Barcelona Carnival 2023 Guide (+Tips, Events, Parties)
Couldn’t fit Brazil in this year? Maybe having a Barcelona Carnival is the next best thing.
In 2022 it goes between February 19th to March 2nd and promises to be the best yet.
Here’s how to visit and enjoy it to the fullest.
Barcelona Carnival Info 2022
First off let me remind you that 25 minutes down the coast from Barcelona you’ll find the famous Sitges Carnival which is where most locals go to celebrate, and this post will be more about that.
On the the official Sitges Carnival website you’ll find a schedule of events.
Aside from official events keep in mind also that carnival in Barcelona is more of an improvised party than anything else – you’ll bump into cool local events just walking around the Gothic Quarter.
Now let’s get started with an introduction to the city’s carnival characters.
Barcelona Carnival Characters
Let’s start off with the king of Carnival!
Carnestoltes is a fictitious character, a type of local MC, who kicks off the celebrations and presides over all the events of Carnival Barcelona week.
This irreverent figure embodies the soul of the party and libertinage of the festival.
He’s played by an actor who gives satirical speech on the Thursday ‘opening ceremony’.
The kingdom of Carnestoltes does not reign for long however: on Shrove Tuesday the poor king is sentenced to death for his reprehensible qualities as a ruler.
The execution takes place on Ash Wednesday in a popular festival marking the beginning of Lent.
The Carnival Queen
If there’s a king there’s gotta be a queen!
The Carnival queen is pretty much the female version of Carnestoltes, and takes a back seat to him even if its tradition is a few centuries older than that of the already known sovereign.
In the past, one of the focal points of the Carnival Barcelona was the election of the queen, but for some years now (for budgetary reasons) the event doesn’t take place anymore.
A sardine (yes, those pesky little fish) takes centre stage at the most peculiar Carnival Barcelona event.
The Sardine Burial (Entierro de la Sardina) marks the end of the celebrations.
Generally the burial is accompanied by a massive meal (how can you miss anything?) and some dancing and singing.
It’s not exactly clear what the origins of this tradition are though some people interpret the burial in a phallic way – since the festivities die down and we give way to the purification rituals of Easter.
Sitges Carnival Events
Various events take place in Sitges on Carnival days, in the street and at various bars.
The arrival of SM Carnestoltes on Fat Thursday, February 24, 2022 is what kicks off carnival week, although the previous days there are already different events such as the presentation of the Child Carnival Queen and Carnival Queen.
Los Dias de Las Ruas (the parades) in 2022 are Sunday, February 27 and Tuesday, March 1.
Each has different runnings, including a children’s parade at 12:00 p.m and one for adults at 7:00 p.m. Either way, there are so many people there that you’ll just have to follow the crowd from the train station.
Saturday February 26 is the day of the Camas Race in disguise.
Barcelona Carnival Events
To give you an idea of how Carnival in Barcelona works here’s a quick day-by-day run down.
Honestly, for 2022 there isn’t much to go from based on the official Barcelona Turisme Carnival website. Due to COVID naturally the parades are now going in less touristy areas, so you’ll have to put some work in to find them.
I’m going to add as many Google maps references as possible to help you out.
Here’s the events I’d be planning on seeing:
Fat Thursday (February 24th 2022)
As mentioned, Barcelona Carnival kicks off with the arrival of King Carnestoltes and his seven ambassadors who strut their stuff in a parade called the Pasacalle de los Siete Embajadores.
This year the arrival happens at 5:30 pm at the Auditori de les Cotxeres de Sants.
Friday (February 25th, 2022)
On the Friday the most popular parade is organized specifically for those visiting Barcelona with kids.
The petit carnavalassu parade starts every year from Plaça de la Mercè at 5:45 pm and ends in Plaça del Rei at 6:15 pm with a percussion concert and chocolates.
You’ll see Barcelona’s kids (and yours too if you dress them up!) dressed up in their favourite costumes, playing music, and throwing confetti.
Saturday (February 26th, 2022)
Saturday is the most popular parade day throughout many different districts. This year there are more than forty scheduled and chances are there’s one near your hotel, apartment, or hostel.
If I had to pick one I’d go at 6:00 pm to see the parade organized by the Fundació Festa Major de Gràcia which starts from the Jardiners de Gracia.
Ash Wednesday (March 2nd, 2022)
As I mentioned before, Barcelona Carnival celebrations conclude on Ash Wednesday.
The major event here is the satirical ‘funeral’ of King Carnestoltes where the crowds bid goodbye to the controversial king: until his speech next year!
You can also go to the Burial of the Sardine in Barceloneta. The event starts at 5:30 pm at Centre Civic San Marti and ends at Plaça de la Palmera with a ceremonial sardine BBQ/tasting.
One other thing: another important carnival in Catalonia is the Vilanova i la Geltrú Carnival. This town close to Sitges parties as hard as any other place.
Barcelona Costume Shops
Area: Eixample | Carrer de Roger de Llúria 27 | Metro: Passeig de Gracia (multiple lines)
This Barcelona costume shop has a local feel and is more of a Halloween and Carnival destination: the makeup and masks here are really something.
Its Donald Trump masks are a big seller.
Area: Eixample | Carrer del Consell de Cent 343 | Metro: Passeig de Gracia (multiple lines)
This super-central novelty shop has everything from bacon to babies.
Throw in the customary blow up dolls, glow bracelets, and silly signs and you’ve got a one stop shop for all your ridiculousness needs. This is also perfect for Barcelona stag dos.
There are two more locations: Pintor Fortuny 6 and at the L’illa Diagonal shopping centre.
Visiting Barcelona for Carnival?
That’s it for my Barcelona Carnival 2022 post but maybe I forgot something?
Make sure to write me in the comments below if you have any questions about anything Barcelona!
Finally, don’t be afraid to join the Carnival discussion by first giving me a like on Facebook and then joining my group I’m Off to Barcelona – here you can ask any questions, air out grievances, and chat with thousands of Barcelona travelers.
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