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La Mercè Festival

Barcelona’s September fiesta honours the city’s patroness, La Mercè (Virgin of Mercy).

La Mercè Festival, dating back to 1902, bids farewell to summer and ushers in autumn with concerts, open-air dancing, fireworks, human towers, parades and spectacular costumes.

Events take place day and night. Particularly spectacular is the Carrefoc, a midnight train of dragons, eagles and devils accompanied by fireworks. During the day, crowds pour into the streets of the Old Quarter to witness the red-and-blue costumed teams of castellers, who try to build the tallest human tower possible.

Throughout the week catch street theatre, circus acts and the Sardana, Catalonia’s idiosyncratic traditional dance. Be sure not to miss out on this splendid array of Catalan culture.

www.bcn.cat/merce/ca/index.shtml

 

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Fiesta Mayor del barrio de Gracia

The streets are filled with rainbow-coloured decorations and floral art. Live music and street entertainment kick-off the week-long Gràcia Festa Major celebrations.

The Spanish term coined to describe the flower decorations is arte festivo éfimero, which refers to the art’s ephemeral quality. The people of Gràcia are particularly noted for their efforts and you won’t see a better example anywhere in Catalonia.

As well as street garlands, there are orchestras, games, theatre, music, dance and other activities, which turn the district into one big party.

www.festamajordegracia.cat

 

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Open Sabadell Atlantico

A top-ranking ATP World Tour 500 event

RCT Barcelona’s clay courts host the Open Sabadell Atlantico, a top-ranking ATP World Tour 500 event, previously known as the Open Seat Godo. Many top names on the men’s circuit compete for their share of the total prize purse.

www.barcelonaopenbancosabadell.com

 

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Formula One: Spanish Grand Prix

Feel the excitement build as powerful cars reach speeds of up to 200mph and rub shoulders with celebrity racing fans under clear blue skies.

The winding Circuit de Catalunya, just outside of Barcelona, hosts the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix.

Formula One is one of the most glamorous sports on Earth. State-of-the-art cars costing millions race at speeds of up to 200mph (320kmh), and teams are followed all over the world by a faithful band of rich and famous jetsetters.

Other highlights of the racing calendar include the Monaco Grand Prix, set on the roads of Monte Carlo, and the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, where you can expect passionate support from Ferrari’s fanatical fans (known as tifosi).

www.formula1.com

 

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Primavera Sound

The massive three-day, open-air Primavera Sound Festival

Barcelona’s Parc del Fòrum hosts the massive three-day, open-air Primavera Sound Festival, where top indie rock bands, DJs and experimental musicians get everyone’s hands in the air. There’s no camping, so festival-goers retreat to hotels when they’re all danced out.

www.primaverasound.com