BARCELONA SUMMER SURVIVAL GUIDEBOOK
Summer in Barcelona can be tough (“Yeah right”, I hear many foreign readers say). But it´s true – think of the thousands of tourists that block the streets, the scorching heat, the fact that so many businesses and restaurants close for nearly a month…It´s fine if you experience this as a tourist, but for Barcelonian locals it might not always be fun and games.
Fortunately, one of the many, many great things about living in Barcelona is the vast amount of activities that take place during the summer. Besides the incredible beaches and chiringuitos (beach bars), you also have live music concerts like Sonar, outdoor movie festivals, San Juan, Gracia,…the list goes on and on.
For those who are new to Barcelona and perhaps don´t know about these activities, we decided to write a special blog entry just for you. Think of it as “Barcelonian Summer Survival Guidebook”
Usually taking place during the month of June, Sonar has become one of the most important and influential electronic music festivals in Europe! It started in 1993 and has grown more and more popular every year, featuring big names such as Deepdish, Daft Punk, Kraftwerk, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Chemical Brothers, Josh Wink etc.
During the last 20 years of Sonar, it has dynamically transformed the atmosphere in Barcelona and turning it into the epicentre of European electronic music. It also has a major impact on tourism in Barcelona, drawing around 80,000 visitors ever year and having contributed nearly 50 Million Euros to Catalunya´s GDP every year. Besides the main event, Sonar also leads to the organization of other events that take place outside of the Sonar Scope.
This year you can experience Sonar for yourself from 18-20 June, where you can expect performances by artists such as:
- Die Antwoord
- Duran Duran
- Chemical Brothers
For a full list of artists and information on the event, click here.
MONTJUIC OPEN-AIR CINEMA FESTIVAL (aka SALA MONTJUIC)
One of our personal favorites is this open-air film festival where you can enjoy some of the best that cinema has to offer, on a picnic blanket,under the stars. Romantic, right?
It takes place in the moat of Montjuic Castle where attendees can either bring their own picnic and blanket to sit on or hire deck chairs for €3 from the organizers. In previous years, hot dogs and beer were on sale if you didn´t want to take your own food. It´s not clear whether it will be the same this year, but its more than likely. You can look out for your favorite films from 3rd of July until 7th August this year. Doors open at 8.30 pm with an opening concert and the screening at 10 pm. Be sure to take a blanket though since it gets cold and clammy later in the evening. Tickets start from €9 and can be purchased in advance online or at the event itself.
This year you can enjoy such great films as:
One of the biggest summer parties in Spain is San Juan (Saint John´s Day). The beaches and different neighborhoods of Barcelona become a crazy festival of live music, dancing, fireworks and the famous correfoc (running/jumping over fire).
The place to be is of course on the beaches of Barcelona, more specifically the stretch between Mar Bella beach and Barceloneta.
People usually go in groups and have picnics with Tiki torches on the sand. The beach bars (locally referred to as chiringuitos) will have live music and DJs and will of course have alcoholic drinks as well as food for when you need something to sober up at 3:00 am!
Keep in mind that it gets more and more rowdy every year, so if big crowds and noise annoy you, stay away or plan to get there early (around 7:00 pm) and leave when it gets dark and the fireworks really start blasting away.
Yes, “gracia” does mean “thanks” in Spanish. But in Barcelona, there is also a neighborhood called Gracia which is famous for its Bohemian atmosphere (similar to Camden Town in London or Montmartre in Paris), as well as loads of cute bars, restaurants, coffee shops and plethora of boutique shops that sell anything from vintage to handmade apparel.
It is also very famous for its annual summer festival which takes place over a period of one week in August and involves all the different smaller neighborhoods in Gracia getting together and eating, drinking, dancing and socializing in the streets. Each neighborhood is responsible for decorating its streets with as much papier-mâché, recycled plastic and loads of glue as you can imagine. Previous years have offered decorations that included life-size papier-mâché Tyrannosaurus Rex and Jurassic Park Jeep, to a virtual underwater world with realistic-looking jellyfish and water effects.
The neighborhood with the most impressive decorations wins a title by the same name and is very much coveted by the residents of Gracia.
The event is completely free of charge to attend and a map is usually sold for €1 to guide you through the maze of decorations. Food, drinks and live music are also on offer, as well as a special kids section for the young ones. The dates haven´t been announced yet, but it usually takes place from the second week of August so keep your eyes and ears peeled.