivals

  1. Festival del Grec

    Barcelona’s largest music, theatre and dance festival.

    • Late Jun–Jul

    • 93 316 11 11 or 902 10 12 12

  2. Festival del Sónar

    This electronic music and multimedia festival has technology fairs and musical events.

  3. Festival Internacional de Jazz

    Big-name and experimental live jazz.

  4. Sitges International Film Festival

    The foremost fantasy film festival in the world.

  5. Festival de Música Antiga

    Concerts of early music in the Barri Gòtic and at L’Auditori.

    • Apr & May

    • 93 247 93 00

  6. Clàssica als Parcs

    Classical music concerts are held in the city’s parks.

    • Jul

    • 010

  7. Festival de Guitarra

    International guitar festival.

  8. Festival de Músiques del Món

    Ethnic and world music acts at L’Auditori.

    • Oct

    • 93 247 93 00

  9. Festival de Flamenco

    A week of outstanding flamenco music at the CCCB in the Raval.

    • Late May

    • 93 443 43 46

  10. Festival de Música

    The Spanish village of Llívia, just over the French border, presents choral groups and orchestras from around the world.

    • Llívia

    • Aug & Dec

    • 972 89 60 11

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