Spring: The weather between March and May is initially wet, but increasingly warm and sunny. Temperatures can reach highs of 16° in March, rising to 20° in May.
Summer: The summer months from June through to September see average highs of 28°. Low humidity and a pleasant breeze keep the temperature comfortable and holidaymakers should expect ten hours of sunshine a day.
Autumn: Warm and wet to start with, the average autumn temperature is 21°. However, rain is common and sometimes fog comes in from the sea which can see temperatures shift to around 12°.
Winter: In December, the average high falls to 13° and average lows are 4°. Snow is usually expected in January but the weather during this season is largely unpredictable with fluctuations between the teens and cold, blustery weather.
Image: Barcelona Sun by Leolisa81 on Flickr
From Gaudi’s famous architecture to Barca’s famous stadium, Barcelona has a host of attractions for holidaymakers to enjoy. Many of the attractions relate to the artists who have lived in or taken inspiration from Spain’s most artistic city. However, it isn’t only cultural attractions that you’ll find; the city has a thriving nightlife and there are several interesting options for daytrips nearby.
Barcelona Cathedral: Also known as The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, this is Barcelona’s premier place of worship
Basilica Santa Maria del Mar: One of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the city
Casa Mila: Known as the Quarry, this is the largest civil building designed by Gaudi
FC Barcelona Museum and Nou Camp: An interactive museum that is one of the most-visited in the city, focusing on life during the German Democratic Republic.
Joan Míro Foundation: A museum of moderniair art honouring the artist Joan Míro
La Sagrada Familia: Gaudi’s most famous monument is due for completion in 2026
Parc Guell: Gaudi’s famous park features dragons, fairy cottages and his classic mosaics
Olympic Stadium: Meet a host of animals at the zoo, which celebrates its 120th anniversary this year
Tourists and backpackers usually head to Las Ramblas where the nightlife spills out into the streets and the evening often begins with dinner and drinks. In the Gothic Quarter you'll find that the Spanish nightlife is much more authentic. The cobbled streets are full of intimate clubs and this is also the part of town where you're likely to find secret bars taken over by squatters and known as okupas. In El Born, the nightlife is sophisticated but also slightly eccentric; keep an eye out for Cat Bar for feline inspired decor. Don your best clothes if you’re heading to the sophisticated nightspots of Port Olimpic. Gracia offers a bohemian nightlife where you can mingle with up and coming artists in bohemian bars. Hipsters and skaters will love the Raval district which is home to Barcelona's oldest disco.
Boulevard Culture Club: The largest club on the Ramblas plays techo, electro and chart hits
El Mariachi: A secret bar in the Gothic Quarter
Cat Bar: An artisan beer bar and vegan restaurant with feline inspired décor
Catwalk: This glam nightclub in Port Olimpic stays open until 6am
La Fourmi: A bohemian bar in Gracia with a great range of light bites
Opera and Flamenco: Flamenco is from Madrid, but visiting Spain is a good excuse to catch a show
Les Enfants: The oldest disco in the city mixes Indie-pop with 70’s funk in its two rooms
Day Trips from Barcelona:
With an enviable location on the Costa Brava, Barcelona is close to many fantastic destinations, from golden beaches to historic Roman sites. The excellent bus and train network means that these can all easily be reached on a day trip from the city. The Tourist Information Centre on Catalunya Plaza should be able to put you in touch with reputable excursion operators if you’d rather not make the trip alone.
Montserrat: A Benedictine Monastery which offers stunning views across Catalonia. You can discover the holy grotto where visitations by the Virgin Mary were reported.
Travel Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Figueres: The birthplace of Salvador Dali and home to the Teatre-Museu Gala Salvador Dali which houses some of his famous works. Figueres also boasts an 18th century castle.
Travel Time: 2 hours
Sitges: Best known for its huge carnival and film festival, Sitges is a popular destination for gay travellers and boasts 17 sand beaches.
Travel Time: 30 minutes
Tarragona: This beach town is perhaps most famous for its ancient Roman remains including an old amphitheatre next to the sea. Make sure you stroll through the Old Town with its cobbled streets.
Travel Time: 1 hour 14 minutes
Images: Montserrat by Rover0 // Figueres by Jaume Meneses // Sitges by Vroig // Tarragona by Ramonbaile
Sangria, Flamenco fans and cured hams are just some of the souvenirs that most holidaymakers choose to bring back from Spain. However, Catalonia has a long history of lace-making and as such Barcelona is a great place to search for decorative tableware. Spanish brandy is also a great souvenir and many people claim that it’s better than the French equivalent.
- Les Glories: A huge commercial centre with over 230 well-known shops and a multiplex cinema
- The Centre Comercial Maremagnum: The only mall in the city that’s open on Sunday
- La Maquinista: Catalonia’s largest shopping centre and home to a bowling alley and Carrefour
- El Corte Ingles: Spread over nine floors this European chain specialises in electronics
- El Bulevard Rosa: A boulevard of clothes shops lined by antique shops on the outside
Image: La Boqueria by Klearachos Kapoutsis
Paella, tapas, sangria… you may think you know Spanish food, but Spain is made up of many different regions, and each has their own unique cuisine. In Barcelona, expect to find many fish or pork-based dishes. Salted cod or cod served with raisins and pine nuts are both popular fish based dishes, whilst pork tends to appear in stews such as Escudella or Ollada. Save some room for desert, particularly crème Catalan, made from egg yolks, milk and sugar, cracked like a crème brûlée.
Popular Barcelona Hotspots:
Barceloneta - This is a popular quarter for locals and the place to try fish based dishes
Barri Gotic - The area is particularly renowned for its tapas restaurants
Avinguda del Parallel - Many restaurants on this street have Menu del Dia for under €11
Crème Catalan by Michael_Reuter
Spain is famous for having siestas from 2pm-5pm, but in reality this doesn’t really affect larger cities such as Barcelona, where the majority of shops stay open during the siesta. Restaurants and bars are more likely to be affected and take their siesta between 4pm-8pm. When it comes to restaurants, tourists should not wait to be shown to a table and instead make their way to the nearest free table where they will be served. Eating with your hands is frowned upon and you’ll find that the locals even use knives and forks for eating fruit. One important thing to note is that Spaniards have less regard for personal space than other cultures and may stand close when talking to you. Backing away is seen as rude so be prepared.
Que parla Angles? – Do you speak English?
Bona tarda – Good Afternoon
Quant costa aixo? – How much is this?
Dos and Don’ts
DO keep an eye on your belongings on the Metro to avoid being targeted by pickpockets
DON’T drink outdoors or on the beach as you may be fined by the Police
DO take a sunset catamaran cruise from Barceloneta beach
DON’T forget that nightlife in Barcelona starts at 10pm for bars and midnight for nightclubs
DO budget accordingly. Barcelona can be expensive
Tipping is not common in restaurants in Barcelona and most locals will simply round up their bill to the nearest Euro. Any tip larger than cents will embarrass the waiting staff, who are paid much better than waiters at home. Taxi drivers in the city include a fee for handling your luggage and therefore should not be tipped more than a few cents. You should however tip the maid who cleans your room and €1-2 per day is usual.
Image: Tipping by Daquella Manera
The public transport system in Barcelona is clean, effective and great value for money. Therefore you’ll find that there’s no need to hire a car for the duration of your stay, unless you’re planning lots of daytrips out of the city. The two main ways to get around are the Metro and the local bus service. However, many sights are closer than you think and Barcelona is surprisingly compact, making walking a great way to get around and take in the local architecture.