Warm Weather and None of the Summertime Crowds
With its mild Mediterranean climate, Barcelona enjoys warm Autumns averaging around 20º Celsius – meaning that in September you can still expect to get a few beach days and that might even extend up until October. Even if the weather is not quite warm enough for a splash, it’s perfect for long walks by the beach or exploring the city’s many parks and green spaces. Because the holidays are over, the city is generally much less crowded than during the busy, summer months and generally calmer than during Spring. And with an average of only five days of rain a month during the Autumn, you won’t have to worry about getting wet.
Barcelona’s Unique La Mercè Festival on September 24th
The end of the Summer spells one thing here in Barcelona: time to prepare for La Mercè. This week-long celebration honours the city’s patron saint, La Mare de Déu de la Mercè, or ‘Our Lady of Mercy’, shortened to La Mercè, and culminates with a jaw-dropping pyrotechnic display in front of the Museu Nacional de Catalunya (MNAC) on September 24th. The week in the run up to the final display is one of the best opportunities you’ll get to experience Catalan traditions and folklore burst into life, with everything from processions of dancing giants known as gegants, to spectacular human pyramids known as castells. The week of La Mercè is the best time to see Catalan pride at its best and experience one of the most unique celebrations in the city.
The Arrival of the Chestnut Sellers and the Castanyada
If ever there was a smell which best signalled the arrival of the Autumn in Barcelona, it has to be the smell of roasted chestnuts filling the streets. Late October sees the arrival of pop-up stalls selling warm, roast chestnuts and sweet potatoes, wrapped in newspaper ready to be devoured in the moment. In fact, around All Saint’s day on the 1st of November, Catalans celebrate La Castanyada, which involves eating roasted chestnuts and candied fruit, accompanied by a glass of moscatel, a sweet wine produced in the region. Come November, you’ll appreciate the warmth of the packet in your hands when the sun starts to set and you’re still enjoying getting lost in the city’s winding streets.
Sitges Film Festival: Fantasy and Horror by the Sea
Located just 30 minutes outside Barcelona, Sitges is a popular seaside resort attracting many day-trippers from Barcelona during the summer months. Come October, it’s an altogether different crowd that makes its way to Sitges as the town hosts the annual Sitges Film Festival, one of the world’s premiere fantasy and horror film festivals. First held in 1968, the festival has developed an international reputation over the past 50 years, attracting the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Woody Allen, and Quentin Tarantino. In addition to screenings, the festival organises a number of parallel activities, such as the popular Sitges Zombie Walk. This is one of the most spine-chilling events of the Catalan calendar and one you wouldn’t want to be caught dead missing!
The Barcelona International Jazz Festival
Held each year in the autumn, since its first edition in 1966, the Barcelona International Jazz Festival is one of Spain’s most established music festivals and a major event on the global jazz music scene. Throughout the years the festival has attracted the likes of Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Jimmy Smith and Keith Jarrett, as well as thousands of spectators from across Europe. The festival organises a number of free concerts in venues and public spaces across the city, as well as exhibitions, conferences, and many more music-related activities. It is one of the most highly anticipated events taking place in Barcelona each year and is a fine opportunity to hear some of the biggest names from the contemporary jazz world.
The Cavatast in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia
One of the highlights of the Catalan gastronomic calendar, The Cavatast is a celebration in honour of Cava, the Spanish sparkling wine giving Champagne a run for its money. Each year, producers from across the region gather in the small town of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia to present their produce over a three day period, during which hundreds of visitors arrive from across the country. This is a fine chance to sample some of the best Cavas from around Spain and get to know the producers in person. There are also stalls selling meats, cheeses and other local produce to accompany the wine. Join in the celebration and get a taste of the Catalan terroir at its finest.