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Discover Barcelona’s Festa Major de Sants ~ Like the Gràcia Festival but Smaller & More Local

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Discover Barcelona’s Festa Major de Sants ~ Like the Gràcia Festival but Smaller & More Local

Barcelona’s Festa Major de Gràcia may be the most famous of the city’s rowdy neighbourhood fiestas, but the Festa Major de Sants offers a much more authentic insight into modern-day life in the Catalan capital (every August). Festa Major de Sants dates 2019: 24th August to 1st September. Understand the Fiestas de Sants Barcelona is…

Barcelona’s Festa Major de Gràcia may be the most famous of the city’s rowdy neighbourhood fiestas, but the Festa Major de Sants offers a much more authentic insight into modern-day life in the Catalan capital (every August).

Festa Major de Sants dates 2019: 24th August to 1st September.

Festas de Sants, Barcelona Spain Street and Travel Photography By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com14

Understand the Fiestas de Sants

Barcelona is made up of ‘barrios’, or neighbourhoods, each with their own distinct vibe and attractions. And the locals of almost all of Barcelona’s barrios get together once a year to throw a big fiesta – typically in the summer.

Festas de Sants, Barcelona Spain Street and Travel Photography By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com14

Festas de Sants, Barcelona Spain Street and Travel Photography By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com14

The most famous street party in Barcelona is the legendary Festa Major de Gràcia. But although it probably is the biggest and the best, it’s also the most crowded and the most touristy.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s been commercialised, but it has become more of a mainstream event and less of a local gathering.

Festas de Sants, Barcelona Spain Street and Travel Photography By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com14

Festas de Sants, Barcelona Spain Street and Travel Photography By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com14

Festas de Sants, Barcelona Spain Street and Travel Photography By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com9


I lived in Barrio de Sants for around three years and often describe it as one of the last authentic in neighbourhoods in Barcelona.


Festas de Sants, Barcelona Spain Street and Travel Photography By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com14

Festas de Sants, Barcelona Spain Street and Travel Photography By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com17

Historically, Sants was an industrial area, a small town that sat entirely outside of Barcelona. Like many other barrios in city, it only became part of the city’s urban tentacles stretched out far enough to swallow it up.

Festas de Sants, Barcelona Spain Street and Travel Photography By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com14

And this is why I recommend that culturally curious travellers pay it a visit – to observe what little remains of Barcelona that has yet to succumb to (over)tourism.

What to See During the Festa Major de Sants

Festas de Sants, Barcelona Spain Street and Travel Photography By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com14

Celebrations during daylight hours tend to be reserved for locals, with cava-fuelled barbecues and families exploring the psychedelic street decorations. Also expect workshops, puppet shows and quieter live music performances.

Castells / Human Towers During Sant Jordi Day Barcelona ~ By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com4

You may also spot the death-defying Castellers de Sants building their human castles (see them in Placeta de Ramon Torres Casanova).

Festas de Sants, Barcelona Spain Street and Travel Photography By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com14

The crowds swell as dusk falls and the stages erupt with the sounds of local bands and DJs.

Where to See the Best of the Festas de Sants

Festas de Sants, Barcelona Spain Street and Travel Photography By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com14

You can pretty much just follow the crowds to find the action, but a good starting point would be on and around streets like Carrer de Valladolid, Carrer de Finlàndia and Carrer de Vallespir (where I used to live).

Festas de Sants, Barcelona Spain Street and Travel Photography By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com14

Festas de Sants, Barcelona Spain Street and Travel Photography By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com14

And for the wild, herb-fuelled fiestas that never seem to end, à la summer in Barcelona, be sure to find your way to the main stage in the carpark next to Sants Estacio, and also follow the crowds to Parc de l’Espanya Industrial.

Festas de Sants, Barcelona Spain Street and Travel Photography By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com14

Festas de Sants, Barcelona Spain Street and Travel Photography By Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com14

Once you feel overwhelmed and feel the urge to escape the chaos, which you definitely will eventually, I suggest visiting the many little bars and restaurants in my beloved Plaça d’Osca.


Festa Major de Sants dates 2019, Barcelona


Make it Happen

When: Festa Major de Sants dates 2019: 24th August to 1st September.

Nearest Metro: Sants Estacio

Where to Stay in Sants

Hostels in Sants: Meeting Point Hostels / Hostal Sans / Hostal Easy Sants

Hotels in Sants: B Hotel 3* / Chic & Basic Velvet 3*Catalonia Barcelona Plaza 4* / Expo Hotel 4*

Apartments in Sants: Just Like Home / Apartments Barcelona – Iberia / Apartment Guell

Where to Eat in Sants

Best Restaurants & Tapas Bars In Sants, Barcelona ~ A Local’s Guide


Find out more about the Festas de Sants on the official website

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