Every year tourists and locals alike take to the streets of Gracia during the month of August to get their fill of what many believe to be the best neighborhood celebration in Barcelona.
Festa Major de Gracia is the celebration of the history and heritage of the Gracia neighborhood, once an agricultural community before the sprawl of the city crept out toward the verdant pastures and farmland.
While many neighborhoods in Barcelona celebrate their own Festa Major, the style and enthusiasm of the Gracia celebration is what sets it apart from all the rest.
Each year, the neighborhood celebrates its decades-long narrative by hosting music, art, food and all sorts of exhibitions amid its narrow streets. The two most well-known traditions of the festival are its street decorating competition and its correfoc, or “fire run”, which is a devilish parade full of fireworks and revelry.
Last year we wrote an extensive Festa Major de Gracia post that covered some of the history behind the event and what the different traditions within the festival represent. This year we’re going to stick with what we do best: recommendations for what to do on each day of the Festa Major de Gracia festival.
Festa Major de Gracia 2015: August 15-21
Every Festa Major de Gracia features a poster made by an artist in Barcelona. This year’s festival poster is awesome. We love it:
Saturday (Aug. 15) at Festa Major de Gracia
Festa Major de Gracia kicks off on Saturday, August 15 with a ton of events. Here are our recommendations:
10 p.m. – Learn to Lindy Hop
Swing dancing is a trend in Barcelona. The city’s enthusiastic Lindy Hoppers will hold a free class at 10 p.m. in the Placa del Swing.
11:30 p.m. – Enjoy the Rumba
Local dance group Rumba Catalana will join La Republica Rumbera to perform the Catalan version of the rumba. You don’t want to miss it.
Midnight – Cake and Wine
Get your fill of some delicious local cake along with a Moscato-style wine at the Tasta Gracia exhibit in Plaça/Jardins Manuel Torrente.
Sunday (Aug.16) at Festa Major de Gracia
12:30 – Human Tower Time
Teams of castellers, the famous Catalan athletes who create human towers, will put on a performance in Placa Vila.
1:00 – Concert and Vermouth
Sunday afternoon is the traditional time to take in a glass of vermouth in Barcelona. What pairs well with vermouth? Some great music, that’s what. Head to Placa Rovira to enjoy the sultry songs of Isabel Vinadrell and Isabelle Laudenbach.
Monday (Aug. 17) at Festa Major de Gracia
10:30 a.m. — Witness the Neighborhood Domino and Cards Tourney!
Cards and dominoes are two beloved games for abuelos and abuelas. Watch neighbors get their table games on at the dominoes and cards competition on Calle Providencia.
12:00 p.m. — It’s Zumba Time!
Popular Barcelona fitness club chain Eurofitness will be teaching a Master Zumba class at their Calle Perill location near Torrent de l’Olla. We know you’ll be thirsty afterwards, so drink lots of water and consult our Barcelona drink guide!
7 p.m .– Wine not?!
Head to Tasta Gracia (Plaça/Jardins Manuel Torrente) to enjoy a tasting of Catalan wines.
Tuesday (Aug. 18) at Festa Major de Gracia
10 a.m. — Police on display!
The Mossos de Esquadra (Catalan police) are going to hold a workshop on Passeig St. Joan. We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, but we’re pretty sure something cool will transpire.
9 p.m. — It’s time for a little anime!
Head to Placa de Silenci to watch some original Japanese animé flicks in the original language.
Wednesday (Aug. 19) at Festa Major de Gracia
9 p.m. — Abracadabra, a la Kazam!
No festival is complete without a little magic. In this case, we literally mean “magic”. Head down to Carrer Progress for a night with illusionist Sermagic.
Midnight — It’s time for little rock and roll
Calle Mozart will be the the home of a fantastic little rock/metal band named The Cannibal Queens. With a name like that, they have to be amazing!
Thursday (Aug. 20) at Festa Major de Gracia
6 p.m. — Oriol Barri’s debut album
Local musician Oriol Barri is releasing his first album in Catalan. Head to Carrer de Puigmarti to check out the musician’s big night.
9:00 — Do the Charleston!
The swing dancing community is at it again Thursday night with a class on how to dance the Charleston (and some jazz, too). Plaza Swing is where this one is happening.
Friday (Aug. 21) at Festa Major de Gracia
2 p.m. — Fide-wonderful
Get ready for a tasty (and totally different) noodle experience at Espai Joanic. Fideua is a Catalan-style noodle dish that serves as a popular alternative to the rice you find in paella. It’s not for everyone, though. Try it to find out for yourself!
9 p.m. — Correfoc
Correfoc is, along with the extravagantly decorated streets, the crown jewel of Festa Major de Gracia. The fire run starts in the southwest corner (looks like northwest on the map) of the neighborhood and winds through Torrent de l’Olla. If you’re anywhere near Torrent de l’Olla around the time of the fire fun, you’ll hear it before you see it. Bring ear plugs, ’cause it gets real loud. Seriously. Bring them.
The fire ends in Placa Vila around 10:45 p.m. Make sure you’re there to see the finale of the correfoc. It’s an amazing spectical — lots of noise, plenty of fireworks and one very angry dragon.
A Few Notes….
Remember, all throughout the week streets will be decorated. You’ll have plenty to see and do to supplement the list we gave you. Maps and brochures are available at various spots through Festa Major de Gracia. If you want a crash course on where some of the most popular squares and event sites are, check out our post from last year. It’s a veritable Festa Major de Google Maps!
If you’re in town for a few days and you want to explore other parts of the city, we’ve got plenty of tours to help you experience Barcelona to the fullest. Bike, walking or driving— we’ve got plenty of options to fit your preferences.
Here’s an Instagram video of one of our recent bike tours….we aren’t weaving our way through the narrow streets of Festa Major de Gracia, but we are having a one-of-a-kind journey through Barcelona’s amazing Old City: