Trips from Madrid: Festes de la Mercè

If you enjoy exploring the local tradition of an area brimming with culture, then visiting Barcelona during Festes de la Mercè in September is a must. This is when the city truly comes to life, putting on a magnificent show and a wide variety of events. Visitors should expect to encounter enormous papier-mâché giants in the shape of chorus girls, sultans, princesses and fisherman, as well as a variety of human castles. There are two major shows to watch out for, the sardana and the correfoc.

The Correfoc:

The correfoc, which when translated means ‘fire run’, is a pyromania fest as its best. Groups of vibrantly dressed devils take to the streets, all of whom wield firework-manufacturing pitchforks. It’s an explosion of colour that often includes a fire-breathing dragon or two.

The sardana is a little more orderly in style and comes in the form of the Catalonia folk dance. The routine hasvarious dancers take to the stage, showcasing fancy footwork and high hops, which takes place in an ample-sized circle. At one time the Spanish banned this dance, stating it was a form of witchcraft. An 11-piece band offers the background noise and in general, visitors find it more of an experience to participate in rather than to just watch.

How to get there

Flights to Barcelona can be found online but when it comes to booking these flights it’s important to take the city’s public holidays into consideration. A large majority of restaurants, shops and bars close during the public holidays and this can also mean a lot of the public transport is out of service too.

What to do while in Barcelona:

Whilst in the city of Barcelona, there are a number of sights to see and things to do including the Parc de la Ciutadella, Park Guell, the stadium and Las Ramblas. Dining on paella and tapas seems the way of life here and is something most tourists like to indulge in. Sangria is the drink of choice and is a mixture of fruit, wine and sometimes champagne or brandy.

Visitors that have never ventured to Spain before and wish to experience smaller aspects of a number of Mediterranean cities will find Barcelona to be a safe bet. It combines traditional Spanish food with charm, ongoing sunshine, exquisite architecture and an abundance of old-style mosaic tiles. Travellers are wise to go without an itinerary as the best way to explore this region is by foot and without a plan at hand.

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