Barcelona, one of Spain's dazzling Mediterranean-hugging cities, has boundless culture, fabled architecture and museums, vibrant festivals, and an unrivaled drinking and dining scene. It's also known to suffer from overtourism, particularly in July and August, which is peak tourist season. So when is the best time to visit? From the best weather to the main events, here's a month-by-month breakdown of what's happening in Barcelona through the year.
Editor's note: during COVID-19 there are restrictions on travel. Check the latest guidance before departure, and always follow local health advice. Events may be subject to change.
High season: June to August and public holidays
Best time for festivals and events
Accommodation books out across Barcelona in high season and prices increase significantly. Locals tend to leave the city. Expect warm and sunny weather with some humidity.
Shoulder season: March to May, September and October
Best time for long city strolls
Shoulder season is a good time to visit Barcelona, with mild, clear weather and fewer crowds, but be sure to book ahead if you're traveling over Easter. In September, the sea is still warm. For pleasant weather, but without the sea dips, come in May.
Low season: November to February
Best time for budget travelers
Temperatures tend to be fairly mild in Barcelona through winter, ranging from a low of 46ºF (8ºC) to a high of 59ºF (15ºC). Streets are often empty, and accommodation costs drop.
The timings of some festivals vary depending on when Easter falls, and events can shift slightly between months. Here's a monthly guide to what you can expect through the year in Barcelona.
Barcelonins head to the Pyrenees for action on the ski slopes. School holidays run until around January 8.
Key events: Reis (Reyes), Festes dels Tres Tombs.
Often the coldest month in Barcelona, February sees few visitors. Some of the first big festivals kick off, bringing abundant Catalan merriment amid the wintry gloom.
Key events: Festes de Santa Eulàlia, Llum BCN, Carnestoltes (Carnaval).
March brings longer, sunnier days, though still cool nights (light-jacket weather). There are relatively few tourists around and fairer hotel prices.
Key events: Barcelona Marathon (will be in November in 2021), Festa de San Medir.
Spring arrives with a flourish, leading to Easter revelry and school holidays, but April showers can dampen spirits. Book well ahead for Easter trips.
Key events: Barcelona Beer Festival, La Diada de Sant Jordi, Feria de Abril de Catalunya, Setmana Santa, Passejada Amb Barret, Barcelona Open.
With sunny pleasant days and clear skies, May can be one of the best times to visit Barcelona. Lively xiringuitos (beach bars) open, gearing up for summer.
Key events: L’Ou Com Balla, Festa de Sant Ponç, Festival de Flamenco de Ciutat Vella, D’A – Festival Internacional de Cinema d’Autor de Barcelona.
Visitor numbers (and hotel prices) soar as Barcelona plunges into summer. Live-music festivals and open-air events give the month a festive air.
Key events: Primavera Sound, Festival Pedralbes, La Revetlla de Sant Joan, Pride Barcelona, Sónar.
Prices are high and it's peak tourist season, but July is a lively time to be in the city, with sun-filled beach days, open-air dining and outdoor concerts.
Key events: Cinema Lliure a la Platja, Festival del Grec, Crüilla, Rock Fest Barcelona.
The heat index soars; barcelonins leave the city in droves for summer holidays, as huge numbers of tourists arrive.
Key events: Festa Major de Gràcia, Festa de san Roc, Ffesta Major de Sants, Circuit, Música als Parcs.
Those that took August off return to the city. Temperatures stay warm, making for fine beach days.
Key events: Diada Nacional de Catalunya, Festes de la Mercè, Festa Major de la Barceloneta, Mostra de Vins i Caves de Catalunya.
While northern Europe shivers, Barcelona enjoys mild October temperatures and sunny days. With the disappearance of summer crowds and lower accommodation prices, this is an excellent month to visit.
Key events: Liber, Mercat de Mercats, Open House Barcelona.
Cooler days and nights arrive, along with occasional days of rain and overcast skies. It's low season, but if you don't mind a bit of gray weather, it's still a great time to visit.
Key events: Día de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day), Manga Barcelona, Fira de Santa Llúcia, LOOP Barcelona, Festival de Jazz Barcelona, L'Alternativa.
As winter returns barcelonins gear up for the festive period, and the city is festooned with colorful decorations. Relatively few visitors arrive until Christmas, though.
Key events: Nadal, New Year's Eve.
You might also like:
Highlights of Barcelona
Top free things to do in Barcelona
Why Poblenou is Barcelona's coolest neighborhood