15 Best Things to Do in Barcelona (Spain)
Capital of Catalonia and Spain’s second city, Barcelona is utterly incomparable. It’s one of a few must-see cities with its own identity. This is partly down to a generation of early-20th-century artists and architects, like Antoni Gaudí, whose unforgettable buildings are like nothing you’ll see anywhere else.
Tip – Get the Hola BCN Transport Card for unlimited access to the transportation network – A great way to meet like-minded travelers is the Backpacker Pub Crawl
There’s something to delight everyone in Barcelona. If you’re a food lover then the city has a total of 20 Michelin stars, and if you want culture you’ve got an inexhaustible choice of beautiful buildings and events. Add to this clean urban beaches, world-class nightlife and so much great shopping you won’t know where to begin.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Barcelona:
1. Las Ramblas
Source: V_E / shutterstock Las Ramblas
Never mind that a lot of locals shun this sequence of promenades that runs from Plaça de Catalunya down to the Columbus Monument at the waterfront.
If you’re a tourist it’s one of those things that you have to do.
In summer you’ll be under the shade of the tall plane trees and shuffling through the crowds that pass living statues, street performers, bird-sellers and flower stands.
Occasionally you’ll catch the whiff of waffles (gofres) being baked.
Once you get to the water you can keep going along the boards to visit the Maremagnum mall or Barcelona’s Aquarium.
2. Sagrada Família
Source: Valerie2000 / shutterstock Sagrada Família
This is where to begin your adventure through Barcelona and the dreamlike works of Antoni Gaudí.
His minor basilica is a project of incredible scale and ambition that is still only around three quarters complete more than a 140 years after Gaudí first became involved.
When its spires are finished it will be the tallest church building in the world, and hardly resembles any religious structure you’ll have seen in your life.
The Sagrada Família combines several architectural styles including Catalan Modernism, Art Nouveau and Spanish Late-Gothic, but Gaudí’s masterpiece defies these kinds of definitions when you look up open-mouthed at the ceiling of the nave.
Get a Skip-the-Line ticket for fast track entrance: Sagrada Familia Skip-the-Line
3. Casa Batlló
Source: Luciano Mortula – LGM / shutterstock Casa Batlló
Another of Antoni Gaudí’s most postcard-friendly creations, this apartment block wasn’t created from scratch but was a remodel undertaken at the turn of the 20th century.
You won’t need to have visited Barcelona to recognise the building’s roof, the tiles of which are the scales of a great dragon.
Like all of his work the inside and outside of Casa Batlló has that sinuous quality, with few straight lines, and dazzling attention to detail.
Take the mushroom-shaped fireplace on the noble floor, which like a cosy grotto was designed for couples to warm up in winter.
4. Casa Milà
Source: Distinctive Shots / shutterstock Casa Milà
Also known as La Pedrera, as the front of the building looks a bit like the face of a quarry, Casa Milà was completed in 1912 and is another emblematic Gaudí building.
It’s one of several of Catalan modernist works to be UNESCO listed and was the fourth and final Gaudí building on Passeig de Gràcia.
Architects will appreciate the contemporary innovations here, including the self-supporting stone facade and underground car park.
It was designed for the industrialist Pere Milà i Camps to be his family home, with apartments for rent on the upper floors.
The coherence between the design of the building and Casa Milà’s furnishings is a real joy to see, and it’s all from a time when Gaudí was at the top of his game.
5. City Beaches
Source: Kert / shutterstock Barcelona Beach
Barcelona’s beachfront boardwalk stretches for miles. It will take a good hour to get from Barceloneta to Diagonal Mar on foot, but it’s a walk that really helps you understand the city.
The westernmost beaches like Sant Sebastià are busier and more touristy, but are backed by Barceloneta’s tight lattice of trendy shops and bars with terraces and outdoor seating.
As you move along the waterfront after the Olympic Port you’ll find a bit more room and more Barcelona locals.
Finally, just up from Platja de Llevant is the massive and new Diagonal Mar mall, revitalising a former industrial part of the city.
6. La Boqueria
Source: John Gress Media Inc / shutterstock La Boqueria
This is an iconic sight and educational experience in one. There’s been a Boqueria market in Barcelona since medieval times, though this exact spot has only witnessed trade for about 200 years.
That elegant and distinctive iron and glass roof you’ll see was put up in 1914.
Whether you want to do some food shopping or just take in the sights and sounds of a bustling urban market it’s a real eye-opener.
It’s a grid of permanent stalls selling fruits, vegetables, cold meats, cheese as well as olive products.
The whole market converges on an oval plan of fishmongers in the centre.
Cool off with a beer and a tapa at one of the market’s bars.
7. Camp Nou
Source: BearFotos / shutterstock Camp Nou
In the western Les Corts neighbourhood is the 99,000-seater stadium that has been the home ground of FC Barcelona since 1957.
It’s one of Europe’s football cathedrals and even if you have no affinity for the team you have to visit Camp Nou to appreciate the dizzying scale of the arena.
And if you are a fan you’ll be in heaven, touring the stadium and browsing the memorabilia of one of the world’s most prestigious teams at the museum.
The stadium tour is unavailable on or just before match days so keep an eye on the calendar.
8. Park Güell
Source: Georgios Tsichlis / shutterstock Park Güell
Round off your Gaudí experience with a trip to this garden complex on Carmel Hill.
Many make the trip to this part of Gràcia for those gorgeous panoramas over Barcelona from the park’s main terrace.
You’ll have seen these serpentine benches and their mosaics on postcards and in movies.
Elsewhere there are colonnades, fountains and sculptures, all in the architect’s distinctive style.
If you still haven’t had enough Gaudí you can enter his House-Museum, where he lived from 1906 to 1926, with furniture and decorative items designed by him on display.
9. Barcelona City History Museum
Source: puyalroyo / shutterstock Barcelona City History Museum
The History Museum preserves a few Roman sites across the Gothic Quarter, such as the temple of Augustus and the Funeral Way on Plaça de la Vila de Madrid. But Plaça del Rei is where you can see Barcelona’s ancient history in detailed layers.
You’ll take a lift down to where the remnants of a garum factory, laundries, dyeing shops and parts of ancient Barcino’s walls are all visible.
The site is large, covering 4,000 square metres, which you’ll explore via elevated walkways.
As you rise through the museum building you’ll step forward through time and enter the vaults of the Palau Reial Major, seat of the medieval Dukes of Barcelona.
Source: Neirfy / shutterstock Montjuïc
This city district was developed for the 1929 International Exhibition and features several high-profile museums including the National Museum of Catalan Art, the Museum of Archaeology and the Ethnology Museum.
Of those the art museum is particularly recommended, and the views of the city from its steps are stunning.
Below this, and also built for the exhibition was the Magic Fountain, which puts on light and music shows ever half-hour on the weekends. This is best seen at night of course.
At the very top of the hill is the 17th-century fortress, which saw action in the Catalan Revolt in the 1600s as well as during the Civil War in the late-1930s, after which it was a prison.
11. Fundació Joan Miró
Source: alionabirukova / shutterstock Fundació Joan Miró
Just like Gaudí, Joan Miró was a quintessentially Catalonian artist, and a visit to his museum will give you a more vivid picture of Barcelona’s spirit and style.
The Fundació Joan Miró was set up by the artist in the 60s to encourage contemporary art in Barcelona, and Miró worked closely with the architect Josep Lluís Sert on the museum building’s design.
This means there’s a harmony between the venue and the work inside it that you won’t find very often.
Within there’s a large collection of the artist’s work, including sculptures, drawing and paintings.
There are also temporary exhibitions of 20th and 21st century art, and all sorts of collaborative and educational projects going on.
Source: BearFotos / shutterstock Gràcia
If you wonder what life is like in the small towns of Catalonia then a visit to Gràcia is a way to find out.
This area wasn’t even part of Barcelona until the 20th century, and thanks to its layout of tapered streets and little squares, feels like a different place.
It’s a young, stylish and cosmopolitan area with students and artists, so there’s a multitude of bars, cafes and independent shops to be found.
If you come to Gràcia during the Festa Major in August the area is transformed as the residents come together to decorate individual streets in imaginative ways to be the best in the neighbourhood.
13. Palau de la Música Catalana
Source: Christian Bertrand / shutterstock Palau de la Música Catalana
This turn-of-the-century concert hall is yet another piece of Barcelona’s UNESCO-listed heritage.
It was built by Gaudí’s contemporary, Lluís Domènech i Montaner for the Orfeó Català, a Barcelona choral society.
This was at a time when investment and commissions by wealthy Catalan industrialists were helping a generation of artists and designers to create a new sense of Catalan identity.
The hall is a sublime venue for opera, symphonies and folk music, so have a look at the schedule when you plan your trip.
14. Plaça de Catalunya
Source: Marianna Ianovska / shutterstock Plaça de Catalunya
This is the best meeting point in the city. It’s right at the bottom of the posh Passeig de Gràcia and at the top of Las Ramblas.
If you’re waiting for friends in the evening for a meal or getting ready for a shopping expedition by day nowhere in the Ciutat Vella or Eixample will be more than a few minutes on foot from this grand square.
Barcelona’s flagship branch of El Corte Inglés is right here, and if you’re new to the city and want to get oriented you could go inside to pick up a map.
15. Eating in Barcelona
Source: Mariano Grinovero ph / shutterstock Pintxos
International food is superb in Barcelona, especially when it comes to Japaese-style noodle bars, which have become popular in the last 10 years.
Another trend is pintxos, Basque-style bar snacks in which delicious things like croquettes and fish are served on a piece of bread held together with a toothpick (pincho).
For a typically Catalan snack there’s Pa amb tomàquet, rustic bread covered in a mix of tomato pulp and oil. This often serves as a base for sandwiches or bocatas.
For a main course here on the coast nothing beats arròs negre, rice simmered with cuttlefish or squid, followed by rich crema catalana for dessert. Have a look at the available food tours in Barcelona.
Tip: Have a look at the tours offered by Barcelona City Tellers, they even offer a free walking tour! A great way to start off your visit as you’ll learn more about the city and will get lots of tips on which things to do and avoid during your stay.
Best Cities to Visit Near Barcelona- Day and Weekend Trips
Whether you live in Barcelona or are just visiting, DON’T limit yourself to just exploring this city.
There’re plenty of beautiful places to visit around Barcelona– from mountains and monasteries to beaches and beautiful historic centres. No matter where you decide to go, it’s certainly worth doing a weekend or day trip from Barcelona by train or car.
11 all-time best day trips from Barcelona
With plenty of amazing places to go to near Barcelona, it can be overwhelming to narrow down your choices. To help, we’ve summed up 11 best day trip destinations from Barcelona that cater to history, art or culture buffs, adventure enthusiasts, and wine lovers.
- PortAventura Park
Beach recommendations are in the next section.
A town so picturesque that it became the muse of several artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Luís Buñel.
Why we love Cadaqués is because it’s this quaint little fishing village located near the border of France. It’s unlike anything else you’ll see in Catalona; a coastal town surrounded by beaches on one side and gorgeous mountains on another. And not to forget, the white brick houses dotting the historic square make for a stunning view as well.
What to do in Cadaqués
Go for scenic boat rides, explore the beaches, walk along the cobblestone streets, or visit the Church of Santa Maria.
15-minute walking from Cadaqués is the neighbouring village of Portlligat where you’ll find one of Dalí’s homes. Reserve your tickets in advance as it’s almost impossible to get tickets on the spot.
How to get to Cadaqués
Cadaqués is 170km away from Barcelona. The easiest way to get here is by car and this will take around 2h 10m. Travelling by public transport will take 3 hours.
Time travel in Tarragona; it’s the ultimate dream destination for those who love (Roman) history and archaeological artefacts.
Tarragona used to be the Roman city of Tarraco – the oldest Roman port city in the Iberian peninsula. Today, the archaeological ensemble of Tarraco is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since a lot of the relics are well-preserved.
What to do in Tarragona
Visit the seaside amphitheatre which was built in the 2nd century BC. Back in the day, nearly 15,000 spectators could watch the gladiators or public executions.
See the remains of the 1st Century AD Roman Circus (Circ Roma) where chariot races took place. The circus has since been used as a palace and a prison, until becoming a ruin.
Take the impressive underground tunnels to the other end of the Circus to see the Praetorium– a large tower that belonged to the provincial forum (a square or central marketplace).
Visit the National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona to see some of the ancient relics and artefacts.
You can also walk past Parc de l’amphithéatre, touch the railing at Balcò del Mediterrani for good luck, or visit the beach, old town, or the cathedral.
How to get to Tarragona
Tarragona is roughly 100km from Barcelona. Taking public transportation is an easy and convenient way to get here; it takes about 1h 15m. Since multiple Renfe trains depart frequently, we recommend looking online to see what time tickets are cheap.
Driving a car here will take you between 1h – 1h 25m.
This medieval city was the backdrop in plenty of Game of Thrones scenes.
Girona is one of those medieval cities where you can walk on cobblestone streets and gaze at centuries-old architecture influenced by the Roman, Catholic, Jewish, and Moorish cultures.
The locals often call it the Venice of Catalonia as several rivers meet here. The most famous is the River Onyar where you can marvel at the reflections during sunset.
What to do in Girona
Visit the best-preserved Jewish quarter in all of Europe.
Walk through Barri Vell, Girona’s historic quarter and notice the cathedral. You might recognise the Great Sept of Baelor or parts of Braavos, as seen in Game of Thrones.
Visit the Garraotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park to see inactive volcanoes. This place is perfect for hikers or adventure seekers.
If you plan ahead, you can make a reservation at El Cellar de Can Roca, which is considered one of the best restaurants in the world!
How to get to Girona
Girona is 101km from Barcelona. By car, it usually takes 1h 25m. You can also take public transport, which takes between 40m (high-speed train) to 1h 20m.
Begur is a sight to behold. 20km of coastline is divided into 4 sections by the staggering cliffs. The numerous beaches here boast crystal clear water and are enveloped by cute coves and bays. No matter where you go, you’ll have a phenomenal view.
What to do in Begur
Some of the best beaches outside of Barcelona can be found in Begur – beaches like Aiguablava and Platja Fonda.
Make your way through the charming town square and climb atop the village to see the remains of the crumbling Begur castle which dates back to the 11th century.
If you’re interested in Dalí, visit Gala Dalí Castle (Castle of Púbol) in Pùbol– A castle that Salvador Dalí gifted to his wife and muse Gala.
Ceramics are a big thing here. It’s believed that the first pottery market was held in Begur in 1511. Not surprisingly, Ceramica de la Bisbal is a protected region due to its craft.
How to get to Begur
Begur is 129km from Barcelona. It takes approximately 1h 35m by car and is the recommended way to travel to Begur. Public transport takes 3 to 4 hours from Barcelona due to multiple changes.
Sitges is one of the most recommended day trips from Barcelona because it has great infrastructure and something for everyone’s interest.
This beautiful coastal town has winding cobblestone alleys that are dotted with promenades, 17 beaches, art galleries and museums, local shops, and numerous restaurants and bars that boast a thriving nightlife.
Sitges is one of the most LGBTQ travel-friendly destinations in Europe. The Gay Pride festival in June attracts a lot of visitors to this coastal town.
What to do in Sitges
Sitges offers 17 stunning beaches. With so many options, it’s easy to find a beach that matches your preference, whether that’s nudist, party, family, or gay friendly. And if you love adventure sports, why not do some water sport?
Art lovers who want to explore more than Barcelona’s art scene will be happy here. Visit the Cau Ferrat Museum for Catalan flavoured modern art or Museu Maricel which offers stunning views as it’s atop a hill overlooking the Mediterranean sea.
You can also tour Palau de Maricel (Maricel de Terra or Maricel Palace) which is an art and architecture ensemble featuring Noucentista style.
There’re also plenty of festivals to keep you busy. Join the Carnival in February, Gay Pride in June, Festa Major in August (3-day festival), or the Sitges Film Festival in October.
How to get to Sitges
Sitges is pretty close to Barcelona– 39km away. You can arrive in Stiges in 40 minutes by car or 35-40 minutes by public transport.
A trip to Montserrat is perfect for those who want to combine nature, culture, history, and some active sport like hiking.
The 1236m high serrated or jagged mountains of Montserrat attract thousands of pilgrims and tourists all year round due to the mountain’s religious significance and beauty.
In Catalan, the mountain is called Mont Sagrat, which roughly translates to sacred mountains.
What to do in Montserrat
One of the biggest highlights is seeing the Black Virgin statue at the Basilica of Montserrat. It’s said that the statue has mystical and healing powers.
Legend says that tiny wooden statue of Black Virgin has turned black over time because of all the candles that were lit in front of it over centuries.
Pay a visit to the Benedictine Abbey where you can find Benedectine monks who’ve devoted their lives to prayer.
Head to the monastery. Legend has it that if you touch the ball that Virgin Mary carries and make a wish, it’ll bring you good luck.
You can’t miss listening to the L’Escolania or the world-famous choir made of 14-year-old boys at 1:00 P.M. What makes the choir group extra special is that there’re files that trace the origin of the choir group to the 14th century.
Hike up the mountain or do some rock climbing to make it an adventurous and active trip.
Visit the Montserrat Art Museum to understand the history of Montserrat Monastery and see artworks from artists like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí.
How to get to Montserrat
Montserrat is 60km from Barcelona. If you’re driving, you can reach there in about an hour.
You can also get to Montserrat by taking a train (Line R5) from the España rail station. You can get down at Monsitrol de Montserrat to take the train or Aeri de Montserrat to take the cable car to the top.
One of the most charming towns in Costa Brava is Figueres. It’s very close to the border of France and is the perfect place to admire art and history via the many museums in this town.
Figueres is the birthplace of Salvador Dalí and houses one of the most important Dalí museums in all of Spain.
What to do in Figueres
The biggest highlight of Figueres is Teatro Museo Dalí, which is a quirky building that was once a theatre and now a museum that houses Dalí’s collection.
Other museums in this town include the Museu del Joguet de Catalunya, a toy museum perfect for kids. The Empodra Museu is perfect for culture enthusiasts and the *Museu de la Tecnica de l’Emporda is best for technology enthusiasts.
How to get to Figueres
Figueres is 138km from Barcelona. It takes nearly 1h 30m to get here from Barcelona, by both car and public transport.
Want to travel back in time? Or do you want an off-the-beaten-track experience? Then we highly recommend the medieval town of Vic.
Vic is the perfect representation of Catalan’s culture and history; several of the well-preserved medieval buildings can be seen as you walk through the town’s 2 historic quarters and the main square – Placa Mayor (Plaza Mayor).
What to do in Vic
Apart from taking in the sights around the 2 historic quarters and Placa Mayor, it’s worth visiting the 11th century Sant Per Cathedral and the Roman temple which was built in the 2nd century.
Museu Episcopal de Vic gives you a glimpse into the life under the Romanesque and Gothic eras. In the museum, you can see paintings, textiles and other archaeological artefacts that represent the history of Catalonia.
Interested in architecture? Then walk past Casa Comella and Casa Costa.
How to get to Vic
Vic is 71.1km away from Barcelona. A car ride takes about an hour. Public transport will take 1h 10m.
Although a different country, Andorra still makes for a great day or weekend trip destination from Barcelona as it’s nestled between Spain and France.
Andorra is where adventure takes the forefront. It’s situated in the heart of the Pyrenees mountains and is at an average elevation of 2000m.
Andorra is one of the smallest countries in the world and is considered a micro-state.
What to do in Andorra
Adventure lovers will love Andorra. In the summers, you can go on walking trails, hike the mountain, go mountain biking, or even go on the equestrian trails. If you’re interested in water sports, why not head over to Family Park Canillo?
The Madriu-Perafita Claror Valley is a UNESCO-listed trail as it takes you through meadows, forests, and the valleys.
In winter, the region completely transforms into a skiing paradise. Enjoy skiing and various other winter sports such as snowboarding.
For some relaxation, head over to Centre Termolúdic Caldea, the largest spa complex in Southern Europe. If that’s not your cup of tea, do some retail therapy and shop duty-free in Andorra.
How to get to Andorra
Andorra is further inwards. It’s 197km from Barcelona and takes nearly 2h 35m by car. We don’t recommend going by public transport as on average it takes about 3h 30m to 4h 30m.
The Penedès region is a temple for wine lovers. It’s only an hour away from Barcelona and is one of the most prominent wine-producing regions in Spain after Rioja and Priorat.
Although this region produces wine, they’re primarily known for their top-notch Cava – Spain’s answer to France’s Champagne.
What to do in Penedès
Join an organised wine tour, arrange for a self-organised trip to the wineries and vineyards, or go on a cycling tour of this region.
How to get to Penedès
Penedès is fairly close to Barcelona as it’s 58km away. It takes 50 minutes by car, making it the perfect day trip destination. But if you’re here for wine tasting, you can easily take the R4 train which takes about 1 hour.
Who doesn’t love amusement parks?! PortAventura is the largest theme park in Spain and you don’t get just 1 but 3 fantastic worlds to explore.
You can explore 1 park or get a combo ticket to enjoy 2 or 3 parks. In this case, it’s recommended that you make a weekend trip out of it and stay at one of the nearby hotels.
Book a ticket + transport package via PortAventura which includes a return journey from any Rodalies de Catalunya station. An adult ticket costs €51 and €45 for kids and seniors.
What to do in PortAventura Park
PortAventura Park is a classic adventure park with rides suitable for people from different age groups.
Caribe Aquatic Park is for those who love a good water adventure. The best time to visit is in spring or summer on weekdays.
Ferrari Land is for the grown-ups or adrenaline junkies. You can try out Europe’s highest and fastest roller coaster here!
Need a break? No matter which park you choose, you can enjoy shows and parades at different times throughout the day.
How to get to PortAventura Park
The best way to get here is by train, especially if you choose the ticket + transport package. The journey takes about 1h 30m.
If you’re going by car, it’ll take 1h 20m.
6 best beach getaways near Barcelona
Spain has the most blue flag beaches in the world. So how can we not include a trip to the beaches nearby Barcelona city?!
|Beach||Province||How to arrive|
|Platja Cala Aiguablava||Begur||Car (1h 40m)|
|Playa Fonda||Girona||Car (1h 40m)|
|Platja de Castelldefels||Barcelona||Car or train (30m)|
|Gavà Mar||Barcelona||Car (24m), train (50m)|
|Cala Fonda (Waikiki)||Tarragona||Car (1h) and 15m walking|
|Sitges (several beaches)||Barcelona||Car (40m), train (35m)|
|Platja Garraf||Barcelona||Car or train (32m)|
|Calella de Palafrugell||Girona||Car (1h 25m)|
|Sant Pol de Mar (several beaches)||Barcelona||Car (40m)|
|Tossa de Mar (several beaches)||Girona||Car (1h 16m)|
|Calella de Palafrugell (several beaches)||Girona||Car (1h 25m)|
|Platja de Llavant||Barcelona||Car (15m), train (35m)|
Best weekend trips from Barcelona
Planning a trip longer than just a day? Here’re some nearby cities that are well worth visiting:
Valencia– Valencia, the third-largest city in Spain is located 303km away and takes nearly 3 hours to reach from Barcelona. Whether you want to try the original paella from Valencia or experience the City of Arts and Sciences, this laid back city has something for everyone, and at a cheaper price.
Madrid– The capital of Spain is 3 hours away if you take the high-speed train from Barcelona. Madrid’s got unique neighbourhoods, a lively nightlife, an incredible art scene and plenty of historical buildings.
Ibiza– Ibiza island is known for its globally renowned nightlife. But you can also enjoy yoga retreats, spas, beautiful beaches, local markets and cuisine, the UNESCO protected Dalt Vila, or the uninhabited island and natural park Es Vedrà. You can reach Ibiza in an hour with a flight or travel overnight with a ferry.
Màlaga– Although it can take upwards of 7 hours with the high-speed train or 9 hours of driving, Màlaga is well worth the visit. Explore the art scene, walk where Pablo Picasso was born, have a night out, or simply enjoy the beautiful promenades and 16 beaches surrounding this port city in Andalusia.
Paris– With France bordering Spain, you can easily make a trip to Paris which will take 6h 40m with the Renfe-SNCF high-speed train. Enjoy the romantic atmosphere, people-watch while sipping coffee, visit the famous Eiffel tower, go to art museums, or take the unbeaten path to explore the non-touristy side of Paris.
Apart from these 5 cities, we also highly recommend making a weekend trip to Sitges, Girona, Tarragon, Andorra, and Costa Brava as these places deserve more than just a day.
Best Cities to Visit Near Barcelona
Now that you know the best cities or beach destinations to visit, it’s time to get out there and explore! But before you go, read up on Spanish culture and traditions to appreciate these destinations even more.
Please reach out to email@example.com if you have any suggestions or inquiries about the content on this page.
Art in Barcelona – Museums, Galleries and Street Art Guide
Barcelona Food Guide: What To Eat, Where To Go
Nightlife in Barcelona: The Best Clubs You Just Can’t Miss
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Best Things To Do In Barcelona In March
March is a great time to visit Barcelona. The weather isn’t as cold anymore, and the sun starts setting later. The Summer crowds haven’t arrived yet (as long as Easter doesn’t fall in March). There’s lots of fun things to do, festivals and events going on, and many seasonal specialties to try.
March Barcelona Weather
The temperature in March in Barcelona is still cool: it ranges between 58-62F (14.5-16.5ºC) during day time, with the warmest temperatures being between 2 and 6PM. At night it goes down to 43-47F (6-8.5ºC). Kind of similar to the temperature in Nevada (CA, USA) this time of the year.
It’s also essentially cloudy, with clouds mostly covering the sky about 42% of the time. But if you believe in statistics, March 21st is supposed to be the clearest day of the month.
It’s not specially rainy, though: the precipitation chance is 14%, which is sort of half way between our wettest (October – 22%) and our driest (July – 8%) months. And if it does rain, it’ll be something between 1 and 3 inches of rainfall, which isn’t much.
Snow is rare in Barcelona, but it’s not unheard of. There’s been remarkable snowfalls in March, 8th 2010 (considered the largest snowfall in the last 50 years) and March, 1st 1993, for instance.
The Barcelona beaches in March
The weather temperature in March is pretty much constantly around 56F (13.5ºC), slightly colder than the air temperature but still far from the 77F (25ºC) of August. Plus most of the time you can feel a light breeze from the West, at an average 8.2mph (13.2km/h). So not the perfect weather to sunbathe half naked and be wet outdoors.
Locals don’t get in the water until end of June. Earlier than that, you have to be either one of those brave Barceloneta neighbors that get a dip every day of the year or… be a Nordic tourist. But you’ll be seeing them at the urban beaches more often than before: going to beach restaurants and using its many sport facilities.
What to do in Barcelona in March
Sant Medir – March 3rd
Sant Medir is a local tradition that is mostly celebrated in the districts of Sarria and Gracia, and more recently in La Bordeta (Sants). It has a religious origin: it reminds us of a Saint that was prosecuted and tortured by the Romans.
However, the main event has little to do with churches: there’s parades around the streets and candy is thrown away from cars. Kids get crazy about it! If you are interested in attending one, don’t miss the tips in our post about Sant Medir in Barcelona.
Barcelona-Sitges Vintage Car Rally (mid-March)
In February 8th 1989 some twenty vintage cars departed from Barcelona to Sitges as part of the village festival. The passengers were dressed according to the time period of construction of their vehicles. That was the beginning of a popular race that has been celebrated for over 60 years now.
More than a race, though, it’s a fun car-themed vintage party. If you want to watch it, you’ll find more information here.
Barcelona Beer Festival (mid-March)
The Barcelona Beer Festival is a beer fair taking place in the trade show facilities of La Farga de l’Hospitalet, just outside of Barcelona and easily reachable by subway. Dozens of breweries participate.
Most of them from Spain, but also from guest coungries. Many run their own stands, whereas other have dedicated taps where they rotate their beers. These, together with the ones served at the Main Bar, make an offer of over 600 different beers to try. There’s also food trucks, tastings, lectures, guided tours and an awards ceremony. A complete day for beer lover!. More information here.
Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17th and days around it)
The Day of Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, is celebrated by Irish communities all over the world. Also in Barcelona! And while it’s not a local tradition, it’s a great excuse to have some fun!
Join the crowds dressed in green for good luck at the local Irish Pubs such as Flaherty’s or Temple Bar. The dance school Nuala Irish Dancers and the Centre Artesa Traditionarius also usually organize dance and music events.
Attend the rowing regatta in Moll de la Fusta and watch rugby matches in Camp de la Foixarda (Montjuic) and La Teixonera (Vall d’Hebron).
Fathers’s Day (March 19th)
Did you know that Spain doesn’t celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June? Spain is (in theory) a Catholic country and we celebrate Father’s Day on the day of Jesus’s Father: Saint Joseph’s Day.
It’s not a bank holiday. And you won’t really notice it that much in the streets, except that bakeries will be selling “bunyols” fritters and restaurants will be serving Catalan creme brulee for desert.
Festa Major del Pi or de Sant Josep Oriol (March 23rd and closest weekend to it)
Most people assume the central part of the Barcelona Old Town, between La Rambla and Via Laietana is called “Barri Gòtic”. But the truth is that this area is technically divided into smaller quarters
One of them is the Barri del Pi, located close to La Rambla around the Santa Maria del Pi church. The neighborhood celebrates their main festival on the day of their Patron Saint, Saint Joseph Oriol, who was a priest in Santa Maria del Pi and is said to have performed several miracles.
During those days there’s many parades, presided by the Giants of the Pine Tree, the oldest traditional giants of Catalonia. Another popular giant of the district is Perot Lo Lladre or Perot Rocaguinarda, a local from the early 1600’s. He gives away chocolate coins. More information here.
Music Festivals in Barcelona in March
Music lovers will find March a very attractive time to travel to Barcelona, since there are so many music festivals going on! These are the most important ones:
- . And eclectic festival featuring concerts of many different music styles, all united by the use of guitar. . A prestigious piano concert attracting promising talents from all over the world. It takes place in the Palau de la Música Catalana. . The town of Terrassa, easily accessible by suburban train from Barcelona, has celebrated for over 40 years one of the most important Jazz Fests of Spain. It features Spanish and international jazz players from all different styles, from swing and blues to fusion. . The meeting point for classic and lyric music lovers. Besides the many paid concerts there’s many free performances taking place in unique sites of the city.
- Brunch Electronik. Also known as Brunch In The City, it’s an electronic music festival taking place in a variety of locations in Barcelona, with outdoor concerts and open-air dancefloors, food trucks and a family-friendly section.
Mobile Celebrations: Carnival and Easter
Carnival and Easter are “mobile celebrations”, that is, the dates depend on the lunar calendar and therefore they fall on different dates every year.
If you are visiting Barcelona in early March you might still hit the Barcelona Carnival celebrations. The next years when this will happen are 2022, 2025, 2030, 2033 and 2038.
As for Easter, it usually falls on April, but there’s also years when it’s celebrated earlier. You’ll see Easter celebrations in Barcelona in March in 2024, 2026, 2027, 2029, 2032, 2035, 2037 and 2040.
The Magic Line is a solidary event organized every year by the Fundacio Sant Joan de Déu, a philantropic society composed among other by the main children hospital of Barcelona to raise money for causes going from mental health to poverty. If you are at least 4 people, you can contribute by registering as a group, choosing one of their routes and helping rising funds.
There’s 10 routes within Barcelona and many more outside of the city. You can participate on foot, by bike, skating or even in kayak! Is there a better way to explore the land than doing it with locals and helping to a cause? More information here.
FC Barcelona Matches
In March the FC Barcelona is immersed in the Spanish League, La Liga. There’s still three months to go and nothing is decided yet. They play at home every two weeks, so make sure to check if there’s a match during your March trip!
Alternatively, other things to do would be visiting the Camp Nou stadium, one of the largest in the world. Or see if the second team of the city, the RCD Espanyol is playing at home instead. Or watch a game in one of the many Barcelona sport bars.
Watch the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
The Volta Ciclista a Catalunya is what the Tour de France or the Giro d’Italia is to Catalonia. This world-class 7-stage bike route takes place at the end of March and one of the stages is celebrated in Barcelona. Check out where the itinerary goes and join the local bicycle fans watching the participants bike along the city streets!
Be aware of daylight saving time
Although nowadays our cellphones change automatically, this is something that can still catch you by surprise. Did you know that in Europe Spring Daylight Saving Time happens on the early morning of the last Sunday of March (at 2PM, for Spain).
In Canada and the USA it’s done on the second Sunday of March instead, so you might not be expecting it to happen again during your trip! Beware, specially if you are taking a plane that day.
What to visit in Barcelona in March
Top Barcelona places to visit and itineraries
If you are visiting Barcelona in March, you’ll find all the sites open on their regular schedule, even if some might still be on their winter opening hours. So sorry, this is not going to be a post listing top sites and fun things to do in Barcelona. There’s already a lot of them around. This is a post on what’s unique to March in the city. But if you need some sightseeing ideas, here you have some:
And here are some great ideas to organize your stay and make the best use of your time:
How To Spend One Day In Barcelona
What To Do In Barcelona In 48 Hours
What To Do In 3 Days In Barcelona
4 Days Barcelona Plan
A Perfect Barcelona 5 Day Itinerary
Best day trips from Barcelona in March
In the other hand, there are day trip destinations where the month of the year clearly matters. For instance, March is still too cold to plan a day trip to the Costa Brava or to Cadaques: the beach season hasn’t started yet and many things will still be closed. Sitges is instead a good alternative for a beach day trip because it’s warmer and stays busier throughout the year.
In the other hand, while we don’t recommend the Monastery of Montserrat between December and February, March starts being a good time to visit it. There’s not as much fog, there’s less clouds and the Escolania Choir sings as usual.
Other destinations such as the Roman ruins of Tarragona, the medieval town of Girona and the Penedes wineries are great the whole year around. And the Dali Museum in Figueres isn’t crowded yet.
As for a day trip to see the snow, good news! March is usually the last month of the ski season. The snow might not be in perfect conditions and might be mostly artificial, but you can still go skiing near Barcelona in March.