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Carnival, a festivity based on the lunar calendar and eagerly anticipated by Catalans, always begins on a Thursday (Fat Thursday) and ends on the following Wednesday (Ash Wednesday).
Carnival is synonymous with partying, bustling crowds, costumes, parades and so on. In short, it is a week given over to hedonism and having a good time being the forerunner to the period of fasting and deprivation represented by the Christian tradition of Lent. These days, beyond the excesses, Carnival is a light-hearted popular festival based around the crazy figure named El Rei Carnestoltes (The Carnival King). While carnival is celebrated in almost every town and village throughout Catalonia, the places that historically stand out for their particular traditions are Barcelona, Sitges, Vilanova i la Geltrú and Torelló. However, wherever you may be during the festivities, you will be able to try some of the delicious traditional Carnival dishes: the coca de llardons (flatbread with pancetta) or botifarra d'ou (pork sausage containing egg).
Barcelona Carnival: The official dates for this year are 1/3 to 6/3. The Rei Carnestoltes arrives in the Passeig del Born with his entourage comprising seven ambassadors who symbolize the seven historical towns within the city (Horta, Sant Andreu, Sarrià, Gràcia, Sants, les Corts and Sant Martí). There are also further parades that take place in different places throughout the city. Carnival is also evident in the markets of Barcelona which are full of people letting their hair down, costumes, tastings and a frenetic rhythm. On Sunday night you can experience the wild party known as the "gran sarao".
Sitges: The Carnival King arrives in Sitges at 19:00 on 28 February. From that point on you can join the parade. Throughout the whole weekend there are a range of activities to suit any and every audience: concerts, cookery demonstrations, races using decorated beds and costumes, lots and lots of costumes.
Torelló: This town in the Barcelona county of Osona has its own name for the Carnival: the Carnaval de Terra Endins (the inland carnival). The Carnival King bursts into a council session being held in the City Hall, relieves the mayor of his duties and takes over for seven days. The parade held in Torelló is a participative one in which anybody can join in and which includes all kinds of representations of mythical beasts.
Vilanova i la Geltrú: In this municipality of the Garraf region (Barcelona), the carnival is organized by the local community and always includes a high level of social comment. The most meaningful event for them is Les Comparses (carnival troupe) in which more than 10,000 pairs of comparseros take to the streets accompanied by charanga brass bands, while throwing candy to the crowds.
Barcelona Districte Cultural offers top quality shows, some with famous artists, who travel European stages, but also others who still have give it a tray and show us how far they can go. The shows are addressed to audiences of all ages and tastes. This is a varied tour with a range of artistic expression for everyone to find their own. They comprise five different types of performance: music, theater, dance and circus, live performing arts, which are becoming increasingly more interconnected, plus an audiovisual exhibition.
Two editions are celebrated each year, one in spring (February-March-April) and another in fall (October, November, December). They take place in local cultural venues, particularly community centers of the ten districts of the city.
Barcelona wouldn’t be Barcelona without the Rambla. A wander up and down this famous boulevard is a ritual well worth observing. Just soak up the atmosphere and admire the buildings, from the Canaletes fountain to the Columbus Monument, which connect the old and modern city with places like Liceu and Boqueria. A walk through the life and history of the city.
Barcelona and its home-grown art nouveau movement, modernisme, go hand in hand. The style emerged in all its glory at the end of the 19th century to reveal itself in hundreds of extremely beautiful buildings which line the way. Let yourself be captivated once again by these masterpieces in a style full of opulence, fantasy, symbolism and colour.
Barcelona is known throughout the world for its architecture. This is why the city didn't want to fall behind in the race to have some of the world's finest contemporary buildings. The names of today's great architects and artists are present in almost every city neighbourhood.
Gaudí is a name associated with Barcelona who needs to be discovered while you admire his finest landmarks: a treasure trove of forms, ideas, symbols and fantasy which is hard to surpass. The Gaudí landmarks in Barcelona give a greater understanding of one of the most famous architects who ever worked in the city.
There are many different sides to Barcelona: the Barcelona with its traditional neighbourhoods, the Gothic, modernista and contemporary city… but there is also a green Barcelona, the Barcelona of parks and gardens. You’ll find them dotted around the city. These green spaces are always interesting, whether it be for their plants, urban design or sculptures.
Barcelona never sleeps. The city has set the benchmark for the international electronic music scene and dances to the sounds of the world's top DJs. It's also the perfect place for lovers of jazz, rock, Latin rhythms and pop.
The city’s longest avenue, the Diagonal, cuts through the two neighbourhoods. To the south, Les Corts, which is a blend of modernity and the rural origins of the area. To the north, the smart residential district of Pedralbes, with its parks, quiet streets and outstanding Gothic monastery..
Get ready for two days of intensive sightseeing which will be full of surprises. Here's an itinerary designed to help you pack as much as possible into 48 hours in the city.
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