What to do during La Mercè, Barcelona’s biggest festival.

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La Mercè

La Mercè is more than just a town festival. There are hundreds of parties in one, with danceable activities and edible events. A celebration that transforms the streets of Barcelona to dress them with tradition, but at the same time exhibits modernity in each square. And, of course, with proposals for all audiences and tastes. So why not join the party?

In just 30 minutes you can move from the tranquility of Dolce Sitges to the vibrant city of Barcelona to take part in a Fiesta of National Tourist Interest. However, deciding on one or the other activity will not be easy: the La Mercè 2018 poster is really interesting!

Let us guide you. In this article we’ll go through this year’s highlights, the unavoidable celebrations and all the cultural exhibits, and we guarantee you a tight schedule from September 21-24!

 

The most traditional.

Immersion in traditional culture is one of the most authentic activities of this festival. In the mornings, we recommend you to watch -and even participate- in the sardana dances organized in the plazas. In these dances, the people of Barcelona dance in a circle holding hands, without ever letting go, while they jump to the sound of the gralla, we promise you that the choreography is not complicated!

Another traditional plan, and highly recommended, is to see the colles castelleres in action. These professional climbers elevate the emotions of the public like no one else in the emblematic Plaza Sant Jaume, in the city hall.

During La Mercè several activities are organized with castells, and I’m sure some of them will fit in your calendar.

The Cabalgatas de Gigantes are another perfect plan, especially to enjoy with the family. The most important one is held in the Plaza Sant Jaume and parades through the Gothic district and the Raval, so it will also help you to discover the city! In these rúas, a fifteenth-century tradition, children see the giants Jaume and Violant, the capgrossos, the city’s eagle and the rest of the bestiary parading and dancing.

Our last traditional suggestion is the correfoc. A fireworks and devil’s dance party with fire parades and mythological monsters. It’s really fun, as long as you protect yourself from sparks with a good sweater. Don’t forget it!

Correfoc

 

The most spectacular.

A popular festival can also be spectacular, and La Mercè is a good example of this. During the four days of the festival, there are extraordinary audiovisual exhibitions called Video Mapping, projected on emblematic monuments such as the Town Hall or Casa Batlló. These screenings are usually held several times a day, during the night, and we promise you they are worth it.

Another spectacular moment of the party is the Pyromusical. It is one of La Mercè’s most eagerly awaited events: an exhibition of pyrotechnics that puts an end to the festivities. The Pyromusical gathers thousands of people in the Plaza España to watch the colorful fireworks… Don’t miss it!

 

The most musical.

Music is the cornerstone of the main festival in Barcelona. Every day concerts are held in different parts of the city, some of them simultaneously. In addition to different styles and parity in its musical programme, La Mercè bets on local performers, inviting Mediterranean style groups to play on their stages. This 2018, Lisbon is the guest city, so you can also listen to fados, the Portuguese folk song, on stage.

On the official website of Barcelona City Council you can consult the programme in detail. For our part, we would like to recommend some concerts that we consider interesting, either for their originality or for their good live performance, one for each day that the parties last!

 

Day 21 Kokoroko

Kokoroko is a musical group between Afrobeat and Funk, with jazz influences. They are a wind sextet formed in London and with a very particular sound that will not leave you indifferent, can you think of a better plan for a Friday night?

Day 22 Love of Lesbian

Love of Lesbian has been playing on stage for 20 years – and in beer commercials in our homes. Its indie and Mediterranean style is a winning combination to celebrate the festivities of La Mercè. If you choose them for your Saturday night, they will delight you with a complete review of their successes.

Day 23 Sabor de Gracia

The Catalan rumba can’t be missing in Barcelona, and Sabor de Gracia is your best option for dancing all night long! This band will pay tribute to the great maestro Peret in a concert full of musical spells. For the most nocturnal, an indispensable Sunday proposal.

Day 24 La Bien Querida

For the last day of the festivities, we propose a light and romantic concert, but with synthetic touches, of Madrid origin. La Bien Querida composes instant classics and makes your viewers fall in love from the first note – a perfect plan for your evening-night!

 

The most cultural.

If you prefer to take advantage of this break to discover the cultural Barcelona, during La Mercè you will have all the facilities. Open days to museums and free visits to the city’s emblematic and historic buildings are organised during the four days of the festival.

The best thing is to check the website of the museum or building you want to visit, so that you have all the updated information. However, we can tell you that Barcelona City Council or the Palau de la Generalitat are two of the buildings included in this initiative.

Puertas Abiertas Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash.

 

Now that you know the schedule of activities for La Mercè better…. you’ll agree with us that the day is only hours away, right?
Enjoy the celebration very much! And don’t forget to read us next year, we will have another article prepared with the proposals of La Mercè 2019.