Barcelona begins to awaken from its winter slumber in March and spring is tapping at the windows. With temperatures rising, the days growing longer and the streets growing busier, March is a great month to dust off the cobwebs and set out for a holiday in Barcelona. Perfectly nestled between the low and high seasons, March is a window of opportunity to explore Barcelona before the crowds really start to arrive.
Read on to discover the weird and wonderful events of Barcelona in March…
When: 28th February – 6th March
Where: All over the city
Price: Depends where you celebrate!
Much like Easter, the date of carnival changes every year and in 2019 it falls in the first week of March. Carnival in Barcelona has everything you would want from a carnival: drinks, dancing and colourful costumes. The biggest party takes place in Sitges, with a huge parade and all night partying on the beach and in the clubs. However, if you want to stay in the city, you will be able to find parties across Barcelona.
Everything kicks off with the arrival of the King of the Carnival and a masquerade ball on “Fat Thursday” (28th Feb); bring along a mask and join the fun on Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s central street, and follow the procession to the Palau de la Virreina, where more surprises await!
Sant Medir Festival: Candy Culture
When: 3rd March
Where: Carrer Gran de Gracia, Gracia neighbourhood
Price: Free, although you may wish to purchase a big bag.
At first glance, this festival is a little tricky to understand. Well, first glance, second glance, at all glances really, unless you also have a candy and horses festival in your town? We didn’t think so.
The Sant Medir Festival is born out of a local story of a farmer called Medir and a passing Bishop who was escaping Roman persecution. The Bishop told Medir that he was willing to die for his faith and told Medir not to lie if the Romans asked if he had seen him. Medir, who had been sowing his crop of beans, swore to tell the truth and, once the Bishop had moved on, his crop of broad beans began to grown rapidly. Unfortunately, when the Romans came and Medir told them he had seen the Bishop pass through, they took Medir, captured the Bishop, and both were executed. There is a sanctuary, the Ermita de Sant Medir, in Sant Cugat.
How does this connect to candy and horses? Well, there’s another story too (stay with us): a local baker was suffering an awful illness and made a promise that if he recovered, he would make a pilgrimage every year to the Ermita de Sant Medir. As the years went on, people joined his pilgrimage and were said to throw broad beans to the crowd that watched. Over time, broad beans were (thankfully) replaced with candy and thus the “Sweetest Festival” was born.
On 3rd March, you can watch the procession which now not only has horses and carts, but trucks and decorated floats. You’ll want to bring a big bag or even an umbrella (turned upside, a local trick!) to catch as much candy as possible. This is a great evening of fun to share, especially if visiting with children, as they can catch candy and then follow the procession to the firework display in the Jardinets de Gracia.
Barcelona Beer Festival
When: 15th, 16th and 17th March
Where: La Farga de l’Hospitalet (Google maps link)
Price: from 7,75€ (official site)
Well, the title is pretty self-explanatory here! Take the train from Plaza Catalunya out to L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, which takes around 30 minutes and only costs a few euros, and join thousands of others in sampling the best international beers at this huge three day festival. Tickets start from just 7,75€, which includes the booking fee, a glass that you use for sampling the beers and that you can keep after the event, a map and booklet to show you where to go and two tokens to help get you started on your tasting adventure.
If you’re new to the world of craft beers, you will find volunteers around the venue that will be more than happy to explain the origins of craft beer and also make suggestions on what to try. This is undoubtedly a must-see (and must-taste!) attraction for beer lovers; there will also be delicious gastronomic offerings to help line your stomach, so what more do you need?
When: 16th, 17th and 18th March
Where: starting from Plaza Sant Jaume
Price: Free to watch
Now, we cannot stress enough how important it is not to drink and drive! But if you want to see some incredible cars after visiting the beer festival, then the Barcelona-Sitges Classic Car Rally is here to help.
Held every year since 1959, the rally sees participants race from Barcelona to Sitges, with the exit from Barcelona a highlight. Classic cars, lovingly restored by the participants (who will also dress in period-appropriate clothing), leave from Plaza San Jaume in the centre of Barcelona and travel to Sitges. Don’t worry if you don’t catch the opening ceremony, there are other spots around the city to catch the race – look out for updates on the official website.
Barcelona Beer pt. 2: St Patrick’s Day
When: 17th March
Where: All over the city
Price: Varies, but at the minimum it’s the price of a few beers!
Yes, even in Barcelona, St Patrick’s Day is now widely celebrated. It’s up to you if you want to celebrate it in the city centre with other tourists, in one of the many Irish pubs that can be found around Barcelona, or if you want to celebrate with the locals in a small bar or restaurant, we hope the luck of the Irish will bless you! Be prepared for Guiness, Irish music and even Irish dancing – and plenty of “craic” (which means “fun” in Irish slang).
Festival in the Gothic Quarter
When: 16th – 24th March
Where: Gothic Quarter
Price: Most festivities are free.
The Festa Major del Pi, also known as the Festa de Sant Josep Oriol, takes place in the Pi area of the Gothic quarter, which consists of the church, Santa Maria del Pi, and the streets that surround it. The major features of the celebrations are the Gegants del Pi, some of the oldest Gegants in the whole of Catalonia (gegants are large paper-and-wood representations of men and women, each neighbourhood has their own). While the gegants will be used in dances and processions, there will also be theatrical demonstrations of local legends, from stories about Sant Josep Oriol to tall tales about thieves and highwaymen.