2021’s Holy Week begins on Sunday 28 March and ends on Sunday 4 April. So, if you haven’t made plans yet, then why not spend a weekend in Barcelona, Girona or Figueres to witness one of the most important celebrations of the year.

If you plan on spending the weekend in Spain, you can take a direct train from Paris to Barcelona, Girona or Figueres on a Renfe-SNCF service. Renfe-SNCF is a collaboration between Spain and France’s national train companies offering comfortable, high-speed services between the two countries.

Trains to Spain

Here are just a few ways you can get from France to Spain by rail. You can always take a connecting train to one of these stations if you are outside of France or in another city. For example, if you are in London, you can take a train to Paris and then take the connecting train to Barcelona:

Route Fastest journey High-speed?
Paris to Barcelona 6h 41m Yes
Perpignan to Barcelona 1h 22m Yes
Marseille to Barcelona 4h 32m Yes
Toulouse to Barcelona 3h 48m No

Holy Week in Barcelona

Every year there are hundreds of high-profile processions and celebrations throughout Spain to celebrate Holy Week. Penitential robes (nazareno in Spanish) are commonly worn by participants in the processions. These robes can often be quite striking, consisting of a tunic, a hood with a conical tip to conceal the face of the wearer and often a clock.

Holy Week is a very important time in the Christian calendar as it marks the end of Lent and commemorates the death and rise of Jesus. Though it can be just as pleasant for non-Christians. Barcelona has fantastic weather during this time of year and the city looks great; it is filled with a celebratory atmosphere and you will find a delicious array of food on offer. Shop windows are full of chocolates, cakes and sugar dough morsels (pestiños).

Not to be missed…

Probably the most significant event in Barcelona during Holy Week is Palm Sunday. A procession takes place in the Ciutat Vella (known as La Burreta) commemorating the arrival of Jesus in Bethlehem. You’ll also find palm stalls throughout the centre of Barcelona selling bleached palm fronds which are carried by the devout in the processions. Another very significant event is the procession of the Virgen de la Macarena, which starts from the Eglésia de Sant Agusti in the Raval quarter. It begins on Good Friday (2 April) at 17:00. The solemn procession then moves on with some detours to the cathedral in the Barri Gòtic, where it arrives about around 20:00.

Need to know

Shops are not open in Spain on the public holidays of Good Friday and Easter Monday. In the city centre, many small tourist souvenir shops are open and some small boutique clothing shops will be open too, but the big shopping centres and high-street brand shops are closed. Restaurants and bars will be open during Easter, as it is a very popular time to spend time with family and celebrate. However, if you aren’t a fan of eating fish, then do be aware than on Good Friday most restaurants will not be serving any red meat due to the Lent tradition. Public transport will also be running, however, the services may be reduced and less frequent.

Want to get the lowdown of travelling by train in Spain? Read our handy guide on Trains in Spain.