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May in Barcelona

Activities and events in May in Barcelona

The month of May brings the start of being able to enjoy all the incredible outdoor activities available in Barcelona: days spent at the beach, picnics in the park and trips to the local coastal towns. With the weather getting warmer and the abundance of festivals and events going on in the city, May in Barcelona is definitely one of the best times of the year. Read on to find out everything that’s going on in May in Barcelona, there’s guaranteed to be something for everyone!

May in Barcelona

May in Barcelona: Bank holidays & celebrations

Labour Day

The month of May begins with Labour Day; an international holiday that is most commonly associated with the achievements of the labour movement. Most businesses close their doors, with the exception of those inside the Maremagnum shopping centre, the Gothic Quarter and El Born. There may also be protests and demonstrations going on throughout the city centre. 

Mother’s Day

The first Sunday of May is Mother’s Day, also known as ‘Dia de la Madre’. This holiday has been celebrated in Spain since 1944 and emphasises the importance of mothers in our world. It wasn’t until 1965 that Mother’s Day was celebrated in May as this is the month of Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. It is said that carnations are the official flowers for Mother’s Day, however, it’s not just a day for showering your mother with gifts, it’s the perfect opportunity to spend quality time together.

Whit Monday

Whit Monday is a deeply-rooted religious festival on 29th May. With many names (Cinquagesma, Pentecostès, Pasqua de Pentecosta, Segona Pasqua, Pasqua Granada, etc.) and many different forms of celebration in Catalunya, Whit Monday honours the Holy Ghost’s apparition before the disciples on the 50th day following Christ’s Resurrection. 

 

The festival begins on Saturday morning with a musical parade or a ‘cercavila,’ and lasts until Monday night. Throughout Whit Weekend, retired choir groups sing through the streets in decorative clothing and accessories. Reflecting the cultural origins of sea trade in Barceloneta, the groups also carry wooden objects like oars, tridents, and harpoons.

Corpus Christi in Barcelona

The Corpus Christi festival is one of the most historical and special Catalan events in the calendar. The festival was established by the Catholic Church and has been celebrated in Barcelona for 700 years, this year falling on 30th May. Celebrations for this event can last all week and take place all over the region. 

Each year, taking place at some of the most iconic buildings in Barcelona, there are concerts, dances, parades, flower exposés and many more celebratory events. The three main elements of Corpus Christi celebrations are the procession, the dancing egg and the ephemeral carpets.

 

The procession is a famous parade that has been happening annually in Barcelona since 1320 to celebrate the festival. The parade consists of Giants of the City, Àliga, the Lleó, the Bou, dances, music, and much more.

 

The curious traction of ‘the dancing egg’ (or ‘l’Ou com Balla’ in Catalan) consists of an egg that dances on top of the fountain water in the gardens and courtyards of public places and churches. 

 

Throughout the city you will find Ephemeral carpets, which are grass carpets decorated with flowers, coffee grounds and seeds. The carpets are meant to symbolise different religious and local themes.

May in Barcelona: Events

Barcelona in May

International Documentary Film Festival - DocsBarcelona

The International Documentary Film Festival is an amazing global initiative that includes a professional market, distribution brand, exhibition network, a festival and courses for documentary filmmakers. There are multiple movie theatres in the city that are participating. It is the perfect opportunity to delve into the world of filmmaking.

Salón del Cómic

One of the biggest comic shows in Europe, the Salón Internacional del Cómic de Barcelona returns to the city for its 42nd edition. You can expect to find exhibitors, guest speakers, workshops, video projections, concerts and even a Comic Kids! area. It’s the perfect event for both adults and children.

Vermut & Soul

Another unique event to take place in May in Barcelona is the Vermut & Soul festival. A weekend dedicated to vermouth, with live concerts, DJs and dancing all day long. You can also enjoy regional appetizers, free vermouth tastings and workshops.

Poblenou Open Day

On 4th May, the creative community of the Poblenou district invites everyone to enjoy a cultural programme that includes over seventy cultural stalls and exhibitions. The initiative features free activities and special promotions in aid of celebrating art, creativity, gastronomy, music and the performing arts.

 

Art galleries, creative centres, artists’ studios, advertising agencies, audiovisual production companies, showrooms, gastronomic spaces, shops, cocktail bars, study centres, hotels and restaurants are the associated spaces that will be part of the event.

Palo Market Fest

A vast street market that takes place on the first weekend of every month in the Poblenou area. At Palo Market Fest you can find organic and street food stalls, eclectic fashion, accessories, jewellery, vintage goods, crafts, books, records. In addition, workshops, concerts and art exhibitions will be available during the weekend. 

Cursa El Corte Inglés

The Cursa El Corte Inglés 10 km run is Barcelona’s most popular running event and one of the biggest running events in Europe. The all time record number of runners in this race, which is also a Guinness World Record, was when the 1994 Cursa Corte Ingles registered a grand total of 109,457 runners.

The Sant Ponç Festival

One of the oldest and most traditional festivals in Catalunya, specifically dedicated to medicinal remedies, aromatic herbs and culinary essences. The streets are filled with stalls selling high-quality gastronomic products including aromatic herbs, chocolate, honey, artisan cheese, candied fruit and much more.

Girona's Flower Festival - 'Temps de Flors'

Though the festival is not going to be taking place in Barcelona, it is definitely still one to consider visiting. Girona is a medieval town, just 85 kilometres outside of Barcelona. What better way to celebrate the springtime than to visit this beautiful town during the Flower Festival also known as ‘Temps de Flors’, a festival that dresses the city with beautiful flowers, striking colours, and penetrating aromas.

 

All flower shows are free of charge, and it’s a unique opportunity to access monuments and buildings usually not opened to the public. It’s also the perfect time to visit Girona if you haven’t already, since its beauty will be even more apparent when covered in flowers.

International Roses Contest

Every year on the first (or second) weekend in May, the Parc de Cervantes hosts an international rose competition that draws a large number of visitors. Breeders and growers from all over the world of new rose species get to show off their roses. The titles of the prizes that can be won vary from which rose the best miniature one is to the best climbing rose. If you’re a nature lover, this will, without a doubt, be the right event to attend for you. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever see roses this beautiful.

Night at the Museums in Barcelona

On one evening in May every year, Barcelona’s museums open up their doors to the public free of charge. This night provides a unique way to experience the current permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as the opportunity to participate in various activities such as family workshops, live performances and guided tours.

 

This year, more than 70 museums will open their doors to all for an evening dedicated to the exploration of the impressive collections and exhibitions that Barcelona has to offer. Each museum will create its own program of events for the occasion, including live performances, workshops, guided tours and family-friendly activities that make the museum experience more engaging and entertaining. So whether you’re looking for the perfect date or a fun evening activity with friends, this is a night not to miss out on!

Time Out Fest

The 4th edition of Time Out’s gastronomic festival is back on 25th May, with some of the best chefs that Barcelona has to offer! This year, the festival is bringing to you 16 unprecedented dishes with products of Catalan origin, along with 12 hours of party with DJs, tastings and workshops for all to enjoy. You don’t want to miss it! 

Mediterranean Gluten Free Forum

This forum, which was born in 2023 with the aim of positioning Barcelona as the European capital of gluten-free products, cuisine and diet, is a unique showcase and meeting point for people with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. In the main exhibition area there will be gluten-free products, bread and pastry making courses, specific conferences and plenty more on offer. 

Festival Moujuïc 2024

Watch the Castell de Montjuïc transform into a vibrant stage and immerse yourself in a world of dance and movement. Enjoy an exceptional program of captivating performances, artistic residencies, community activities and workshops for people of all ages.

 

Moujuïc, born out of the desire to redefine space and promote the active participation of citizens through the languages of the body and the performing arts, has become an essential space in the cultural landscape, where diversity and passion come together to create unforgettable experiences of connection, transformation and celebration.

Primavera Sound

Primavera Sound is fast becoming one of Barcelona’s most popular music festivals and was first started in 2001 by music fanatic, Pablo Soler, whose goal was to integrate upcoming artists and acclaimed musicians. It has a growing reputation for offering one of the most innovative and diverse line-ups in Europe. This is a festival for true music aficionados. The lineup contains something for everyone including pop, jazz, indie, electro, hip hop and rap. Past headliners to name a few have been Kendrick Lamar, Halsey, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Blur, Depeche Mode, Rosalia and Calvin Harris. 

Brunch in the city / Brunch Electronik

If you’re looking for a place to dance, brunch and enjoy the outdoors, the music festival Brunch in the City is the place to be. The festival starts in March and takes place until the beginning of June.

 

The festival’s purpose is to bring together those who have a big appreciation for electronic music. At the event you will find that there are both Catalan and International artists performing, creating an amazing atmosphere for locals and expats. 

 

This festival, unlike many others, is family-friendly. For the kids, there is a petit-brunch. This is a great way for children to make new friends. They will also be able to enjoy the outdoors through multiple entertaining activities and workshops. This festival is really beloved in Barcelona, so it is recommended to get your tickets  on time.

Flamenco Festival - Ciutat Flamenco

Ciutat Flamenco is a festival dedicated to the invention, experimentation and exhibition of flamenco concepts. This is the event to attend if you want to see more of the international flamenco scene in Barcelona. Flamenco Ciutat Vella was founded in 1993, and in 2012, it changed its format and, as a result, its name.

 

For fans of the genre in Barcelona, the festival has become an unmissable event. It brings together experienced artists with up-and-comers to promote the integration of different musical languages and artistic disciplines of flamenco.

Day trips in May

Day trip: All about Cava!

May is the perfect month to go to the wine region ‘Penedes’ for the day and learn all about the well-known Spanish sparkling wine; Cava. There are many vineyards where you can go for creative workshops and tastings. 

 

Cava owes its name to the Spanish translation of ‘cave’ or ‘cellar’. This is because, at the beginning of cava production, the cava was stored in caves to preserve and age the wine. In 1970, Spanish winemakers officially introduced the name to differentiate their product from French champagne. You can get a glass of cava at any bar or restaurant in the city. Therefore, locals do not only drink Cava on celebratory occasions but also on any regular day.

 

The Penedès region is easily accessible by public transport. Cordoniu and Freixenet are the two most famous Cava producers and both offer tours of their wineries. But there are also some other really nice wineries around. Below we’ve listed 10 of our favourites:

Day trip: Beach day

Barcelona’s glistening coastline means you’re spoilt for choice for beautiful spots for a swim and sunbathe. Don’t just get comfortable on the first spot of sand you see, head to one of surrounding beaches of Barcelona for turquoise waters, chiringuitos (or beach bars) and views to die for. Being in prime location on the Catalonian coast means stunning beaches can range from being a walk to a day trip away. 

Other events in May in Barcelona

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