When to visit Barcelona? Are you ready to choose the dates of your trip to Barcelona? Let us guide you with some helpful advice on the weather and when to visit the city.
When to visit Barcelona: weather
Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate, with well-marked seasons. The summer has high temperatures – an average of 28ºC (82ºF) maximum temperature in August; while the winter is milder than in the interior of Spain, with an average of 4ºC (39ºF) minimum temperature in January. Nevertheless, the temperatures don’t vary extremely.
Since the city is located by the sea, the Barcelona weather usually has a high moisture content, with an average of 70% all year round. At the same time, the sea breeze helps to soften the temperatures.
The rainfall is quite irregular and well distributed throughout the year. August, September, and October usually record the highest rates when storms occur more frequently. During this period a phenomenon known as gota fría (literally “cold drop”) can happen, which causes torrential rains in a very short period of time.
When to visit Barcelona: holidays and festivals
In Spain national holidays are the same all over the country. However each region (comunidad autónoma) enjoys 10 days a year to celebrate its own festivals. On top of that, each city or town enjoys 2 days for local holidays.
Usually, on these days almost everything closes (banks, shops, official institutions).
Sometimes, some of the holidays turn into puentes (extended weekends). During puentes it will be more difficult to find accommodation, the city will be packed with national tourists and prices might rise (especially for lodging and eating).
It is very common in Catalonia, the region where Barcelona is, to have a holiday on Monday if the real holiday was the Sunday before.
Below is a list of national, regional and local holidays:
- 1st of January – New Year’s Day
- 6th of January – Reyes Magos
- 1st of May – Labor Day
- 24th of June – Saint John’s Day
- 15th of August – Assumption Day
- 11th of September – Catalonia Day (Diada)
- 24th of September – Mercè’s Day
- 12th of October – Spain National Day
- 1st of November – All Saints’ Day
- 6th of December – Constitution Day
- 8th of December – Immaculate Conception
- 25th of December – Christmas Day
- 26th of December – Saint Stephen’s Day
On top of those bank holidays you should always bear in mind the dates of the tourist high season in Barcelona: Semana Santa (Easter). Make sure you find out the exact dates of this period (they change from one year to another) as it’s one the busiest periods of the year in Barcelona.
When to visit Barcelona: the best period of the year
The good thing about Barcelona is that you can visit it all year round. Of course there are months more interesting than others, but in general don’t worry too much about choosing a particular month, you will enjoy Barcelona anyway.
Our favorite periods of the year to visit Barcelona are late spring (June) and late summer (September). The days are long, the temperatures are pleasant enough and you will enjoy Barcelona at its best.
While theoretically you could visit Barcelona all year round, there are three key periods of the year when Barcelona is problematic (Easter and summer) or simply best avoided (Christmas season):
- Semana Santa (Easter). This is a high-priced period to visit the city. Check ahead of time to make sure you’re not coming over Easter, as the dates change from year to year. While culturally Easter Holy Week is an interesting time to visit Barcelona (and perhaps even more so Seville, Cordoba or Granada in the South of Spain), you should expect higher rates and book your hotel room in advance.
- Summer (July and August). The summer is by far the most expensive season in Barcelona, and indeed throughout most of Europe. Not only is this a popular season for North American travelers, it is also a top season for European travelers. Many cruises also make port calls in Barcelona come July and August.
- Above all, we encourage you to avoid the Christmas season, when the city is completely packed. Both locals and people from the rest of Europe visit Barcelona to spend Christmas and/or New Year’s Eve here. So expect higher prices in lodging during that time of the year. The 31st of December is definitely one of the priciest times to visit Barcelona, and the few restaurants open will be charging an arm, and a leg for dinner and festivities. In addition to this, around Christmas time many shops and even some sights might be closed.
Apart from holidays and seasons, international conferences also cause hotel rates to skyrocket. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know when a big conference is coming to town, as dates change every year.
One of the conferences that you should definitely avoid is the Mobile World Congress which is commonly held in February. If you plan to be in Barcelona over Mobile World Congress dates, book your hotel way in advance.
Do you need more information on Barcelona?
This article is part of a complete guide about Barcelona where you can read all the information you need to plan your trip to this popular destination in Spain.
Here is a complete summary of all the guide:
1. When to visit Barcelona
2. How many days to spend in Barcelona
3. How to get to Barcelona
4. How to move around Barcelona
5. Barcelona hotels: where to stay in Barcelona
6. What to eat in Barcelona
7. What to do in Barcelona
8. Tips to visit the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
9. How to buy tickets to the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
10. Tips to attend a FC Barcelona match
11. How to buy FC Barcelona tickets
12. Day trips from Barcelona
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