Sant Jordi's Day (Saint George’s Day) is one of the most special dates of the year in Barcelona.
This holiday, which is celebrated every 23 April, combines the celebration of the World Book Day and Valentine’s Day. Sant Jordi turns the streets of Barcelona into a great celebration of culture and love that is well worth experiencing. In this article we tell you all the details!
What is Sant Jordi's Day in Barcelona?
The Day of Sant Jordi is celebrated throughout the region of Catalonia in honour of its patron saint, Sant Jordi. The main protagonists of the celebration are the book and the rose, which is why the streets of the cities and towns are filled with stalls selling them. On this day there are also numerous book signings by authors, concerts, conferences, and other cultural activities for all ages.
In Barcelona, Sant Jordi's Day is also the equivalent of Saint Valentine's Day. In fact, many couples prefer to celebrate their love on 23 April rather than in February. Traditionally, men would give a rose to their sweetheart and women would give a book back. Nowadays, however, the custom has changed, and it is very common to exchange books among couples, family and friends, although the gesture of giving a rose to women has not been lost.
The history of Sant Jordi, the most romantic day in Barcelona
The tradition of giving a rose for Sant Jordi is no coincidence. One of the reasons of this custom is found in the legend of Sant Jordi, a knight who defeated a fearsome dragon to rescue the princess of Montblanc. Red roses sprouted from the body of the beast, which Sant Jordi gave to the princess.
However, Sant Jordi Day has yet another interesting origin story. In the 15th century, the city of Barcelona held a rose fair for Saint George's Day every year, which was attended by most couples.
Is Sant Jordi a public holiday in Barcelona?
Despite being one of the most eagerly awaited days of the year and one of the busiest in the city, Sant Jordi's Day is not a public holiday in Barcelona.
However, Sant Jordi in 2023 falls on a weekend (Sunday 23 April), so it will be celebrated as a bank holiday in the city.
Things to do on Sant Jordi's Day in Barcelona
Sant Jordi's Day in Barcelona is a day for strolling around the city, adding new books to your reading list, and enjoying the springtime atmosphere and the scent of roses.
During the day there are all kinds of workshops, concerts, folk dances, and many of the city's emblematic buildings offer free tours. It's also a day of big crowds, and the city centre gets quite full, so take it easy and enjoy the activities we recommend!
Visiting Casa Batlló
One of the essential visits on Sant Jordi's Day is Casa Batlló, one of the most famous buildings on Barcelona's Passeig de Gràcia.
It is a popular belief that the famous architect Gaudí represented the legend of Sant Jordi on the façade of the Casa Batlló. This can be seen in several elements of the building: the roof tiles are shaped like the scales of a dragon, which is pierced by a four-armed cross representing the sword of the knight. On the top floor is the princess's balcony, while the lower floors represent the dragon's victims with skulls.
Buying books and roses
Another must-do activity for Sant Jordi is to visit the many rose and book stalls along Passeig de Gràcia and the Rambla. Although red roses are the most common, you can buy them in all kinds of colours.
Go to a book signing
On Sant Jordi's Day, there are many free book signings by national and international writers, which are open to the public.
At the Grand Hotel Central we have also prepared literary meetings for the occasion, so come and visit us for Sant Jordi!
Meet your favourite writers
In addition to the book signings, at the Grand Hotel Central we will be organising breakfasts and dinners with writers. You can enjoy a meal with your favourite author at our restaurant Bistró Helena, where we will also offer a special Sant Jordi Menu for the occasion.
Enjoying the Barcelona skyline views
To end Sant Jordi's Day in the best way, we invite you to go up to the Skybar and enjoy a cocktail on our terrace with views of the Barcelona skyline. This rooftop bar is reopening its season this spring with DJ sessions, activities and workshops. Check out the full programme and enjoy a luxurious evening from the heights!
The best hotel for Sant Jordi in Barcelona
This Sant Jordi, we invite you to enjoy the atmosphere of the city staying at our 5-star hotel in Barcelona. Here you will find the best rest in the heart of the city, just a few minutes from Paseo de Gracia and La Rambla.
Book your stay and discover the magic of Sant Jordi from Grand Hotel Central!