The Catalan capital is a great destination whatever the season, be it the more than mild winter, or the scorching hot summer. No matter the weather, there are always things to do in the city, and many of the famous landmarks can be visited come rain or shine.
Barcelona typically gets busy from May to September, the glorious Mediterranean sun bringing in tourists from all corners of the globe, and as many still consider the city as a beach destination, autumn and winter in Barcelona are usually a little quieter.
As the weather starts to get warmer in the city, life moves from the inside to the outside. The winter chill thaws, opening up many of the city’s parks and green spaces to those who wish to picnic outside. Many hotel rooftop terraces start to become frequented by those craving cocktails and al fresco celebrations.
On the 23rd of April, the city celebrates Sant Jordi, or St George’s Day. Books and roses are exchanged between lovers and Barcelona is covered in this crimson flora. Close by in the nearby town of Girona, the annual Temps de Flors flower festival also returns, beautiful blossoms artfully arranged across the town in sensational displays.
Easter in Barcelona is a week-long celebration involving religious processions and ceremonies, regional treats and delicacies, and the much anticipated Calçotada, a Catalan BBQ where calçots (similar to spring onions) are grilled on an open flame in the nearby countryside.
Museum Night returns to Barcelona mid-May with over 100 museums in the city opening their doors from 7pm to 1am on Saturday night. DOCS Barcelona also comes back to the Catalan Capital, premiering the very best new documentaries, welcoming professional directors and budding film students.
During the summer period, the city plays host to a multitude of critically acclaimed music festivals, and neighbourhoods put on annual street fiestas, partying well into the next morning. Look out for these Festes Majores, especially the one in the Grácia neighbourhood in August.
The beaches in Barcelona are at their busiest this season, great for those that want to do outdoor sport in the form of volleyball, early morning yoga, running, or even cycling along the coastline. Bike hire is cheap and readily available in Barcelona.
For those that want to avoid the hustle and bustle of Barcelona’s sands, the city is also home to many open-air swimming pools, including the Banys del Fòrum, a seawater pool. Many also head out of the city to nearby beach towns including the beautiful Sitges, Cadaqués, and the Costa Brava.
With the arrival of autumn, the temperature becomes slightly milder in the city, but Barcelona life still continues outdoors. In September, one of the city’s most famous celebrations, La Mercé, marks the end of summer with a four-day street party complete with traditional processions, temporary exhibitions, and live music. Don’t miss out on the chance to see Catalan traditions such as Castellers (human towers) and Corre Foc (a traditional fire run).
The nearby town of Sitges hosts its annual Film Festival, showcasing the very best new movies in the horror and fantasy genre, while Barcelona welcomes again Salón Náutico to the city, its famous sailing festival.
The milder weather also makes autumn the best time to go hiking in Barcelona. Explore Mount Tibidabo by walking through the Serra de Collserola Natural Park, finishing with the final ascent up the mountain to the sensational Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor basilica at the top.
The season finishes with La Castanyada in October, Catalonia’s answer to Halloween. Expect to find the city filled with warm chestnut sellers and other regional delicacies.
Winter in Barcelona is a little calmer, the city celebrating many seasonal festivities like The Three Kings in January, as well as New Year’s Eve. Sitges Carnival also returns to this nearby coastal town in February, hosting a colourful party even Brazil would be envious of.
Christmas in Barcelona is a little different to the other regions in Spain, as Catalan traditions such as the Caga Tió (a magical pooping log) and Caganers (nativity figurines defecating with their trousers down) take centre stage. Barcelona also welcomes an abundance of Christmas markets where intrigued visitors can buy these unique holiday souvenirs.
Many choose to make the most of the nearby mountain ranges and head North during winter, bringing in the New Year high up on the Pyrenees slopes. Others stay in the city, enjoying this quieter period in Barcelona with freshly cooked warm churros and piping hot chocolate.
Sandra Roig is Marketing Director at AB Apartment Barcelona. AB Apartment Barcelona is an apartment rental agency offering over one thousand short and long term apartments across Barcelona.