See all

City Center



Sagrada Familia


Check in check out

Sant Jordi in Barcelona

Barcelona news and culture | 28.02.2024

¿Do you know about the Day of Sant Jordi in Barcelona? This festival, celebrated in late April, is a sight to behold, as it fills the city with roses and books, creating a wonderful spring atmosphere. It’s an experience that encapsulates the spirit of love, literature, and Catalan pride.

If you're planning your trip around Sant Jordi Day, here’s all you need to know about the city’s most cherished festivity.


The Legend of Sant Jordi, a possible origin story

Sant Jordi Day, an event steeped in history and tradition, is supposedly based on a legend that has been passed down through generations. The tale goes like this: A fierce dragon kept the village of Montblanc in constant fear. To appease the beast, the villagers decided to feed it one person each day, chosen by lottery. One fateful day, the king's daughter was selected. As she bravely faced her destiny, a knight named Sant Jordi appeared. With courage and valour, he slayed the dragon and saved the princess. From the dragon's spilled blood sprouted a rosebush, from which the knight plucked a single rose and presented it to the princess.

Although it is believed that this is the origin of Sant Jordi Day, there is much more to this tradition than the famous legend.


23rd April: The Day of Sant Jordi

Every 23rd of April, Barcelona comes alive to celebrate Sant Jordi, or as you might know him, St. George. But, why this particular day?

Well, it's believed that this was the day St. George was executed for refusing to persecute Christians under the orders of the Roman emperor Diocletian. His act of defiance led to his martyrdom and subsequent veneration.

Sant Jordi has been deeply revered since as early as the 8th century and by the Middle Ages, his cult had spread throughout the region that nowadays is Catalonia. It wasn’t until 1456 when Sant Jordi became patron saint of Catalonia and started to be officially celebrated.

In Barcelona, we go all out for Sant Jordi. The city is awash with regional pride, and balconies and buildings are adorned with Catalan flags. This celebration isn't just about honouring the city’s patron saint; it's also a reflection of our regional identity and deep cultural roots.


Books and roses, the Sant Jordi Day tradition

On the day of Sant Jordi, Barcelona transforms into a city of romance and literature, which is why it is thought to be the Catalan version of Valentine’s Day.

The tradition involves men presenting their loved ones with a red rose, while women reciprocate with a book. However, in modern times, it's common to see both genders exchanging books as well. The city comes alive with florist and book stalls lining its streets, particularly along Rambla Catalunya and Passeig de Gràcia. But you'll find these charming stalls scattered throughout the city.

The tradition of gifting roses dates to the 15th century, when Barcelona held a Sant Jordi rose fair that quickly became popular among young couples. This suggests that the gesture likely originated from this event.

Meanwhile, the book-giving custom has an interesting history too. During the International Exhibition in Barcelona in 1929, booksellers set up stalls to showcase their new publications and promote reading. The initiative was so successful that they decided to establish April 23rd as Book Day — a fitting date considering it marks the death anniversaries of Cervantes and Shakespeare, two of the greatest writers in history.


Activities in Barcelona during Sant Jordi

The most common activity during Sant Jordi in Barcelona is strolling along the streets lined with stalls selling books and roses, don't forget to pick up a rose for your loved one and perhaps even a book or two!

As you wander through iconic streets like La Rambla, Paseo de Gracia, Paseo de Sant Joan and Rambla de Cataluña, you'll also encounter well-known writers signing copies of their books. Be sure to stop by some of the literary activities too; workshops and recitals are common on Sant Jordi Day.

You’ll also be able to see some of the most important Catalan traditions on the streets, such as sardanes dancing and the impressive human towers or castells.

Sant Jordi Day also offers unique opportunities to explore some of Barcelona's architectural gems. Buildings such as the Town Hall, Palau Güell, Ateneo, Palau de la Generalitat and the art nouveau complex of Sant Pau often host special activities and free tours. Perhaps most enchanting of all is Gaudí’s Casa Batlló. This stunning building depicts the legend of Sant Jordi on its façade, which during Sant Jordi is adorned with red roses in a stunning display.


Your accommodation for Sant Jordi in Barcelona

If you're planning to visit Barcelona during Sant Jordi, there's no better place to stay than at the YouStylish Apartments. From our central accommodation, you will wake up in the heart of the city, near all the main sights and avenues. Our apartments near Plaza Catalunya are ideally located close to the epicentre of the Sant Jordi celebrations in Passeig de Gràcia and Las Ramblas.

Enjoy our apartments for rent in Barcelona in prime locations across the city, be it near the beach, Born, Sagrada Família or Diagonal area. Each apartment boasts its own unique soul and charm to make you feel at home and is fully equipped for all your needs as a traveller.

Whether you're a couple looking for a romantic getaway, a family seeking an enriching cultural experience or a group of friends ready for fun-filled adventures – YouStylish has got you covered. Book your stay now!


icon-rrss icon-rrss