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Celebrate Barcelona's 2023 exceptional carnival a calendar full of activities

Festivities are getting closer for Barcelona’s 2023 Carnival  and there isn’t a better moment in the whole year where the city dresses up as happy, funny and entertaining. It’s seven days where each town in the surroundings fills up with fun events, activities for kids, parades, carriages, dances, costumes and gastronomic tastings, unique in the year and the Catalan tradition.

The most famous carnival in the Mediterranean this 2023 will bring you new surprises and activities never seen before. Are you ready to experience the joy of Catalan festivities?

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Carnival Barcelona 2023

Catalonia dresses up for this 2023 carnival

Catalonia’s carnival, also known by the locals as “Carnestoltes” by its Catalan term, is celebrated in style and attracts thousands of people from all around the world. It’s always celebrated during the months of February and March, however, the dates vary each year because they depend on the lunar calendar. To know the exact dates, you must count 40 days before Palm Sunday until Ash Wednesday, the last day of the carnivals and first day of Lent.

The festivity of the carnival in Barcelona as we know it today, dates to the 16th century, when by the first time they were presented the acts as “the arrival”, the dances with masks and “the burying of the sardine”. It was then in the 19th century when the use of costumes was popularised. Continue reading and get to know all the activities and events that are being prepared for Barcelona’s carnival 2023.

How will the carnival in Barcelona and surroundings be celebrated this 2023?

Tradition starts on Fat Thursday, where Catalan and Barcelonian gastronomy take the main stage. On this day, popular and traditional meals are prepared all over the city as in Maná 75, Tossa, Barcelona, Xerta, etc, while there is the wait for the arrival of the king of the carnival.

On the following day there are different events and dances which change depending on the location (lower down we comment on the programme for each one). Saturday is the day when each neighbourhood does a parade and, before Ash Wednesday arrives, in varying days, acts like the caravan of the carnival’s king, and the Grand Sarao take place.

On the last day, the “burying of the sardine” happens, which symbolises the starting of the fasting and the end of the licentiousness, the party and the meals. It’s a tradition in which after the final act there is a large feast with lunch and different traditional elements.

carnaval barcelona 2024

Where are the best carnival celebrations in Barcelona?

Barcelona transforms into a unique city, a week where it doesn’t sleep. With night activities in clubs, where you will only be able to experience these days. The best celebrations happen in places surrounding the city such as Sitges, Torello or Vilanova i la Geltru to which you can access by train in no more than 30 minutes.

The events vary depending on each location and year, but in all these places these days are of parties, costumes, and lots of colour.

When is the 2023 carnival in Barcelona?

This 2023 the celebrations will start with Fat Thursday, the 16th of February, and will end with Ash Wednesday, the 22nd of February.

The dates vary each year as it’s a celebration that moves with the lunar calendar. For example, in 2024 they will be from the 8th to the 14th of February; In 2025 from the 27th of February to March the 5th, and in 2026 from the 12th to the 18th of February.

What to do in the 2023 Barcelona carnival?

This year, adding to the traditional celebrations, concerts, workshops, omelette competitions, masquerades, costume parties and music will be in every corner. Everything you can do is enjoy and have fun. Let the party begin!

Before thinking about taking part in any activity, the first thing you must do is look for a costume- yes, as you’re hearing, a costume! During the seven days of the carnival, children and adults dress up to meet the tradition of “passing unnoticed”. Do you want to know why? Keep reading and get to know all the fun there is to come.

Carnival in Barcelona 2023: Programme, dates, events and activities

As has been happening for multiple years already, the epicentre of the carnival will be the area of the born- although there will be celebrations in other areas of the city such as Ciutat Vella, Sant Martí, Grácia and Horta Guinardó. Meaning you will be able to enjoy many cultural activities in each neighbourhood. Continue reading and learn in detail about everything in the programme this 2023.

Carnival in Barcelona 2023

The arrival (L’arribo) - February 16th 2023

On Thursday February 16th it’s the “Fat Thursday”, a day known to give the beginning to the carnivals with the typical Tortilla and egg sausage. In the afternoon, at 6:00 o’clock, it is time for dessert, “the arrival”. The “King of Carnestoltes” makes his entrance into the city next to 7 ambassadors representing each neighbourhood – they are the main protagonists of the event and represent the spirit of happiness.

The streets from the Barrio Gotic, la Rambla, la Boqueria to the Palace of the Virreira, give the start to the parade, where the king announces seven days of party and craziness.

Kings parade and Carnestoltes (Taronjada) - February 16th 2023

At about 6:45 PM at the palace of the Virreina, one of the most important acts of the carnival takes place. Thousands of people attend the king of Carnestoltes’ speech which consists of a satirical act about the highlights of the last year.

Carnival parades (Ruas) - February 18th

Saturday afternoon is the usual moment of celebration due to the main parades of each one of the city’s neighbourhoods happening. Each parade is directed by one of the seven ambassadors (Barcelona, Gracia, Sant Martí, Sarria, Les Corts, Sant Andreu and Horta). They’re the ones in charge of making everyone have a good time and have fun.

The burial of the sardine (Dimecres de Cendra) - February 22nd

After seven days of crazy behaviour, the king is condemned to die due to having “infected” the whole population. In a different place of each one of the districts in Barcelona the “burial” is celebrated- a type of funeral procession that serves as a goodbye to the fun days and gives a start to the Lent. this year, as a tradition marks, there are multiple popular feasts in each neighbourhood where, of course, sardines won’t be missing.

actividades carnaval barcelona 2024
Carnaval Barcelona
TERRACE IN THE GARDEN

Enjoy the good weather on the GREEN terrace of Maná75. Sea breeze, smell of rosemary and the flavor of paellas…

Discover the paradise of La Barceloneta!

Carnival in Sitges 2023

Even though most of the activities and events happen in Barcelona, Sitges’ carnival wins in popularity and fame. So much so, that is in the list of the top 10 best carnivals in the world.

Fat Thursday (Dijous Gras) - February 16th

At 6:00 PM Thursday 16th of February arrives His Majesty “Carnestoltes” I and the Queen of the Sitges Carnival 2023, who will parade to infect everyone with good vibrations and happiness.

The same day at 9:00 PM, an event called Xatonada will occur with a carousel spectacle in presence of the king and the queen at the Casino de Prado Suburense. Half an hour later, after finishing the speech at the town hall, they will head to the palace of the “Rei Moro” with the presence of multiple artists and the traditional satiric carnival magazine “La Gallofa”.

Race of the dressed beds (La cursa de Llits) - February 18th

Saturday 18th of February will be marked by the most popular and loved events by the spectators and visitors. At 10:00 AM the party starts with the visit of the kings to the famous local market in Sitges.

At 11:00 AM the Race of the dressed beds 2023 will start from the casino Prado, continuing through the town centre with the Paseo de la Ribera as a finishing line.

During the rest of the day multiple events such as the dance of the Fardo, the Tequereque party at the town Plaza will take place- ending the day with the Xatonada and a Carousel at the Casino Prado.

Parade of licentiousness (Rua de la Disbauxa) - February 19th

On Sunday 19th of February 2023, the carnival will be prepared for the smallest ones at home, as will be on Tuesday. In most neighbourhoods and towns in Barcelona, Sunday is the day of the children’s carnival. At Sitges, the children’s parade will start at 12:00 PM from Sofia Ave. until reaching the monument El Greco, going back to the Cap de la Vila.

Also on that Sunday, the parade of licentiousness or Rua de la Disbauxa will happen, from 11:00 PM until 5:00 AM. If you’re not prepared for craziness, it’s better you don’t leave home because during that night everyone lets loose.

Parade of extermination (Rua de l’Extermini) - February 21st

On Tuesday February 21st you’ll be able to enjoy the last parade of the Sitges carnival, one of the most iconic, “Rua de l’Extermini”. It will start at 9:00 PM and from 11:00 PM until 5:00 AM to Wednesday 22nd you will be able to have fun at the party of the “extermination” organised by Casino Prado.

Wednesday of ashes- February 22nd

As is tradition, on the last day of the carnival,  there is a ritual goodbye to the king. At the beach of the Frigate, a doll is burnt in representation of His Majesty and the arrival of Miss Cuaresma, which puts an end and order to the week of sin and craziness.

The court will start by the Paseo de la Ribera and will finish at Cap de la Vila where the unique Vegetable Manifesto will be read.

carnaval sitges

Vilanova I La Geltrú carnival 2023

Arrival (L’Arribo) - February 17th

Indifferent to the rest of the neighbourhoods and towns of Barcelona, at Vilanova I La Geltrú, the arrival of the king happens the Friday of the carnival.

It doesn’t mean that Fat Thursday isn’t celebrated, which is also celebrated with the typical “xatonada”, Spanish omelette and the famous merengue, unique in Vilanova. Get ready for the sweetest night in your life!

Carnival floats - February 19th

During carnival Sunday the most famous carnival floats arrive in the city, characterised by dances, happiness and euphoria of the krewes – who aren’t stopped by anyone. The festivities finish with the famous candy war at the town square – a battle between floats and krewes that fills the city with colour and lots of sweet sweetness.

Ash Wednesday- February 22nd

The carnival finishes as it’s supposed to, with a funeral procession of His Majesty the king. Each year there is a responsible entity to realise the ceremony, which forms an improvised Mortuary, from which the remains are moved to the town square. The sweet days of the party finish and the Cuaresma starts.

Carnaval Vilanova i la Geltrú 2024
Carnival Vilanova i la Geltrú

Carnival of Terra Endins Torrelló 2023

Pullassu ritual - February 16th

In the old Plaza of the town, multiple characters next to the carnival king do the famous Pullassu ritual. It’s based on conceiving the bastard child of the king through a witch, dances, music and lots of colour.

Ladies and gentlemen- February 17th

This act has been celebrated since the mid 80s, in which men dress as women and women dress as men. A parade with the kings is held every year at the Plaza Nova.

Carnival parade festival and Terra Endins - February 18th

On Carnival Saturday, just after the parade of more than 20 carriages of different themes, continue the  Terra Endins party this year with Nesi, Bab Klover, Dj Capde and Abril Balasch and many more.

The minimum age requirement is 16 years old and there will be 2 spaces with different styles of music, the Terra Endins with a more Electronic style and the Falatell space with dance music. To end the night there will be the usual gala with the prize giving of the carnival parade awards.

Burial of the sardine- February 22nd

Of course we can’t miss the iconic ending of the carnivals in Catalonia, with the “burial of the sardine”. In general, in Vilanova, the burning chapel is placed in the Cirvianum theatre from which a committee and funeral parade leaves to Plaza Vella – where his majesty’s remains are burnt.

Carnaval de Torelló 2024
Carnival of Terra Endins Torrelló 2023

Carnival activities in Barcelona for children

The carnival in Barcelona is open to all ages, always before 8:00 PM, because after that no one knows what might happen.

Most parades are free and open to all ages. While the sun is out there will be a special environment for children, those who love to dress up, dance and participate in events.

In general, at the town’s there is a children’s parade done during the morning of the carnival Sunday and during Tuesday afternoon, which will be on the 19th and 21st of February respectively. To add to this, at the public centres, there are workshops in Costume creation, dance etc.

The carnival in Catalonia 2023 is celebrated at Maná 75

If it’s all about having fun, you can’t miss the great feast after the burial of the sardine. Some prefer to do their own BBQ at the beach, but there isn’t a doubt that enjoying the authentic Mediterranean flavor in front of the beach in a first-class restaurant is a great closing.

Maná 75 will be offering during the whole week of the carnival in Barcelona 2023 (16th February to 22nd of February) its authentic flavour of carnival festivities with rice, paella, exquisite meat and delicious local shellfish dishes. An elegant location, thought for couples, groups, family and friends- it doesn’t matter how many you are, we’ll be waiting for you with open arms! 

Make your reservation with time so you don’t miss out on a table! 

Top-restaurantes-Barcelona-Mana-75

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