Steeped in history, Barcelona's annual Carnaval has always been a joyous occasion, full of food, drink and elaborate costumes.
With its usual colourful exuberance, Carnaval 2011 takes place on March 5th with the traditional procession through the city, 'La Gran Rua'. The procession travels over one kilometre down Avinguda del Parallel, starting at the Jardins de les Tres Xemeneies and finishing up at Carrer de Tamarit. It's a riot of colour, with dozens of floats and hundreds of children and adults in costume and fancy dress.
Areas Ciutat Vella, Eixample, Sants-Montjuïc, Les Corts, Sarriá-Sant Gervasi, Gràcia, Horta-Guinardó, Nou Barris, Sant Andreu and Sant Martí have lots of things going on too, from botifarra d'ou (egg sausage, traditionally eaten on the Thursday before Carnival, AKA Fat Thursday) tastings and Balls de Carnestoltes (dances of the carnival king), to exhibitions of previous carnivals, costume workshops and balls de disfrasses (costume dances).
Not to be outdone, nearby Sitges celebrates Carnaval with two parades, and a 'King and Queen' ceremony on Thursday March 3rd. Get to Sitges by train from Sants station; it's a mere 40 minutes away and you'll see one of the biggest carnival events that Catalunya has to offer.
But before any of that, comes Dijous Gras. 'Fat Thursday' gives you free rein to eat copious amounts of unhealthy - but delicous - food, in particular traditional egg sausage and omelette. Sounds like fun to us!
Be sure to check out at least one of the events happening during this classic Catholic tradition.