Barcelona, Spain is full of local festivals all year round but summertime can lead you to one of the most cultural experiences – La Festa de Gràcia.
A hop from the easily accessible TMB metro to Fontana is the barrio Gràcia. This very laid-back bohemian area makes up the oldest district in the city of Barcelona. It is home to the annual Festa de Gràcia, dating back to the 19th century, where locals from 23 neighbourhood streets of this old barrio spend much of their year together preparing for the biggest week-long street festival. Each year in August the streets of Gràcia are completely transformed and locals compete for the best decorated street using handcrafted decorations, made from anything they can find – plastic, wood, paper, household items – most of them draped from one balcony across the street to another.
In this street festival, anything goes. Life-size caricatures, makeshift archways, and homemade waterfalls make this festival one of a kind.
To experience this festival, you’ll walk through the throng of folk musicians and live bands, and under canopies of colourful decoration. Local bars spill out onto the streets so you can grab a bottle of Spanish beer and sip to Catalan music. At the end of the week, the street with the most creative decor wins. And the prize? Cash of course (to help them re-decorate for next year’s street party!)
The festival is not a known tourist attraction, making it a chance for those who find it to become immersed in true Catalan culture and tradition. It’s completely free and open to everyone, so you won’t need to buy any tickets to attend.
When to go: Week of August 15th
Best way to get there: Metro Fontana (Line 3)
If you’re in Barcelona in August, take a day trip and see La Festa Major in Sitges.
Or check out my other list of free (or cheap) things to do in Barcelona.