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Catalan folklore

Barcelona Street Life: La Vida de la Calle

Written by Emily Elwes

As with any major metropolis, Barcelona sports a healthy street life that provides many activities and cultural events for the city’s inhabitants and tourists. Many of these local festivals and street events are not really published for tourist consumption but can provide a much better in-depth look at Spanish and Catalan culture in Barcelona. Although the summertime is the most active street life and festival season Christmas can also be a magical time in the city. Look for holiday apartment rentals during these festival times to truly experience La Vida de la Calle.

Festa Major de Gracia 

This festival is one of the major Street life cultural events of the year for Barcelonians, that takes place every year in August. The barrio or neighborhood of Gracia, decorates their individual streets in a competition to be crowned the best-decorated street in the barrio. The festival includes serious competition as streets take on different themes and vie for the annual title. The festival is free and open to the public to wander through the neighborhood and look at all the amazing decorations and set scenes. The themes for the streets include everything from underwater, oceanic, Roman, to traditional Catalan designs.


barcelona street life traditions bon nadalChristmas in Barcelona

Another amazing tradition in Barcelona is thestreet lifee during the Christmas season or as locals refer to it, Bon Nadal. During this time multiple street markets develop catering to the festivities of Christmas. Fira de Santa Lucia is probably the best well known street market catering to all things Christmas including trees and decorations, as well as more traditional Catalan Caga Tio; essentially a log with a friendly face. However a number of markets around town including in front of La Familia Sagrida, Fira de Brocanters, Collectiu d’Artesans de l’Alimentacio and others, provide amazing local cultural goods, antiques and other items during the festive holiday season.

barcelona street life traditions bubbles


La Merce Festival

Another major festival celebrates the patron saint of Barcelona and is considered a festival celebrating the cultural origins of Barcelona. Since 1871 it has been an official city holiday and marks important cultural differences between Catalonia and the rest of Spain with the celebration of human Castellan towers, the catalan dance Sardana, and the tradition of paper mache giants known as gegants i capgrossos.

There are a number of activities that take place throughout the city including parades, fire runs, fire breathing dragons, a Devils parade, and a projection show in Placa St Jaume. As one of the largest festivals in Barcelona, it can provide amazing entertainment for days.

Leave the car parked and mingle among the crowds of humanity soaking up Catalan culture at its finest. Enjoy outdoor markets, different and varied parades and neighborhood celebrations of this national Catalan holiday. Make sure your holiday apartment rental is central in order to enjoy the most of these celebrations.

Tell us what your favorite festivals are and what the best event you have ever attended in Barcelona to help us further narrow down what street life events and festivals are the best in Barcelona.

About the author

Emily Elwes

Emily is a freelance content editor & manager living & working in Barcelona. She's passionate about food, drink, language and collaborative consumption.

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