Shopping night Barcelona 2012

Paseo de Gracia – the posh shopping avenue of Barcelona

In a popular tourist city like Barcelona, it can be hard to see the city through the throngs of visitors. One way to get a better feel for a place like Barcelona is to visit in the off-season.

You’ll avoid the crowds and weather in the off-season is still pleasant, almost never falling bellow about 55°F or 15° C. 

Here are my top tips for getting the most out of your off-season city break in Barcelona.

  1. Plan around the high holidays

We’d recommend planning around holidays like Christmas, New Year and then Easter in spring. Those are popular times to be in the city, which influences the price of accommodation and restaurants. Additionally, many of the sights you want to see could be closed during these times.

Christmas market in front of the Cathedral

Christmas market in front of the Cathedral. Photo: Antonio Velez

  1. Check seasonal opening times

In high season, sites are open for visitors most of the time. But if you’re visiting during the off-season, the last thing you want is for the place you’ve come to see to be closed. For example, the Sagrada Familia closes a few hours earlier in winter and is only open half the day over Christmas. Make sure to get the most of your holidays with a guided tour organized by a local company.

Sagrada familia

Sagrada familia

  1. Eat all the delicious food

When it’s hot, it can be a bit difficult to take advantage of all the deliciousness that Barcelona has on offer. But when the mercury drops, it’s time to eat. Make sure you try an escudella i carn d’olla, a traditional Catalan stew with noodles, veggies, and an enormous meatball.  And you won’t have to look far for suizos, hot chocolate sauce, and churros—the most delicious dessert for winter! This tapas walking tour is a great way to experience some of the local food.

There's nothing better to fight Winter that churros with hot chocolate

There’s nothing better to fight winter that churros with hot chocolate.

  1. Catch some of the festivals

There are plenty of fun local festivals from October through to April. 

  • January 1 is the First Swim of the Year—it’s cold, but it’s a tradition!
  • In mid-January, you can catch the St. Anthony Festival and Tres Tombs Parade
  • Santa Eulalia on February 12 kicks off a whole week of activities and events
  • At the end of February, you can look forward to the Barcelona Carnaval! It’s not Rio, but it’s a festive, seven-day extravaganza with loads of food, costumes, and parading. 
  1. It might not be sunbathing weather

But don’t discount a visit to the beach! Barceloneta Beach is worth a visit even if just for a walk. It’s beautiful and, since the weather rarely gets that cold, you might even dip your toes in the Med.

Barcelona is an incredible city no matter the season. We love encouraging visitors to come in the off-season, so you can experience the city the same way we locals do. 

I hope these tips help you to plan your next city break to Barcelona. See you soon in our city!

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