Get Ready for Barcelona’s Fiery Feast of San Joan

The Feast of San Joan is Catalunya’s celebration of the Summer Solstice, the longest night of the year, June 23rd, also called the Night of Fire (Nit del Foc).  This is because fire is the most important of the three historical symbols of the holiday (water and herbs are the other two).  Official and unofficial fires are lit throughout the city to give force back to the setting sun.  The Nanny Line has some advice for how best to celebrate the Night of Fire with your family:

  1. There is no official firework show organized by the Barcelona City Council, but fireworks are EVERYWHERE.

Make sure to buy fireworks from official, authorized dealers for the safest options.  Use fireworks with caution and remember that even a “sparkler” can cause a 3rd-degree burn.  Never let your children hold the fireworks.

  1. Some neighborhoods organize neighborhood parties (revetlles), communal dinners on the streets (sopar popular), parades with fire and giant puppts (gegantes).

Some of the best neighborhood festivals and bonfires are:

    • Ciutat Vella, by the Arc de Triomf metro station
    • El Raval’s bonfire at Placa Folch i Torres
    • Barceloneta Beach
    • Poblenou Beach area


  1. Head for the hills.

Barcelona’s hillsides, balconies, and rooftop terraces can be great places to watch the celebrations from afar without being scared by the fireworks or fighting the crowds.  Check out Tibidabo or Montjuic Castle as the sun sets and watch the city be lit on fire.

  1. Avoid Barceloneta Beach and small plazas if you or your kids are afraid of fire, fireworks, devils or giants in costumes, crowds, or all-night partying.

Barcelona’s biggest Nit del Foc celebrations take place on Barceloneta beach which becomes extremely crowded with party-goers, families, drummers, and other performers.  Many people swim in the ocean as part of the holiday tradition. Plan on claiming your spot on the beach by late afternoon if you want to be at the center of the celebrations (official start time is 9PM).  Make sure to bring beach blankets, towels and extra layers for when the sun goes down.

  1. Plan ahead if you want to eat at a restaurant on June 23rd.

Many Catalan families go out to eat together to celebrate the holiday, so restaurants will be booked if you wait until the last minute.

  1. Go grocery shopping before the 24th.

Many restaurants, shops, and attractions may be closed on the 24th because it is an official bank holiday.

Do you have a favorite plaza or rooftop terrace where you like to watch the San Joan celebrations?  Let us know on our Facebook Page.

Our local nannies and babysitters are full of insider tips for Barcelona’s holidays and everyday secrets.  Call us or book your nanny star online to start getting the local scoop on all that’s happening in Barcelona for families.

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