August is the peak of the Summer and the heat is intense. There is no way around it. But the good news is that it is probably the best time to enjoy city festivals with some of the main ones taking place this month. Barcelona in August also offers plenty of outdoor activities and music and it is a great opportunity to enjoy an evening drink at some of the most charming terraces in Europe. It is hot, that’s true, but it is also fun.
Post updated in July 2019. The update with 2020 activities will be published soon.
- Events and Festivals in Barcelona in August 2019
- Barcelona Weather in August
- Accommodation and queues
Events and Festivals in Barcelona in August 2019
Sant Roc Festival at Plaça Nova (around 16th August)
This is the oldest festival in Barcelona, running since 1589, making this year the incredible 430th edition! Although not as big as other neighbourhood parties, this is actually a lot more manageable as everything takes place around Plaça Nova. It is located in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, just beside the cathedral of Barcelona. On our Gothic Quarter Free Walking Tour we always pass through this square and it is always lovely to catch up with some of the celebrations.
The festival is in honour of Sant Roc (Saint Roch) whose statue you can see on the square, always accompanied by his loyal BLUE dog (there is a story behind this dog that I am not give it away now ;-)). As well as the traditional human towers, Giant parades, Sardana dances and fire run, there are some quirky activities that you won’t find anywhere else. It is definitely worth checking the whole programme of Sant Roc Festival 2019 and taking a look at his short video that shows the some of the highlights that we explain below.
The Cucanya of Plaça Nova
This is a very unusual horizontal greasy pole that children have to cross from side to side without falling. The rules of the game and the winding up ceremony is a bit complex but you can check it all out on the website of the Plaça Nova Festival Asssociation. The first time the cucanya game was placed here was in 1884. The one used during the festival dates from 1904 and you can see it in action most days at the square.
The Porró Llarg
Maybe you have heard about the traditional Catalan porró. Or maybe you even have had a go at this unusual wine pitcher with a spout you drink from… but without touching the glass. The porró llarg (long porró) that you will see here is exactly that, a regular porró but with a wowing 75 centimetres long spout! This makes it extremely difficult to use but also doubles the fun as opposed to drinking from a regular one. It will be at the square for anyone to try but only on the day of Saint Roc (August 16th).
The Dog Festival
If you like furry pets, you can’t miss this one. As I mentioned earlier, Saint Roc is always accompanied by a loyal dog so all dogs from the neighbourhood are brought here to be greeted on August 17th from 5.30pm. There are also dog training exhibitions for the more energetic ones.
Gràcia Festival (14th August to 20th August)
Apart from La Mercè, this is the festival of festivals in Barcelona. The neighbourhood of Gràcia is one of the most charming in the city. In mid-August its streets get decorated with the most imaginative creations and, at night, it turns into a big party. Concerts, competitions, human towers, dances… there is space for everything on this not-to-miss activity if you are here in Barcelona in August.
There is too much to do and see so, if you want to know where and when everything will happen, don’t miss our dedicated post for the Gràcia Festival 2019.
Sants Festival (24th August to 1st September)
If you weren’t here for the Gràcia Festival, don’t worry. The neighbourhood of Sants always start their own party straight after. The streets also get decorated (although not as spectacularly as in Gràcia) and the music and dance go on all night.
Like in all festivals, the local Catalan traditions can’t be missed and I strongly recommend attending some of them. The ones that will really blow your mind out are the human towers display (castellers) and the fire run (correfoc). Keep an eye on the official website of Sants Festival as the whole programme will be issued just a few days before the date.
Outdoor cinema at CCCB (6th August to 22nd August)
While still recovering from July’s outdoor cinema sessions at Montjüic and Barceloneta, the CCCB offers in August the Gandules’19 programme. Without the backdrop of Montjüic castle and the mosquitoes of Barceloneta beach, the offer here is mainly Art-house movies. This year, 9 films will be screening grouped into 3 themes: Parallel universes and time travel and the overthrowing of rational order. It is a great opportunity to enjoy films like “Donie Darko”, “Twin Peaks” or “Mind Game” that are hardly ever screened.
Summer Music Festivals
Summer is the peak time for being outdoors and enjoying good music. It doesn’t matter if you are into Jazz, Classical music, Techno or Flamenco. Barcelona offers a big selection of music festivals for all tastes. These are just some of the most popular ones:
Music in the Parks (June, July and August)
Some of the green areas of Barcelona turn into big concert venues at sunset. The closest to the centre is Ciutadella Park but the show goes on in the different parks around the city. Classical and Jazz are the main offering here but you can also find folk, gospel and big bands. It is all free so there are no excuses for not having a relaxed evening listening to good quality music under the stars.
Brunch in the Park (30th June to 29th September)
Every Sunday during the Summer months, the fans of electronic music have an unmissable date in Barcelona. Brunch in the Park puts together top National and International DJ’s with food trucks to help energize you for all the dancing that takes place. The festival is hosted in the beautiful Jardins de Joan Brossa, on the hill of Montjüic.
When you think of electronic music, night partying and young people come to mind. However, this is a daily event so everyone is welcome, including children. Petit Brunch is an area where the little ones can also have fun with different games and workshops.
Mas i Mas Festival (30th July to 1st September)
Something that started as a Jazz Festival 16 years ago, now also offers great quality blues, soul, funk and even flamenco performers. The concerts take place at different venues like the Jamboree Club, Palau de la Musica and Moog Club, while Tarantos will host the flamenco artists. If popular American music is your thing, you are in for a treat.
Cap Roig Festival (12th July to 21st August)
If you are planning to attend any of the concerts here, make it a full day or, even better, stay for a few days to explore the area. The festival takes place in the coastal town of Calella de Parafrugell (1.5 hours from Barcelona) which is one of the most charming villages around. Diana Krall, Ben Harper, Katie Melua and Jamie Cullum are just some of the artists that will perform in 2019’s edition. With the beautiful setting of Costa Brava, I bet you will remember this concert for a very long time.
Barcelona Weather in August
Barcelona in August tends to be hot and humid. With daily temperatures around the 30ºC mark so sun-tan lotion , light clothes and plenty of water are a must. At night, the humidity doesn’t go away but the heat is a lot more bearable. A beer in a terrace could possibly be one of the highlights of the day 😉
Accommodation and queues
This is the time when a lot of Europeans take their vacation so expect a lot of families and beach goers. Pre-booking your tickets to skip the lines at the most popular attractions is always recommended anytime in high season. If you are thinking of visiting places like Sagrada Familia, Park Güell or Picasso Museum, don’t forget to pre-book your tickets on the official sites. Avoid the online sites that will charge a high commission. If you prefer to explore the buildings with a friendly and knowledgeable guide, all our Barcelona private tours with licensed guides also include skip the lines.
I hope you found all the advice helpful for your planned visit to Barcelona in August. Maybe I will see you at the meeting point of of our Free Tours in Barcelona or at one of the local festivals or having a beer in a nice cool terrace in the evening. Also, don’t forget to check our comprehensive article on what to do in Barcelona all year round.
Post updated in July 2019