Spain is a Catholic country. Therefore, for the Easter period there are many occasions and holidays that are celebrated - a justifiable excuse for a trip to Barcelona. Most of the feast dates in this period are moveable, as they are celebrated on a certain day of the week - Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Easter Sunday etc. It is a opportune time to come to the city of Barcelona as Spring has sprung, the trees are in blossom and there are many outdoor processions and celebrations taking place.
It is worth noting that opening times for shops, museums, attractions and restaurants can be particularly awkward during this period. Therefore, please see our guide to Easter opening hours - for a guide to opening times.
Here I have provided a short guide to some of the most important dates during the Spring / Easter period in Barcelona:
Carnival ('Carnestoltes') - Spain's answer to Mardi Gras in and around Barcelona.
Carnestoltes Carnival: 23 February 2017 - 01 March 2017
This event is called different names in different countries all over the world - Mardi Gras, Pancake Day, Carnival and the list goes on. In Catalonia it is known as 'Carnestoltes'. It is the period in the run up to Lent which is seen as the last opportunity to eat, drink and be merry prior to the Christian period of abstinence.
In Barcelona and the surrounding areas this is a period when many processions, parties and food making competitions take place.
Please see our Carnival - 'Carnestoltes': 23 February 2017 - 01 March 2017
'Semana Santa' translates as Holy Week. This is an important week in the Christian calendar as it marks the end of Lent and commemorates the death and rise of Jesus. Barcelona, as part of Catalunya, is traditionally less religious than other parts of Spain, particularly in the South. However, it still has its fair share of celebrations during this period.
Holy week is the week before Easter and starts with Palm Sunday. It includes Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday but does not include Easter Sunday.
Dates for Easter Week (Holy week)
Palm Sunday 09 April
Good Friday 14 April
Easter Saturday 15 April
Easter Sunday 16 April
Easter Monday 17 April
Holy week begins on Palm Sunday, when a procession traditionally takes place around the cathedral with people holding palms. A week of religious ceremonies follows, ending on Easter Sunday.
The week is just as pleasant for non-Christians. Barcelona looks beautiful during this period. The sun is beginning to return to the city and chocolate and cake shop windows are filled with every sculpture imaginable made out of chocolate - anything from 'Finding Nemo' to the Sagrada Familia.
Easter Weekend 14 April - 17 April 2017
We have written a special page on Easter weekend Good Friday - Easter Monday
This is seen by many Catalan people as their version of Valentines Day - the feast of the patron saint of Catalunya. It is the feast of Saint George - also the Patron Saint of England, who is famed for having slain a dragon.
It also happens to be the date of the deaths of two of history's most famous writers: Miguel Cervantes and William Shakespeare. Tradition dictates that on this day men give women gifts of roses and women give men gifts of books. Slightly sexist perhaps, but it is increasingly common for these roles to be reversed.
It is a romantic day in the city, as major streets and plazas, such as the Ramblas and Plaza Universitat are filled with stalls selling either books or roses. The gifts are not reserved only for lovers and are just as likely to be shared between friends.
Many tourists are inclined to wait until the height of the summer to make a trip to Barcelona. However, Spring in the city is wonderful - the weather is sunny yet mild and there are many interesting events taking place.