Barcelona captures the hearts of all those who visit! The Spanish city has its own way of doing things, dancing to the beat of its own drum. One of the best ways to experience Barcelona’s unique style and vibe is by heading to one of their diverse festivals.

The city is full of life and color, and its festivals are a beautiful reflection of it. With late nights, street parades, and colorful costumes, the events are a true show of Barcelona’s unique culture. Summers are full of energy and excitement as locals flock to the streets in search of festivals, music, and plenty of tapas – drool!

Even in the wintertime, Barcelona is still bustling with festival activity. Get in amongst the action and join in one of the BEST festivals in Barcelona to let your hair down and enjoy some culture the right way!

A person hanging out on some steps in Barcelona surrounded by graffiti
Barcelona style translates.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

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Festivals in Barcelona

Ensuring your travels to Barcelona coincide with the city’s festivals will add some pizazz to your trip. From unique and cultural to downright BUZZING, these festivals in Barcelona will knock your socks off – don’t miss out!


Man wearing colorful costume in Carnaval Barcelona
Photo: Jorge Franganillo (Flickr)
  • When: February
  • Where: Barcelona

Barcelona’s Carnestoltes or Carnival is one of the most vibrant and popular festivals to take place in the events calendar. Organized to be the final opportunity to let loose before the start of the Catholic observance of Lent, the streets are filled with celebration, parties and color.

Despite being prohibited by Franco between 1936 and 1980, this lively festival is making a strong comeback in the 21st century.

During the festivities, expect to see vibrant costumes, upbeat music, and lots of dancing on the streets. Traditional Spanish food is also served on the streets and bars poppin’ throughout the city as part of the celebrations.

Fat Thursday marks the beginning of the traditional celebration in Catalonia and Barcelona. Basically, it’s a day of gluttony. Food will be everywhere, including the most popular snack called ‘Xuixo’, a deep-fried pastry that’s usually filled with cream and sprinkled with sugar. Everyone will be eating while eagerly waiting for the arrival of the carnival king.

On Saturday, lots of parties and events are going on and each Barcelonian neighborhood holds a parade. Multiple events such as the caravan of the carnival’s king and the Grand Sarao take place on different days leading up to Ash Wednesday.

On the final day of the celebration, there is a tradition called the “burying of the sardine”. This symbolizes the beginning of fasting and the end of indulgence, partying, and feasting. After the final ceremony, there’s a big feast with lunch and various traditional elements before the carnival ends.

Where to Stay:

Meet up with some other solo travelers at this fantastic hostel in downtown Barcelona and enjoy all the festivities of Carnival together.

Dia De Sant Jordi

A bouquet of flowers with people strolling around Barcelona streets in the backdrop in Dia De Sant Jordi Barcelona
  • When: April
  • Where: Barcelona

One of Barcelona’s most celebrated festivals is Dia de Sant Jordi (St. George’s Day). It celebrates the patron saint of Catalonia with events such as book fairs, concerts, and street parties. On this day, it’s tradition to exchange books and roses between lovers or family members. The city streets are filled with booksellers, roses, and entertainment.

St. George, also known as Sant Jordi, is a hero to Catalan. In the tale, the knight managed to kill the scary dragon that was terrorizing the people and the princess. After stabbing the dragon with his sword, lovely red roses started growing from the creature’s body. Sant Jordi picked one of the flowers and gave it to the princess. Hence it’s tradition for men to give roses to their women.

Additionally, there is an old medieval tradition of going to the chapel of Sant Jordi in the Palace of the Generalitat, once used for rose fairs or “lovers’ fairs”. Because men are giving roses to women, women are giving books to men as a tribute to Miguel Cervantes, the celebrated writer who died on this day.

The streets ultimately become an open-air book fair and a flower market. This colorful event is celebrated every April 23 and tourists come from all over the world to be part of it.

Where to Stay:

Stay right amid all the action at this modern, cozy hotel in the heart of Barcelona. Grab yourself a balcony room to witness all the beauty from above.

Formula 1 Grand Prix

Formula 1 Barcelona
  • When: May
  • Where: Barcelona

Formula 1 Grand Prix fans come to the city in thousands each year for a three-day motor show. The weekend includes high-speed races, celebrity events, free concerts, and a host of other activities.

The race began in 1951 and is held on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Montmeló, about 30km north of Barcelona. Unfortunately, due to a high-speed accident involving German driver Rolf Stommelen in 1975, Barcelona was unable to continue hosting Formula 1 Grand Prix races. It wasn’t until 1991 that Barcelona was able to overcome many obstacles and finally build a permanent circuit for the sport.

Now, every year 279,000 racing fans pack the stands to watch the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix, one of the most important competitions in Europe. From the parade of drivers before the race and practice sessions to the post-race celebrations, the festival’s electric atmosphere makes up for the perfect weekend in Barcelona.

Formula 1 can be pretty expensive, especially in Monaco and Miami, so if you really want to go but you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on tickets then Barcelona is your best bet! With tickets starting at €199 for general admission, it’s a great way to get in on the action without breaking the bank.

Where to Stay:

This budget-friendly hotel is perfect for the Grand Prix weekend in Barcelona, offering a rooftop pool as the ideal spot to cool off after the race.

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    Primavera Sound

    Primavera Sound Festival
    Photo: Paul Hudson (Flickr)
    • When: June
    • Where: Barcelona

    Summer is one of the best times to visit Spain and Primavera Sound is one of the capital city’s best festivals.

    This indie music event brings together some of the biggest names in Latin American and European music! The festival features over 120 artists from all over the world performing on seven stages spread across Barcelona.

    Primavera Sound has been taking place since 2001 and attracts over two hundred thousand attendees every year. It’s not only one of the most popular festivals in Spain but it’s one of the most popular music festivals in Europe.

    As more and more people were wanting to attend, the event had to transition to being held over two weekends vs one since it has grown significantly since the start of the festival. The event is being held at the prestigious Parc del Forum concert venue these days and it’s the perfect atmosphere for a festival.

    Primavera Sound is known for its incredible lineups, featuring the best of international and Spanish acts from all genres such as indie rock, hip hop, electronic music, pop, and more. Get ready to dance, shake, shuffle, and sing your little heart out. You’re about to be hoarse for a week.

    The festival does come with a higher price tag but I think it’s totally worth it. The festival weekend tickets are available from €260 and you can purchase VIP tickets for €480.

    Where to Stay: 

    This airy Airbnb is the perfect place to spread out and enjoy Barcelona. With two rooms it’s the ideal escape from the sounds of the festival.

    Sonar Festival

    Group of people gathered at the Sonar Festival Barcelona
    Photo: Sónar
    • When: June
    • Where: Barcelona

    An urban music festival that is different from most music festivals in Spain takes place in Barcelona every year for a weekend in June. Music enthusiasts and travelers from all over Europe come to experience it. The festival is held at two different event sites in the metropolitan heart of the city.

    Currently, the Sonar festival is divided into Sonar by Day and Sonar by Night, which take place in different locations. Sonar by Day is held at Fira Montjuic, while Sonar by Night takes place over three days and two nights at Fira Gran Via, which is located a bit further outside the town.

    The festival features electronic music artists such as Black Coffee, Bonobo, and The Aphex Twins. It’s also a great opportunity for emerging artists to showcase their talents to electronic music fans from around the world. With over 120,000 attendees, Sonar has definitely made a name for itself over the last 30 years.

    Additionally, this festival in Barcelona hosts conferences and talks by top industry professionals and creatives who share a serious interest in electronic music.

    To buy tickets for the event, you have three options: online, over the phone, or in person at select outlets in certain European countries. The full Sonar Pass is priced at €165 and it grants you access to all day and night events for the event’s three-day duration.

    Where to Stay:

    Views on views on views await you at this light and spacious apartment in the city center.

    Barcelona Beach Festival (BBF)

    People gathered in Barcelona Beach Festival (BFF)
    Photo: The Siberian Music (Flickr)
    • When: July
    • Where: Barcelona

    If you’re a fan of electronic and dance music, you won’t want to miss Barcelona Beach Festival. Who doesn’t love partying on a beach? Watching the sunset to a sick DJ set is a one-of-a-kind experience and Barcelona Beach Festival will provide you with just that.

    It’s one of the largest events of its kind in Spain and takes place in the middle of July for 12 hours straight at Platja del Forum, one of the best beaches in Barcelona. Watch some of your favorite artists perform in front of the glorious blue waters of the Mediterranean, and have that hot girl or guy summer you’ve been dreaming of.

    The event features renowned artists such as David Guetta, Marshmello, and the Chainsmokers, as well as numerous up-and-coming local Iberian musicians aspiring to break into the festival circuit. Despite being a one-day event, this festival in Barcelona draws in a significant crowd of over 70,000 attendees annually.

    You can expect some amazing stage designs, light displays, and fireworks that go off at exactly the right time. The beat has never felt so good! Additionally, there will be some food trucks and stalls available for you to grab a snack and recharge your energy throughout the night.

    General admission tickets for the festival, also known as BBF, sell quickly and usually range from €65 to €100. Alternatively, you can purchase a more expensive VIP pass for an exclusive experience. This is one of the most affordable festivals in Barcelona so make sure to snag tickets asap.

    Where to Stay:

    Feel fabulous staying in this modern apartment in the city. This space is bright and roomy and is located in the heart of Barcelona.

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    Festival Cruïlla Barcelona

    • When: July
    • Where: Barcelona

    Summer has never looked so good in Barcelona as when the Festival Cruïlla takes over its streets. This is one of the most popular music festivals in the city, hosting some of the biggest names in alternative music.

    The festival takes place at Parc del Fòrum and has five different stages where you can enjoy a range of musical styles including indie, hip-hop, and electronic. It’s BIG vibes and the attendees are one of a kind! From those that love alternative music to those that just want to have a good time, the Festival Cruïlla promises to make your trip to Spain truly unforgettable.

    The music is great, and it’s impossible to predict who will show up. Past performers include Asian Dub Foundation, Robert Plant, Suede, Iggy & The Stooges, Damon Albarn, Cat Power, Gogol Bordello, and M.I.A. With one of the most diverse lineups in Barcelona, you won’t want to miss it!

    Along with insane music lineups, they’ve introduced comedy into the festival in recent years. Acts like Adri Romeo, Charlie Pee, and Manel Videl have all graced the stage at Cruïlla. This year they’ve extended the comedy portion of the festival by adding two full days devoted to it!

    Prices start as low as €30 for a one-night pass and gradually increase from there. They also sell tickets per day and special passes that include accommodation, food, and transportation.

    Where to Stay:

    Close to the city, close to the beach, this Hotel Peninsular has an excellent location for you, offering respite from the vibes of the festival.

    Festa Major de Gracia

    Festa Major de Gracia Barcelona
    Photo: Cary Bass-Deschenes (Flickr)
    • When: August
    • Where: Barcelona

    Gràcia is a stunning Spanish neighborhood that hosts a week-long party in August called the Fiesta de Gràcia. This event is well-known and highly anticipated by locals and visitors. If you’re in Barcelona during August, you have to check out the Gràcia neighborhood and experience this unique Barcelona festival firsthand.

    Gràcia in Barcelona is well-known for its laid-back bohemian vibe, bustling plazas, and lively bar and café scene. It involves a competition where different streets in the neighborhood decorate their streets to compete for the title of the best-decorated street.

    And let me tell you, each street takes this competition very seriously and the standards are high. They don’t mess around when it comes to Festa Mejor. The streets choose a theme for their decoration, which can range from topics like Roman wrestling to dinosaurs in Jurrasic Park.

    If you take a walk around the streets of Gràcia, you’ll be amazed by the colorful canopies above you and the creativity displayed in each street. During the week-long celebration, there will be a range of concerts and performances and delicious food stands as well. It’s an event that brings together the entire community and celebrates the city’s unique culture – undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Barcelona.

    The Gràcia festival is a public street party in the neighborhood that is free of charge. You don’t need to purchase any tickets to join the celebration. Just bring your joyous spirit and experience the vibrant atmosphere of this unique event.

    Where to Stay:

    Enjoy the Gracia neighborhood in this boutique apartment. The high ceilings and modern look will make you feel right at home.

    DGTL Barcelona

    • When: September
    • Where: Barcelona

    Barcelona is hosting another big EDM event organized by DGTL, a festival organization from the Netherlands known for bringing together top electronic music artists, digital art, and local and emerging talent across Europe.

    DGTL is a yearly festival held in September at the Parc del Forum in Spain and features five different stages, making it a must-attend event for EDM fans. This year’s lineup includes artists like Disclosure, Maceo Plex, and Tale of Us.

    The festival’s stage sets and designs are impressive, showcasing art from both local and international artists. As night falls, the light shows and pyrotechnics enhance the experience and create a captivating atmosphere. I would say it’s some of the best visuals in all of the music festivals in BCN.

    My favorite thing about this event is that they have made sure to establish themselves as a sustainable festival. DGTL is a fully vegetarian event and is committed to being 100% circular. They also avoid using single-use plastics and their set designs and light shows are powered by an intelligent energy plan.

    If you plan to visit Barcelona in September, make sure to book your spot early because tickets are priced as low as €50 but they sell out quickly.

    Where to Stay: 

    After a few nights of head-banging music, you’ll appreciate a super comfortable bed at this self-catering apartment in the city center.

    Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
    Active Roots Security Belt

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    La Mercè

    La Mercè Barcelona
    • When: September
    • Where: Barcelona

    The oldest and most popular folk festival in Barcelona takes over the city in late September. It’s a week of fun and celebration which is dedicated to La Mercè, the patron saint of Barcelona.

    La Mercè de Barcelona is a 5-day festival that was first held in 1902 and is a way of saying goodbye to summer and welcoming the cooler months of fall. The Mercè festival has numerous activities, including famous “main events” such as events, parades, and flames (Correfoc) that will fill the streets with people and fire.

    The Correfoc takes place at midnight. Though the street will be closed, the event is open for “Los Diablos”, which translates to devils or demons.

    During the event, demons with fireworks and firecrackers in hand run through the streets, causing explosions and flames. You may also see fire-breathing dragons accompanied by demons hopping around with fireworks in their hands. It’s a bit scary but it’s a really cool experience.

    Another main event is the Castellers Human Towers. This is a traditional Catalan activity in which people form human towers up to seven or eight levels high and parade through the streets.

    Lastly, there is the Parade of Giants in Barcelona. This is a yearly parade that passes through the streets of Barcelona with giant figures and characters in costumes. You’ll find puppets, dragons, giants, and more all marching through the city!

    Where to Stay:

    Located near all the action is the Hostal Portugal. It’s a great place to stay if you want to be near all the street parades and save a little money.

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    What to Pack For Your Barcelona Trip

    A solid travel plan starts with a good packing list. These little items are absolute game-changer. Thank me later!

    Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
    Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

    Ear Plugs

    Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

    Keep your laundry organized and stink free
    Keep your laundry organized and stink free

    Hanging Laundry Bag

    Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

    Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
    Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

    Sea To Summit Micro Towel

    Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

    Make Some New Buddies…
    Make Some New Buddies…

    Monopoly Deal

    Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

    Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
    Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

    Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

    Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

    Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

    Traveling without good travel insurance is not the way to go. It’s not the type of crazy we are looking for here. Festival crazy > insurance crazy.

    ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

    They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

    SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

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    Final Thoughts on Festivals in Barcelona

    Barcelona is the land of sangria, tapas, and siestas and I’m in love with it! But more than just the atmosphere of the city, it has a unique and vibrant culture that is so beautifully displayed during the festivals throughout the year.

    La Merce, Festa Major de Gracia, and even the newer festivals like DGTL are all great events to experience while in Barcelona. You can soak up the culture or dance the night away at pretty much any festival and you’ll be thinking “Should I move here?”

    But I want to make sure you at least get to the best of the best. And in my opinion, that’s Carnival de Barcelona, with parades, street performances, costume parties, and more it’s a can’t-miss cultural event in Barcelona!

    Made it this far?
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