Ash
Written by Ash

Smash September in Barcelona in 2020 (Updated)

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I get why you’re here.

You’re trying to get one last drop out of summer with a trip to Barcelona in September.

First of all, solid move.

There are so many events in September that there might not be a better time of year to visit. So let’s stop the chit chat and break it down a bit more.

Remember to get at me in the comments section below for any custom advice.

Barcelona in September

The first question you’ll ask is why September?

My answer is because you get great weather for Barcelona’s beaches with significantly smaller crowds.

In September the city has also gone back to normal after its August holiday slumber. Shops resume regular hours and closures are rare. The city is in full swing for one last street party bash before autumn.

There is also a great combination of cultural events significant to the region, the return of football season, and some special nights at some of Barcelona’s top attractions.

It’s also a great time to take one of the many day trips from Barcelona.

Advice Before You Go

In Barcelona when I say smaller crowds in September it’s actually a euphemism meaning ‘slightly less chaos’.

We’re still talking about one of Europe’s biggest tourist haunts. For this reason Barcelona in September can be stressful. To avoid lining up for attractions in some pretty humid weather I advise buying your attraction tickets in advance online.

It’s also imperative you find the best area to stay for your needs.

I also suggest the Secrets of the Old City walking tour on day one: the education will really enhance all your later endeavors.

You’ll also save yourself a lot of sweaty ticket machine trouble by getting a discount transport pass in advance.

Remember that it’s high season for pickpockets as well – take my advice on how to avoid them.

Barcelona September Weather

As mentioned the plus here is that the sweltering heat of summer is gone.

You’ll still need that swimsuit though since it’s the perfect time to take advantage of the warm temperatures at Barcelona’s best beaches or the nearby Costa Brava. Sea temperatures hit 24°C (75°F).

September in Barcelona brings temperature averages of 26°C (78°F) with lows of 17°C (62°F) – it’s still very much summer here well into October.

Expect 7.6 hours of daily sunshine and only a 19% chance or rain on any given day.

What to Pack

The weather in Barcelona in September calls for moderate suitcase versatility – pack for summer but don’t forget a pair of long pants and light jacket.

It still might be hot enough to put you off walking the city – make sure you read my Barcelona public transport guide to get around the city as comfortably as possible.

For more weather and packing information check out my article on Barcelona September weather.

an early morning empty beach with palm tree and w hotel in barcelona spain an early morning empty beach with palm tree and w hotel in barcelona spain
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La Mercè Festival 2020 (September 20-24)

Every year in late September the city is turned upside down for Barcelona’s most important festival.

La Mercè stems back to a feast created in the Middle Ages to honour the Virgin of Grace (Mare de Déu de la Mercè) – said to have cured the city from a locust plague in 1687.

Today the festival is about celebrating Catalan culture with the craziest mix of free street entertainment you could ever imagine.

Here’s the skinny of what to expect between 11:00 am and 4:00 am daily:

  • A festival of festivals.
  • 2 million annual visitors.
  • 600+ annual events with 2000+ artists.
  • Free outdoor concerts.
  • Dance, circus, and street theater.
  • Parades featuring mythical characters and traditional drumming.

La Mercè is celebrated primarily in the Gothic Quarter though you’ll find events at Plaça de Catalunya, El Forum, Ciutadella Park, Montjuic, and even the Estrella Damm brewery.

Every year a guest city is invited to participate in the festivities and in 2019 the city of Beirut (Lebanon) will attend. You’ll also see a ton of great concerts at the BAM independent music festival.

The best days are usually weekends – Friday (20), Saturday (21), and Sunday (22). In fact you’ll find that the metro stays open all night just for the occasion.

For La Mercè event times check out the official website – some times are still TBA.

The Human Castles (Castells)

Imagine a large group of people getting together to build a tower – out of themselves.

These awe-inspiring human castle builders live with the motto ‘unity is strength’. They’re a big part of La Mercè and you’ll find them at various heights: some stack up to 10 human stories tall.

The castellers practice year-round for the opportunity to showcase their skills and force you to hold your breath when small kids climb over dozens of participants to form the top!

Sunday the 22nd offers the Festa Castellera della Mercé in Plaça Sant Jaume that unites all the castellers associations (colls) from Barcelona.

Time: Sunday September 22nd 2019 at noon.

Place: Plaça de Sant Jaume.

The Fire Run (Correfoc)

Imagine crowds of people dressing up as devils and lighting fireworks off of pitchforks. For hours.

The seemingly never-ending parade of teams/groups each gets to create a massive cardboard monster which sets off more firecrackers than the devils themselves. Each team also has a drum corps pounding away madly. You’ll hear them from miles away.

Crowd members are encouraged to dance amidst the chaos. But make sure you cover up and don’t wear anything flammable!

Time: 7:45 pm on Saturday September 21st 2019.

Place: Plaça Antoni Maura, Via Laietana, Plaça Antoni López

The Parade of Giants (Els Gegants)

You’ll find parades of these gigantic 3 and 4 meter tall paper maché kings, queens, and nobles marching through the streets. Each is operated by an individual shaking the giant to perform a type of dance.

The tradition dates back to 13th century Corpus Christi processions – just make sure not to get run over!

Time: Monday September 23rd 2019 at 8:45 pm.

Place: Plaça de Sant Jaume, Plaça dels Àngels, Las Ramblas.

The Sardana

This classic Catalan dance won’t be as sexy as flamenco or salsa but the amount of skill needed to complete the moves in time is extraordinary.

Multiple dancers form a circle and hold hands with raised arms. It’s here that they follow the meticulous instructions of the leader. Just one tiny hiccup by one of the members throws the whole group out of sync.

The dance was actually banned during Franco’s Spain as it was seen as an affront to national unity.

During La Merce in 2019 you’ll see it on Sunday September 22nd from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and also at 6:00 pm (Plaça de Sant Jaume)

There’s also another on September 24th at 6:15 pm (Plaça de la Mercè).

Location: Avenida de La Catedral/Plaça Nova.

Catalonian Wine and Cava Fest

One of the most important events on the La Merce calendar for locals is the wine and cava exhibition which goes on Ronda de Sant Antoni (near Sant Antoni Market).

Many local bodegas set up shop in the street and there are workshops, events, tastings and more!

The festival goes every day Friday and Monday (4:00 pm to 9:00 pm) and Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday (12:00 pm to 9:00 pm).

Fireworks

It wouldn’t be La Mercè without a massive explosion of fireworks.

The biggest spectacles are held on the 2oth and 22st at 10:00 pm in the Barceloneta beach neighbourhood. You’ll get the best views from the Espigon de Gas, a mini peninsula in the area. Get there early.

On Tuesday the 24th there’s the super cool Piromusical de la Mercé.

This 30 minute firework show is generally considered the finale of the festival. It goes at 10:00 pm at Avenida Maria Cristina (Plaça d’Espanya).

Food Trucks

Lovers of street food will be in their element during La Merce.

You’ll find food trucks in various points of the city throughout the entire festivities though most importantly at the Parc de la Trinitat on Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd.

They’ll be dishing out the food from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

Also you can find the classic food trucks in Ciutadella Park open Friday night until 2:00 am.

Mac Festival

A dance, music, and theater at Ciutadella Park.

All of the events are completely free and many of the events will be oriented towards children – a great option for parents visiting Barcelona with kids.

La Cursa de la Mercè

The 41st edition of this famous 10 km run departs at 9:00 am on September 29th from l’Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina.

To participate you’ll need to sign up online for just €5.00 – this fee goes toward charity. Make sure you ‘run’ to the sign up board though as the maximum amount of participants caps at 12,000!

For more info check out the official page.

a tourist holds 3 barcelona discount passes in front of the arc de triomf in barcelona spain a tourist holds 3 barcelona discount passes in front of the arc de triomf in barcelona spain
City Pass, Hola Bcn, or Barcelona Card?

Barcelona September Concerts

BAM

Music is the beating heart of La Mercè and the free concerts and performances organised through Barcelona Acciò Musical (BAM) are plentiful.

The 2019 selection features local independent artists as well as music from Portugal. Whether you’re a hipster or not you’ll be able to find that new sound before it goes mainstream.

There will be music for all tastes including electronic music, classical, folk, jazz, pop, and more.

And it’s all free!

The main stages for the shows are in Moll de la Fusta (Barceloneta), Plaça de la Mercé, Plaça Angel, the Estrella Damm factory (Carrer Rosselló 515) and the legendary Parque del Forum.

My suggestions for September 2019 are still TBA as I’m waiting for the schedule to be released: keep your eyes peeled here!

For a full list of concerts and Merce events check here.

Barça Football Matches

Yes, as summer winds down football season fires up and naturally (don’t hate me) the best team in the world usually has two or three matches at home in September.

That’s another September down! 2020 matches will be put here when the schedule is released.

If you’re a die-hard football fan don’t miss the chance to tour the world-famous Camp Nou – the sheer amount hardware in the trophy case is worth the price of admission.

Other Barcelona September Events 2020

Open Doors Museum Day

In keeping with the theme of free attractions during La Mercè, know that many museums and other attractions will be completely free on September 24th.

Some of the most well known ones would be MNAC, the Museo Picasso, the Museu Blau, the CCCB, and MACBA.

Casa Mila Origins

With mild evening weather it’s the perfect time for the truly luxury experience of having a glass of wine and watching a mind-blowing audiovisual presentation on the rooftop of Barcelona’s most impressive mansion.

Get the full after hours English tour of the building in small groups of 10-20.

Learn all about the madness of wonder-architect Antoni Gaudi. Summer weather also means jazz music concerts.

Tickets: Adults €34.00, children €17.00, under 6 free.

Times: Monday to Sunday between 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm (at 20 minute interval time slots).

CASA MILA NIGHT
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Brunch in the Park

The Sunday afternoon outdoor dance party keeps rolling well into September.

A great option for people looking to party but with an early flight out Monday morning. You’ll be in bed by 11! Dance to international electronic music artists or have a family picnic. Or both.

Hours: 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

  • September 8th: Solomun, Magit Cacoon, Chaim, Moscoman, The Organism – Tickets
  • September 15th: Maceo Plex, Daniel Avery, Denis Sulta, Jennifer Cardini – Tickets
  • September 28th: Brunch Weekender – Tickets
  • September 29th: Brunch Weekender – Nina Kraviz, I Hate Models, Flug – Tickets

Get more Brunch in the Park dates, artists, and information.

Diada Nacional de Catalunya

Every year on September 11th we get this day long festival which commemorates the fall of Barcelona during the War of Spanish Succession.

What was originally meant to celebrate the sacrifices made by soldiers defending the city is now a full-on display of Catalan nationalism – the estelades (the Catalan flag) are flown especially high on this day of patriotic demonstrations.

Last year brought a massive independence rally on Passeig de Gracia and you can expect much of the same in 2019. Regardless of your leanings on the issue it’s a massive spectacle!

Festa Major del Poble Nou

In my opinion the most under-rated of Barcelona neighbourhoods is the perfect place for this barrio festival.

From September 5th to the 15th 2019 on the Rambla del Poblenou you’ll find tons of activities like an outdoor cinema, dinners in the street, concerts, markets, the famous correfocs (fire run), and much more.

For more information check out the official site (in Catalan, use browser translate).

Sopar Amb Estrellas (Dine with Stars)

From Barcelona’s Fabra Observatory on top of Tibidabo Mountain you will love this unique opportunity to combine a gourmet dinner worthy of Barcelona’s best restaurants with star-gazing from one of the city’s most privileged viewpoints.

Starting at just €73.00 euro you’ll get a glass of local cava sparkling white wine with a 4 course dinner served at dusk. There are also vegetarian options should you need.

This is followed by a visit to the observatory, museum, and meridian telescope – one of Europe’s largest and oldest.

Stomach full? Check.

Seeing stars in far away constellations? Check.

More info here.

Magic Nights Rooftop Series

Another fantastic option especially for couples is to check out the Magic Nights concert series on the roof of Barcelona’s most famous modernist mansion: Casa Batllo.

The type of music varies but tickets start at €39.00 for the concert + a nighttime visit.

Dates in September 2019 run daily from 8:00 pm.

2020 dates will be announced shorty!

Harass Me Relentlessly in the Comments

Like always I’m here to serve.

If your Barcelona September plans aren’t all you’ve dreamed of then drop me a line and we’ll tailor something just for you.

Finally, don’t be afraid to join the September 2019 discussion in my new Facebook group called I’m Off to Barcelona – here you’re free to ask any questions, air out your grievances, chat with fellow travelers and more.

Happy travels 🙂

18 comments
  • September 16, 2019 at 10:38 pm
    Ali
    Hi, Ash I will arrive barcelona September 18th with my family and we leave 21th at night. We wanna see the most amazing sightseeings and go to famous restaurants and bars and half a day for shopping. What do you suggest? Does it worth it to buy a city pass? Cause i cannot shop online. A full itinerary would be nice
  • September 15, 2019 at 7:00 am
    Ashwin Prakash
    Hi Barb, do you have any suggestions for a full day around Blanes?
    • September 15, 2019 at 12:00 pm
      pietro
      Team Member
      Pedro
      Hola Ashwin, near Blanes you can visit Lloret de Mar. There is also Tossa de Mar; a very beatiful town with beaches.
  • September 10, 2019 at 12:04 am
    Nicola
    Hi. I’m coming to Barcelona for the weekend on 27th sept. Are there abs gigs on or exhibitions you’d recommend? Thanks Nicola
    • September 10, 2019 at 11:31 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hola Nicola, Unfortunately you're coming at the tail end of some of the biggest events and will miss them completely. That said, there is so much going on in Barcelona that aside from the major events of the year I simply cannot keep track of all of them on my blog (without being on it 24/7!)... but what I can do is send you to the best Barcelona events site (made by the city itself): https://guia.barcelona.cat/en/llistat Here you can sort them by type and using your dates. Yes, some may not be in English but the browser translations are pretty good :) Also, take a look at Facebook events by sorting them by date using Barcelona as the city. There are a ton of things to do even if just small little get togethers. Other options would be Meetup.com (with all sorts of organized events by locals, many in English) or Couchsurfing.com. Hope this gives you some great ideas! Cheers, Ash
  • August 28, 2019 at 5:31 pm
    Jennifer Shields
    Hi, I will be in Barcelona on Sept 11. I just noticed that it is an national holiday. Are the tourist attractions still open on this day? I was planning the Camp Nou tour, the Teleferico cable and Magic fountain. Does the Bus turistic operate also?
    • August 29, 2019 at 12:38 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Jennifer, Not to worry! It's business as usual for all the major tourist attractions :) Cheers, Ash
      • August 29, 2019 at 4:24 pm
        Jennifer Shields
        Thank you Ash! Happy to hear I can still do the things I had planned for that day. I like you website, very informative. Keep up the good work :)
        • August 30, 2019 at 11:01 am
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          Thank you so much! :)
  • August 16, 2019 at 7:12 am
    Ashwin Prakash
    Dear Ash, Thanks for the time you take off for other cause :) Not too many like you out there! Can you help me with details about the La Merce festival that is to happen in Barna from 20th to 24th, are tourists accepted in these fests and events? I will definitely checkout meetup as couchsurfing did not help me much :(
    • August 16, 2019 at 10:08 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Ashwin, No worries all :) And yes OF COURSE tourists are accepted into these fests! I would say they make up half of the attendance. I will be posting more info as it comes available. Cheers, Ash
  • August 15, 2019 at 5:08 am
    Ashwin
    Hi Barb, I am arriving in Barcelona on 19th September 2019 and in Barcelona until 22nd morning. I plan to stay around the gothic quarter, how should I plan my stay, we are young people in our 30's. We definitely do not want to do the touristy places so anything offbeat that you would suggest would make our trip a memorable one :)
    • August 15, 2019 at 10:45 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Ashwin, I always find it hard to answer the 'off the beaten path' question since Barcelona is probably the most touristy city in all of Europe and it's basically impossible to avoid tourists and virtually every attraction/site/restaurant/bar worth a visit has been discovered (probably due to bloggers like me haha). For me, and I say this after living in Barcelona for 8 years, I feel the most 'local' when I'm walking through Gracia without any particular destination or direction... the lively squares, pedestrian only streets, presence of Catalan language, and cityscape virtually devoid of big chains really delivers as close as you can get to authenticity. Here's a link to my Gracia article: https://www.barcelonahacks.com/gracia/ I would also say the same for the Poble Nou neighbourhood with its lesser known 'Rambla' full of local cafes. Other than this I would also suggest perhaps a day trip to Sitges (a local beachside town) which is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. More info here: https://www.barcelonahacks.com/sitges/ I would also recommend perhaps signing up to a site like Couchsurfing or more importantly Meetup.com as there are all sorts of local events (many in English) like hiking/cooking lessons/networking events/salsa classes for any type of industry etc. Here's the link: https://www.meetup.com/ Again though, you can't come to the city without visiting some of the main attractions as they are absolute world class. I would still take a look at my 3 day itinerary and try and work in a few things from that to round out the trip. If you had something else in mind, a theme or activity please let me know and I can dig a little deeper. Cheers,
  • September 11, 2018 at 6:36 am
    Barb
    Ash, We have been to Barcelona many times, but never this early in September. We realize Sept. 11 is a National Holiday and we have family visiting. Are all the markets closed today? stores? cafes? I should have checked earlier....
    • September 11, 2018 at 8:15 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Barb, The major markets to my knowledge are closed as are major shopping centres and shops. You should have some cafes and restaurants open in the centre but in general you're looking pretty thin on services :( Ash
  • September 13, 2017 at 9:38 pm
    Lisa
    This is awesome! I will arrive on September 23rd and can't wait!
    • September 14, 2017 at 11:07 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Yes Lisa! :) Please let me know if you have any questions, I hope you enjoy your stay.
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