Best Time To Visit Barcelona

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Best Time To Visit Barcelona For…

  • Best Time for Sightseeing. If you want to view all the awesome attractions and sights that the city of Barcelona has to offer, then you have to consider the weather and the crowds. For example, the famous Basilica de la Sagrada Família would be extremely busy during holidays such as Easter, Christmas, or other holidays. If you’re waiting in line for tickets, you’ll be there for a while. In order to take advantage of thinner crowds and reasonable but still warm weather, consider visiting in early March, April, May, mid-September, or October. Opt for Tuesday or Wednesday sightseeing trips to avoid large and uncomfortable crowds!
  • Best Time For A Beach Holiday. The hottest portions of the summers in Barcelona are very humid and bright – perfect for a trip to the beach! Around the end of May to the end of September is a great time for basking in the sun, swimming in the surf, and having a grand time in the sand. Do note that beaches will be crowded around these months, meaning beaches are often dirty by the end of the day, and it won’t be the best time for sightseeing in the overheating city. Go in the mornings to avoid the clutter and litter that collects later on!
  • Best Time To Book Hotels. There is no specific time where it is best to book hotels in Barcelona, as long as you are doing so in advance. However, there are certain times that you should avoid. International conferences flood Barcelona with business travelers from all over the world, and prices surge significantly as rooms fill up quickly. February, which is when the Mobile World Congress is held, is often the most difficult to circumvent. This is not to say you can’t visit during these times, though. Just be prepared for added prices and crowded hotels. The same goes for if you plan to book a stay during a holiday. You should be doubly sure to book far in advance and note that prices will be higher during these peak periods!
  • Best Time for Shopping. There are two different times in the year that you can enjoy shopping best in Barcelona. If you’re aiming to find discounts as much as 70% off, then read on! The first period of shopping is a week after the city’s Festival of Kings. This would be in January’s second week for the winter sales. Typically, these sales run all the way to the end of February, beginning with the first discounts, then further markdowns, and finally, the biggest clearance discounts towards the end. This is the best time for shopping in Barcelona. However, you can also go for the summer sales, which have a similar structure between the first week of July all the way till August’s end. In both seasons, the beginning discounts are always the most frantic, while the final clearance sales have the least crowds and the last remaining items.
  • Best Time To Watch Football. No one can deny the fame and talent that lies in FC Barcelona, a world-famous football team that is home to the great Lionel Messi. You can tour the stadium that the team calls home any time of year, but if you want to catch a football game, keep an eye out for the team’s schedule that goes up around the middle of July. Matches usually begin at the end of August and finish up nearing the end of May, with breaks during New Year and Christmas. Most matches are held over the weekends.
  • Best Time for Festivals and Events. It depends on which festival you want to go for! Most of Barcelona’s biggest events are held between the end of spring and the beginning of fall, so summer is likely your best bet. If you want to attend the famous and grand Festes de la Merce, you’ll want to go in September. If you want to attend Primavera Sound, be ready in either May or June. And if it’s the Festa Mayor de Gracia you’re after, August is your best bet. But there are many more events and festivities held in Barcelona; we’ll discuss them in more detail later! Do expect higher prices, packed streets, and more noise if you visit during these times.
  • Best Time For Traveling On A Budget. If you’re looking to spend as little as possible on travel in Barcelona, you’d do well going during the off-season between November and February. But more on that later!
  • Best Time For Romantic Getaways. Whether you’re going on a honeymoon or just for a special trip with you and your beau, it’s a good idea to go when it’s not peak season. You want a little privacy, but you still want it to be fun and lively. April to May and September to October are the best times to go during shoulder season – but more on that later!

Barcelona Travel Seasons

Barcelona is a truly lovely city, teeming with a rich history, decadent architecture, scrumptious street food, and football glory. But when is the best time to go? Different travel seasons pose different pros and cons, so you need to consider what you want and familiarize yourself with those seasons.

Are you okay with crowds, or do you prefer more relaxed and calm vacations? Do you like it hot for the beach, or do you prefer cooler weather conducive to walking around the city all day? Are you dying to catch some vibrant festivities, or do you want more of a taste of the local life? Based on your preferences, let’s take a look at the plus and minus sides of each travel season in Barcelona.

High Season – May, June, July, August, and Early September

high-season-in-barcelona
Image via Mike McBey

Tourists frequent Barcelona most during its hottest months. July and August are especially busy, and also especially hot. Visitors flood the streets and beaches, forming long lines outside common attractions, joining the lively uproar of festivals and events, and basking in the lovely – if intense – rays of the sun.

During these times, the sun sticks around in the sky for a whopping 14 hours, keeping everyone alert and energized all the way till 9:30 pm, which is when it sets on the longest days. It’s a great time to chill out at the beach, and the water’s the perfect temperature for a nice swim.

Tourist attractions all across Barcelona are wide open and packed, with long lines spreading out for what can be hours of waiting. You’d do well to purchase your tickets in advance; many common attractions, like La Sagrada Familia, have dates open three months ahead. There are even tour tickets you can buy for skip-the-line access!

There are plenty of summer festivals happening during this time, too! Musica als Parcs, which runs from June to August, hosts a ton of free concerts – yes, totally free! – that you can peruse in vibrant open-air locations. It’s great that these things are free since everything else is more expensive during peak season; hotel rooms, airline flights, and even common tourist area merchandise may cost more!

Highlights for High Season in Barcelona

  • High season has the hottest weather, making it the perfect time for beach trips but a potentially challenging time for sightseeing in the city.
  • Days are especially long during the high season, and in some months, the sun stays up for 14 hours, giving you lots of time to explore.
  • Crowds are at their craziest during high season. Lines are extremely long and people are everywhere.
  • The best festivals are often held during high season, and many consider the extra supposed hassle worth it for the festivals.
  • Prices are higher than usual, surging upwards due to the tourism demands. Expect everything to cost extra.
  • Some concerts, festivals, and events have free admission during this time.

Shoulder (Mid) Season – Late March, April, Late September, and October

Shoulder season is the time we recommend the most for a vacation to Barcelona, simply because it gives you the best of both worlds. There’s enough tourist activity going on for a trip to be fun with a decent number of events and festivals, but it’s not so crowded that you feel like you’re perpetually in a tin of sardines.

In both mid-season periods, the weather is on the idyllic side – warm, but not overwhelmingly hot. Going earlier in March or later in October will show you a bit of a cooler experience while going in late April or earlier in September allows for a little more warmth. It’s up to you which one feels best – but neither is overwhelming!

There are still some tourists filling certain areas, and you should still book certain tickets in advance for extremely popular attractions. But, with that being said, you can expect a little fewer people to contend with as you go about your sightseeing. Speaking of which – that’s what this season is great for: sightseeing! You get the sunny brightness to set the mood, but you don’t melt from walking around too much.

Prices are also much more manageable during the shoulder season. Some discounts and special free events are also held for the sake of keeping tourists interested during this time, so take advantage of that!

Highlights for Shoulder Season in Barcelona

  • Shoulder season is the perfect balance between the extremes of high and low seasons.
  • Prices are reasonable and, depending on when you go, can be pretty low.
  • The weather during shoulder season is extremely pleasant with warmth in moderation; you can choose to go at different times of the months for slightly warmer or cooler weather as desired.
  • Fewer tourists linger around, meaning crowds aren’t overwhelming, and lines don’t stretch as long.
  • A moderate number of festivals and events occur during these months.
  • You may be able to score good deals or promotions, as the city tries to encourage more visitors during this time.

Low Season – November, December, January, February, and Early March

Low season happens during Barcelona’s coldest months. Spain isn’t typically known for its winters, so tourists have much less interest during this time. This means you won’t have to deal with a lot of crowds. It can make the place feel a little isolating when you’re one of the only tourists, but you also get easy access to tourist attractions, no lines, and a lot of peace and quiet!

Prices are also at their absolute lowest around this time. Flights, hotel stays, and everything else will be much cheaper than they are for the rest of the year. Sadly, this does also come with the downside of little to no events of interest occurring during this time – and certainly no very big ones! However, you can take the opportunity to live a relaxing vacation like a local would.

Though it’ll be too cold to head to the beach and you’ll need some layers during the nights, Barcelona’s winters don’t typically involve any snow, and they’re nowhere near as cold as many other countries get around this time. As such, you won’t have to worry about it being much too cold for you!

Do note that there’s a brief gap in the low season for Christmas when the whole city becomes alive again with Christmas markets, fairs, events, and festivals. There will be brief price surges and crowds around this time, so plan accordingly!

Highlights for Low Season in Barcelona

  • Low season has the coldest weather, which often leaves beach-going out of the question but opens up the possibility of strolls throughout the city as it doesn’t get that cold in Barcelona.
  • Prices during low season are very low but expect there to be not as many events catering to tourists.
  • There won’t be any large crowds during this time, meaning fewer lines to wait in.
  • There is a brief gap in the low season during the Christmas season, where tourism picks up a little again.
  • Low season offers the chance to relax and take the vacationing process slowly.

Barcelona Weather By Month

When you’re going to a different country, you have to get used to the different types of weather they have there. The weather can drastically change your plans for your vacation, so it’s a good idea to learn about what you can expect in terms of climate from the place you visit.

Do you like going to the beach? You’ll want to go when it’s hot and sunny. Do you prefer the soothing coolness of rainy or cloudy weather? Or do you want a balance between the two? And when is it best to go to achieve the weather you want? Here’s a general idea of what the regular weather is like in Barcelona every month.

January

In the scope of the year, January is probably the coldest month in Barcelona – though it’s nothing like the cold of most winters around the world, especially since Barcelona doesn’t get snow! An average temperature of 49 degrees is common, with highs of 57.4 degrees and lows of 41.8 degrees.

There’s just an 8% chance of rain in Barcelona this month, which isn’t particularly much or little for the city. The total precipitation is usually around 0.7 inches. Most wind in January here feels like a gentle breed, with an 8.1-knot average. Highs hit around 14.7 knots. There is a 62.9% relative humidity in January, which is along the high side for Barcelona.

February

Expect more fickle or unpredictable weather in Barcelona’s February. Some days will be sunnier while others may feel cold and rainy. Temperatures are slightly higher than January, with an average of 49.8 degrees, highs of 57.9, and lows of 42.1 degrees. It tends to get warmer in the afternoons, but the weather can drastically change throughout the day.

The chance of rain in February isn’t different from January, remaining at 8%, but the amount of rain is slightly increased at 1.1 inches. February is the least humid month in Barcelona with just 58% humidity. The average wind speed remains the same as in January at 8.1 knots, but highs are a little more extended at 15.1 knots.

March

March is one of Barcelona’s best months, weather-wise. Temperatures are between too warm and too cold, and it’s still not high season, so tourists aren’t flocking in and raising prices. The average temperature is 53.9 degrees with highs of 61.6 degrees and lows of 46.5 degrees. The days also last a little longer, which is always a bonus for tourists.

There is an 11% chance of rain every day in March, with a 2-inch precipitation rate. March is also the windiest month, but that’s not much to consider because Barcelona isn’t very windy anyway. Wind speeds, on average, are 8.6 knots, with highs of 16.2 knots. Humidity levels hover at 59.8%.

April

This month marks the start of summer in Barcelona. Tourist activity steadily begins to rise, though it isn’t at its peak yet, as it’s still a little too cold for beach swims, and afternoons may be warm but evenings can be quite chilly still. The average temperature is 58.7 degrees, with highs of 66 degrees and lows of 52.1 degrees.

April has one of the highest levels of rain in Barcelona, with a 15% chance daily, but the total precipitation is still not much at just 1.5 inches. This means you should expect short but frequent showers of light rain. Wind speeds are fine with an average of 7.9 knots and highs of 15.1 knots. The humidity is one of the higher percentages among the months at 63.8%.

May

May, the beginning of peak season in Barcelona, has beautiful weather that many consider perfect for a vacation. The beginning of the month is likely to have a little more rain, but towards the end, it’s perfect beach weather most of the time. The average temperature in May is 64.2 degrees, with highs of 71.7 degrees and lows of 57.6 degrees. Expect the coldest moments to be at night.

The chance of rain in may averages out to 9% with 2.1 inches of total precipitation. Wind reaches speeds of about 7.8 knots, with highs of 15 knots. Humidity begins to drop this month, lowering to approximately 63%.

June

It is decently hot in June in Barcelona, marking the start of the beach season. Evenings will be nice and cool, though those who don’t do well with lower temperatures may still need a light jacket. Expect average temperatures of 71.1 degrees, with highs of 78.7 degrees and lows of 65.1 degrees.

There is only a 7% daily chance of rain in Barcelona’s Junes, which is on the lower side of what the city experiences. Just 0.9 inches of total precipitation can be expected. The average statistics on wind are one of the lower ones in Barcelona, too, at just 7.3 on average and 13.7 in the high, sustained wind. As for humidity, that has now dropped to around 62.1%.

July

July is Barcelona’s second hottest month. You’ll need a lot of sunscreen, and the afternoons can get pretty sweltering, even though most days it won’t be too impossibly hot. The average temperature is 76.2 degrees, with highs of 83.4 degrees and lows of 70.6 degrees – making the water at the beach a nice and comfortable 75.2 degrees – perfect for a swim.

There will be very low chances of rain in July – the least that Barcelona will get all year at just 4% daily. But about 1 inch of total precipitation will still occur, pointing to heavier rainfall even with the lowered frequency. The average wind speeds remain the same at 7.3 knots with highs of 14.1 knots. Humidity is fine at 61.9%, but in these hot months, it can make everything feel much warmer.

August

August is the hottest month in Barcelona. The days start very long with 14 hours of sun and slowly become shorter as the month goes on. Temperatures average at about 76.8 degrees, with highs of 84.7 degrees and lows of 70.9 degrees, but the humidity can make it feel much warmer.

There is only an 8% chance of rain every day, with a total precipitation of 1.8 inches. Wind speeds are the lowest they will be all year in Barcelona, averaging at 7.1 knots and maxing out at around 13.4 knots. Humidity sits at 61.5% which, while not the highest in the year, makes for a blistering combination with the heat.

September

September weather marks the beginning of the cooling-off of summer. Most days, it’s still warm enough for a good beach trip, but tourists are less likely to be hanging out there. Expect more unpredictable weather – a mix of clear, sunny skies and storms will make your trip a little more exciting. The average temperature is 71.8 degrees, with highs of 79.4 degrees and lows of 65.4 degrees, and it may be cool enough on some evenings for light layers.

There is a 12% chance of rain daily and about 2.1 inches of total precipitation. Wind speeds are on the rise again at 7.2 knots with 13.5-knot highs. Humidity is also rising this month at 62.1%.

October

October has what may be the most comfortable weather Barcelona has all year round. Idyllic and warm without excessive heat, the start of Barcelona’s fall also marks the decline of tourism. Expect average temperatures of 65.3 degrees, with 73-degree highs and 58.5-degree lows. Days get shorter, too, with less sunlight.

October is also Barcelona’s rainiest month. There’s a 15% chance of rain every day and total precipitation of 3 inches – the most the year will see. Average wind speeds of 7.4 knots continue to rise, with highs of 13.9 knots, and oddly, humidity also hits its all-time high this month at 65.5%, even though it feels nice and cool!

November

Despite the chill that permeates the November air, this time of year, Barcelona is surprisingly comfortable. With an average temperature of 56.2 degrees (flanked by highs of 64.4 degrees and lows of 48.9 degrees), crowds are almost totally gone.

There’s an average amount of rain this month, with an 8% chance of rainfall daily and a total of 1.6 inches of total precipitation. Rain falls more frequently at the beginning of the month and slowly lessens as the days go on. Expect more wind at 8 knots on average with highs of 14.7 knots. Humidity, meanwhile, will have gone down again, this time to 61.6%.

December

The final month of the year is relatively chilly, but there is still sun out on many days, allowing for a relaxing and bright atmosphere and feeling. Average temperatures drop to 50.1 degrees with highs of a mere 58.4 degrees and lows of 42.8 degrees. Some days are warm enough to wear only light layers.

Rainfall decreases significantly in this month, with only a 6% daily chance of rain and a total precipitation of 0.9 inches. The wind picks up, making December Barcelona’s second windiest month, with 8.5 knots in average wind that reaches highs of 14.9 knots. Humidity changes are minimal, merely shifting to 61.5%.

Barcelona Events and Festivals

January

January brings with it a whole host of festivals that reign in the new year. The earliest is likely the Three Kings Parade, which begins in the evening and involves a large parade of floats and performers following behind the three kings to the quayside, where they will be received by the Mayor.

Another festival in January is the Festa dels tres Tombs, which honors the Abbot Saint Anthony on his death day. A feast is held on the day itself, then the following Saturday has a parade packed with animals. There is also the Festa Major de Sant Antoni, which is a huge tradition in the patron saint of animal’s honor.

If shopping is what you’re into, the Mercat Del Encants, the biggest flea market in Barcelona, will be open throughout January, selling antiques, foods, and souvenirs. Or head to the cold beach waters to join in on the First Swim of the Year!

February

The Barcelona Carnival occurs in February, and its focus lies in fun and food before Lent. Parties and dancing abound, and the week starts with food-related contests and ends with the burial of the carnival sardine. There is also the Santa Eulalia Festival, a big hit with kids, full of events meant for children – so it’s a good time to come with family. It’s also a good time for football; it’s when the King’s Cup starts!

Though not entirely traditional, Barcelona hosts its own Chinese New Year parade around this time (or whenever Chinese New Year is that year), featuring a blend of Chinese and Catalonian influences. There is also Llum BCN, Barcelona’s Festival of Light, full or artistic lighting installations by artists from around the world, and the

March

March in Barcelona begins with the Sant Medir Festival, which features a parade of horse-pulled carts, lorries, and more traveling to the Hermitage of Sant Medir. Expect lots of candy and a lovely fireworks display! There is also the Festival of St Josep Oriol, which features a reenactment of the legend surrounding this saint as well as activities and food!

Saint Patrick’s Day is also in March, and Barcelona has its own Saint Patrick’s Festival – and the International Beer Festival just a couple of days before it! For other niche interests, try the Barcelona Marathon or the vintage car festival during Rally Barcelona-Sitges.

April

The biggest festival in April is the Feria de Abril, a rush of performances, Flamenco, food, and Andalusian culture. There is also Rose and Book day, or Sant Jordi Day, which is held in honor of Saint George and features the exchange of books and roses.

The Holy Week, also known as Semana Santa, is another fun draw of April, with church members dressed in fancy masks and cloaks and floats parading down with marching bands. Or maybe sports is more your thing – in which case you may want to check out the Trofeo Conde de Godó de Tenis event or the Barcelona Open!

May

One of the biggest exhibitions held in all of Spain is Automobile Barcelona. Though not held every year, it is a trade fair featuring the latest innovations, trends, and modern features in the world of automobiles. If you like a slightly more exciting car-related event, then the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix also takes place in May!

If you’re a film buff, the DocsBarcelona International Documentary Film Festival may be of interest to you. If you’re more of a health-oriented shopper, then Feria BioCultura may be more up your alley – a fair focusing on organic products of all kinds in many different industries. Don’t forget to take advantage of  International Museum Day, too, for free admission to many Barcelona museums!

June

To ring the summer solstice in with good cheer, Barcelona hosts the Festival of San Juan in June. Bonfires, fireworks, and exciting events light the city up with joy and celebration. For even more cheer in a more religious flavor, you can also attend Corpus Christi, a religious festival that begins with a mass in open air, a parade full of dolls made from paper-mâché dolls, eggs that dance, decorated, over city fountains, and more!

June is also an excellent month for music festivals in Barcelona. Festival Jardins Pedralbes features many notable and much-loved artists alongside food from some of the best restaurants in Barcelona. There is also the well-known and much-anticipated Primavera Sound music festival, packed with secret performances, food festivals, an eclectic mix of genres, and even art exhibitions. It is also sometimes held in May.

July

There’s almost no end to the events and festivals in July, most of which are music-themed. For Barcelona-flavored music, hit up the month-long Festival Del Grec that mixes contemporary, classical, circus, and avant-garde performance art, the Festa Major Del Poble Sec with traditional authentic dances and delicious street food, and the Festa Major Del Raval, which is basically just a totally crazy party!

For more contemporary and pop-music-style options, you can enjoy the head-banging Rock Fest Barcelona, or perhaps the Vida Festival, which features all sorts of international, local, alternative, and indie music from DJs all across the globe. You can also go to the Barcelona Beach Festival, a wild party featuring some of the planet’s most popular and iconic electronic dance music artists!

August

A fun Barcelona festival in August is Festa Major de Sants, which commemorates Saint Bartomeu. Though it is a small affair, what it lacks in size it makes up for in charm as 22 neighborhoods decorate their areas according to themes in a competition. This makes for a visually stunning and quintessentially Barcelonian experience! The Festa Major of Gracia is also celebrated this month.

Music festivals are also aplenty in August, from the renowned Mas I Mas Music Festival festival that expands over 200 concerts across Barcelona to the Cap Roig Festival in a beautiful and unique location.

September

September is a great time for festivals and events in Barcelona. The Diada Nacional de Catalunya, or National Day of Catalonia, is a major tourist draw that sees Catalonians flock to the streets waving their region’s flag in a show of patriotic love and pride. There is also the equally popular Festa Major del Poblenou, which showcases traditions of Catalonia, exhibitions, parades, shows, and, of course, the famous beach fireworks known as castell de focs.

The annual festival of La Merce also takes place during this month, featuring people in devil costumes, individuals carrying huge effigies, music shows, projection and light shows, parades, street food, and fireworks. For music events instead, you can check out one of Barcelona’s leading music festivals, Barcelona Acció Musical, which features EDM, pop, rock, and more.

October

There aren’t many traditional tourist-loved festivals in October in Barcelona, but there are some you may still want to check out. For one, there’s the Barcelona Art & Urban Movement Fest & Barcelona Tattoo Expo, which is Spain’s largest urban culture and tattoo exhibition, featuring food trucks, performances, bike, and car shows, graffiti, extreme sports, and awesome artists.

There’s also Veggie World Barcelona, which caters to the veggie-loving crowd and showcases plant-based products and tips for buying, cooking, and even growing your own vegetables to make the switch to a plant-based lifestyle.

Still, hankering for something more traditional? Attend the Festa del Roser, which commemorates La Rambla’s patron saint, or participate in 48H Open House to get free admission to a ton of popular Barcelona monuments!

November

Many places around the world celebrate All Saints Day after Halloween, and Barcelona with its Diada de tots Sants is no exception. Full of love, familial bonds, and food, it’s a lovely culture to watch respectfully. For a more uplifting event, you can check out the month-long La Castanyada, which is essentially a big chestnut-themed party that fills the streets of Barcelona with delicious foods like panellets and sweet potatoes, alongside chestnuts.

If you’re more of an art connoisseur, check out the Voll-Damm International Jazz Festival, which offers jazz concerts hosted and performed by famous jazz icons from around the world. And you can’t forget the Independent Film Festival of Barcelona, which focuses on beautifully crafted works of film art and cinema magic that tackles real-world issues in eloquent and heart-touching ways.

December

December is the time for Christmas festivities in Barcelona. The Fira de Nadal Sagrada Familia, or Christmas Fair of Sagrada Familia, is a tradition that has been upheld for literal decades. It is a traditional Christmas market with more than a hundred different stalls, all selling different kinds of decorations, food, clothing items, and crafts. For another famous Christmas market, check out the Fira de Santa Llucia.

Another Christmas festival is Els llums de Nadal or Christmas Enlightenments. It features countless Christmas lights that decorate over 100 kilometers’ worth of locations – more than 400 of them! The Circ Raluy is another fun Barcelona Christmas tradition, which sees a traveling circus that goes to a different town every year. You should also be here during Dia dels Sants Innocents, or Holy Innocents’ Day, to watch locals playing all sorts of cute, non-malicious practical jokes on each other – like attaching a llufa or paper doll to someone’s back!

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