Festival of La Mercé 2016

Join the biggest party of the year in Barcelona this September – there will be human towers, fireworks, street dancing and fire runs!

La Mercè is the biggest street party in Barcelona and one of the most colourful festivals in the Catalan calendar. With four days of street parties and fireworks taking place, there’ll be more than 600 events squeezed into the city’s plazas, streets and parks.

Image by Moyan Benn (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Image by Moyan Benn (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Each day involves elaborate parades comprised of blowup dolls, papier-mâché giants, fire runners and castellers forming large-scale human castles.

If you’re wanting to party in Barcelona then you’ll be in for a treat this September. Most of the events are completely FREE and this year Paris will be the guest city at La Mercè.

What? Street festival honouring Barcelona’s patron saint, the Virgin of Mercy
Various venues, Barcelona, Spain
22-25th September 2016

With hundreds of events happening all over the city, it’s hard to know where to start, so here are a few things to remember if you want to make the most of your time in Barcelona.

La Mercè is a public holiday in Barcelona

Image by Rodrigo Paredes (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Image by Rodrigo Paredes (Flickr/Creative Commons)

24th September marks the celebratory day, and it’s a public holiday throughout the city, but the festival takes place over four days. Some of the highlights this year include theatre productions, traditional Catalan street dancing and open days in many of the city’s museums.

Most events are free!

Image by Pablo Cereseto (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Image by Pablo Cereseto (Flickr/Creative Commons)

La Mercè is a fantastic way to experience the buzz of a city festival without breaking the bank. The vast majority of events and venues are free to enter, and you’ll be able to to dine on tapas and street food at no extra cost.

Castellers are completely crazy 

Image by Nacho Pintos (Flickr/Creative Commons)

The castellers, or human towers, draw huge crowds over La Mercè. Make sure you go to Plaça Sant Jaume in the Gothic Quarter early and grab a prime spot to watch them build human pyramids during the festival. It has to be seen to be believed.

Stay safe during the fire run

Image by CrazyBanana (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Image by CrazyBanana (Flickr/Creative Commons)

During this parade, revellers dress up as devils and set off fireworks in the street. It’s a noisy and spectacular occasion, with scant concern for public safety…

The best place to see the correfoc parade is along Via Laietana. It’s highly advisable to wear glasses during this event, and clothes you don’t mind smelling of smoke afterwards. Correfoc is like bullfighting with fireworks, so its only wise to keep a safe distance.

Enjoy the Barcelona nightlife

Image by icanteachyouhowtodoit (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Image by icanteachyouhowtodoit (Flickr/Creative Commons)

A great place to warm up is L’Ovella Negra, a popular student pub near Plaça de Catalunya where you can enjoy cheap and delicious sangria. Another popular choice for backpackers is Bar Marsella, a funky absinthe joint in Ciutat Vella, where Baudelaire and Hemingway used to drink.

What are you waiting for? Book a cheap hostel now!

If you’re planning to attend La Mercè, then make sure to book your hostel in advance. Barcelona will see hundreds of thousands of visitors congregating in the city centre this September. We have a stylish range of boutique hostels with availability in the city centre. Book now for the best Barcelona beds 🙂

*Header image by Sabrina Corana (Flickr/Creative Commons)