Barcelona holidays

Barcelona holidays

With its outrageous style, glamour shops and innate self-confidence, Barcelona holidays offer one of the most vibrant destinations in Europe. Famous throughout the world for its outlandish architecture, revolutionary politics and the most beautiful football team in history, there is certainly no shortage of activities and sights to enjoy in Barcelona. Even people without passports or an internet connection will be familiar with the Antonio Gaudi’s masterpieces such as Sagrada Familia, Park Guell and the surrealist Casa Batlló. The late architect’s fairytale vision of Barcelona gives the city a fresh and exciting twist and the city’s social calendar is a true casket of wonders for visitors going on holiday to the Catalonia.

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Festivals in the city that never sleeps

Most other European cities go into hibernation in February, which is one of the most austere of all winter months of all, but in Barcelona the month heralds the rise of the Les Festes de Santa Eulàlia. This festival celebrates the mystical story of Melchior, Gaspar and Baltasar, who once loaded their camels with presents, coal and their whiskers onto the boat of Santa Eulalia and disembarked in the city. Les Festes de Santa Eulàlia has thus become the city’s biggest annual festival for children. With countless events taking place throughout the month of February, the programme includes typical Catalan traditions like parades with “gegants” and other fantasy figures. Always a spectacular experience for visitors, the festival plays host to a human tower building called “castellers” and folk dancing called “sardanes”. In a further surrealist twist, the festival has a series of fire-runs called “correfocs” and other incredible activities. Perfect for children and young families, the Santa Eulàlia certainly won’t take place in Butlins next year.

Anyone going on a city break to Barcelona is never going to be shy of something to do. Following in the same vein as the Les Festes de Santa Eulàlia is the Corpus Christi, which is one of the most flamboyant Catholic festivals in Catalonia. Not many people realise that Corpus Christi is one of the oldest religious ceremonies in Barcelona and it has taken place in the city since 1320. Basically the festival takes place in May and revolves around L’ou com Balla, which roughly translates as a “dancing egg”. Emptied eggshells are perched above the city fountains, and provide a bizarre spectacle of eggs dancing in the air. Like a surrealist painting, Barcelona’s fountains are decorated with red, pink and amber flowers in time for a parade of giants or “cabezudos” that traditionally takes place around the Barri Gotic area of the city. Perfect for the Facebook account, there will golden opportunities at Santa Eulàlia for even the most amateur digital photographer to get that perfect ‘Barcelona’ shot for their tagged holiday snaps.

Barcelona’s other religion

With church attendances falling across Europe, there has to be a magical arena to seduce the masses at the weekend. As traditional religious buildings become toys of the heritage and tourist industries, Camp Nou provides Catalonians with an electric spiritual experience in the twenty-first century. FC Barcelona has recently won the World Championship in Japan. Absolutely beautiful when they hit top form, the club are revered across Europe for producing some of the most breathtaking and inventive football in history. Sadly time will one day deny visitors the chance to see the holy trinity of Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta perform at their majestic best. Watching Barca at the Nou Camp is a truly mesmerising experience and visitors to the city are strongly advised to get tickets to watch this team in it’s prime play while they still can.

Capital of Catalonia Celebrates

FC Barcelona represents one side of Catalan nationalism and the ‘La Diada’ is the region’s national day (Sept 11th) and it provides a fascinating cultural insight for anyone visiting the city. Historically the day celebrates the siege of Barcelona in 1714 during the Spanish War of Succession. Throughout the day, there will be lively political demonstrations, concerts and flag waving celebration events. Many local residents will be waving senyeres and estelades, which are symbols of the Catalan Nation. No city break to Barcelona can ignore its history. With regular reminders in every street corner, its regional and national distinctiveness should be discovered in all its glory if you are visiting in the city in early to mid September. Arguably the most exciting of all the city’s festivals is the Feast of Sant Joan. It celebrates the beginning of the summer and a tremendous emphasis is placed on the Summer Solstice, which is the shortest night of the year. Get there for June 24th 2012 and find an energetic public holiday it’s a day renowned for its electric atmosphere and street parties.

Anyone on holiday in Barcelona during this period will be in no doubt there is a mass party taking place. Fires break out in the street (not illegal ones for anyone with safety concerns) and there is the constant fireworks display taking place. In what will prove to be a truly magical experience, the Feast of Sant Joan, epitomises the restless spirit of Barcelona. With its artists, history and feverishly brilliant football team, Barcelona is one of the greatest cities of the world. Always exciting and with a busy social calendar, a short city break to Barcelona will not leave anyone feeling disappointed.