Each year, during one week in mid-August one of Barcelona’s most traditional, vibrant and famous parties takes place. It is known as the Festa Major de Gracia, one of the most colorful festive events. The neighborhood of Gracia used to be an independent municipality until it became a part of Barcelona in 1897. Since then it has kept its strong community feels, something that is shown through its avid participation in its annual Festa Major (the annual celebration in Catalan).
Gracia Festival in Barcelona!
Did you know that the Gracia Festival has been happening for over 200 years? Well, now you do! This year will mark the 202nd edition of Barcelona’s Festa Major de Gràcia! Every August in Barcelona, the beautiful district of Gracia hosts a street festival which lasts an entire week! During this week of partying, the residents of Gracia neighborhood have a lot of fun decorating the street of their district. The first celebration happened in 1817. This year, the festival will take place from Thursday the 15th of August until Wednesday the 21st of August 2019 in Gracia, Barcelona.
This huge event is based on a competition between the streets of the neighborhood in which their decorations and creativity are compared. The competition results in a real feast for the eyes with lights, sculptures and a variety of themes chosen by a council formed by residents each street. As you walk through the streets you could be finding yourself taking a trip to Japan, through the laboratory of a mad scientist or even an underwater world! All the streets participate and each decoration is more and more eye-popping than the others. Many people believe that this very colorful festival is the best local street festival in Barcelona. The festival has even become a significant tradition in Barcelona. It’s the most popular and the most colorful festival in the city! The festival is famous for its hospitality, for its very welcoming atmosphere. The residents of Gracia welcome visitors and tourists in their neighborhood with open arms, this is one of the reasons which makes the Gracia Festival so special!
As you walk down the streets and let yourself be transported by the decor, atmosphere and festivities, you will notice that locals and tourists are just getting to mingle. All the people enjoy the traditional festive regardless of their ages or gender – it’s an event which brings together the families and friends whether a local or a tourist. Numerous activities take place throughout the week, ranging from swing classes, expositions, concerts, beer and wine tastings and much more. During the festival, the streets of Gracia are decorated with colored banners, giant flowers, and papier mâché giants. A lot of the streets put up their own stages with ear-splitting sound systems and everyone has a different genre: electronic, salsa, punk, hip hop and more. You can spend hours wandering through the streets and catching a bit of live music in every square… and it’s all free! You’ll also find great prices on tapas, kebabs and more. This is a great way to have a peek into the Catalan culture, as many of the activities derived from it.
Human tower – or Castellers
During the festivities, you will encounter traditional Catalan Castellers. Formed by a team of trained men and women the Castellers put on a show in which they construct a human pyramid or, better said, a human castle. To complete the human tower a young child climbs to the very top and waves to the crowd. This tradition is meant to represent the unity of the Catalan people, though it’s a frightful sight to behold. Teams throughout the city compete with each other to form the highest tower. This tradition has even made it to the list of the Intangible World Heritage by the UNESCO.
Good to know
Check out the Fiesta de Gracia schedule but here I can only say that the dates run from August 15-21. Obviously, the busiest days will be weekends, but I don’t think there’s any real quiet day.
During the festival, bars are open late and they set up stands with beer kegs, wine, and sangria. The lines can get a bit ridiculous so of course, you’re free to indulge in Spain’s favorite past time: botellon!
Also during the Festa de Gracia 2019, the metro is open all night on the 16th and 17th of August.
How to get there
The Gracia Festival will occur in the neighborhood of Gracia, Barcelona. You can take the metro, the Green Line (L3) and stop at the metro station Fontana. This way, you’ll arrive right at the center of the Gracia district!
Where to stay in Gracia?
Gracia is one of the best neighborhoods in Barcelona full of culture and history. Relax in a unique and cozy coffee shop with a good book or take a walk around the famous Gaudi’s houses. Gracia is a very nice neighborhood: it has a pretty chill, laid-back atmosphere but it’s also a very lively and dynamic district too! For the perfect accommodation, book one of our fabulous Apartments in Gracia.