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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 10 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Barcelona’s biggest shindig, honouring its co-patron saint of the same name, is a three-day party for all. It features everything from human pyramids (castellers), dances of the gegants (festival giants), enormous processions, circus performances, concerts, theatre, dance, spectacular sound and light shows on historic buildings, and firework-spewing devils and dragons in a frenzied fire run (correfoc), set to the drums. The festival concludes with a massive musical firework display over Montjuic’s Magic Fountain.

The Castellers

The extraordinary human towers – Castellers derives from the word Castells, Catalan for castles – are a cultural phenomenon unique to Catalonia. The tradition started in the 18th century in the city of Valls, Taronga as a traditional folklore dance. The steps of the dance were accompanied by the flute, which is still played during the tower building. Today, this jaw-dropping spectacle sees participants defy all health and safety sense to climb up to 10 stories high. You can see them on specific dates all over Catalonia. See here for more details on how they are constructed.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
Frequency: annually
When: Late September
Duration: 5 days

Getting there & doing it

Main venues such as the Parc de la Ciutadella, the Forum, Plaça Sant Jaume (for the castellers), Via Laeitana (where the correfocs run), the beaches of Barceloneta (nightly fireworks) are easy to reach by metro. The Castell of Montjuïc, another venue, is linked by funicular and cableway from the Paral-lel metro station. Check the website to find out when and where the popular street events take place, and arrive an hour early to get a good spot. For the 10pm firework display at the Magic Fountain, get there even earlier. Although many events are free, you’ll need tickets for some shows: pick them up at the Tiquet Rambles booth in the Palau de la Virreina at La Rambla, 99.

When to do it

The festival is held on the last weekend of September each year.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Grand Hotel Central

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

A stylish, central hotel in the hip El Born district, with 1920s features and one of the best rooftop pools in town.

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Mandarin Oriental Barcelona

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

The MO boasts spectacular interiors, a world-class spa, double-Michelin starred restaurant and an unparalleled location on the beautiful Passeig de Gracia.

Official star rating:

W Barcelona

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

This sceney, architectural waterfront hotel comes with edgy design, a party-feel pool terrace and sweeping Mediterranean views.

Official star rating:

Hotel Neri

Barcelona, Catalunia, Spain

Historic charm, contemporary chic and great food combine in this beguiling bolthole, on a picturesque square in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Catalonia, Spain

Spain’s cultural heart has unforgettable architecture, a pioneering arts scene, creative cuisine and nightlife that buzzes till dawn.

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