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.
- Events and Festivals in Barcelona in August 2018
- Sant Roc Festival at Plaça Nova (14th August to 18th August)
- Gràcia Festival (15th August to 21st August)
- Sants Festival (18th August to 26th August)
- Outdoor cinema at CCCB (7th August to 23rd August)
- Summer Music Festivals
- Barcelona Weather in August
- Accommodation and queues
Events and Festivals in Barcelona in August 2018
Sant Roc Festival at Plaça Nova (14th August to 18th August)
This is the oldest festival in Barcelona, running since 1589, making this year the incredible 429th 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 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 7.15pm (14th), 1.30pm (16th), 7.30pm (17th) and 5.30pm (18th).
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 (15th August to 21st 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 2018.
Sants Festival (18th August to 26th August)
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 (7th August to 23rd August)
While still recovering from July’s outdoor cinema sessions at Montjüic and Barceloneta, the CCCB offers in August the Gandules’18 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: magic, altered states and the occult. It is a great opportunity to revive classics like “The Tower of the Seven Hunchbacks”, “Mondo Cane” or “The Wicker Man” 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 (2nd June to 30th 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 (1st July to 16th 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 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 (31st July to 31st August)
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 (13th July to 22nd 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. Bryan Ferry, Texas, Damien Rice, Roger Hodgson and Andrea Bocelli are just some of the artists that will perform in 2018’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 tour 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.