There are so many things to do during spring in Barcelona, from the city's biggest marathon to the Guitar BCN Festival, as well as the massive Primavera Sound music festival. There's also the Sant Jordi celebration that fills the city with books and roses, the Earth Day Fair, a couple of film festivals, Easter week and more.
Festes de Sant Medir de Gràcia
Where: Gràcia to Sant Cugat & back
When: Mar 3 2017
On or around the feast day of St Emeterius (Sant Medir in Catalan), for almost 200 years colourfully decorated horse-drawn carts have gathered around the Plaça Trilla to ride up to his hermitage in the Collserola hills. The most popular element are the carts that circle the streets of Gràcia and shower the crowd with 100 tons of blessed boiled sweets.
Where: Convent de Sant Agustí, Sala Apolo, Moog
When: Mar 9-11 2017
The International Festival for Digital Creativity and Electronic Music, which got its start in Montreal back in 1999, has been making sound waves in Barcelona for the past eight years. There's a Digi_Section daytime conference programme (Q&A sessions, workshops, demos) and of course electronic music every night. Confirmed acts for 2017 include Actress (UK), Minuit Une (France), Music for Lamps (Canada), Klara Lewis (Sweden) and more local and international acts.
Zurich Marató de Barcelona
Where: Plaça Espanya
When: Mar 12 2017, 8.30am-2.30pm
The Barcelona Marathon celebrates its 39th year in 2017. The marathon course runs throughout the city streets, so you might want to check the website whether you're participating, watching, or just want to know where traffic will be diverted on the day.
Setmana Santa (Holy Week)
Where: various venues
When: April 9-17 2017
Easter for Catalans is a relatively sober affair, with none of the pageantry embraced by their southern cousins. The main event is the blessing of the palms on 'diumenge de rams' (Palm Sunday). Crowds surge into the cathedral clutching bleached palm fronds bought from stalls around the city; these are then used to bring luck to households. On Good Friday, a series of small processions and blessings takes place in front of the cathedral. On Easter Sunday, godparents dole out the 'mones': chocolate confections, more elaborate than humble Easter eggs.
Guitar BCN festival
Where: various venues
When: late Jan – early July
Tel & website: 93 481 70 40/www.theproject.es
This prestigious guitar-based music festival has the ability to attract world-class players. Recent editions have included Lucinda Williams, The Stranglers, Eli Paperboy Reed and Bryan Ferry. Confirmed acts for 2017 so far feature Lambchop, Rick Astley, Ute Lemper and Pat Metheny, among many others. Styles span everything from flamenco to Latin sounds, classical guitar and gypsy jazz.
Barcelona Beer Festival
Where: La Farga
When: Mar 24-26 2017
Some 300 different types of craft beer served in rotation from the bar's 50 taps, with 70 of the 300 from foreign brewers, and the rest, Catalan and Spanish, many of them being tasted for the first time in the country. The organisers have said the festival is akin to a living thing: beers that are served on Friday will be changed each day following. Most brands run between just €2 and €3. To accompany your drinks, there are also tapas, dishes, pasties, crepes, and cheeses. The beers are served at three different temperatures, with careful attention paid to the ideal service for each beer, and pulled by staff who are well trained in pouring a glass on tap.
Where: Various venues
When: Apr 16 & 17 2016 (2017 dates TBA)
This two-day 'World of Books' festival dedicated to the youngest readers, celebrates its 13th anniversary in 2017 with fun activities and readings to introduce children to the wonderful world of books.
Fira de la Terra
Where: Parc de la Ciutadella and Passeig Lluís Companys
When: Apr 29 & 30 2017
The Fira de la Terra is a two-day eco-festival to celebrate Earth Day (April 22), although it’s normally held on the nearest weekend to the actual day. There are handicrafts, food stalls and performances, along with talks on environmental issues, though most of the activities are aimed at children.
Where: La Rambla & all over Barcelona
When: Apr 23 2017
On the feast day of Sant Jordi (St George), the patron saint of Catalonia, nearly every building bears the red and gold Catalan flag, while bakeries sell Sant Jordi bread streaked with red 'sobrassada' sausage pâté. Red roses decorate the Palau de la Generalitat and the city’s many statues and paintings of George in all his dragon-slaying glory. It’s said that as the drops of the dragon’s blood fell, they turned into red flowers – and for more than five centuries, this has been the Catalan version of St Valentine’s Day. Men traditionally gave women a rose tied to an ear of wheat, and women reciprocated with a book; this is also ‘the Day of the Book’. It accounts for an amazing 10 percent of Catalonia’s annual book sales, and street stalls and bookshops give good discounts.
D'A: Festival Internacional de Cinema d'Autor
Where: Various venues
When: Apr 27 – May 7 2017
The Independent Film Festival in Barcelona isn't just about the chance to see films that you otherwise couldn't; it also focuses on the main concerns of contemporary cinema. The festival is also establishing itself as a springboard for Catalan filmmakers who bet their all to make where they call home a bit less small in the world of cinema.