The itinerary for our trip to Spain includes a week in Barcelona in September. While it looks as though it would be fun to be there for the Festes de la Merce, I am thinking we would sacrifice being able to move through Barcelona to see the sights. Is it possible to see the sights and the Festival, or best to make a choice?
We happened to be in Barcelona last year for 5 days of la Merce and it was the highlight of our visit. There are programs available that will list the daily schedule of events so you can select what you might want to see. The largest crowds were in the smaller plazas and were not a factor in seeing specific sights. Some of our favorite events at la Merce were the human pyramid building in Placa de Catalunya, the parade of giant puppets, the symphony performance (crowded, but amazing) and the tall ships available for boarding. We did take the hop on, hop off bus for 2 days of sightseeing and it was efficient for visiting several areas.
The last day of the festival was a holiday so several museums and La Bouqueria Market were closed, so you might consider that in your planning. Also, we took a bus from the airport to Placa de Catalunya for about 6 euros and we could walk to our hotel on Las Ramblas in five minutes. If we were going back to Barcelona, we would try to be there for la Merce.
Thank you. Great to hear!
It's been a while since I was there during the Merce festival, but my memories are only positive, including waking up to a marching band that was going to breakfast and enjoying the castellers in front of the cathedral.
Don't worry about that, Barcelona is a big city and no single event 'clogs' the city -except for the Catalan National Day on Sep 11th, sort of your 4th of July. Anything else and you can do business as usual in most of the city. La Mercè hosts 600+ activities over 6 days, some on the streets some indoors. Those on the streets might occupy certain streets at certain times, but not 'the whole city'. Worst case scenario is that you coincide with a street event precisely at the time you want to do something in that particular area... what to do then?, re-arrange your schedule ;) For info, the program of La Mercè is published a couple of weeks or so before the festival, around the first week or so in September and this is the official website: http://merce.bcn.cat/en
Any special area you would stay in for the festival?
Thanks for your input everyone. We are leaning toward the Eixample neighborhood.
@Ann.... "Those on the streets might occupy certain streets at certain times, but not 'the whole city'". Barcelona is a big city, this event and others happening at the same time (ie. several congresses during that week) do not alter (much) the life of the city. There isn't "a place" where the festival happens, there are several spots spread across the city. The programme for this year's is here: http://merce.bcn.cat/en