La Mercé 2014: Your Guide to the Best of Barcelona’s Legendary Festival

It’s finally here.

Barcelona’s famed La Mercé will begin in less than two weeks. Locals and visitors alike will get a dizzying, beautiful crash-course in all things Catalan at a festival known for it’s art, tradition, parades and ‘how-the-heck-do-they-do-that!?’ human towers.

Your La Mercé Guide: 3 Must-Sees & 1 Insider Tip Per Day

Deciding what to do during La Mercé is an immensely complex process. We’ve decided to take a look at the festival schedule and create a day-by-day account of fun things to see at La Mercé 2014. You´ll get event recommendations & a ‘La Mercé Like a Local’ tip for each day of the festival. We’ve also included maps of the two important event locations. Enjoy!

***DON’T FORGET: Sagrada Familia will be free from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m Sept. 19, 20, and 21. You must sign up for the free tickets on the official Sagrada Familia website, http://www.sagradafamilia.cat/ . Tickets will go fast, so be ready on Sept. 8!

The gigantes at Barcelona's La Merce festival.
Gigantes at La Mercé (photo courtesy of 10best.com)

You can get a little history about the event through our recent post about why La Mercé started.

Click on any of the links below to jump to the day you’d like to explore:

SaturdaySundayMondayTuesdayWednesday

Friday at La Mercé 2014: Kicking off the Party Catalán Style

La Mercé 2014 will begin the evening of Friday, Sept. 19, with a series of events in Barcelona´s Old City: 
  • Sardaña, 7 p.m.: The inaugural performance of the sardaña, Catalunya’s cultural dance, will take place in front of the Barcelona Cathedral on Av. de la Catedral  at 7:00 p.m. 

  • Opening Speech, 7 p.m.: Meanwhile, Catalán activist and politician Núria Gespert will deliver the 2014 La Mercé opening ceremonies speech (in Catalán) at Placa Sant Jaume at 19h.

  • Mercé Animation, 9:15 p.m.: Stop by Placa Sant Jaume at 9:15 p.m. to watch the awe-inspiring animation projected on the face of Placa Sant Jaume’s Catalán government building. The animation also plays at 9:45, 10:15 and 11:00. See the map above for directions.
  • La Mercé Like a Local: After the animation at Sant Jaume, do the five-minute walk to Ginger for a drink.

Saturday at La Mercé 2014: Life is a Circus

  • Various circus troupes, 11 a.m. – 8:45 p.m., Montjuic Castle: Check out a wide variety of circus acts atop Montjuic. Entertaining acts and beautiful are worth the trip to Barcelona’s verdant lookout point.

  • Catalán bands, 6:30 p.m 2:00 a.m., Placa Espanya: At night head to Plaza Espanya where you can hear bands from across Catalunya performing against the backdrop of the beautiful Catalunya National Art Museum. Bands begin playing at 6:30 p.m. and conclude in the early hours of Sunday morning.

  • The dragons and beasts parade, 9 p.m., Placa Sant Jaume: Watch the ghoulish goings-on of La Mercé’s fiery leviathans. The parade begins and ends at Placa Sant Jaume.
  • La Mercé Like a Local: Head to Lolita for tapas and enjoy G&T’s at Xixbar. Both places are locate just a short walk from Placa Espanya.

Sunday at La Mercé 2014: Running With Fire

  • Falcon show, 11 a.m., Placa Sant Jaume: Watch winged acrobats take to the skies during this traditional aviary show.
Correfoc at La Mercé (photo courtesy of Hotel Actual)
  • Drum chorus, 6 p.m., Placa del Rei: Enjoy a raucous Barcelona drum corps beginning in the very square where legend says Ferdinand and Isabella welcomed Columbus back from the explorer’s journey to America.

  • Correfoc, 8:15 p.m., Via Laietana: Get a taste of the fire and fun of Correfoc. Don’t forget to bring earplugs if you want to join in the fun. Cameras and video are a must.
  • La Mercé Like a Local: After Correfoc, head to the W Barcelona to mix it up with the young elite at the hotel´s famous WET Deck Summer Series. Great music, great drinks and plenty of mingling await.

Monday at La Mercé 2014: A Little Break

  • Concert, 8 p.m., Av. de la Catedral: Listen to the symphonic sweetness of the Barcelona Symphonic Orchestra. Monday is a slow day for La Mercé.
  • La Merce Like a Local: Once the music fades in Placa del Rei, head to Hotel Neri for drinks and dinner: Make reservations, though. Their restaurant is as exclusive as it is pricey.

Tuesday at La Mercé 2014: Music ‘Til the Morning

  • Parade of the gigantes, 9 p.m., Maritime Museum: Get a close up look at the magnificent gigantes the night before the big celebration.
  • Isaac Ulam and José Domingo, 11:30 p.m., Placa Sant Jaume: Enjoy the folk-rock melodies of this thoroughly Catalán duo from Girona.
  • Delafé y las flores azules, 2 a.m., The Forum: Party deep into the madrugada with this Catalonian indie-pop band.
The official 2014 poster for Barcelona´s legendary La Mercé festival.
The official La Mercé 2014 poster

Wednesday at La Mercé 2014: The Big Day

  • Go to Placa Sant Jaume around 10 a.m. and plan on staying until about 12:30 or 1 p.m. The square will be insanely crowded, but you´ll see and feel all the energy and regionalism that is Catalunya’s La Mercé.
  • La Mercé parade,  6 p.m., Carrer Montalegre and Carrer Pelai: See the gigantes strut their stuff at the premier La Mercé parade.
  • Closing ceremonies, 9 p.m., Placa del Rei: The closing festivities will begin here and end with a gigantes dance at Palau de la Virreina.
  • La Mercé Like a Local: Be in Placa Sant Jaume for the midday festivities. You’ll see plenty of Catalán pride and general Mercé revelry. There’s a good chance it will be a memory you carry with you for the rest of your life.

Everything Else You Need To Know About La Mercé 2014

There are hundreds of events going on around the city. As much as we’d like to, we can’t tell you about all of them. However, Barcelona’s local government has an amazing La Mercé 2014 website. Here are a list of links on the site which will help you plan the perfect La Mercé itinerary. To go to the city’s La Mercé2014 site, click here.:

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