Wondering how to spice up your stay in Catalonia? We have come up with a list of the best cultural events that you should not miss out on while visiting. The Catalans take pleasure in organizing their local festivals – ‘Festa Major’ in Catalan and ‘Fiesta Major’ in Castellano. These typical town held festivals include various leisure and cultural activities that compose an extraordinary experience.
Among many interesting activities and offerings, the most spectacular are the street parades of giant figures called ‘Gigantes’, a variety of traditional dances and firework runs called ‘Correfocs’ and above all the human towers called ‘Castellera’. Fiestas major is also a great opportunity to nibble on some of the typical diary and meat products and taste a variety of locally sourced wines, including the sparkling wines called ‘cavas’. Enjoy your holidays like locals do – celebrating their town day.
Without a doubt, you will probably find a fair, a festival or a party in every corner of Catalonia. They take place on different days throughout the entire year so do not hesitate to visit the townhall webpage and search for Fiesta Major. However, we have picked up the top 5 fairs for you that are more than worth visiting. Make the most of your visit of Catalonia and join in! It is the best occasion to experience the geniune traditions.
Fiesta de la Mercé offers more than a week of fantastic activities, parades, and shows in the streets of Barcelona. With an exhausting program, the Mercè festivities have become an explosion of life for Barcelona. It is the best way to access sites and monuments that normally charge for an entrance or that are closed to the public throughout the year. You will smell an everpresent smoke from the gunpowder of the fireworks and of course taste on great variety nibbles and regional wines. Join one of the numerous street parties that each neighborhood ‘Barrio’ crafts into a spectacular colorful theme that goes on till morning hours. The Fiesta Major in Barcelona also offers limitless opportunities to attend concerts of all kinds. The fair usually takes place between 21st and 24th September.
Fiesta de Sant Narcís centralizes the majority of cultural activities in the beautiful city center of Girona. Every year more and more neighborhoods join in and contribute to a spectacular celebration of the city’s patron Saint Narcís. You can look forward to more than 200 concerts, an abundant choice of children’s activities and also traditional and popular culture activities such as the firework run ‘Correfoc’, the breathtaking human towers ‘Castellera’ or the street parades of enormous giants ‘Gigantes’. Girona is very pleasant to get by due to its size. The festival ends with spectacular fireworks on the banks of the river Ter. The fair usually takes place between 26th of October and 4th November.
Fiesta de Santa Tecla has proven to be one of the best-organized festival in Catalonia. The quality programming of these celebrations contributed to a respectful award from the Catalan Government. For exhausting 10 days, Tarragona presents an extensive program including tons of activities. The traditional elements such as the ‘Castellers’ stand out, music in the streets til the morning hours, fireworks, dances, clowns, theatre, circus, workshops and lots and lots more. On the first Sunday of the festival, the most important schools of ‘Castellera’ will perform an outstanding show and celebrate this unique tradition. The festival de Santa Tecla in Tarragona is an impressive fuse of the most important cultural features with an exceptional execution. The fair usually takes place between 14th and 24th of September.
Fiesta de la Patum takes place during the Corpus Christi festivities in a beautiful PrePyrenean setting of the town Berga. It has been recognized by Unesco as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2005. It has also been declared as a traditional festival of National Interest. Its origins go back to the 14th century and very little has changed over the past six centuries. The celebration includes diverse mystical and symbolic performances with dances lead by drums. The feature of this unique festival is the use of an abundant amount of fire and pyrotechnic devices in a very crowded main square. You can look forward to the parades of the town’s giants cross the city announcing the beginning of the festivities. There is also an adapted children’s version of La Patum. If you are planning on joining the crowd at the main square we highly recommend to use a protective hat, non-synthetic clothing, and closed shoes. Once you enter the square it might be almost impossible to leave as thousands of excited people compose in one compact mass. You can also watch the entire show in a more relaxed atmosphere on a display nearby. The town is always busting with a variety of food and drinks. The fair usually takes place between 30th of May and 3rd of June.
Mercat Medieval in Vic is another popular and especially culinary event in Catalonia. The comarca Osona is famous for its long sausage called ‘fuet’ and other pork products of the superb quality. The medieval theme of this market is present on every step and composes of different exhibitions, parades, and shows. The market is famous among Barcelonians who come to stock up with its famous pork products before the Christmas run-up. Hundreds of different artisans’ stalls offer beautifully crafted presents. Stroll around and get inspired while enjoying culinary treats and sipping a delicious mulled wine. It does not get more Christmasy than in Vic. We recommend you to hit the market in the morning hours as the fair attracts thousands from all over Catalonia and at times it can get crowded. The fair usually takes place between 6th and 9th of December.
Fira de Sant Ermengol in La Seu de Urgell promotes an artisanal cheese production. We may honestly say it is the capital of cheese in Catalonia. If you are a cheese addict this fair will certainly make you very happy as you will be able to sample from hundreds of types of cheeses from Catalan, Aragonese, Basque, Navarrese and French parts of the Pyrenees. It is a millenary fair and the oldest known so far throughout the peninsula, with its roots in 1048. The Fair has been transforming over the centuries to today’s form. It represents one of the country’s main showcases in cheeses and dairy products. During the days of the Sant Ermengol Fair, the town shines by hosting dozens of cheese-makers throughout the Pyrenees. Tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world and Catalonia come by to enjoy this unique event. The cheese is the main attraction for visitors, but the fair also offers the exhibitions of livestock and craftsmanship. It is an important annual event for La Seu d’Urgell, which carries the basis of tradition and innovation combined together. The fair usually takes place between 19th and 21st of October.
When planning your visit to Catalonia make sure you join in some Fiesta Major. We believe you will have an amazing time!