Barcelona, Spain is full of local festivals all year round but summertime can lead you to one of the most cultural experiences, like Festa Major de Gràcia.
A hop from the easily accessible TMB metro to Fontana is Gràcia, this very sheek and trendy area actually makes up the oldest district in the city of Barcelona. It is home to the annual Festa Major de Gràcia, dating back to the 19th century. Residents from 23 neighbourhood streets or carrer of this old community spend much of their year together preparing for a week-long mass celebration in the streets. Each carrer creates carefully handcrafted decorations, made from anything they can find – plastic, wood, paper, household items – and draped from one balcony across the street to another. In this festival, anything goes. Life-size caricatures, makeshift archways, and homemade waterfalls make this festival one of a kind.
The way to see this festival is by walking through the throng of folk musicians and live bands along the narrow cobble-stone pathways. Local bars spill out onto the streets so grab a bottle of Spanish beer and take in the main stage with traditional Catalan music. At week’s end, residents vie for the best decorated street. The top prize? Cash of course, to help them re-decorate for next year’s street party.
The absolute best part of this festival is its local flavour. The event is not a known tourist attraction, making it a chance for those who find it to become immersed in true Catalan culture and traditions.
When to go: Week of August 15th
Best way to get there: Metro Fontana (Line 3)