Who doesn’t love a good beach party? The music, the balmy weather, the open air celebrations, the sand between your toes. Barcelona is famous for its electric beach fiestas and non are bigger than the approaching Sant Joan festival, or La Verbena de Sant Joan as it’s known locally, which happens every year on 23rd-24th June.
This party which celebrates Barcelona’s Patron Saint and the official beginning of the summer goes off with a bang and lights up the city from dusk till dawn. Celebrations happen all over the city but the best place to get involved in the festivities are down on Barceloneta beach. There you will find the crowds dancing around bonfires, setting off firecrackers and enjoying the best views of the firework displays. This is Barcelona’s way of celebrating the summer solstice in style and this is one party you will not want to miss, so here are a few tips to make sure your night goes off with a bang.
Get There Early
The beach starts filling up around 21:00 so make sure you get there early with your picnic blankets, food and drink, in order to ensure you get a good spot. As the chiringuitos turn up the music and feature live bands and DJ’s, try and get a good area close to one of these beach bars so you have some good tunes to see the night in with.
Line Those Stomachs
If you want to have dinner before you head out for a night of drinking and partying (which is in our opinion, always a wise idea!) then make sure you book. It’s probably the cities busiest night of the year so leaving dinner plans until the last minute will result in disappointment and rumbling tummies.
Whilst many families take their children to this festival it may not be every families idea of a fun night. The beaches are swarmed with people, and as it is the ‘Festival of Fire’ some parents can find it all a little stressful and nerve-racking having young children at such an event. Our advice- hire a babysitter, or as a compromise watching the firework display from up at Montjuic is wonderful and is much less crowded and hectic up there.
Party like the locals and stock up on the traditional treat that goes hand-in-hand with San Joan. The ‘Coca’ is a type of sweet bread that’s flavored with aniseed and cinnamon and decorated with colorful sugared fruits. These delicious delicacies can be found in all bakeries leading up to the big day.
We know it can get tiresome to be told the same thing repeatedly and we know it’s common sense but San Joan is a real pain for pick pockets so make sure you don’t take any valuables with you and that you keep an eye on your belongings. We know we sometimes sound like a broken record but a stolen wallet, passport or phone is the biggest party pooper of all.
The Day After
If you’re only in the city for a couple of days and you’re keen to hit the shops whilst you’re here don’t leave it till the 24th. This is a public holiday in Spain and the city pretty much shuts down and sleeps off the night before. So get the shopping out of your system before or after this day and use this day to catch up on some well earnt R’n’R.
The metro and trams operate all night on San Joan but can get really crowded. Taxis are extremely busy this night so can be hard to find and remember that they charge a 5euro supplement between midnight and 06:00. So if you’re walking distance from the beach a leisurely amble home is probably the best option. If you are in a group you might opt to rent a Party Bus!
Go with the Flow
Overall don’t worry about trying to find particular events and specific times the best way to experience San Joan is to just go with the flow and the action will find you. If you love an electric atmosphere and an unforgettable event then come and join us for the biggest beach party of the year