Barcelona is a city that is blessed with a mild, Mediterranean weather. There are more sunny days than rainy days in the city, which invite people to spend a lot of time outdoors to enjoy the weather or to take place in some of the city’s many activities. To help you keep busy all year long, here is our list of the best activities to do per season in Barcelona.
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Spring is a wonderful season in Barcelona, where flowers start to bloom and the city is invaded by bursts of wonderful odors. This is the season to pay a visit to every single park and green space in the city.
Parc de la Ciutadella is the most centrally-located park in the city, offering vast patches of grass that are ideal to sit on for picnics, to read a nice book or to spend an afternoon chatting with friends. Parc del Laberint d’Horta is another great choice, especially for those who want a place that is a little more secluded and a little more romantic. Not as famous as the ones mentioned before, Parc de Cervantes is a gem in the district of Les Corts. The park has a large rose garden that makes for beautiful photos. Be sure to visit Parc de Cervantes during the spring to catch the annual International New Rose Competition.
The Botanical Garden of Barcelona is also worth paying a visit to, to catch a glimpse of the many species of the Mediterranean flora in bloom.
Spring is also a good season to go to open-air markets. Palo Alto, for example, is a designer/indie market that is held every month in the district of Sant Martí, featuring a mix of designer items, food trucks and live music. The Flea Market is another great monthly event to attend, particularly if you are looking for a bargain.
One event not to be missed during the Spring in Barcelona is the famous Primavera Sound music festival. Taking place at the end of May/beginning of June, the festival brings hundreds of world-renowned artists and fresh new sounds to the city. Another big event in the music world takes place in the Spring, and that is the Sónar festival, which happens in the middle of June. This event brings some of the greatest names in the world of electronic music to Barcelona, including bands like Soulwax, Forest Sword, and Beautiful Swimmers.
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Summer is one of the greatest seasons in Barcelona not only due to the great weather but also due to the number of activities taking place at once. The most popular activity in the summer in Barcelona is, of course, going to the beach. The city has a long coast dotted with pleasant beaches located only a couple of minutes away from the center. But the Summer is also a time of exploring, the perfect season to take trips to the surrounding areas, exploring Costa Brava and Costa Dorada, both of which offer plenty of gorgeous beaches and quaint seaside towns.
There are also a number of music festivals that take place in the summer, like Festival Jardin de Pedralbes, which has had a number of legendary artists like Bob Dylan and Elton John as part of their lineup in past years. The festival starts at the beginning of June and goes all the way to the middle of July. Cruïlla is another big name in the music festival circuit, happening for only two days in the beginning of June. DGTL follows suit in August, bringing another wave of electronic music to Barcelona.
For those who like to participate in the local festivities, Sant Joan is a must. On the night of the 23rd of June, the city celebrates the Summer solstice with fireworks and literal fire, with bonfires popping up everywhere. This is a night when locals party hard, so be prepared to drink until the wee hours of the morning.
Another local tradition not to miss is the one of the Festes Majors, traditional week-long celebrations in which each neighborhood gets its streets decorated by its inhabitants who battle it out for the first prize. The week is filled with concerts and the streets are filled with food stalls.
Another relevant celebration is that of La Diada, which happens on September 11th. This is the day when the city gets dressed in the Catalan flag and people celebrate Catalonia’s independence day, despite the fact that Catalonia never succeeded to become separate from Spain. There are usually parades, marches, and concerts all over the city during La Diada.
As the leaves start changing colors, it starts to become a little more tolerable to spend large amounts of time outside again. This, much like the Spring, is a great season to go on hiking trips, exploring the surrounding mountains like Montserrat, Collserola, and Tibidabo.
This is also the month of La Mercè, one of the biggest festivals in Catalonia. From the 22nd to the 25th of September, the city celebrates the patron saint of Barcelona, with a variety of concerts, the gegants parade, fireworks, live performances and much more.
This season is a little quieter in terms of musical events, though it is one of the best for jazz lovers since it brings the annual Voll-Damm International Jazz Festival, which usually counts with the presence of Diana Krall.
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Winter is still a pretty sunny season in Barcelona, though there are periods of rain. It is a great month to go exploring every indoor venue in the city, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Casa Batlló and Sagrada Familia. For those who have already seen the touristic sites, exploring the local art galleries is always a good idea, especially since they are free and are constantly renovating their exhibits. 3 Punts Galeria is one of the most interesting galleries in the city, presenting irreverent pieces of work by famous names in modern art.
One very typical activity in Barcelona during the Winter is the exploration of the city’s Christmas markets. The most popular one of all is probably Fira de Santa Llúcia, which takes place right by Santa Eulalia’s Cathedral. This is the perfect place to go shopping for your very own Caga Tió or Caganer, two very unique characters that have become part of the traditional Catalan Christmas.
Besides taking part in the local tradition of eating twelve grapes at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, you can join in another seasonal practice, welcoming of the Three Kings, on the 6th of January, the official date of gift-giving in Spain. There is an annual parade that attracts thousands of people who bring their kids to collect the candy thrown by the kings in the passing floats.
As you can see, there is plenty to do in Barcelona all year round. Some events and venues require tickets, while some sites can be visited for free. Keep your eye on the calendar and make sure to check online to see what is going on so that you don’t miss a thing!
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