What to do in October in Barcelona?
For those who are still looking for some sunny days, but with cooler temperatures, October is the perfect month to visit Barcelona. There are many autumnal activities taking place and there is still plenty of things to do for those who are not ready to let go of summer just yet. Another advantage of visiting the city this month is the fact that it is much less busy.
Activities and events in October in Barcelona
Bank holidays in October in Barcelona
National Day of Spain
The 12th of October is the National Day of Spain. On this day the people of Spain commemorate the long history of the country. It is an important day for remembering all the achievements and expressing appreciation. As well as reaffirming one’s commitment to the country. The chosen date symbolises the historical anniversary of the start of a period of linguistic and cultural projection beyond Europe. Moreover, it commemorates the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus, because of this discovery the influence of Spain extended way beyond its borders.
Therefore, this day is not only celebrated by the Spanish people but by Hispanic people all over the world. The day celebrates Hispanic diversity, common heritage and the cultural ties between the different countries. Catalonia, however, is one of the regions that does not celebrate this day the same way they do other celebrations.
Nevertheless, there are still plenty of activities and events to attend. In Madrid, the celebration of this day is much more extensive, with a military parade and the royal family being included in the festivities. This day has a long history and it is known to be controversial, therefore it is likely that aside from celebratory events you will also find demonstrations throughout the city.
Barcelona International Community Day
On the 28th of October the annual Community Day will take place. It is the meeting point for Barcelona’s international talent ecosystem. The day will be filled with many different activities, workshops and conferences. There will also be a trade fair with businesses, organizations and associations connected to the international community.
Admission is free for those with advance registration. This is the ideal event to attend if you are interested in finding out more about life in Barcelona as an international. There will be plenty of advice on how to make the most out of your life in Barcelona with regard to making new contacts, work and all the daily hurdles.
Festivities in October in Barcelona
Festa Major de Sarrià
In the first week of October the neighborhood of Sarria comes together to organize the festival of Sarria. Everyone takes part by decorating their balconies and building façades. There are community dinners around the streets of the historical center and of course there is a parade with giants and other special figures. This celebration is a way for the people of Sarria to affirm their identity, seeing as it was not officially seen as a part of Barcelona for a long time. The Festa Major is held in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary. It is a festivity worth attending. From musical parades to competitions and fire spectacles, there is plenty to see and do for people of all ages.
Festes del Roser (La Rambla en Flor)
On the day of the Mare de Deu del Roser (Our Lady of the Rosary) Festes del Roser, also known as Festa Major de la Rambla is celebrated. This celebration dates back to 1962 and is known to many as the flower festival, since you will see flowers everywhere around the city. In honor of this celebration free access to places such as Palau Guell, Paula Moja and Gran Teatre del Liceu is given to everyone. Some of the buildings that will look especially beautiful and that you can not miss are: Museu Marítim, Arts Santa Mònica, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Palau de la Virreina and the Columbus monument.
Festes Major de les Corts
This festivity has already been around for 216 years. Culture, music, poetry and an array of wonderful activities make this festivity an amazing celebration for the neighborhood Les Corts. The celebration takes place on the second weekend of October. It celebrates ‘Our Lady of Remedies’. One peculiar tradition that you might spot is pregnant women with a silk ribbon. It is believed that this could be helpful with regard to giving birth.
Tradition is very valuable to the Catalan people, however, this festivity has a modern touch, which is representative of the neighborhood’s cultural diversity. If you do not want to miss out on any of the celebrations, then make sure to visit the three squares: Can Roses, Comas and Concòrdia. Like with many of the Catalan celebrations, a parade and the giants will be a crucial part of the festivity. The festivity starts off with a big bonfire, after which a parade and a wide range of activities follow.
In Barcelona Halloween is mostly known as ‘All Saints Day’, which takes place on the first of November. People will attend mass and visit the cemeteries to honour those who passed. However, there are also those who celebrate Halloween in the American way; dressing up for costume parties, fun kids activities and trick or treating. In Poble Espanyol, kids can attend a Halloween party and join in on all kinds of fun activities such as treasure hunts, the fantastic terror tunne and a scary costume contest.
Clubs such as Opium, Sala Apolo, Shoko and more throw their very own Halloween edition parties. For those who might not want to go out, but still want to join in on the spooky fun, there are many ghost tours around the city that will inevitably leave you being spooked. For the Halloween fanatics, there are also spooky scavenger hunts that are a really fun way of exploring the city some more.
Barcelona Jazz Festival
The Barcelona Jazz Festival is the oldest musical event in the city with over 50 editions. This festival lights up the city’s sparkle with live music everywhere for several months! October is unfortunately already the last month of this year’s edition, so don’t miss out on attending one of the most astounding musical events. Musicians from all over the world join in on the festival and share with us all the different types of jazz music. Aside from live performances, there are also lectures and master classes to attend.
Sitges Film Festival
This amazing festival has already been taking place since 1968 and is known to be one of the most recognisable film festivals in Europe. It is an essential rendezvous for movie lovers. Not only will you be able to attend the screening of some of the best, most interesting films, there will also be an array of presentations, projections and exhibitions to attend. The festival is qualified by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood and it has been attended by big stars such as Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, Jodie Foster and many more. Tickets to one of the screenings or presentations can be bought on the website.
Just because it is not a Spanish celebration does not mean that the Spanish people don’t join in on the fun! Oktoberfest is one of the largest beer festivals in the world. In Barcelona, it is celebrated exactly like in Germany; in a large tent with traditional German food, music and beer. It is the perfect event to attend with a large group of friends. The event takes place from the 5th until the 16th of October, so there is enough time for everyone to enjoy this lovely German festivity.
As you might already know by now, food is incredibly important to Catalan culture. In Autumn there are several meals and ingredients that are consumed and prepared specifically during these colder months. One of those ingredients is called ‘bolets’ also known as wild mushrooms. They can be quite expensive, but if you will find them on the menu of many local restaurants this time of the year.
Then there are the autumnal sweets; castanyes (roasted chestnuts) and moniatos (sweet potatoes). These amazing treats can be found on every street corner, but on the 31st of October you will have to queue up, since every family will be a batch of the treats for the traditional castanyada. Then the following day known as ‘All Saints’, Catalans will eat panellets (marzipan-like cakes) together with moscatell, a Catalan sweet wine.
Mercat de Mercats
This annual food fair is something you should not miss out on. It is one of the largest gastronomical events in Barcelona, showcasing all of Catalonia’s best food. There is a wider range of tapas available than one can have ever encountered. There are 54 market stalls, run by local farmers, wine makers, restaurants and bars. The festival takes place in front of the cathedral of Barcelona. There are also cooking classes for those interested in learning more about the dishes that are served at the event.
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