Oh Barcelona, that beautiful, mystic-filled Mediterranean city in the region of Catalonia in Spain, of which so many pages have been written about! Of course, you know by now that there are millions of reasons to visit Barcelona, one of the most important and well-known cities of Spain, all-year-round. However, the summer crowds and the caravans of people waiting in line to visit any monument might be a deterrent for the ones less patient or with deeper interests. This said, it is only fair to affirm that there is more than one right time of the year to travel to Barcelona and each season has its own particular charms and perks. At the end of the day, it is all about knowing what to expect in different times in order to be able to make informed choices and decisions. This is why we are happy to bring you a brief account of the variety of reasons to visit Catalonia and Barcelona throughout the year. So that your trip is an unforgettable one for all the right reasons!
The weather, of course!
This is definitely one of the main reasons that comes to everyone's mind to visit Barcelona at any time of the year. Its beautiful sunshiny summers and mildly cold winters strongly contribute to that notion. Facing directly the Mediterranean, Barcelona enjoys a characteristic climate of these shores, with mild temperatures throughout the year. It is less hot in summer and warmer in the winter when compared to many other Spanish coastal resorts. In general. its average annual temperature is 21.2°C (70.2°F) during the day and 15.1°C (59.2 °F) at night. In the coldest month which is January, typically the temperature ranges from 12 to 18 °C (54 to 64 °F) during the day and 6 to 12 °C (43 to 54 °F) at night. The city’s wide array of museums, historical sites and even restaurants and bars offer multiple possibilities for you to hide in during the rainier days. During the Spring and in the Fall, you might find that the temperature is just the perfect one to stroll around the old city streets or even, on a warm day, for a quick dip into the Mediterranean Sea waters.
The Art, oh the Art!
If there was ever to be held an Iberian contest for the Best Museum City in the Peninsula then very likely, Barcelona would take the first place! The city has been inhabited since the Neolithic Period (2000 to 1500 b.C), throughout the Roman Empire, the Visigoth invasions and became a commercial post of the highest importance in Europe in the Medieval Era. In the 19th and 20th centuries Barcelona thrived as an industrial and trading capital and the city’s streets started reflecting this, growing in status and wealth.
Nowadays the municipality of Barcelona is made up of 10 districts, within which its 73 neighborhoods are located. This territorial organization is the result of an administrative reform carried out in 1984. Each part of the city has its own charm due to its impressive monuments, art displays in private homes which are open to the public, exquisite architecture and historic neighborhoods. Barcelona boasts an impressive set of 8 UNESCO heritage sites within its limits! The city is a feast for the eyes and for the intellect!
If you are an art and architecture lover and like to appreciate sites and views in a relaxed and detail manner, then Barcelona off the peak season is the best choice for you. Because although anytime of the year is perfect to visit, the perks of low season are undeniable: less people therefore less lines. Museums and restaurants as well as the ancient cobbled streets are better enjoyed at a slower, hassle-free pace.
When visiting the city there are a few unmissable sites that must absolutely be on your bucket list and the Ciutat Vella (Old Town), made up of four neighborhoods is where most monuments concentrate is one of them. You can also enjoy the city’s best in the historic neighborhoods of El Raval and Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) separated by the famous boulevard of Las Ramblas; visit Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i La Ribera, where the design district of El Born is located and the old fishermen’s neighborhood of La Barceloneta. In addition to the four neighborhoods, Ciutat Vella also includes the Port Vell sector which is the old port city area.
If it is raining outside and you are longing for a cozy, warm artistic refuge head to one of the many museums or galleries in Barcelona. Museums are always a great way to get to know a city's art, culture and history and the truth is that there are times off the peak season when museums are emptier, so you will certainly have more peace of mind when visiting the collections.
If the weather looks nice and clear, go on a tour of the amazing works of Gaudí. Set up a complete itinerary to see the works of the most important architect in the history of Spain. Enjoy the fantastic Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, Park Güel or Casa Mila, La Pedrera just to name the most famous ones. Few cities in the world have an architect with such a strong connection to his city as Antonio Gaudí and Barcelona have. The works of Gaudí, one of the greatest exponents of Catalan modernism, reveal a unique style that blends nature, religion, and modernity in architecture in a symbiosis never before seen in buildings around the world. Turn your “World Explorer” mode on in Barcelona and see how many incredible memories you will be able to bring back home with you! We bet on a lot!
Catalan Food? Yes Please!
While walking the city, live like a local and try the Catalan specialties in the many farmer’s markets in town of which the most famous is without a doubt La Boquería. Have a hot chocolate with churros for breakfast and later try the calçots, a kind of long onion or chive grilled directly on the coals covered with a delicious sauce called picada consisting of tomatoes and dried fruit on top. Perfect for a colder day!
Fish and shellfish are always on the menu in a region located by the sea and Catalan cuisine is well renowned for its fresh, high-quality fish and seafood. Saltwater fish abounds in recipes, especially those that can be cooked for a longer period of time, and that are adaptable, being a part of a variety of dishes. The most commonly found are dory, sole, and hake. Blue fish are very popular, especially anchovies, sardines, mackerel, and tuna. And of course, one of the staples of southern European food, the famous salted codfish which is called bacalá here.
A meal can only be complete with one of the many delicious desserts of the region. The most famous is probably the Crema Catalana, a delicate egg and vanilla custard with a caramelized topping, very similar to a crème brulée. The choice is hard for it is a varied one! The best restaurants in town are usually booked in advance but that should be less of a problem if you travel during the low season of Tourism.
A sip or two of the best wine
Catalonia is also known worldwide by its wine-making tradition. The regions of Penedés, Alella, Priorat, and Segre are the major producers of a wide variety of wines. The best known and most exported is cava de Penedés, whose production is led by family-owned companies such as Freixenet and Codorníu. The Greater Barcelona is also the demarcation with the most ecological vineyards in Spain, so you might find it interesting to include in the itinerary some winery dedicated to sustainable cultivation. Also, worth noting is ratafia, a liqueur made out of brandy, sugar and fruit juice that can be peach, cherry or almond. Perfect with a Catalan fried sweet dough cookie, the buñuelo.
How about a day out?
Take a few days to explore the incredible region of Catalonia of which Barcelona is the capital and you will be surprised by the amazing views, friendly people, mouth-watering food and exquisite wines that you will discover! The best part of the Fall and Winter trips, is that they allow you more time to wander and to find things that you would hardly see if you were in a summer vacation trip with limited amount of time and crowds of people going back and forth to all of your dream places!
Monserrat could be one of those! The mountain of Montserrat is only 50 km (31mi) from Barcelona and it is known for its dramatic beauty and also for being an important religious center in Spain. There is a 9th century monastery, located on top of the mountain, which causes quite an impression for its original construction on the hilltop, almost as if built in the rock and its history, of course, that attracts many tourists and pilgrims to this magical site every year.
Tarragona located just over 1 hour from Barcelona is another invitation to step into history. The city was founded by the Romans and soon became an important Mediterranean port. During the Middle Ages new buildings were incorporated into the city, transforming its urban geography. The best places to visit in town are the Gothic cathedral, the well-preserved Roman circus and Roman wall, and the Pretóri.
Girona is also around 1 hour from the region’s capital and totally worth the detour! It is such a quaint town with a well-kept historic center that it was used as a set for the famous tv series Game of Thrones back in 2016. Its medieval center has a Jewish quarter, old medieval houses, and spectacular cathedrals. The medieval wall with its stunning views offers one of the most amazing walks that can take.
If the day looks bright and clear with the right temperature, we suggest a trip to Sitges, a little less than 1 hour driving from Barcelona. This city of sandy beaches and whitewashed houses reminisces of Greece. It is another city full of history, much connected to the Mediterranean Sea and to the Spanish colonies in the Caribbean. The city's seafront promenade is an invitation to enjoy the sea and the beautiful surrounding landscape. An unforgettable day out!
Catalonia and Barcelona, an all-year-round destination
So much to choose from, so many possibilities and 365 days to travel, so if you can, consider taking a more relaxed trip to the region and let yourself be absorbed by the local atmosphere, to embrace life like a true local and avoid the busier times of the year. The 4 seasons have their own charms in Catalonia and in Barcelona and we are sure that by allowing yourself the time to discover them, you will get to know them like few others and will return home warm-hearted and with a unique feeling of belonging.