Barcelona Carnival– Program 2019, dates and activities

Carnival is a great time to be in Barcelona, with loads of fun events happening, there’s plenty to see. This year, Barcelona Carnival will happen between February 27 and March 6, with events happening throughout the city and also in cities like Sitges, very close from Barcelona and with a spectactular carnival with several parades.

Origin of the carnaval: Why we celebrate it?

Carnival is held seven weeks after the first full moon past the Winter solsitce, traditionally ending the same day as Ash Wednesday, 40 days before Easter. As such, carnival is thought to be the last party before the start of Lent, a period in which people are meant to abstain from vices, such as alcohol. A festival with Roman origins, the holiday was first documented as having been celebrated in 1333. Little by Little the party began to take shape as we know it today, with costumes becoming commonplace by the 19th Century. 

Structure of the Carnival in Barcelona

Arrival of the Carnival King

This will happen on February 28 and is when the Carnival King will arrive at La Rambla, in front of the Arts Santa Mònica museum. The Carnival King arrives to inaugurate the crazy carnival week. Jumping, dancing and singing, the parade will arrive at the Palau de la Virreina, the Carnival’s Republic. 

Carnival Parades

Parades will start to take place on March 2, when throughout the city there will be over 30 different parades, ending with the main parade through the old town. Here you will see people dressed in colourful and traditional costumes for Barcelona Carnival, music and dancing filling the streets. If you want to check out all the details of Barcelona Carnival Parades, you can find the full program by district here.

Barcelona Carnival

The Burial of the Sardine

This takes place on the last day of Barcelona Carnival, which this year will be March 6. This marks the end of the carnival period and is a symbolic burial of the past to allow society to be reborn and transformed over the period of Lent. 

Enterrament de la Sardina - Barcelona carnival

If you want to make the most of Barcelona Carnival, you can also head to Sitges, just a short train ride away from Barcelona. Here a large and extravagant carnival is hosted, and residents dress up in mourning to signify the end of carnival. The Sitges Carnival is famous throughout Catalonia for being a great party. Check the program here.

La Mercè 2017, the main event on Barcelona’s festival agenda

La Mercè 2017 is the main event on Barcelona’s festival agenda, uniting all of its neighbourhoods and serving as the city’s Festa Major.  This year it aims to extend further throughout the city by adding even more new venues and activities.

Every year, Barcelona invites a city from around the world to jointly celebrate the festival.  This year Icelandic capital Reykjavik has been invited to be this year’s special guest city and will be honoured throughout La Mercè.

Overall, it is a religious festival that has been celebrated since the Middle Ages and observes the holy feast day of Our Lady of Mercy.  It is the biggest weeklong festival in the city and an age-old tradition, but there are very up-to-date activity items as well, such as specialty markets, art displays and musical performances for example.

Gegants & Capgrossos – La Mercè 2017 

Catalunya has a great tradition for processions of giants or bigheads, which are tall, hollow structures with very large papier-mâché heads, each with a unique identity and character.  They are carried on top of people’s shoulders in a parade as they dance and run at the crowds.  Also, there are the Bestiari – which are figures of medieval, folkloric creatures.  This parade happens on the first day of the La Mercé celebrations.

Gegants Procession, September 22, Palau de la Virreina on La Rambla, 99, at 19:00h

The Correfoc – La Mercè 2017 
The famous fire run is always on September 24 – the actual saint’s day for La Mercé.  Performers dressed as devils and fiery dragons dance in a long procession through the city.  Hordes of “diables” hoist pitchforks, or forquilles, above their heads, with spinning fireworks attached that spray in all directions.  If you’re going to get a close-up photograph, then protective clothing is advised.  There is also an early fire run for children.

Correfoc (Adults), September 23, Via Laietana at 20:15h
Correfoc (Children) September 23, Via Laietana at 18:30h

Castellers – La Mercè 2017 

The Catalans are very good at building human structures. In fact he last few world records – 10 persons high – have been have been set in the region.  Participants, or Catsellers, climb on top of each other, interlocked into a delicate balancing act to get people to reach into the sky as far as possible.  The human tower is supported by a large number of people at the bottom, and then it’s a race to reach the highest point in strict formation before the structure breaks.

Human Towers, September 23, Plaça de Sant Jaume at 11:30h
Human Towers, September 23, Plaça de Sant Jaume at 12:30h

 

BAM
Barcelona Acció Musical has been running for over 20 years and hosts more contemporary rock and pop music concerts.  It runs in parallel to the main festival, and as Reykjavik is the partner city for this year’s La Mercé, then a contingent of its artists will perform, as well as national and internal artists.  Concerts usually take place at Plaza Real, Plaza Catalunya and at the MACBA, among many other intimate places and open-air venues around the city.

BAM, September 22-25, various venues
http://lameva.barcelona.cat/bam/en

AMICS DE LES ARTS CANET ROCK. FOTO: DAVID BORRAT. 04-07-15. CANET DE MAR. DIARI ARA

Piromusical – La Mercè 2017 
This is a critically acclaimed, professional fireworks display that takes place on the last night of La Mercè 2017 on Avinguda reina Maria Cristina.  You need to arrive early for the big finale, as thousands of people gather to watch this spectacular show.

Check the official agenda for more firework displays and digital light mapping events throughout the festival, at http://lameva.barcelona.cat/merce/en.

Piromusical, September 25, Avinguda de Reina Maria Cristina (Plaça Espanya) at 22:00h

The La Mercè Festival is a great way to see Barcelona at its best.  Your stay could be much more convenient with your own apartment.  Check our website for an excellent selection of short-term holiday rentals so that your stay in the city is as comfortable as possible.

Check the official agenda for more firework displays and digital light mapping events throughout the festival, at http://lameva.barcelona.cat/merce/en.

Michelin starred restaurants in Catalonia: restaurants with one star

Today it’s time to talk about the Michelin starred restaurants in Catalonia with one star.  Recently we published an article about Michelin starred restaurants in Barcelona with one star to be your definitive guide of all the gastronomical wonders in the city. But Barcelona doesn’t have all the glory, there are even more one-star Michelin restaurants surrounding the city in Catalonia’s beautiful villages and countryside.

Michelin starred restaurants in Catalonia

Els Casals

For a day or two away from the city, Els Casals is the perfect destination. It is located outside Sagàs, a picturesque village nestled in the Pre-Pyrenees valley. The country house hotel/restaurant is situated on lush farm land and sprawling gardens. Els Casals is down to earth fine dining – all the ingredients come from the farm itself, or from families nearby (Tatjés family’s pigeon, boneless and roasted orange duck from Bessa’s family).

Els casals

Estany Clar

This gorgeous converted farmhouse is a scenic hour’s drive from Barcelona. The dining room is a romantic haven of stone walls and soft lighting. Their tasting menu samples a vast range of their culinary talents from Grandmother’s canneloni to sliced roast veal and foie, each garnished with a different herb.

Michelin starred restaurants in Catalonia Estany Clar

Fonda Sala

Venture an hour north of Barcelona to the foothills of the Pyrenees for a breath of fresh air. Fonda Sala has had its Michelin star for longer than most and its dining room reflects its timeless dedication to fine food and wine, free of any fads or pretension, but still at the forefront of innovative cuisine with dishes like sweet and sour wild rabbit.

Fonda Sala

L’Ò

To the north of Barcelona, not far from the Montserrat monastery you can find L’Ó, a modern hotel/restaurant nestled amongst the medieval houses and churches that mark the area. The town in which L’Ò is situated, Sant Fruitós de Bages, has its own monastery and the food at this restaurant is indeed worthy of the gods; slow-cooked baby goat shoulder with mushrooms and truffle, and oyster with ponzu sauce, apple and codium.

L’Ò2

Lluerna

Another restaurant worth venturing out of Barcelona for, Santa Coloma de Gramenet is home to a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers the most affordable tasting menu (dinner Tuesday to Thursday and lunch Tuesday to Friday) at just 40€ per person. Dishes like solid mojito, Campari & orange stuffed olive and Mojito truffle signal a restaurant that is not afraid to experiment.

Lluerna

Can Jubany

In a converted farmhouse about an hour’s drive from Barcelona, Can Jubany offers a sumptuous choice of menus, from their own signature dishes (Catalan cured sausage ‘llonganissa’ and crispy pancetta), a gastronomic tour of Catalonia (pigeon rice with pork belly and sausage) and their sublime meal (Salad of red shrimps from Palamós with a thousand islands sauce ice cream).

Can Jubany - Michelin starred restaurants in Catalonia

Tresmacarrons

If you fancy a day on the coast, head to El Masnou, just past Badalona. It’s less than a 30 minute drive away and features seafood of the highest quality such as slow-cooked red tuna belly with potato cream and “allioli” of avocado, basil, spinach and sesame as well as Duck Royale with foie gras. It’s renowned for its vermut too, so be sure to start with the local aperitif or have a light lunch of burrata with pear and walnuts or steak tartar.

Tresmacarrons - Michelin starred restaurants in Catalonia

Just plan a daytrip away from Barcelona and taste the best of the rest from Michelin starred restaurants in Catalonia!

In addition to its history, architecture and famous sightseeing spots, Barcelona is an amazing city to try a range of Mediterranean and international cuisine. Check out the following restaurant guides in Barcelona. These guides and restaurants lists are packed with recommendations from our bizFlats team, so wherever you go, you are sure to enjoy an outstanding food experience!

Michelin starred restaurants in Barcelona: restaurants with one star

The Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Barcelona

The 8 Best Japanese Restaurants in Barcelona

Best tapas in Barcelona – Top 10 Tapas Restaurants in Barcelona

Make the Most of Your Vacation by Visiting 5 of the Best Restaurants in Barcelona, Spain

What to do in Barcelona in one day

So, you´re stopping off in one of the best cities in the world and have a mere 24 hours to savor the sights, sounds and tastes of Catalonia´s capital. Fear not, we´ve compiled some suggestions for what to do in Barcelona in one day to ensure you don´t miss out on any of the best bits.

Barcelona´s public transport network is efficient and super easy to navigate. If you (and your travelling companion) and planning to take several journeys either by bus or metro throughout your brief stay, we recommend buying a T10 travel card from any metro station. A T10 for zone one comes in at just under 10 Euro and one ticket can be used by multiple people on both the metro and buses for 10 journeys around the city. However, if you´re planning to get around mainly on foot as per our recommended route, a single journey will only set you back €2.15 so this could be your best option.

Our ´What to do in Barcelona in one day´ route starts off at La Sagrada Família where you can marvel Antoni Gaudí’s most impressive piece of work. This spectacular building is easily accessible by metro or bus and is well worth a visit. If you are pressed for time, you could simply admire the cathedral from outside, but for those keen to enter, we strongly recommend buying tickets online in advance to avoid the lengthy queues http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/tickets/.

Sagrada-Familia_Antoni-Gaudi_dezeen_936_0

After that, hop on the metro (L5) until the stop Diagonal. From here, head down one of the city’s most emblematic streets, Passeig de Gràcia, where you’ll find some of Barcelona’s best examples of modernist buildings. This grand street, akin to an open-air architectural museum, will take you past some of Gaudi´s best known works, including La Pedrera, La Casa Amatller or Casa Batlló until you reach Plaça Catalunya.

Passeig de Gràcia

Plaça Catalunya backs onto Barcelona´s most famous street, La Rambla, famed for its lively atmosphere, street performers, resident artists, cafes, bars and restaurants. A gentle stroll down La Rambla will take you past some of Barcelona´s most iconic buildings and structures, such as the beautiful market La Boqueria and el Gran Teatre del Liceu. La Boqueria is an explosion of colour and smells and is an absolute must for any foodies. Simply peruse the food stalls and soak up the atmosphere or pull up a chair at one of the bars and order yourself a coffee or some Cava and tapas.

Slightly further down La Rambla is the El Gran Teatre del Liceu (Barcelona´s opera house), which was founded in 1847. Once you reach El Teatre del Liceu, turn left down the street Carrer de la Palla until you reach the Cathedral square. Barcelona´s beautiful cathedral is as impressive from the inside as it is the outside so make sure you step in and admire its Gothic and Baroque features from up close! Next, make your way into the adjoining cloister. This secluded area is a peaceful haven away from the hustle and bustle of the Gothic quarter´s streets and is dedicated to the city´s co-patron saint, Saint Eulàlia of Barcelona who lost her life during the Roman era after refusing to dismiss Jesus as the son of God. In her honour, the cloister still keeps 13 white geese (Eulàlia´s age at the time of her death).

Gran Teatre del Liceu

Next up on our ´What to do in Barcelona in 1 day´ tour, we suggest you walk down Via Laietana until you reach the street Jaume I. Once on Jaume I, turn left to behold Plaça Sant Jaume and the old Roman walls that once encompassed the city formerly known as Barcino. From here, get back on Via Laietana until you reach the charming Carrer de l’Argentería, which will take you down to the beautiful church of Santa María del Mar (made famous throughout the world thanks to Ildefonso Falcones´ novel Cathedral of the Sea).

Santa Maria del Mar

After a busy morning, you´ll be in need of some lunchtime sustenance and when in Barcelona that can only mean one thing; Paella! Right by Santa Maria del Mal you´ll find Passeig del Born which is home to La Vinya del Senyor which serves up a mouthwateringly delicious paella. Here you´ll also find several delightful tapas spots.

After you´ve filled your boots, walk off the post-lunchtime slump in Barcelona´s old fishing quarter, La Barceloneta. Head to the street Palau de Mar and then make your way down Passeig de Joan Borbó until you reach the city beach of Sant Sebastià. You´ll also notice lots of restaurants along the way. Our particular favourite is La Mar Salada where they serve up on of the best paellas in Barcelona.

La Barceloneta

 

Also if you want to explore Barcelona’s nightlife, save money and drink like a local, try this revolutionary App: TomaBida, the App that allows you to discover Barcelona’s best Bar and get a free drink a day! With the BizFlats code, you have this offers for you:
– 4.99€ for a 3-day visitor pass (which means 3 free drinks worth up to 30€ total)
– 6.99€ for a 7-day visitor pass (which means 7 free drinks worth up to 70€ total)

Download now TomaBida! Shall we get a drink?

So there you have it – an action-packed itinerary for what to do in Barcelona in 1 day. We hope you enjoy your short stay! And, if you are looking for accommodation, remember that here at Bizflats we have apartments which are guaranteed to make your time in Barcelona unforgettable.

 

Christmas Catalan Dishes

Barcelona does Christmas undeniably well. Whereas in many European cities, you are likely to have Christmas tat and poor Santa-imitations thrust upon you, the Catalans celebrate in style and yuletide joy is often accompanied by a range of delicious Catalan dishes and sweet treats. In Catalonia Christmas begins on 24th December and continues until Epiphany (Dia dels Tres Reis d’Orient) on 6th January when the presents arrive, providing ample time to fill your boots with some local culinary delights.

On Christmas Eve, We celebrate El Tío de Nadal (a Christmas log which poos presents) and whilst there are no traditional Catalan dishes to mark the occasion, no self-respecting Catalan would celebrate without having stocked up on Neulas (Catalan biscuits usually eaten with Cava) and Turró (a sweet food found in a variety of guises but its most original form is similar to that of nougat). Be sure to pick up your own share of these tantalising treats in any of the Christmas markets dotted around Barcelona.neules

December 25th in Barcelona is one big gastronomic treat. Catalan dishes served on Christmas day include escudella i carn d’olla (a sensational soup comprised of lamb, pig´s ear or cheek, potatoes, chicken, butifarra or Catalan sausage and Galets, a kind of pasta with a shape of a shell) , followed by pollastre farcit (oven roasted chicken stuffed with seasonal chestnuts and sausage meat). These Catalan dishes are washed down with Cava and sweet treats such as dried fruits and nuts, “Turrons” and “Neules”. You´ll also find giant Galets (pasta shells) along the streets of Barcelona in December which make great photo opportunities!

Escudella i Carn D'olla

Celebrations continue on St Steven´s Day (26th December) with family gatherings and once again, the opportunity to extend the Christmas waistlines with leftovers from the day before used to make “canelons”.canelons

Celebrate New Years Eve like a true Catalan with the surprisingly-tricky-to-master grape countdown in which you pop one grape in your mouth for every clock chime. Considered to ensure good luck for the year ahead, make sure you you don´t miss out – you can even buy packs of 12 deseeded grapes for the occasion! There are many theories attached to this tradition, but the most common explanation arises from the over-production of grapes around 1900. New Years Day hangovers aren´t usually soothed by a particular Catalan dish but stuffed chicken often crops up on the menu.uvas de Fin de año

Finally, the 6th January (Dia de Reis) provides yet another perfect excuse to indulge with El Tortell de Reis. This colourful, O-shaped cake is usually stuffed with marzipan or cream and glazed with fruit and contains two hidden surprises: a figurine of one of the threee kings and a fava, or dried field bean (yes, you read correctly, a bean!). Whoever is lucky enough to find the king gets to wear a paper crown whereas the less fortunate finder of the bean has to pay for the cake!

tortell-de-reis

So, loosen the belt and prepare to indulge. Catalan Christmas cuisine won’t fail to disappoint!

 

El Caganer and El Tió de Nadal: Catalan christmas traditions

Catalonia is known for it´s often unusual traditions and Christmas time in the region is no exception. This article explains the mystery of two important figures that appear in the festive season – El Caganer and El Tió de Nadal.

Often found among the more traditional Nativity scene setting is El Caganer (or the crapper). This funny figure, which traditionally takes the form of a gnome-type figurine, is often depicted in a red cap (barretina) with his trousers down and defecating! This bare-bottomed figure is said to bring good luck and his popularity has spread in recent years. El Caganer can be seen throughout Catalonia as well as other areas of Spain (Murcia), Portugal and Italy (Naples).

El Caganer

Nowadays, caganer figures are available in many different forms, including key politicians, football players, and even the pope (!) and are available to buy at Barcelona´s Christmas markets.

The origin of the Caganer isn´t entirely clear but he is believed to have appeared in Nativity scenes by the late 17th Century. Some claim that his faeces represent the fertilizing of the Earth within the Nativity scene and consequently ensuring that the scene would be fertile for the following year. Others claim he is a response to comtemporary social issues such as immigration and some claim El Caganer borders on blasphemy.  The Caganer is largely tolerated in Catholic counties but opinion is divided as to whether Caganers are totally appropriate in Nativity scenes.

El Caga tió or El tió de Nadal is a popular fixture throughout Catalonia at Christmas.  El Tió is quite literally a smiley pooing Christmas log with a red Catalan beret, perched on stick legs and covered by a blanket. Children traditionally look after El Caga tió from 8th December (Dia de la Immaculada Concepció) until Christmas Eve, when he is placed by a fireplace and sung to. Whilst singing, children hit this cheerful pooing log with a stick before leaving the room to pray for presents (at which point, parents sneakily place presents under the blanket). Upon returning, children are met with a load of presents (typically sweets) that have been pooed out of the log.

Caga Tio

The Tió de Nadal, now available to buy in Christmas markets across Barcelona, dates back several centuries to a time when the fireplace was a central part of family life. Traditionally, the log was burned after Christmas celebrations were over and its ashes scattered on the crops to promote fertility.

So, get ready to celebrate this festive season Catalan-style and be sure to pick up your very own Caganer or Tió de Nadal at the Christmas markets in December!

Best area to stay in Barcelona

Do you know which is the best area to stay in Barcelona? Barcelona is a city-break hotspot for tourists. Not only is it manageably sized, but it is brilliantly connected by a network of buses, trams and the metro.

We recommend that you choose accommodation close to a metro stop for ease when getting around. Once on the metro, it is only a couple of minutes to travel between each station, although interchanges can add a few extra minutes to your journey.

With each of Barcelona´s neighbourhoods distinct in style, tourists can pick an area to suit their needs. Here is a summary of what you can expect in some of the city´s best spots to stay.

Best area to stay in Barcelona

  • Eixample

Visitors wishing to take advantage of the city´s many shops may wish to seek accommodation in the vibrant, upmarket area of the Eixample. Passeig de Gràcia and Rambla de Catalunya are lined with stores as well as bars which provide excellent pitstops between shops. Unlike the narrow winding streets of the older parts of the city, the Eixample is characterised by long, wide avenues as well as an array of impressive modernist buildings. It is also considered one of the safest areas to stay in Barcelona.

Read a complete guide about Eixample Barcelona here.

We have several apartments in Eixample. For example, Neo, a charming apartment next to Sagrada Família.

BEST AREA TO STAY IN BARCELONA - EIXAMPLE BARCELONA
  • Barri Gòtic

Tourists wanting to base themselves in the heart of the city should look for accommodation near Plaça Catalunya, La Rambla, Gothic Quarter or El Born. Here you´ll find enchanting streets, and some examples of Barcelona’s oldest architecture. This area is a hub for public transport and a great starting point for exploring the centre on foot.

Our apartments Rambla Exec 2 and Bella II are located in La Rambla, next to el Mercat de la Boqueria.

GOTHIC QUARTER - WHERE TO STAY IN BARCELONA
  • Barceloneta

Once an old fishing quarter, Barceloneta is a lively neighbourhood of bars and cafes and, located within minutes of the city´s beach, it it is a popular place to stay for young visitors and families alike.

Best area to stay in Barcelona
  •  Gràcia

Gràcia provides the ideal setting for visitors wishing to sample some of the city’s bars. This neighbourhood has several beautiful squares which are perfect for soaking up the atmosphere and is also well connected by public transport.

Check here a complete guide about Gràcia neighborhood.

If you have any doubt about the best area to stay in Barcelona, don’t hesitate to ask us commenting this post or calling us. We will be happy to help you!

Also you can check the following guides to places to visit in Barcelona depending on the days  you are going to spend in the city:

Have a nice stay in Barcelona!

La Mercè 2016 is Barcelona’s biggest festival

La Mercè, which celebrates the city’s patron saint (the Virgin of Mercy) from the 22nd to 25th of September, is Barcelona’s biggest festival and arguably one of the finest ways to experience Catalan culture. Legend states that a year after saving Barcelona from a plague of locust in 1687, the Virgin of Mercy was canonised and has been celebrated ever since. This spectacular festival, which officially first took place in 1902, marks the end of summer with a series of unmissable events at venues across the city. Here are just some of the festival’s highlights.

  • Opening and Closing Ceremonies of La Mercè

Get into La Mercè spirit at the opening ceremony held at Plaça Sant Jaume where visitors will be treated to a show with giants and monsters dancing on stage. The end of La Mercè is marked by the Piromusical grand finale by the Magic Fountain at the foot of Montjuïc. Piromusical: 25th September, 22:00, Reina Maria Cristina Avenue. 

piromusical- La mercè

  • Castellers

Plaça de Sant Jaume plays host to one of La Mercè’s most popular and impressive events, the Castellers (human towers) in which groups of Castellers compete to build the highest possible human tower, which is subsequently climbed by a child. 24th September 12:30

castellers-la-merce

  • Gegants

Els Gegants (giants parade) is another event ideally pitched for families and features huge effigies of Kings and Queens marching through the streets, often to the sounds of small percussion groups. 24th September 11:00, Plaça de Sant Jaume.

Gegants La Mecè

  • Sardana Dance and Ball de Bastons

No Catalan festival would be complete without Sardana dancing. This traditional dance reflects Catalan unity and pride and can be witnessed in front of the Cathedral on 22nd September at 19,00. Head to Plaça de Sant Jaume on 23rd and you can also witness the Ball de Bastons (stick dance). This folk dance, similar to Morris dancing found in England and Wales, is conducted in row formation with dancers carrying one or two sticks.

Sardanes La Mercè

  • Correfoc for adults and kids

In the evenings, the city is lit up with a famous projection show repeated at various intervals at Plaça de Sant Jaume. One of La Mercè’s most thrilling events is the Correfoc (fire runs). Certainly not for the feint-hearted, the Correfoc features community groups dressed as devils who run the streets of Barcelona with hand-held fireworks and  bangers, accompanied by fire-breathing dragons. If you plan on attending the ‘adult’ Correfoc, held after the more harmless junior event, protective clothing is advisable as some fireworks are hurled directly at the crowds! 25th September,Via Laietana, junior  event 18:30, adult event 20:30 

Correfoc La Merce

You can check the whole program of La Mercè 2016 where you will find hundreds of activities.

If you are planning to come to Barcelona during La Mercè and you are looking for an apartment in Barcelona, do not hesitate to check our website

Enjoy Barcelona!