We’re currently immersed in one of the most festive, colourful and happy events of the year: Carnival! And while Barcelona is not famous for its Carnival celebrations (it doesn’t have the spectacular parades of Rio de Janeiro or Tenerife, nor the special charm of Basel’s or Venice’s, truth is, Carnival in Barcelona is still one of the top events of the year. The city is covered in colours and people in costumes for several days, and there are tons of parties to attend that adapt to all tastes and preferences.

 

If you happen to be in this beautiful Mediterranean city, there’s still a lot going on for Carnival in Barcelona. Pay attention to the following lines, as we’ll tell you about all the majors events in the city in the following days!

 

 

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Carnival in Barcelona: The legend of Carnestoltes

But first, what about a little Carnival history? Catalonia’s Carnival King is called Carnestoltes. He’s a colourful, permissive king that is chosen so everybody can enjoy everything that is forbidden during a few days. During history, Carnival has been forbidden many times due to its revolutionary spirit. On Saturday, Carnestoltes appears in the party disguised as an animal or another person and gives everybody permission to have fun without conditions. However, after a few days, people realise such disaster and lack of rules isn’t that good (or at least, isn’t always good), and Carnestoltes pronounces himself guilty and is sentenced to death. He is publicly burnt (thus the celebration of Ash Wednesday) and in Catalonia we say goodbye to him in the Burial of the Sardine, which works as a symbolic figure for our beloved Carnestoltes, who brought us fun, crazy and life without responsibilities even if just for a few days.

 

Carnival in Barcelona: Celebrations in the city

Now that you know all about Carnestoltes, let’s go to what brought you here in the first place: the parties! Get your costume ready and prepare for the following celebrations of Carnival in Barcelona:

  • Barcelona celebrates its own parades as well, and three in a row! The first one takes place today 12th of February, tomorrow 13th and Wednesday 14th! The parades start in Plaça Catalunya and go around several parts of the city. Carnival is the same dates as Santa Eulàlia, Barcelona’s Winter Holiday, so today you will be able to enjoy several traditional celebrations such as ‘el ball de les laies”, which takes place in Plaça Sant Josep Oriol, in the Gothic Quarter. All Barcelona’s giants will participate in a very special dance!
  • Ravalstoltada: The multicultural neighbourhood of El Raval celebrates its own Carnival on the 17th, with a popular paella, a parade and a batucada. It’s one of the most fun celebrations of Carnival in Barcelona!
  • And we end the celebrations on the 18th with another neighbourhood, this time the Barceloneta and its Carnavalada, probably the most colourful parade of the whole city as it takes place during the day. If we’re lucky, Barcelona’s winter sun and clear skies will accompany us in this beautiful and candid parade. It starts in the Plaça del Mar at 10 am on Sunday the 18th.
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Carnival in Barcelona: Sitges Carnival

If you’re a fan of Carnival, you should know that you have an important meeting with Catalonia’s most famous Carnival, which happens to be a short trip away from the capital. Yes, Carnival in Barcelona can be an unforgettable celebration, but Sitges gets all the fame… And the most impressive parades! The neighbours of Sitges are keen participants of Carnival celebrations, and they join in different groups to create amazing and impressive group costumes that they show off in the many festive floats of the parade. Choreographies, confetti, music and tons of colour are the main players in this wonderful Carnival. The parade lasts for quite a while and goes over Sitges’ beautiful city centre, and then the party goes on in the many bars and pubs of Sitges and in the beach until sunrise. The town plans events for a whole week including lunches, dances and activities for children (there is even a children’s parade!), but if you want to see what is famous for, go to one of the main parades. You can still catch the last of them tomorrow the 13th of February, the Rua de l’Extermini, at 9 pm. And if you have the energy to pull an all-nighter, hold up for the vermú that is celebrated the following day, the Ash Wednesday, to say goodbye to Carnival with a bang!

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So, are you ready for Carnival in Barcelona? Have you still enjoyed any of the parades and parties that have already taken place? Or did you go to Sitges’ Rua de la Disbauxa instead? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

Author
At GowithOh, we are an enthusiastic team of self-confessed Europhiles who are passionate about travel. We especially love the variety of city breaks possible in Europe, from the historic UNESCO heritage cities like Prague, to the more cosmopolitan beachside destinations like Barcelona. We love discovering the hidden gems in different cities and sharing them with our fans so everyone can benefit and enjoy the perfect city break in Europe.