Sant Jordi 2020 – When and how will be celebrated?

A new date has been announced for Sant Jordi 2020. This year, given the current circumstances, the official Booksellers Guild and Florists Guild of Catalonia have decided to postpone this eagerly awaited event on the Catalan calendar in line with Government guidelines. 

Sant Jordi – which is normally celebrated every year on World Book Day on 23rdApril – will be postponed to 23rdJuly with the safety of all in mind. All events, workshops and readings will also be postponed to this date, in addition to the Sant Jordi discount on books.

The proposal of the Booksellers Guild and Florists Guild foresees limited stops and pre-organized book signings to comply with security measures and hygiene. The proposal for Sant Jordi 2020 is pending approval by Procicat and the corresponding municipalities. In Barcelona has been planned to install a thousand stops, for which will be needed the approval of the Municipal Events Commission.

In addition, queues and movement between stops will be regulated, for which a maximum space will be set. All visitors must come with a mask, respect the distance of 1.5 meters and follow the instructions on safety and hygiene given by the organization.

Sant Jordi 2020

Why is Sant Jordi so important?

If you’ve had the chance to experience this day in Barcelona before, you’ll understand just how important it is. It is a day on which the young and old alike take to the streets to buy their loved ones a gift. All the main streets of Barcelona are lined with bookstalls and on every corner you’ll find rose sellers selling single roses. 

The origin of this literary celebration is a popular story in many cultures and is based on the story of Sant Jordi and the dragon. To read more about its history and how it’s celebrated, check out our Sant Jordi article here.

Sant Jordi 2020 will definitely take place in a very different way than usual

Sant Jordi 2020 at home

Lovers of Sant Jordi don’t despair! If you don’t want to walk around to visit the different bookstalls on the 23rd of July, you can also celebrate Sant Jordi 2020 from home!

This year, Casa Batlló is encouraging the citizens of Barcelona to bring the magic of Sant Jordi into their own homes. Every year on this day, this beautiful Gaudí house inspired by the mythical dragon is normally adorned with hundreds of red roses. 

So, be sure to follow the #SantJordialBalcons (SantJordiBalconies) initiative on social media and join in from home by decorating your own balcony with pictures, roses, dragons and book covers. Avoid boredom by getting creative and painting, drawing and making together with your loved ones.

Sant Jordi at home

Remember to upload your pictures to social media with the above hash tag. The ten publications with the most likes will win a collection of children’s books. 

Supporting local booksellers

Additionally, don’t forget that it’s still possible to buy books online from local sellers. Thanks to the platform “LlibreriesObertes” (OpenBookstores), you can order your books and pick them up once the lockdown regulations have been lifted.

The initiative was launched in order to support these local publishers and bookstores during these times of hardship. With the objective of selling 30,000 books, these advance sales will ensure the survival of the city’s bookstores.

Sant Jordi 2020 - books

Check out the website here and help support Barcelona’s bookstores: https://llibreriesobertes.cat

These are days of reading from home, this is why we also recommend you also 8 books about Barcelona that you will love.

How will you be celebrating Sant Jordi 2020 this year? Let us know!

Pa amb tomàquet recipe step by step

Here is a really easy recipe to make “Pa amb tomàquet” (Catalan tomato bread), one of Catalonia’s most typical dishes!

How to do pà amb tomàquet

Ingredients:

  • Bread (If you can order Pà de Pagès (farmhouse loaf) even better)
  • Ripe tomatoes
  • Peeled garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt

1) Cut the bread into slices.
2) Toast the slices
3) Rub the toast with the garlic
4) Cut the tomato in half down the middle
5) Rub the tomato into the bread

Season with oil and salt and eat immediately so that it does not soften.

It can be accompanied by cold cuts, cheese, anchovies, omelette, etc.

8 essential Catalan phrases you can’t visit Barcelona without knowing

On your next trip to Barcelona you may be thinking that you can just get by with Spanish or English, but if you really want to impress and get to know the locals, these essential Catalan words and phrases will go a long way.

Why not use your time at home over the next few weeks to brush up your language skills in one of Spain’s official languages and add some of these useful phrases to your repertoire.

Whether you’re greeting a friend, ordering food or buying souvenirs, we’ve definitely got you covered. Preparats (ready)? 

1. Bon dia (bon dee-ah) / Bona tarda (bon-ah tard-ah)

Good morning / Good afternoon 

When strolling along the streets of Barcelona, you’ll definitely hear this phrase used again and again. Put a smile on any local’s face with this common greeting (used more than “hola”). Remember, the afternoon starts around lunchtime and lasts all the way until just before dinnertime – which is around 10 pm – so don’t be surprised if someone greets you with “bona tarda” at 8 pm!

2. Si us plau (see oos plow)  & Merci (mehr-see) 

Please & thank you

If you’ve visited Barcelona several times and are familiar with the Catalan language, you’ll know has some similarities with the French language. These two phrases will go a long way during your stay, so please use them abundantly. 

With “merci”, remember to put emphasis on the first syllable “meras opposed to on the final syllable, like in French.

Note: “merci” is used a lot more than “gràcies” but please take into account is is colloquial.

3. De res (deh res) 

You’re welcome

If it makes it a little easier to remember, you can literally translate this phrase as “of nothing”. What’s more it’s just like the French (de rien) and Spanish (de nada).

4. Adéu (ah-deh-ou)

Goodbye

Whether your waving farewell to your new Catalan friends or simply saying goodbye to the owners of your new favourite restaurant, be sure to do so with a friendly and heartfelt “adéu.

5. Bon profit! (bon pro-feet) 

Bon appetit!

The Catalans are a very courteous bunch, so don’t be surprised if you get total strangers declaring “bon profit” as you tuck into your meal at a local restaurant. 

6. Quant costa – ? (kwant coh-sta)

How much is –?

The chances are during your stay at some point you’ll be buying souvenirs, tickets for the museum or a little treat for yourself. Use this phrase and simply add whatever it is you’re asking for or point and say “això” (ay-shoh), which means “this”.

7.El compte, si us plau (el com-teh see oos plow)

The bill, please.

Show off your language skills and impress your friends by asking for the bill in Catalan at the end of your meal. If you really want to blend in with the locals, try switching this phrase for “Em cobres” (um cub-ras), which literally means “charge me” and is used much more frequently by Catalans.

8. Parles anglès? (par-las ang-less)?

Do you speak English?

Whilst the majority of locals speak very good English, this polite question is sure to make you many a new friend in the city. Not only will they be impressed with your Catalan skills, they’ll be grateful you are trying to learn their language.

While we’ve got you covered for the basics, we encourage you to download a learning app or grab a dusty phrase book from your shelf and get studying for your next trip to Barcelona! 

See you soon! Ens veiem aviat!

P.S. Below is a small list of other some additional vocabulary we’re sure will come in useful!

CATALAN ENGLISH 
Bona nit Good night 
Perdó Sorry 
Esmorzar Breakfast 
Dinar Lunch
Sopar Dinner
Esquerra Left 
Dreta Right 
Obert Open 
Carrer Street 
Plaça Square 

6 ways to enjoy the culture of Barcelona from your home

Although life as we know it has changed these past two weeks, you don’t have to forgo the wonderful cultural proposals that Barcelona has on offer.

From virtual museum visits, talks, shows, concerts and more, we’ve put together this list that will lift your spirits and ensure Barcelona’s cultural soul stays strong during this time.

So, this evening instead of watching another Netflix series, why not gather together with your family or housemates, and check out some of the Catalan’s capitals brilliant cultural experiences from the comfort of your sofa. 

Virtual visits to museums

Despite the city’s museums having closed their doors during this period of confinement, you can still explore their corners with these virtual visits. From the Picasso Museum, the Barcelona Museum of Design, the Catalonia National Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and much more, pick your favourite and get lost in their diverse collections. Here you’ll find a list we’ve put together with links to access the virtual visits.

Barcelona e-library

The libraries of Barcelona have opened their shelves to the public during this extraordinary time to share their collections online. There are more than 100,000 titles available in Catalan, Spanish, English, French and German that you can lend virtually. Enjoy e-books, magazines, films, audiobook, documentaries and much more with your Catalan library card. Find out more here.

VIDA Festival live

If you’re like us, you’re already thinking about those long summer nights and outdoor festivals. We recommend checking out the “Vida at Home” cycle of concerts. The festival – which is scheduled to be held in Vilanova i la Geltrú this July – will be streaming live performances every day this week at 19h on their Instagram page. Enjoy acts from Ferran Palau, Enric Montefusco, The New Raemon, Núria Graham, and many more. 

Virtual Gaudí

If you were planning a trip to Barcelona and are craving the city’s masterpieces, here we have your Gaudí pick me up. Check out these virtual visits of La Pedrera and Casa Battló. These 360º tours are almost as good as the real thing! Get up and close to two of Gaudí’s masterpieces and discover the history of modernism in Barcelona from your home.

Opera in your living room

The Liceu theatre has launched a special initiative to bring its latest opera extravaganzas straight to your living room. Normally you have to get dressed up to go to the opera, but not any more! Don your favourite pyjamas and get ready for an evening of Madam Butterfly, Aida, Normaor Rigoletto. All you need to do is register at this link and enter the code ‘OperaEnCasa’ (OperaAtHome).

Science, art and technology

The Open University of Catalonia and the libraries of Barcelona have come together to offer a series of five videos that explore the relationship between art, science and technology. Put together by the OUC professor, Pau Alsina, this conference raises questions that have been explored throughout history to help us to understand more about the world around us and how we, as humans, create within it. Discover the conference here.

Find more exciting ways to spend your time at home with this programmeof cultural initiatives you can enjoy from home, put together by Barcelona City Council’s Institute of Culture.

Let us know, how have you been spending your time at home? 

Songs about Barcelona

7 songs that will make you fall in love with Barcelona

Whether you’re creating a playlist for your next trip to Barcelona or simply missing the Catalan capital, these songs about the magical city will inspire you to dance around and sing about your love for it.

Barcelona has been visited by many a creative, singer and songwriter over the years on the quest for inspiration. Many have found it in its charming cobbled streets, quirky bars and buzzing cultural scene.

So, what are you waiting for? Turn the volume up and don’t be afraid to sing along!

La Rumba de Barcelona – Manu Chao (2002)

Rumored to own a bar in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, Manu Chao is a French-Spanish singer who performs in a large variety of languages. His song about Barcelona will take you straight to the heart of the city with its catchy beat and lyrics. We guarantee you’ll be singing it as you walk down Las Ramblas. 

Barcelona – Giulia y Los Tellarini (Vicky Cristina Barcelona Soundtrack) (2008)

The Catalan-Italian band Giulia y Los Tellarini never dreamed their song ‘Barcelona’ would be chosen for Woody Allen’s film Vicky Cristina Barcelona. This song was featured on the trailer for the film. 

As the song lyrics go “Barcelona is powerful” and we couldn’t agree more!

Barcelona – Freddie Mercury and Monsterrat Caballé (1988)


Barcelona is the title song of the audacious collaborative album by Freddie Mercury and soprano Montserrat Caballé. With Mercury’s second solo album he fulfilled one of his life-long dreams to combine opera and rock.

The Queen lead singer put his life and soul into his work and unfortunately died several months before being able to open the Barcelona 1992 Olympics with this song.

Barcelona Hechicera – Peret (1992)

This catchy rhythmic song is dedicated to the city of Barcelona and its main sights. It’s one of our favourites and always puts us in a good mood.

It was written in 1992 for the closing ceremony of the Barcelona Olympic Games to the tune of Catalan Rumba. This music genre was developed in the gypsy community of the city in the 60s, influenced by Flamenco Rumba, Cuban rhythms and rock and roll.

Barcelona – Ed Sheeran (2017)

The young 25-year-old singer and songwriter Ed Sheeran penned this song out of love for his dear Barcelona. This upbeat tune will certainly get you in the mood to visit the Sagrada Familia and Las Ramblas. The singer decided to include some of the Spanish words he knew, despite them not making much sense, to capture his perspective of the city.

George Ezra – Barcelona (2014)

The song Barcelona is taken from George Ezra’s album ‘Wanted On Voyage’.

The story goes that George was struggling to deal with his rapid fame and needed to sort some things out in his head. His answer was to move in with a stranger in Barcelona and spend some time reconnecting with the real world. Thus this song was born!

We’re from Barcelona – I’m from Barcelona (2006)

The name of this Swedish group is funnily enough “I’m from Barcelona”. It’s said that the band’s inspiration for their name and this song came from Manuel the waiter in Monty Python’s Faulty Towers.

The video features all 29 band members – we bet you can’t resist singing along with them!

So, there you have it. If Barcelona had a playlist, it would most certainly be this!

10 virtual visits to Museums of Catalonia to discover without leaving home

Virtual visits to Museums of Catalonia, the Museu Dalí

1. Museu Dalí – Fundació Gala

Virtual visit here

2. Museu d’art Contemporani de Catalunya (MACBA)

Virtual visit here

3. Museu Picasso

Virtual visit here 

4. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)

Virtual visit here

5. Museu Egipci de Barcelona

Virtual visit here

6. CosmoCaixa

Virtual visit here

7. Museu Martítim de Barcelona

Virtual visit here

8. Museu Frederic Marès

Virtual visit here

9. Monestir de Pedralbes 

Virtual visit here

10. Museu del Disseny

Virtual visit here

Latest coronavirus measures in place in Barcelona

Two days ago, the Barcelona Local Government in coordination with the Government of Spain, announced a lockdown that applies to the whole of Catalonia.

This article will explain exactly what this means and how it will affect you if you are in Barcelona. These measures have been put into place to stop the spreading of the virus and to protect, above all, the most at-risk populations.

The following measure have been implemented immediately as of 14 March for two weeks:

  • Public transport will be operating only one third of services.
  • The following establishments will be closed immediately:
    • large shopping centres, gyms, leisure centres, ski slopes and other establishments that do not offer basic services or serve food
    • bars, coffee shops, restaurants and other catering facilities
    • libraries and museums in Catalonia
  • All hunting expeditions are suspended.
  • Wakes for individuals who have died from COVID-19 are suspended.
  • With regard to social services:
    • all public social services and centres are closed
    • all activities at occupational centres are closed
    • all visits to Meeting Point Technical Services are suspended
  • All individuals located in Barcelona are advised to stay indoors unless necessary (see information below regarding confinement).

The Barcelona Zoo, Park Güell and the Gaudí House Museum, the Tibidabo Theme Park, Casa Battló and La Pedrera, Barcelona’s 184 parks and gardens, the Sagrada Familia , all museums, art centres and libraries have been closed. Schools and universities are also closed.

You will find the following establishments, among others, currently open in Barcelona. However, the local government advises only to leave the house if necessary:

  • Public health services, such as hospitals, health centres and pharmacies
  • Basic social services
  • Waste collection and cleaning services
  • The Barcelona Urban Guard
  • Public transport (adapted metro and bus service)
  • Cemeteries and funeral services
  • Civil, Properly and Commercial Registries
  • Water, electricity and gas supplies are guaranteed

Also open are shops/supermarkets that sell food and drinks, pharmacies, doctor’s surgeries, opticians and shops that sell orthopaedic products and hygiene products, hairdressers, newsagents, petrol stations, tobacconists, IT and telecommunications equipment stores, pet food stores, internet, telephone and postal service, and laundry services.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions with answers from the Local Government of Catalonia. (The document in Spanish can be found here.)

What does “lockdown” mean?

  • You can only leave the house to buy essentials.
  • Maintain the safety distance of 1.5–2 metres with other people when you do leave the house.
  • Avoid visiting friends and family unless they are dependent on your care.
  • Postpone medical visits and other appointments unless urgent.

Who should I call if I need help?

For information call 012, if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 call 061. Please remember, call 112 only in the case of emergency.

We imagine that more information will become available in the upcoming days. We recommend you check travel advice from your country’s foreign office regarding travel to high-risk areas and with airlines before travelling.

The following websites provide information in English and are updated regularly with official information: https://www.barcelona.cat/en/  and http://canalsalut.gencat.cat/ca/inici/

6 great reasons to visit the neighbourhood of Gràcia

The neighbourhood of Gràcia has become synonymous with Barcelona and it’s most likely that if this is your second or third trip to Barcelona, you’ve already fallen under its spell.

Located in the northern part of the city, a 20-minute walk from Plaça Catalunya along the city’s famous Passeig de Gràcia will take you into the heart of this charismatic district.

For those of you that are yet to discover its charm, we’ve put together this article explaining just why we love the neighbourhood of Gràcia area of Barcelona so much. From things to see and do, to its history and local traditions, this small guide will ensure that you won’t miss out on a thing.

A plaza in the Barcelona neighbourhood of Gràcia

Its village charm

Gràcia first emerged as a small rural community with three convents and a small population. It wasn’t until around the 19thcentury that Gràcia began to grow, becoming the most important village in the area thanks to its agricultural production.

In 1850 it was established as a municipality with 13,000 habitants, but it wasn’t until 1897, with almost 67,000 habitants, that it became part of Barcelona itself. Gràcia was flourishing yet it still lacked basic services and facilities. Over the years it has become the thriving hub it is today, boasting markets, cultural, sports and historical centres, medical services and schools.

Its cobbled streets and enchanting squares

Despite being located a stone’s throw away from the centre of Barcelona, the streets of the neighbourhood of Gràcia still conserve that charming allure often only found in small villages. 

Stroll along its streets lined with flowering trees, take a break in one of its many squares with a freshly brewed cup of coffee, or explore the Plaça de la Vila square with its 19th-century bell tower and Plaça de la Virreina with its beautiful stone church.

The Festes de Gràcia

Every August the streets of the neighbourhood of Gràcia come alive with locals and tourists alike. The Festa Major de Gràcia constitutes a weeklong celebration in which the streets of this charming area are decorated with recycled materials in every colour.

The residents of many streets and squares in the neighbourhood come together as a community to choose a theme of their own for their respective streets in a fun-filled family-friendly event that cannot be missed. Read more about this tradition in one of our past articles here.

Neighbourhood of Gràcia, a street decorated to look like Moscow Red Square

Alternative stores and independent boutiques

Gràcia is home to a plethora of shops that sell locally made products, ethical goods and gifts galore. With something for everyone, after exploring its streets, why not browse its second-hand book stores with faded armchairs, discover its designer boutiques with clothes designed in Barcelona or choose a custom-made piece of jewellery at one of its many workshops.

Casa Vicens

Opened to the public only a few years ago, many still don’t know that Gràcia boasts its very own piece of Gaudí. Constituting great architect’s first project, Gaudí was commissioned to build Casa Vicens as a summerhouse for the family of the same name. 

This wonderful building will surprise you with its range of influences from far and wide, its varied palette of colours and its spectacular design.

Neighbourhood of Gràcia - Casa Vicens

The history beneath your feet at Plaça del Diamant

On first glance, Plaça del Diamant may appear to be just your normal square, however if you look a little closer you’ll discover the history it houses. 

Underneath the square is a bomb shelter that was built during the Spanish Civil War with a capacity for 200 people. Tickets are only €3 and must be booked in advance. 

Plaça del Diamant - Neighbourhood of Gràcia

We hope you love the area as much as us! Let us know, what’s your favourite thing to do in Gràcia?