Barcelona looks out into the Mediterranean and thanks to that the temperature is mild, winters are never very cold – rarely snows – and summers are hot, but not unlivable hot. Nevertheless the temperature is increasingly rising and recently we’ve had some long heat waves so, especially in July and August, take precaution!
Here are a few tips to beat the heat and stay cool in summer
1. Early Bird
Start the day early: from 8 until 10 am it is really nice to walk around, there is still some breeze before the sun is high.
>> Top choice: If you’re an early riser start the day with Park Güell, you will find far less people than in the afternoon and it is not too hot. Beware to book in advance!
2. Block the Sun
Heat in Barcelona is sticky. What actually makes you feel hot in Barcelona, are not only the high temperatures, but the humidity. So you must keep both the heat and the humidity outside your room.
Close the blinds before leaving the hotel. You can reduce the heat that passes into your room by 45%. Wait until the evening to open the windows and ventilate, or first thing in the morning before the heat is up outside. It is much easier to avoid the heat getting inside than to get it out later on.
When the air conditioning is on, close all the windows and doors to avoid the heat creeping in. Adjust the thermostat around 23-25ºC, consider the humidity indoors will be low, so it will feel cooler. You will also help save energy and mitigate climate change.
>> Look out for the details: The blinds in modernista buildings are beautifuly decorated. Curved shapes, colours and rich decorations are in every detail, from the windows and balconies, to the rooftop and even the furniture. The best place to see it is in Passeig de Gracia avenue, where you’ll find the focal point of Catalan Modernisme, the Illa de la Discòrdia. The block of discord has monuments from the 3 main architects of Modernisme: Casa Lleó Morera by Domènech i Montaner, Casa Amatller and Casa Batlló.
3. Dress right
Wear loose and light-colored clothes to keep cool. They allow air movement near the skin and help with evaporation. It is even better if you wear sports fabrics that help transfer sweat away from your body.
Cover yourself from the sun. Wear sunglasses, a hat and cover your shoulders. Don’t get sunburned both for your health but also because it makes you feel hot.
4. Drink often
Drink, drink and drink water at all times. Always carry a bottle, you will find lots of supermarkets that sell cold water so you can hydrate throughout the day.
Stop for some Orxata and Granissat, they are the best drinks in summer and the locals’ favourite cold drinks.
- Orxata is a tigernut milk… don’t be put off by the description, it is absolutely delicious!
- Granissat is made of juice and crushed ice. There are lots of flavours: classic lemon and orange, but also strawberry, watermelon or even mojito!
Avoid drinks that dehydrate, any with alcohol, caffeine or lots of sugar.
Drink hot tea! Seems unlikely but it will actually cool you off. Take note from the experts, from Mexico, Morocco to India, they drink hot tea and eat spicy food.
5. Eat light
Tapas are a great option, choose a few of these delicious small portions of food, especially those with vegetables. Avoid heavy meals that will leave you feeling sluggish and instead have some fruit. Watermelon has an amazingly high content of water.
>> Best choice: La Boqueria Market is the perfect place to taste a little bit of everything. It is the favourite market of our guide Laura, she says that once you get in you feel an explosion of colours and flavours. La Boqueria has food from all over the world, its motto is: If you can eat it, we have it.
6. Stay away from midday scorching sun
Stay indoors at least between 1 and 3 pm: you can have lunch, make a trip to Montserrat mountain, stay underground in the cool Codorníu Wine Cellars or even take a siesta! When the sun is highest it is best to stay away from the sun.
Consider that in Spain, noon is actually 2 pm! In summer there is a 2 hour time difference between what our clock says and the solar time… could this be why we have a late lunch?
7. Go swimming
La Barceloneta is a good option for a quick swim but you can also take the train and in just a few minutes you’ll find some amazing beaches. The train trip is breathtaking as it moves parallel to the beach. You can just look out for any beach you like and get out at the next stop.
Swimming is the best way to do some exercise and stay cool!
8. Shower in warm water
A cold shower will give you some relief but the warm shower will actually keep you cool longer because it will reduce your body temperature.
Please avoid baths! Remember water supply is finite, especially in summer when the dams are half empty. Barcelonans are conscious about it and their water consumption is very low, you can help us maintain it.
9. Night Owl
Stay out at night. It is generally cooler outside than inside, as during the day the heat has gradually gone into the buildings.
By night the coolest neighbourhood to be is in La Barceloneta, as it is right by the sea and you will feel the breeze coming in. Another good choice is Gracia, the best neighbourhood to have a drink in the terraces outside bars.
Looking for a plan for a night out in Barcelona? Check Mayte’s post and she’ll give you 5 great ideas.
10. Sleep loose
There are lots of tricks and tips on how to keep cool when you sleep. Basically you should try to get cool before going to bed. Stay out for a while, have a shower and best of all, put your bedding in the freezer, the feeling is amazing!
Once in bed you should be wearing light cotton pyjamas, have a spray bottle next to you to mist your face and neck now and then. You can turn on the fan at night to encourage airflow, it is much nicer than air conditioning.
How do you beat the heat? Do you know any great places to stay cool in Barcelona?