September: what to do in Catalonia
Festivals, fairs, walking tours and more
Don't want to miss out on any of the incredible events September has on offer? Have a look at Catalan News' monthly selection of top things to do throughout Catalonia.
Festa de la Verema| Alella | September 4 – 14
Among the many grape harvest festivals soon kicking off is that of Alella, a town north and slightly inland from Barcelona, which starts on the first Wednesday of the month. A definite must for wine and fun lovers alike, it will host activities including – of course – wine tasting, but also wine cellar tours, habanera concerts, traditional correfoc fire running, sardana dancing, tapas and botifarra eating and more.
Fira Tàrrega| Tàrrega | September 5 – 8
Taking place in Catalonia’s western Lleida province, this year’s edition of the Fira Tàrrega international street arts festival will showcase 42 performances focusing on the artistic and social uses of public space. It is both a networking event for industry professionals and a festival open to the wider public, with shows including Hotel Iocandi’s circus act ‘Peix’ about the impact of mass tourism, power struggles and emptiness, or Galmae’s ‘C’est pas là, c’est par là’ on the relationship between community and individualism.
Festa dels Miquelets | Olesa de Montserrat | September 7 – 8
The Festa dels Miquelets is ideal for history buffs that want to find out more about Catalonia’s past. Every year, a historical reenactment of some of the events of the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714) between the Habsburg and Bourbon dynasties takes place in Olesa, 30 km away from Barcelona and not far from the Montserrat monastery. The festivities also include a themed market, a guided tour of the town, and concerts.
La setmana del llibre en català | Avinguda de la Catedral, Barcelona | September 6 – 15
Interested in discovering Catalan literature? For a bit over a week in September, the large square in front of Barcelona’s cathedral will be bustling with bookstands carrying a large selection of Catalan-language titles, with various bookstores and publishing houses presenting their recommendations as part of the Catalan Book Week. Not only can you find your next good read here, but you can also attend a number of talks, book presentations and readings.
Santa Tecla| Tarragona | September 13 – 24
For a week and a half in mid-September, residents of the southern Catalan city of Tarragona hit the streets for the annual Santa Tecla festivities in honor of their patron saint. The council promotes over 500 public activities including concerts, human towers, correfoc fire running and more, combining traditional religious acts with those with a more modern twist.
‘Hora màgica’| Pedralbes Monastery, Barcelona | until September 13
Hidden away in Barcelona’s most exclusive neighborhood, the Pedralbes Monastery is a prime example of the Catalan gothic style dating back to 1327 when it was founded by Elisenda of Montcada, wife of James II of Aragon. It houses what is considered to be one of the largest gothic cloisters in the world, which can be visited for free every Tuesday and Friday from 6 pm to 9 pm until September 13.
La democràcia al carrer. Fotografia política del col·lectiu SE-GRÀ. 1977-1980| Born Cultural Center, Barcelona | until September 15
The years following dictator Francisco Franco’s death in 1975 brought with them uncertainty and political unrest as the country expectantly awaited the arrival of democracy. The SE-GRÀ photography collective, active from 1977 to 1980, captured this transitional period through their lenses, providing invaluable insight into one of the most important moments of the country’s modern political history. Head to the Born’s Cultural Center to see Street Democracy, a collection of images guiding viewers through those years with scenes from, for example, one of the first gay and trans rights protests or labor day marches, among other significant events.
Mercat de música viva de Vic| Vic | September 18 – 21
Similar to Fira Tàrrega in that it brings together both industry professionals and puts on concerts for the general public, for four days, Vic’s live music market brings the best shows currently on the scene scene to the central Catalan city. For as little as €3, spectators can take in incredible live acts such as Side Chick, Carla, or Gato Preto.
La Mercè | Various sites in Barcelona | September 20 – 24
If you’re in Barcelona in September you’re in for a treat as the biggest city-wide street festival takes place annually around those dates. For five days, the Catalan capital turns into a lively celebration with music – thanks to Barcelona Acció Musical, with acts including Tversky or Y La Bamba – as well as a light and fire party or circus acts. This year’s guest city is Beirut, with many performers hailing from the eastern Mediterranean city.
Festa de la Sal | L’Escala (Girona) | September 21
The small Costa Brava town of L’Escala is set to celebrate its Salt Festival on the third Saturday of the month. Held in honor of its fishing and salting traditions, it entails a historic reenactment of everyday life in the early 20th century and traditional dances. The event, organized by the local archive and the Salt and Anchovy Museum, was included in the Catalogue of Catalan Heritage Festivals in 2015.
Alt Empordà Sea Walking | Alt Empordà (Girona) | September 27 – 29
The northeastern county of Alt Empordà, where the Pyrenees meet the Mediterranean, is known for its spectacular natural landscapes and picturesque Costa Brava beach towns that can be visited as part of the Sea Walking festival. Sign up for weekend walking trips throughout the region to discover some of its most beautiful sites: megalithic dolmens at Estanys de la Jonquera, Cap de Creus' “lunar” terrain, the Cap Norfeu natural reserve…
Terrània – Festival Internacional de Ceràmica de Montblanc | Sant Francesc church, Montblanc (Tarragona) | September 27 – 29
Montblanc, which also happens be the Tarragona town where Catalan legend places Sant Jordi’s slaying of the dragon, celebrates its annual ceramics festival the last weekend of September. This year’s featured country is Switzerland, with seven ceramicists from the alpine nation exhibiting and selling their works at the old Sant Francesc church along with twelve other artists from five other countries. Besides the exhibitions, visitors can also partake in various workshops on Raku or pre-Columbian stamps, among others.