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 2018
Why Barcelona in September?
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.
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.
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.
La Mercè Festival 2018 (September 21-24)
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 am and 4 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.
Every year a guest city is invited to participate in the festivities and in 2018 the city of Lisbon (Portugal) will attend. You’ll also see a ton of great concerts at the BAM independent music festival.
The best days are usually weekends – Friday (2), Saturday (22), and Sunday (23). 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!
Monday the 24th offers the Festa Castellera della Mercé in Plaça Sant Jaume at 12:30 that unites all the castellers associations (colls) from Barcelona.
Time: September 22nd at 12:00 pm, September 23rd at 12:30 pm.
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: September 22nd at 8:30 pm or 6:30 pm (the children’s event).
Place: Via Laietana.
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.
If you hang around until 12:15 you’ll be able to see the ‘Eagle Dance’
The tradition dates back to 13th century Corpus Christi processions – just make sure not to get run over!
Time: September 23rd at 9:00 pm (Plaça Drassanes to Plaça Sant Jaume) or September 24th at 12:15 pm (Plaça Sant Jaume).
Place: Plaça de Sant Jaume.
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.
Location: Avenida de La Catedral/Plaça Nova.
It wouldn’t be La Mercè without a massive explosion of fireworks.
The biggest spectacles are held on the 21st and 22nd 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 Monday the 25th 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).
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 – from Saturday the 22nd to Monday the 24th from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm you’ll find them at Montjuic Castle.
On The 22nd and 23rd of September from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm and Monday the 25th from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm you’ll find them at Palauet Albeniz, in the Jardines Laribal sul Montjuic.
Also you can find the classic food trucks in Ciutadella Park open Friday night until 2 am.
Barcelona September Concerts
Music is the beating heart of La Mercè and the free concerts and performances organised through Barcelona Acciò Musical (BAM) are plentiful.
The 2018 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.
Some suggestions for September 2018 are:
- The duo MERCURY REV celebrates their 20th year of psychedelic rock, this time in an intimate acoustic environment (September 23rd, Plaça dels Angels, 21:45).
- German group MEUTE is made up of 12 percussionists and trombone players that play techno music! Imagine the hits of French DJ Laurent Garnier but played in marching band format – absolutely hypnotic! (September 21st, Plaça dels Angels, 00:45).
- For some Spanish indie-pop there’s LA BIEN QUERIDA (September 24th, Antica Fabbrica dell’Estrella Damm, 17:45), while those looking for a bit more grit should check out English post-punkers MONOCHROME SET (September 23rd, Plaça dels Angels, 23:15).
At the big beach stage around Bogatell you’ll find Catalan music concerts featuring bands like indie-folkers LA IAIA (September 22nd, 21:30) and pop-rock players LOVE OF LESBIAN (September 22nd, 23:30).
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 has three matches at home in September 2018 – all of them have been concluded so check back next year for September 2019!
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 2018
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.
September times: Monday to Sunday 8:40 pm and 10:00 pm.
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 2018 dates: the 2nd (Jeff Mills), 9th (Tiga), and 16th (Paco Osuna and Chris Liebing).
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 2018. 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 the 7th of September until the 16th 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 €71.00 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
The type of music varies but tickets start at €39.00 for the concert + a nighttime visit.
Dates in September 2018 run daily from either 7:30 or 8:00 pm.
Get more info on Magic Nights here.
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 2018 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 🙂