Sant Joan: 3 Reasons to Celebrate the Summer Solstice in Barcelona

by Allison DeCarlo, former ISA Site Specialist for Spain.
Photo by ISA student Emilie Jeneson

The Festival of Sant Joan is June 23rd and marks the official start of summer in Catalonia. Here are just three reasons why you should be there:

1) Have your Coque and eat it too:

“Coque” is the traditional cake eaten on the eve of Sant Joan. It can be sweet or savory, with dried fruits, nuts and even cream. You’ll definitely see them in the windows of every pastelería shop in town!

Photo by ISA student Emilie Jeneson

2) Light up the night:

Stop by the Plaza de Sant Jaume to see the “Flama del Canigó” arrive to light the first bonfires in the city. This flame is brought down from the Pyrenees from a perpetual fire, and is part of the rich history of Sant Joan. Don’t miss the firework shows happening all over the city!

Photo by ISA student Jacob Cabrera-Ramirez

3) Rinse off the old year:

Be on the beaches of Barcelona at midnight to take a dip in the Mediterranean! According to legend, swimming at midnight on the eve of Sant Joan will wash away the sins and sorrows of the past year, and will start you with a clean slate for the next full year!

Photo by ISA student Tawnya Thurber

Learn more about a summer program in Barcelona.