From the 19th to the 27th August 2011, the town of Sitges, 40km south of Barcelona, comes alive for its annual festival of music, dance, parades and fireworks in honour of Sant Bartolomeu. An electric party atmosphere pervades the city with thousands of people coming to the beach to watch the magnificent fireworks display, which takes place on the evening of 23rd August.

In the streets expect to see the famous ‘gegants’ parade (dancing giants), alongside ‘correfocs’ (fireruns), ‘bastoners’ (stick dances), ‘castellers’ (human towers) and a full programme of music and concerts.

A popular Catalan tradition, the ‘correfocs’ involve ‘colles de diables’ (groups of devils) who dance to the beat of drums chasing each other through the streets with sparks from fireworks attached to forks. Firecrackers are set off everywhere with sparks also erupting from dragons’ mouths. Make sure you wear sunglasses if you want to watch this up close, along with protective long-sleeved clothing and earplugs if necessary.

The acrobatic displays at the Festa Major are quite phenomenal with the castellers’ towers often reaching heights of seven people. The gegants are giant hollow festival figures three or four metres high who perform dances and parades around the town adorned in traditional dress.  

For more information, including a full itinerary of the week’s events, visit this website.

Sitges is situated 40km beyond Barcelona if travelling from Camiral but is well worth a visit. With over four kilometres of fine, golden beaches and a reputation as one of the most open-minded and bohemian resorts in Spain, it has become renowned internationally for its Carnival and Film Festival. Sitges can trace its intellectual roots to 1891 when the artist Santiago Rusiñol bought a house here, his visitors including everyone from Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró to Salvador Dalí. His famous property, bequeathed to the people of Sitges, is now the eclectic Museu Cau Ferrat.

For more information on Sitges town, click here