If there’s anyone who knows how to party, it’s the Spaniards. And in a country where even everyday dinners feel like a special gathering, La Merce is one festival that you must not miss. The event is held for around five days in September, in honor of Mare de Deu de la Merce, Barcelona’s patron saint. It dates back to 1902, and was initially held as a fun way to bid the summer goodbye.
During La Merce, Barcelona’s streets are punctuated by sights, sounds, and festivities that assault the senses in the most riotous way. There are lively parades, people dancing, and lots of food and drink! These are just some of the hundreds of activities awaiting you at the festival, but perhaps the highlight for many is the legendary Correfoc or the fire run. This is when fireworks and sparklers go wild, and are sprayed to the crowds! Be amazed at the Castellers, or human towers; one of the highlights wherein people create a human tower standing up – a marvelous feat that will blow your mind. Other exciting attractions include live bands, street performances, theatrical acts, and much more.
‘Make sure you load up on the traditional drink of kalimotxo (red wine with coke) and get ready for a dazzling party – Spanish style!’
La Merce has something for everyone, and both adults and children alike will have an unforgettable experience in the beautiful city of Barcelona during the biggest party of the year.
The many events of La Merce are held at various locations around Barcelona. Here’s a breakdown of the main event locations:
Correfoc (fire run): Via Laietana
Castellers (human towers): Placa de Sant Jaume
Gigantes (parade of giants): Placa de Sant Jaume
Projection show: Placa St. Jaume
During La Merce, most of the streets will be closed off to give way to the parades, events, and hoards of people. The best way to get around will be on foot, so don’t bother renting a car during the festivities.
After the event, you can maximize the wide range of sightseeing transport options in town. The most convenient means of transportation in Barcelona are the metro, tram, and the FGC; there are different ticket cards depending on where you want to go. The city also has a fleet of over 1,000 buses that take you to all parts of Barcelona, and the travel cards used on the metro, tram, and FGC can also be used for the bus. If you aren’t in a hurry, getting around by bicycle is a leisurely and scenic way of exploring Barcelona. Other options include taxis and car rentals.
It’s recommended to stay central in Barcelona. Not only will you be in close proximity to the best tourist attractions, but also the hotspots during La Merce. Check out accommodation options at the Gothic Quarter, El Born (old town), and Eixample. If you want to stay near the beach, Poble Nou and Barceloneta are highly recommended.
Passion is found all over this incredible vibrant city. There are some many rad things to do in Barcelona. Be warned: many come to Barcelona for the first time and never leave. That’s how charming Barcelona is. Fall in love with the modernista architecture, explore Picasso’s Barcelona, feast on mouthwatering tapas and pinxtos, and get drunk on kalimotxo and life!
La Merce 2019 will be held from September 21-24.
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