Barcelona says farewell to those long summer days and announces an autumn full of energy by holding its largest street party, the festival of La Mercè, which is during the 18th to the 24th of September.
This festivity is held in honor of one of the patron-saints of the city, our Lady of the Mercy, and all you fortunate ones to be here shall experience some of the best Catalan traditions, street art and music!
There are over 500 events taking place during this festival, that’s why we would like to show you two different types of ways to experience La Mercè:
THE TRADITIONAL MERCÈ
Human Towers “Castells”
Castells are one of the highlights of the festival, so it’s always better if you arrive a bit early. The aim of the Castellers is to build a human tower and have a young child climb to the top of the tower and stand up. You can enjoy this performance in Plaça Sant Jaume on Sunday 20th at 12h and on Thursday 24th at 12.30h in the morning.
The giants dance on the streets, march around in circles, accompanied by the music of flutes and drums. On the first day of La Mercè, Friday 18th, you can see them together with other figures that will march around the streets starting from Palau de la Virreina at 19h, continuing to La Rambla, carrer Ferran, plaça de Sant Miquel and plaça Sant Jaume. On Saturday 19th you can also enjoy watching the “gegants” marching from Palau de la Virreina at 18h, to La Rambla, Portal de Santa Madrona and Drassanes, their final destination.
When the night comes, fire-breathing dragons, dangerous devils and other monsters march the streets and scare the people with lots of fireworks and bangers. Barcelona loves fire! The show starts at 20.30 on Sunday 20th in Via Laietana, but for the little ones, there´s an earlier and lighter “correfoc” at 18.30, also in Via Laietana.
On Friday 18th at 22h you can enjoy some spectacular fireworks from the beach of Barceloneta. Also, on the last day of the festival La Mercè, the closing act will be held in the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, with fireworks, music and lights, also at 22h.
THE ALTERNATIVE MERCÈ
Besides the traditional activities, Barcelona offers a large number of concerts, street theatre and art that will make this experience unforgettable.
Light projections show at Plaça Sant Jaume
Forget going to the movies in La Mercè! Head towards Plaça de Sant Jaume every night and see how the façade of our city hall transforms itself into a giant screen. A quirky light projection show will delight young and old. You can enjoy the show every half hour starting at 20.45 most of nights. On Thursday 24th they start at 22h and go on until 23h.
Concerts and music festivals
Mercè 2015 BAM music festival is a 4 day music festival where artists from all around the world will star in 90 concerts, all of these are outdoors and free! A popular highlight of BAM is the street concert at the “Antiga Fàbrica d’Estrella Damm” in Eixample from 19:30 onwards. We recommend checking the program where there´s detailed information about timetables and types of music you can find.
Catalan Wine and Cava Festival
This popular wine tasting festival features wines and cavas from the Catalan vineyards. A good way to start off the day! They are located in Passeig Lluis Companys, 10 and you can find them on the 19th, 20th, 23rd and 24th from 12h to 21h, and on the 21st and 22nd from 16h to 21h. Tickets cost 10 euros.
Tapas nights offers a new experience in the markets of the city. You will see a different market, nightlife and entertainment, where you´ll be able to try an original and creative cuisine. Visit the market of Sant Andreu on Saturday 19th and the market of el Carmel on Wednesday 23rd from 20h to 24h.
Ciutadella and the Parlament
Do you want to travel to the future? In the Ciutadella Park and Parliament you will find during daylight a very interesting small theme park, where theatrical sets and effects are combined with a few performances and entertainment that are a marvel of mechanical fantasy.
Street Food: Van Van
Craving Thai food? Or some ceviche? Every day of the festival of La Mercè, you´ll be able to satisfy your cravings by going to the Van Van Market, where you can eat quality street food from around the world out of food trucks, sounds good doesn´t it!
These are some of the food trucks you will encounter: Mr. Frank and The Buti, Caravan Made, Maria una Crepe, Reina Croqueta, La Carletto, Eureka Street Food, Rooftop Smokehouse, La Cocina Palpita, Mosquito, Gela’t, Pizza Truck, El Petit Bangkok, La Porchetta, La Creperie de Marione, Surf House, Ceviche 103, Chok the chocolate kitchen, Lupita & Pepito and Comaxurros, amongst others. You can find them in Ciutadella Park, in Montjuïc Castle and in the Palacete Albéniz.
Which option will you choose?
The public transportation in Barcelona (the metro, FGC and trams) are usually open all night during the Mercè festival from Friday night until Monday 24th. For more information about transportation you can visit http://www.barcelona.cat/merce