One of the most important and biggest festivals in Spain and, in particular, Barcelona is the

Feast of San Juan in Barcelona (Sant Joan in Catalan), also called Verbanas. John the Baptist is the saint who is honoured during this feast. It takes place when the summer solstice occurs, hence the shortest night and longest day, when the advent of summer is celebrated. The key elements covered are fire, water and spices. But the festival features also music, dance and food, element which are no less important. Summer stands for fertility and therefore food. The 24th June is a national holiday in Spain and the nightly activities at the night before this day are celebrated from sunset until sunrise. This is the perfect to stay for a long weekend San Juan in Barcelona.

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Fiesta de San Juan en Barcelona. Foto by pansonaut via flickr

Fire is an ancient symbol of fertility, purity and abundance. Fireworks and bonfires are the elements that express this during the night of San Juan. Activities can be found throughout the whole city and in particular near the beaches where the bonfires are on fire. Every neighbourhood has its own celebrations involving music and dance. Everywhere people are partying down the street and everyone takes part in it. This festival is celebrated not only by locals but also many tourists from home and abroad travel to Barcelona to attend this event.

Water is another important element in this celebration. The drowning of sin is therefore done by taking a dip in the middle of the night in the, by then, warm seawater. In particular, many students and young people make their way to the beach to party and to revive the traditions. Not surprising, of course, that water is an important element when you consider that this festival is named after John the Baptist.

Maybe you are interested in our special holiday offers for Sant Joan bridge.

As mentioned earlier, the festival is also called Verbanas. Verbanas comes from the name of an herb; Verbana. A typical and very fragrant herb that is common in the region. Part of the tradition is to gather with friends, out on the street, enjoy a snack and a drink. Don´t expect you´ll be able to have a quiet retreat in to the centre of the city… The firecrackers, fireworks and music is anything but a quiet. If you plan on visiting Barcelona in this particular weekend and looking for an apartment it is important to remember the business in and around the city centre. Apartments can be found in all kinds of neighbourhoods  and San Juan bridge special accommodation Barcelona 2011 is offered throughout the whole city.


Sant Juan is a traditional festival that is celebrated for centuries. Not only in Spain these kind of midsummer events are celebrated. In many other countries and cultures the beginning of summer is celebrated as well. Think about the Midsummer festivities in for example Sweden.

To cleanse from sin there are a few traditions in Barcelona. A number of traditions in a nutshell:

  • To keep  to the fire going it is common to burn old furniture. This is also a sign to burn the past and to welcome the subsequent new.
  • When two lovers, holding hands, jump over a bonfire seven times, this ensures that they will live happily ever after.
  • Write a wish on a paper, then disk it in the fire and jump three times into the air supposes the desire convenience is coming true.
  • Another of the traditions is  a night swim in the sea. According to legend, this will clean your sins.
  • Women in particular make perfumed scent of water in which saliva is used. Plants and herbs, including rosemary, roses and laurel are used to wash the face and again this is also done to clean slate and means the new era can begin.


  1. anouk says:

    Your are talking about the 24th of July, but San Juan is in JUNE

  2. Ed says:

    Thanks Anouk, we indeed made a mistake while writing!

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