When I spent my first New Year’s Eve in Barcelona, people told me that this night is traditionally spent in families’ homes and that the party only gets started some time after midnight. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is certainly no lack of merriment on the streets if you know where to look. If you are after a bit of atmosphere and people to share the last moments of 2016 with, here are some of the liveliest places where the crowds gather.
On a crisp winter morning at the end of November, as I was guiding the Old City Free Walking Tour, we passed through the Christmas Fair of Saint Lucy. I got many a curious question as to who was that figurine defecating near the nativity scene, why children were beating a huge piece of wood with a stick and how come there was a giant Turkish head spitting out sweets for the children. Having lived here for so long, all these traditions seemed quite normal to me, but if visiting for the first time, they can appear to be quite exotic and bizarre. Let me brighten your day and explain about the unique customs you can expect when visiting Barcelona over the Christmas and New Year period.
The weather is gorgeous and there is a feeling of festivity in the air. From the 22nd to the 25th of September we are celebrating La Mercè 2016, the festival of festivals in Barcelona. It is in honour of one of the patron-saints of the city: our Lady of the Mercy. All of you lucky ones to be here, don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to experience some of the best Catalan traditions. Of course, our scheduled walking tours will be running as usual and we will probably stumble across some of the celebrations, which makes it even more special. You can download the programme of the main activities during La Mercè 2016 in English. I have also selected some of the ones that I think you shouldn’t miss.
Finally! We have a video for our company… and we love it! A great way to show what we do to the world in a quick less-than-a-minute short film. Here it is, enjoy!
Barcelona loves Summer celebrations. The annual Gracia Festival is, together with La Mercè Festival in September, one of the main ones of the city. Every August, the streets of this charming neighbourhood change colour and it welcomes visitors to its delightful squares. This year it will take place from the 15th to the 21st of August. I have summarized the best of the Gracia Festival 2016 so you can stop researching and enjoy the celebration.
One of my favourite nights of the year in Barcelona is fast approaching: The Night of the Museums. This free late night viewing of exhibitions is not only exclusive to my city but is part of a wider initiative across Europe. It doesn’t matter if you are a local or a visitor. It is a great activity for all and it will take part all around the city on May 21st, from 7 pm until 1 am.
Coming to Barcelona with a young family? Scratching your head about what family friendly restaurants in Barcelona you should go to? Well, put your worries aside, relax and let me give you the same tips I give to parents on my Kids and Family tours. It should make for a fun and stress-free meal with the young ones while on holiday.
Ever since we wrote the post about The Catalan Festival that occurs each year in the summer, our readers keep asking us where to see human towers in Barcelona. The main “castells” season is from April to October but you can find them all year around depending on festival dates. We have decided to create a new post with an updated annual calendar so everyone can enjoy this wonderful Catalan tradition. To wet your appetite, here is a fantastic video explaining the world of the human towers.
It’s that exciting time of year again. On these crisp mornings on my way to work I pass through the Santa Llúcia Christmas Market, and there’s nothing like it to get you into the holiday mood. The Christmas lights are on, the markets are packed, and there is a real buzz around the city. If you happen to be spending this magical time in Barcelona with kids, there are plenty of festive activities to keep them entertained.
Want to visit an architectural gem without the crowds? The Art Nouveau Casa Lleó i Morera, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, opened its doors to the public last year and I definitely recommend every Art lover to give it a whirl.