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Barcelona Festivals, Events, and Holidays 2023
Come to Barcelona any day of the year, and you’re guaranteed to find the right event for you. Religious celebrations, concerts, food fairs, or a Mexican food meet-up? They’re always happening! Read this list of major events, festivals, and public holidays in Barcelona to help you plan your trip. Read more about Barcelona events to expect!
New Year’s Day. January 1, 2023. It’s a special holiday, meant to be spent with family and friends. Be aware that 99% of Barcelona shops and restaurants are closed. The only large retail center that’s open is the Maremagnum Shopping Center.
Fira de Reis de la Gran Via (Three Kings Christmas Fair). TBD. While most Christmas fairs have closed shop on December 23, this Christmas fair on Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes remains open into the night until January 5, Eve of the Three Kings Day. Here you can find toys, candy, artisan gifts, handmade jewelry, and lots of churro stands. Mmmm….
La Cavalcada de Reis (Three Kings Parade). January 5, 2023. Instead of Santa Claus, the Catalan and Spanish folks have the Three Kings to give them presents. IT IS ONLINE THIS YEAR! They arrive at the dock in Barcelona and have an elaborate theatrical parade through the major streets of Barcelona. The festivities start at 4:30pm as they make their way throwing candy and sweets for eager children and adults to catch. It’s free!
Dia de Reis (Epiphany / Three Kings’ Day). January 6, 2023. Catalan and Spanish children wake up to open their surprise gifts exclusively from the Three Kings. Most shops and restaurants are closed.
Winter Sales Season. January 7-March 6, 2023. Unlike in the US (where there are sales every damn day of the year), shopping sales are a huge deal in Spain. Why? Retailers start with major markdowns, sometimes at 70%. If they can’t get rid of stock, they may make a second markdown. The sales seasons happen twice a year (the other season is in August), so if you’re looking for that special something look for “Rebaixes” or “Rebajas” on the storefront. It might be worth it – if you want to find a special dress from Zara or books from FNAC.
Foguerons de Sa Pobla: TBD. A tradition from the Spanish island of Mallorca, the Foguerons de Sa Pobla is when you’ll see around a dozen bonfires in the artsy neighborhood of Gràcia. You also get to enjoy Mallorcan folk singing, concerts, theater, and more all week. Oh, and grilling meat in the bonfires!
Festa Major de Sant Antoni. January 13 – July 22, 2023. A trendy neighborhood for foodies, Sant Antoni holds its Festa Major, or neighborhood festival, which is usually earlier in the year. It all starts with a parade called the Cavalcada dels Tres Tombs. It’s a parade for…pets? Yup, pet parents come with their Fifis and Fluffies, and they get blessed by a Catholic official in the name of St. Anthony. Festivities also include a correfoc (fire run), performances, poetry recitals, beer festivals, and gegants (papier-mache giant puppets), of course.
Festes de Santa Eulalia: TBD. As the patron saint of Barcelona, Santa Eulalia (or Laia for short) is the second-most celebrated Catalan festival in Barcelona (right after La Mercè). The celebration comprises of many folkloric Catalan traditions: correfocs, gegants, castellers, and dancing the sardanas. Some museums, like the Picasso Museum and the Fundació Joan Miró are also free to enter. Find out more here.
Carnaval. TBD. Carnival is celebrated a week prior to Lent, which includes Fat Thursday, then the following Friday, the Rei de Carnestoltes (King of Carnival) arrives. The end of Carnival season is on Ash Wednesday when they hold a satirical funeral procession and bury a sardine. Carnival is also celebrated on a smaller scale in some Barcelona neighborhoods. It’s also celebrated privately: kids and adults wear costumes at schools, at work functions, or at special events. The real Carnival party is in Sitges, where you’ll see an elaborate kids’ parade and a general Carnival parade. Don’t miss the one-time event!
Festival Llum (Light Festival). TBD. This is one my favorite after-dark festivals where you can see light artists display light and music performances, mappings, art installations, and more. It’s held in the Poblenou / Glories area. It’s free and fun for the kids too!
eDreams Mitja Marató (Barcelona Half-Marathon). TBD. This is the second-largest event after Barcelona’s main marathon. It’s a flat running course, and highlights include running near Arc de Triomf, parallel to the beach on Passeig de Pujades, and near the Torre AGBAR.
Mobile World Congress: February 27 – March 2, 2023. Kind of like Muslims to Mecca, the Mobile World Congress draws techies from around the world, making it the largest exhibition for the mobile industry. Buy yourself a ticket if you want to hear from thought leaders, learn new trends and technologies, and expand your network. This year’s theme is Intelligent Connectivity. MWC is held between two convention centers, Fira Gran Via and Fira Montjuic.
Brunch in the City Barcelona: TBD. Starting out as “Brunch in the Park”, this music festival of house, techno, acid music has eight events from July to October. They’re held at Parc del Forum and Poble Espanyol, among others.
Festa de Sant Medir. TBD. Set in the Gracia neighborhood, colles (festival groups) hold a procession around the neighborhood as they trek on their pilgrimage to St. Medir’s shrine, the Ermita de Sant Medir. Neighbors of all ages stand by to catch sweets and candy. There’s also castellers, musical processions, horses, and floats!
Barcelona Beer Festival. TBD. Grab a huge cold glass of Mahou, San Miguel, Estrella, and other 650 types of beers at the largest beer festival with beers, food, and live music. There better be lots of bathroom stalls! It takes place at La Farga in L’Hospitalet.
Festes de Sant Josep Oriol. TBD. Neighbors of en El Barri del Pi (neighborhood around the Santa Maria del Pi Church) honor St. Joseph Oriol, a devout priest who lived in the area and was famous for curing the sick. They put on a festival of giants, a parade, castellers, and a chocolatada (where they serve tons of hot chocolate!).
Brunch in the City Barcelona: TBD. See above.
Holy Week. April 2 – April 9, 2023. Easter week is low-key in Barcelona compared to other parts of Spain, where hooded men and women march in Easter processions. If you want to see traditional penance processions of Catholic fraternities carrying statues, crosses, and candles, go to Hospitalet or Badalona. Check out this page (in Spanish) to see which Catalan religious fraternity activities.
Important dates: Remember that many shops and restaurants are closed on Good Friday, April 7. They’re also closed on Easter Sunday, April 9 (like every Sunday. AND closures are on Easter Monday (yes, Easter Monday!), April 10.
Día de Sant Jordi (St. George’s Day). April 23, 2023. The day of Sant Jordi is kind of like Valentine’s Day, but better! Men give women roses, and women traditionally give the men a book. Nowadays, women get both. Go us! It’s a festive day for book and rose vendors set up tables around Rambla Catalunya, Passeig de Gracia, Las Ramblas, and Placa Catalunya. Even famous authors come out to sign books. The ambiance is exhilarating. Go out there and support a small book shop!
Cursa del Corte Inglés (El Corte Inglés race). April 23, 2023. Department store giant, El Corte Inglés, puts on this wildly popular free race in Barcelona, this year marking the 44th year.
Feria de Abril de Catalunya (April Fair of Catalunya). TBD. Almost (but not quite) like the traditional spring fair in Seville, the Feria de Abril in Barcelona celebrates Andalusian style: flamenco dancing, polka-dot ruffle dresses, and pop-up restaurant tents with plenty of room for dancing sevillanas. There’s also a massive section of noisy carnival rides, retail stands, and cotton candy. The fun takes place in Parc del Fòrum.
May 1 is Labor Day, and most shops and restaurants are closed.
Brunch in the City Barcelona: TBD. See above.
Salón del Cómic Barcelona (International Comic Fair). TBD. This fair and convention for comic lovers and more has over 180 exhibitors, conferences and roundtables, kids’ activities, meet-ups, and more. Awards are also given to authors.
Spanish Grand Prix. June 2-4, 2023. If cars and races are your thing, don’t miss the Formula One Grand Prix. For the 32nd consecutive year, the races will be held at Montmeló. You can expect about 500,000 folks to participate.
La Nit dels Museus (Museums Night). May 14, 2023. For one night, 68 museums offer free entrance from 7 pm to 1am. Museums include Museu FC Barcelona, MNAC, MACBA, Recinte Moderniste de Sant Pau, and Museu Picasso. Head out early to popular museums to avoid long queues!
May 29, Pentecost Monday. Shops and restaurants are closed!
Brunch in the City Barcelona: TBD. See above.
Primavera Sound. June 1-3, 2023. When Primavera Sound comes around, people will not. shut. up. about it. It’s a 3-day music festival that has drawn mega- and indie artists, including The Jesus and Mary Chain, Khaled, Beck, and Iggy Pop. You have to buy your tickets for the whole event, which starts at 195 euros.
L’Ou Com Balla (The Dancing Egg). TBD. Ever see an egg dance on water? L’Ou Com Balla celebrates Corpus Christi, 60 days after Easter Sunday. In several squares and cloisters around Barcelona, you’ll see an empty egg bouncing up and down on fountain waters. Catch it at Barcelona Cathedral (most popular), Frederic Marès Museum, the Maritime Museum (Museu Marítim), and Pedralbes Monastery. In some places, you can see the dancing egg until June 14.
Fira Modernista de Barcelona (Modernist Fair). TBD. This fair celebrates Catalan Modernism, which took place over 120+ years ago in Eixample, the neighborhood birthplace. Expect to see nostalgic modernist costumes, stalls, workshops, rides for kids, and vintage cars of the Modernist era. It’s free and it’s fun!
Festival Jardins de Pedralbes: TBD. This small-crowd music festival is set in the Pedralbes gardens, and manages to draw the largest names. On this year’s list is James Blunt, Dido, Raphael, Andres Calamaro, Patti Smith, Crowded House, Cat Stevens, Diana Ross, and MORE! Names are still being added and prices are reasonable.
Sónar Festival. June 15-17, 2023. One of the most important electronic music festivals, Sonar blends music, technology, and creativity with DJ sets, live performances, and immersive art.
Tast a la Rambla (Tasting on Las Ramblas). TBD. This food festival is where you can nibble on some traditional and classic bites on the most iconic Barcelona street, Las Ramblas. Get a taste at one of the 50 local restaurants and, participate in the food workshops, and enjoy the live music!
Nit de Sant Joan (St. John’s Eve): June 23, 2023. Sant Joan is when you ring in the summer. Gigantic bonfires are found at the beach, but they’re also around different neighborhoods at intersections. Don’t be alarmed by seeing huge flames, they’re pretty controlled. Most people gather around the beach area to enjoy the night-time fires, drinking, and just being merry. It’s the longest night of the year!
June 24, 2023. Dia de San Joan (St. John’s Feast Day). All shops and restaurants are closed!
Cinema Lliure a La Platja (Open-Air Cinema at the Beach). TBD. Check out full-length independent films shown at the San Sebastian beach on the sand. They’re usually in Spanish or Catalan, are projected on a big screen. They’re usually held on Thursdays at 9 pm, but that’s still TBD. And it’s FREE! Just bring a blanket, snacks, friends, and your favorite teddy bear.
Gay Pride Barcelona: TBD. Barcelona is a pretty open-minded city, which even has a gay district called “Gaixample” in Sant Antoni. Gay Pride Barcelona celebrates diversity with a parade, music performances, and more. Check Pride BCN for more info.
Brunch in the Park: TBD. This summer music festival series features international artists and DJs in a sunny park setting. Performances are held in different locations like Parc de Joan Brossa in Montjuic. Shows have already sold out. It’s also a family-friendly event – with play zones and activities for the kids. It’s the perfect place for parents to feel hip: enjoying the sun, dancing to music, and taking the family.
Brunch in the Park: See above.
Montjuic Open Air Cinema: TBD. This is the only place in Barcelona where you can watch a film outdoors at a 17th-century fortress. Bring a blanket, snacks, and water with you as you watch a film at Montjuic Castle. They have live music at 8:45pm, and the film starts at 10:00pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Buy your tickets in advance because some films have already sold out! Get your tickets here.
Festival CruÏlla: July 6 – July 8, 2023. A raging music festival for Catalan music, reggae, Latin, and rock. Past editions have included Placebo, Gwen Stefani, and Of Monsters and Men. A single day’s ticket starts at 65 euros. It happens at Parc del Fòrum.
Barcelona Beach Festival: TBD. World-famous DJs spin EDM, dance, house, techno tracks at the Platja del Fòrum and Parc de La Pau at Sant Adrià de Besòs.
Grec Festival of Barcelona. TBD. It’s music, theater, dance, and circus events at this small open-air theatre in Montjuic. Stay tuned for program information!
Festa Major del Raval (Raval Neighborhood Festival). Mid-July-ish, TBD. This neighborhood festival is in the colorful and diverse neighborhood of Raval, which has parades, performances, gegants, and correfocs. Stay tuned here for updates!
Festa Major de Poble Sec. TBD. Traditionally a working-class neighborhood, Poble Sec has festival events around Parc de Les Tres Xemenies, Placa Navas, and Carrer Blai, among others. Expect concerts, correfocs, DJs, castellers, open-air cinemas, children’s activities, and more.
Important notes: Most people in Barcelona (and all over Spain) take their vacation/holidays during the entire month of August. That means many shops and restaurants are closed. The tourist attractions and major shops will probably open.
Musics als Parcs. TBD. This summer music event series features live jazz and classical music and it’s held all over Barcelona’s parks. The ambiance is feel-good and relaxing and are the perfect concerts to attend with the family, including grandparents 😉
August 15 (Feast of the Assumption). Most restaurants and shops are closed!
Festa Major de Gràcia: TBD. Gràcia holds the largest, most exuberant neighborhood festival of all. Residents enter a competition: they decorate their own street according to a theme, and they only use recycled materials. The papier-mâché structures and colors are out of this world! Check it out in my post here. Also, there are correfocs, sardanas, concerts, workshops, and so so much more. If you go, please be mindful of the neighbors as guests are often too loud or destroy decorations 🙁
Festa Major de Sants: TBD. This is a milder version of the Festa Major de Gràcia and attracts fewer visitors, but it’s still worthy of visiting. One) because the streets are also decorated, and two) it’s way less crowded! Expect the usual fare of correfocs, concerts, dances, kids’ activities, fairs and gegants!
La Diada: September 11, 2023. ‘mericans say September 11th, Catalans say National Day of Catalonia. La Diada commemorates a day in 1714 when Barcelona city fell to Spanish troops. The past few years, the significance of La Diada has intensified due to the ongoing political tension with Catalan independence. Expect to see mostly peaceful marches and lots of red-and-yellow Catalan flags. Shops and restaurants are closed.
Festa Major de La Barceloneta (La Barceloneta Festival). TBD. Also called the Festa Major de Sant Miquel, this neighborhood festival is held in the seaside neighborhood of La Barceloneta. It has gegants, a parade of cannons (that shoot candy!), decorated streets, correfocs, and dancing of sardanas.
Festa de La Mercè. Around September 24 (TBD). A citywide festival spanning a few days, this is the largest (and FREE!) festival in Barcelona. It honors the other patron saint of Barcelona, the Lady of Mercy. There are 600 activities spread throughout Plaça Sant Jaume, La Barceloneta, Plaça Catalunya, Passeig de Gracia, Park Ciutadella, and all the neighborhoods. It includes concerts (the BAM festival is included here), gegants, workshops, castellers, correfocs, theater, kids’ activities, performances, and so much more! IMHO, it’s the best time to visit Barcelona because it’s not extremely hot, there are fewer tourists. And it all ends with fireworks!
September 24, 2023: Dia de La Mercè. Shops and restaurants are closed.
Sitges Film Festival. TBD. Just down south is the beautiful town of Sitges, where they also celebrate the international Sitges film festival. Films are mostly fantasy and horror films timed with the Halloween season. There are also lots of stands and activity going on around the boardwalk, including an annual Zombie Walk.
October 12, Spanish National Holiday. Most shops and restaurants are closed.
Oktoberfest Barcelona: TBD. Just like in Munich, Germany, Barcelona brings its own version of the beer festival. You’ll find Heineken, Weissbeer, Cruzcampo, and of course…German sausages! Now pass the bratwurst! It goes down at the Fira Montjuic.
Cursa de Bombers de Barcelona (Barcelona Firemen’s Race). TBD. This charity race is run by the Firemen of Barcelona. (Imagine a massive group of manly men in firemen uniform with their gear running!!) It’s open to the public and covers 10 kilometers.
Voll-Damm Barcelona Jazz Festival: October – November (TBD). Love jazz? This internationally acclaimed festival takes place in scattered venues like at the Palau de La Musica, Sala Apolo, or the Harlem Jazz Club. Past jazz artists include Diana Krall and Jimmy Cobb. Tickets are sold based on individual performances, and they go fast!
48H Open House Barcelona. TBD, end of the month usually. While Gaudí and Modernist buildings are incredible, Barcelona is busting with architectural wonders that go widely unnoticed like the Media-TIC building. You’ll get a guided tour (mostly in Catalan, but they may cater to Spanish speakers, depending on your guide). I highly recommend the Arc de Triomf, Antiga Fabrica Estrella Damm, or the Casa Vicens. Get there early because lines get long. The event is FREE!
La Castanyada: October 31 – November 1, 2023. More of a tradition and not an event, La Castanyada celebrates the welcoming of fall. Catalans eat roasted chestnuts and sweet potatoes, then top it off with some muscatel. La Castanyada celebrations are normally in homes or at schools. But you’ll see some of the few stalls selling chestnuts throughout Barcelona. Halloween has been creeping into Catalan culture, more each year.
November 1, 2023: All Souls’ Day. Shops and restaurants are closed,
In-Edit Barcelona. TBD. Music documentaries are a thing of their own at the In-Edit festival. 2019’s film titles included “Gay Chorus Deep South”, “Mystifying Michael Hutchence”, and “David Bowie: Finding Fame”. Intrigued? Check it all out on the In-Edit website.
Women’s Race Barcelona. TBD. The Carrera de La Mujer happens all around Spain, and women run a 7.8-kilometer race for charity. Power to the woman!
Black Friday sales. November 24, 2023. Black Friday is now a worldwide thing, and it probably won’t go away. If you’re eyeing something to buy, know that some shops hold their own Black Friday sales like El Corte Ingles, FNAC, H&M, etc.
December 8, 2023. Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Most shops and restaurants are closed.
Fira de Santa Llucia (Santa Lucia Christmas Fair). TBD. last days of November – end of December-ish 2021. The most popular and largest Christmas fair in Barcelona, you’ll find rows and rows of stalls in front of the Barcelona Cathedral. Expect to see Christmas trees, Christmas decorations, caganers, wooden toys, and a huge tió de nadal that the children can beat with a stick. ( <- What?? Yup, find out about that here.)
Christmas activities in Barcelona: End of November-ish, January 6, 2024. Holiday activities are ongoing throughout Barcelona. Most activities are in Plaça Catalunya and Plaça Sant Jaume. Check out Christmas activities in Barcelona – as I update it every year!
Fira de la Sagrada Familia (Sagrada Familia Christmas Fair): Last weekend of November – December 23rd. This is a fun Christmas market to go right in front of the Sagrada Familia. You’ll see Christmas trees, artisan gifts, Christmas decorations, food vendors, Nativity scenes, and more. A great place to visit right after seeing the grand church!
Fira de Reis de la Gran Via (Three Kings Christmas Fair). End of November-ish to January 5, 2023. Description is above. This Christmas fair IS open on December 26 when everything is closed. Hurrah!
Festival de la Infancia (Children’s Fair). TBD. This is an indoor event for kids to learn, discover, and play! It’s held at the Fira Gran Via, where kids can learn about the Barcelona tram, pretend they work at the Barcelona port, or be a footballer. It’s meant to inspire children about future careers. I went in 2019, and queues were quite long for some stands like the one for FC Barcelona, so I suggest going early to knock those out of the way. Then enjoy the rest of the stands!
December 25, 2023. Christmas Day. Most shops and restaurants are closed.
December 26, 2023. Boxing Day / St Stephen’s Day. Most shops and restaurants are closed.
New Year’s Eve: December 31, 2023. Barcelona’s main New Year’s Eve event takes place in Placa Espanya with fireworks and all!
Friends, there are other events going on like All Those Food Market, Monumental Club, Tapantoni, and so so much more! What time of year are you coming to Barcelona? Have any doubts? Let me know in the comments!