St George’s day in this area of Spain is essentially the equivalent of Valentine’s Day, and is very much a celebration of love and literature with friends and lovers exchanging books and roses. The red rose has often been associated with St George, with many cultures bearing a rose on their clothing in recognition of the day; the exchanging of books, however, wasn’t introduced until 1923. Traditionally, lovers would exchange gifts, with men presenting a single rose to their sweetheart and receiving a book in return.
Barcelona is one of best places to be on April 23rd as streets are lined with stalls offering both new and previously owned books, and you can find a flower vendor on each street corner selling roses of every colour imaginable. The Rambla is packed with people surrounding the book stalls, cafes and venues hold 24-hour reading marathons, and book signings are arranged all over the city, renowned for being Spain’s publishing capital. To celebrate, some of the bigger companies even give free roses away with book purchases!
The popularity of the event in Catalonia has made such an impact that in 1995 UNESCO formally announced April 23rd as World Book and Copyright Day.
Nevertheless, Catalan celebrations for Sant Jordi aren’t just limited to flowers and literature. Spain is infamous for its ability to throw a good fiesta, and Sant Jordi is no exception. Celebrations in Catalonia involve lots of dancing as well as staging of the popular Castellers (towers of people) that the region is known for.
Hotels in Catalonia
We have some excellent hotels in Catalonia for those wishing to celebrate St George’s Day in typical Catalan style and have chosen the following two to recommend to you:
HCC Regente 4*, Barcelona
Located on the Rambla de Catalunya, just above the Passeig de Gracia, this lovely 4* is ideal for exploring Barcelona's centre. Its rooftop terrace and pool boast fantastic views of the city where guests can see both Mount Tibidabo and the Sagrada Familia. The building dates back to 1913 and its façade retains much of the original wrought iron and stained glass, meanwhile the interior was renovated in 2012, giving the hotel a fresh and contemporary feel. Its 79 guestrooms are spacious and feature all the modern amenities you would expect from any decent 4* hotel.
Carlemany Hotel 4*, Girona
This beautiful hotel is located in the heart of Girona's commercial centre , a 5 minute walk from the historic quarter and a stone's throw away from the town's main train station. The hotel's stylish interiors are accompanied by various artworks and tapestries by local Catalan artists, enhancing the hotel's contemporary atmosphere. The Carlemany also benefits from two restaurants and a coffee shop offering some of the finest food in Girona.
Girona - a quick guide
North of Barcelona, this lovely historic town is a beautiful place to stay for those who wish for a more peaceful break away from the hustle and bustle of the city. With plenty of history and home to the famous El Celler de Can Roca restaurant (the former World's Best Restaurant now holds the title iof second best), Girona is a fantastic way to discover a little more of what Catalonia has to offer.
To check prices and availability for these hotels, please click here.