Easter Week in Barcelona – 7 days to celebrate

Just like many places around the world, Easter Week in Barcelona is an important time of year at which locals get together with friends and families to celebrate many a festivity.

Easter Week

Easter Week is celebrated across the country, from the largest cities to the smallest villages, yet in Barcelona you’re sure to experience celebrations like no other with a long line of typical Catalan traditions.

So if you’re thinking of spending the Easter week in Barcelona, here are a few useful tips to make sure you don’t miss out on the most typical events and cultural traditions.

This year (2020) Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday 5thApril 2020 ending with Easter Sunday on 12thApril and Easter Monday on 13thApril. Restaurants and bars tend to be open to cater for family meals, but don’t forget that shops and museums will be closed over Easter weekend.

Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Barcelona 2021: 28 March – 03 April

‘Semana Santa’ translates as Holy Week and it is an important week in the Christian calendar. Barcelona, as part of Catalunya, is traditionally less religious than other parts of Spain, particularly in the South. However, it still has its fair share of celebrations during this period.

Holy week is the week before Easter and starts with Palm Sunday. It includes Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday but does not include Easter Sunday.

Dates for Easter Week (Holy week)
Year: 2021

Palm Sunday 28 March
Good Friday 02 April
Easter Saturday 03 April

Easter
Easter Sunday 04 April
Easter Monday 05 April

Holy week begins on Palm Sunday, when a procession traditionally takes place around the cathedral with people holding palms. A week of religious ceremonies follows, ending on Easter Sunday.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is most likely the most important of all Easter Week in Barcelona. We recommend you head to the Gothic quarter and catch the “La Burreta” (donkey) procession that commemorates Jesus’s arrival in Jerusalem. 

Easter week in Barcelona blessing of the Palm branches

Keep an eye out for the olive and palm branches carried by children to the local churches to be blessed. You’ll also see them hanging from doors and balconies to ward off evil spirits.

Good Friday is another important date in the liturgical calendar. The Cathedral of Barcelona, and many other local churches, will commemorate this day and the Stations of the Cross with a Via Crucis mass.

Typical sweets

When it comes to food, Easter wouldn’t be Easter without its sweet and savoury delicacies. In between exploring the city and its Easter customs, we recommend taking a break and recharging your batteries with the best of Catalan cuisine.

“La Mona” is a local Easter cake typically made from chocolate and decorated with small figures and animals, chocolate eggs and other sweet treats. Today these cakes are true works of art, but they were originally made from a round sweet brioche and topped with hard-boiled eggs with its tradition dating back to Roman times.

Easter week in Barcelona typical Mona de Pascua

Be sure to drop in to a local bakery to marvel at these fantastic creations or pick one up and try it for yourself!

What’s more, as it is Christian tradition not to eat meat on Good Friday, make sure you also try the typical cod dishes served at local restaurants. Our favourite is the salted codfish in a vegetable sauce, bacalao con sanfaina.

Must visit

If you’re spending the whole week in Barcelona, we’d also recommend day trips to the villages of Cervera or Verges with processions that you won’t see anywhere else in the world. From Cervera’s skeletons that dance the “Dance of Death” to the Verges Procession in which the entire village takes part, be prepared to be amazed.

Easter week in Barcelona celebration and processions

Now you know the dates for Easter Week in 2021 therefore, no excuses for a trip to Barcelona! and now that you have decided to spend Easter Week in Barcelona, why not stay at one of our centrally located flats to make sure you don’t miss a thing?

A Guide to Barcelona’s Civil War Bomb Shelters

Almost 82 years on, you’d never know that Barcelona was once the target of repeated and systematic airstrikes during the Spanish Civil War. 

It’s 16 March, 1938, and 41 hours of non-stop bombing is about to be unleashed on the city. Over three days, there were 670 deaths and 1,200 wounded during the Bombing of Barcelona by the Italian Aviazione Legionaria Italiana, upon the orders of General Franco and Mussolini. 

With attacks every three hours, the panic and terror was real. Luckily, over 1,400 bomb shelters were constructed in the city primarily by Barcelona’s very own citizens. Men were tasked with the construction, whilst women and children excavated the labyrinth of underground tunnels.

Despite over thousands of air-raid shelters being built, still many of Barcelona’s population struggled to find shelter. In these cases, the metro tunnels and stations were also used as makeshift shelters, with the station at Universitat being an example of this. 

We propose an alternative route that is often overlooked by tourists and locals. If you’re looking for route that will open your eyes to Barcelona’s history, this is it!

Refugi 307

One of the largest and most fascinating shelters in the city, Refugi (Shelter) 307 is located at the foot of Montjuïc mountain. It was the neighbourhood of Poble Sec that was one of the city’s most badly affected areas.

Get ready to discover over 400 metres of narrow tunnels with space for up to 2,000 people, plus a kitchen, bathroom facilities and even a pharmacy.

There are guided visits ever Sunday morning at 10.30 in English, 11.30 in Spanish and 12.30 in Catalan. Tickets are €3.50 and prior booking here is necessary.

Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 175

Refugi Antiaeri de la Plaça del Diamant

Around 90 shelters were built in the neighbourhood of Gràcia, with the Plaça del Diamant Air-raid Shelter being the most well known, with 250 metres of tunnels and capacity for around 200 people. 

It was discovered in 1992 during the construction of a power station in the square, thanks to which it was restored and opened to the public in 2006. 

Guided visits include a tour of the underground shelter with actors playing the roles of locals seeking shelter in order to survive the bombing. Visits in Spanish and English (upon request) are every second Sunday of the month and can be booked here

Plaça del Diamant

Refugi del Palau de les Heures

Despite being the smallest air-raid shelter on our tour, this one is, without a doubt, the best preserved. Discover its 40 metres of tunnels lit by the same lights that were used over 80 years ago, thanks to its restored electrics system.

Located at this stunning palace in the north of the city, the shelter was constructed specifically to protect the then President of the Government of Catalonia, Lluís Companys. Visits can be arranged by contacting the University of Barcelona, the current owners of the building. 

Passeig de la Vall d’Hebron, 171

Bomb Shelter Barcelona- Palau de les Heures

An additional tip to complete the tour: One of the most devastating events during the attack was when a bomb was dropped on the corner of the streets Balmes and Gran Vía, hitting a truck filled with TNT. Today, you can visit a cross in the place where it fell in memory of those killed and wounded during these days that Barcelona will never forget. 

Let yourself be amazed by these never-ending underground tunnels beneath the streets of Barcelona.

Barcelona is replete with history, don’t miss it on your next visit!