Barcelona is one of the few cities in the world which you can never get enough of. Food, beaches, history, architecture – all these and more blend in a vibrant Mediterranean fusion, which leaves you speechless with every step you make.
Going to Barcelona for the first time, though, might seem like a daunting task because of the countless things to do in the Catalan capital.
- Prepare yourself for hordes of tourists. Summer is not the only busy season in Barcelona. In fact, you’ll find numerous travelers, marching the streets of the Spanish city, in every season. If you’re dead-set on escaping the huge crowds, choose neighborhoods that are a bit off the center like Gracia, Poblenou, and Poble Sec. Find more info about each of these neighborhoods here.
- Buy tickets for the attractions you want to explore. Barcelona is among the busiest cities worldwide. 5+ million people visit the Mediterranean city each year, so it’s wise to book tickets in advance. We strongly suggest that for all Gaudí buildings in Barcelona: Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Casa Milá, Casa Batlló, Casa Vicens, etc.
- You’ll get around with English, but consider learning some Spanish. Most people in Barcelona’s central neighborhoods speak decent English. However, that might not be the case in the outskirts. So, learning some basic Spanish words (or Catalan if you’re adventurous) can be quite helpful.
- Barcelona has a reputation of thefts. Some areas in Barcelona – especially La Rambla – as well as the underground, are notorious for pickpockets. Be aware of these three types of thieves: 1) those who bump in you in order to steal your wallet; 2) those who approach your table with a map and try to snatch your cell phone while you’re distracted; and 3) those who approach you with a vague question – to distract you while an accomplice of theirs grabs your bag/purse. Always be alert in crowded areas and don’t carry a lot of valuable belongings with you.
Weather – When Is the Best Time to Visit Barcelona
Barcelona is gorgeous all year round. That’s due to many factors but mainly thanks to its fantastic location in South Europe, right on the warm Mediterranean Sea. In this section of our Barcelona travel tips, you’ll find information for each season, so you can decide better when to visit. You might also want to get our handy Travel Checklist and be ready for travel within minutes.
- Visit Barcelona in spring for sightseeing without the crowds. If you arrive in Barcelona in early spring, you’ll be up for a warm treat. The temperatures are fantastic for walking and sightseeing, the crowds are thinner than in summer, and there’s a ton of activities to do. Among the many things to do in Barcelona in spring, the most interesting ones are the Easter celebrations, kicking off with Semana Santa, and the calçotadas. The latter are traditional Catalan barbecues, which involve grilled baby leeks or spring onions and industrial amounts of red wine.
Note: Don’t worry if you’re staying at an accommodation spot that doesn’t have a barbecue. The majority of locals don’t own one either. Just venture out of the city to a merendero (picnic area) or a vineyard. They supply the barbecue. You only have to bring food and drinks. If you’re going to a winery, they’ll expect you to buy the wine from there.
- Try to avoid the heat in summer. June is still okay, and the temperatures are somewhat tolerable, but if you don’t like heat and humidity, avoid July and especially August. The latter is probably the worst time to be in Barcelona. Almost every local has escaped from the city, and all that’s left are legions of sweaty tourists from all walks of life, wondering whether the sun could get any hotter. When you’ve grown tired of the swarms, seek some coolness by visiting the monastery in the Montserrat mountains.
- Music fans and beach lovers best visit in fall. Along with spring, late September and early October are ideal for a visit to the beach. All the summer crowds are gone, and you can explore the city in a much more relaxed way. Stalls with roasted chestnuts pop up around the city, giving Barcelona a familiar seasonal aroma. The Barcelona International Jazz Festival, running mid-October to mid-December, might attract your music-loving ear. And if you love German beer, make sure the visit the Barcelona Oktoberfest at the Fira de Montjuïc in mid-October.
- No snow but wind-chill in winter. If you expect a white natural duvet in Barcelona, you’ll be disappointed. It rarely snows in the Catalonian capital. If you visit Barcelona in December, though, you’ll still be able to marvel at the gorgeous Christmas decorations that adorn the city. Just don’t forget to pack a good scarf and a jacket. The temperatures might not be below freezing, but the humidity and the wind make them feel like such.