La Festa Major in Sitges, Spain

Every festival is a way to connect with locals to experience their culture and old traditions. In Catalunya, it’s all about being Catalan.

On our last day in Barcelona, a quick train ride took us about 45 minutes south to the beautiful city of Sitges and La Festa Major.

Just outside the train station

In a town of about 30,000 people, and one that is normally quite quaint, La Festa Major de Sitges is anything but! It draws some 200,000 people each summer to celebrate their patron Sant Bartomeu. In the scorching heat of August, we found ourselves in the middle of one of the biggest, oldest, and loudest Catalan festivals.

La Festa Major dates back to the 16th century. We managed to get a great spot on the old road of Cap de la Villa. This tiny cobblestoned-street leads out to the main square, where locals peer out from their balconies from their lil’ Spanish apartments to catch a glimpse.

Locals watch from their balconies

Catalan drummers and giant puppets parade through the streets, locals break out in traditional La Sardana folk dancing, and castellers build wonky, but courageous human towers.

Catalan drummers and band

The Queen getting adjusted

The King parading through Cap de la Villa

The ‘gegants’ of La Festa Major parade

At dusk, locals shoot fire crackers in every direction in the streets and then catch fireworks right on the beach after dark. We could hear tons of explosions coming at us at every angle!

Sitges is the perfect place to experience a Catalan festival. The city is tagged the St. Tropez of Spain with 17 sandy beaches, but there’s a long-standing bohemian spirit here too.

Platja Sant Sebastiá

Watch the video of humans climbing on top of each other in Sitges then read my post to learn more about this old Catalan tradition.

When to go: Week of August 24

Best way to get there: Take the RENFE train from Passeig de Gracia metro; 4€ each way.