It is not often, but when it does rain, it rains cats and dogs. It seems like the world is about to end, you hear the thunder, the sky turns dark and, from nowhere, it starts pelting with rain.
What’s the chance that it rains during your stay in Barcelona?
We have over 300 sunny days in Barcelona. So you are either very lucky or unlucky if you get a rainy day.
I wanted to share with you some useful things to know about rain in Spain when it doesn’t stay in the plane and, mainly, about rain in Barcelona. These are our wonderfull BGB assistants Karla and Somaya, the picture was taken by someone who was warm and comfortable in the Daily Tours bus.
When does it rain in Barcelona?
The Mediterranean climate, which you can imagine may be influenced by the Mediterranean Sea, means that we get some mild winters, not terribly hot summers and, in spring and autumn, some unpredictable storms accompanied by the perfect not too hot – not too cold temperature.
Autumn and spring are the seasons when it mostly rains in Barcelona, although we rarely have a single day when we don’t see a bit of sun.
Beware that the weather can be very different at a very short distance from Barcelona. For instance, Montserrat is in average around 5ºC below Barcelona’s temperature, and it is only at an hour drive! There is also a strong wind called Tramuntana in the northeast of Catalonia, it is said the locals there are a bit crazy because they have been touched by the Tramuntana, and that is where Salvador Dalí came from… I’ll leave you to make your own conclusions! This is where the Costa Brava is, and the 3 main museums dedicated to Dalí in Figueres, Portlligat and Púbol.
In the rest of Spain, the climate is similar along the Mediterranean Sea, although the heat increases as you go further south. The north has a cooler and rainier Atlantic climate. The centre is continental, drier, with colder winters and really hot summers.
So, what can you do on a rainy day?
1. Act like a local and just wait
First of all, look out for the locals! What are they doing? If you’re outdoors, you most likely won’t see any locals around. That’s because, besides a slight belief that you will shrink if you get wet, they know that it won’t last for long. Just sit in a nice bistro café and wait for the thunder to pass. You might enjoy Mayte’s post on how to order coffee in Barcelona.
Ideally, look for a café when it’s raining. Relax and enjoy a hot drink, it will probably not last for long.
2. Complain about the weather
If you want to truly behave like a local – then complain! It actually doesn’t really have to rain, whatever the weather, just complain – it’s so hot! It hasn’t rained for weeks! Gosh! I hate it when it rains! This is one of our favourite hobbies. We’re so interested in the weather there is actually a specific daily TV show exclusively dedicated to the weather forecast.
3. Avoid any kind of transportation
Above all, avoid transportation. You don’t always want to follow the locals. Many people move around in Barcelona on foot, others prefer the bike or motorbike. But we already said that locals hide when it rains, so they don’t walk under the rain. It will be impossible to find a taxi, the buses will be packed with people, and everyone else will have taken their own car. If it is difficult to move around Barcelona in rush hour, it can be hell on a rainy day.
4. Take some romantic pictures
There are not many people who get to see Barcelona under the rain, so it depends on how you look at it, you can consider it a privilege! Especially because you can see Barcelona from a different point of view, with fantastic reflections, with a grey mystic atmosphere to it. Here you can see the winner of #bgbphotowalk on Instagram.
5. Make it the day to visit monuments
Make the best of your time, stay outdoors when the weather is best and visit some monuments during the rain.
I must say that this is a useful but not very original tip. So many other people will have thought the same and you might find there is a queue, just be safe and book online.
The guides of the Palau de la Música are part of BGB team, so we have lived the experience of a sudden rain, and in a moment the whole city hurries in, one would think they have suddenly discovered the Palau. It is actually quite fun, you see everyone just sitting in the concert hall, admiring the amazing ceiling and a light smile come up just while it’s pouring outside.
The Picasso Museum is also a great option. You just won’t find the moment to leave! The museum is in 5 palaces so there is much more to see than what it feels like from outside, with the narrow streets in el Born neighbourhood.
6. Take a bus tour
If you prefer Gaudí, you can take our Gaudí tour by bus and just sit comfortably and warm inside, while you get an overview of the city. You also might want to check this post Mayte wrote about the up to 20 Gaudí monuments you can find in Barcelona.
7. Enjoy a long satisfying lunch, followed by our beloved Siesta
There is a saying in Spanish – allá donde fueres, haz lo que vieres – which translates to when in Rome, do as the Romans do, or in this case, Barcelonans. And what do we love most when we’re on holidays? Or any coming up Sunday… we love to eat and chat along with our family and friends, followed by a nap, which could either be a 30 minutes snooze or even pajamas in bed for about 2 or 3 hours.
This can be the day for a nice paella. On any weekday we have a full hour for lunch, so imagine how long it can be on a Sunday. Ask for the Menu del día, but instead of a nice average restaurant, which is generally quick and to the point for all those that have to go back to work. Check out some of the top restaurants, the menu can be around 15-20 € and, like all the Menus del Día, will include a starter, main dish and dessert. Some hotels have really nice restaurants like Le Meridien in la Rambla, or Hotel Colón near the Cathedral.
8. Go shopping
If it is still raining you can be practical and go to a mall for any shopping you will surely still have to do. I have some mixed feelings with this tip, Barcelonans are outdoor people, so the true shopping experience would be walking along Passeig de Gràcia and Portal de l’Àngel for the main brands, or getting lost in the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter and El Born to find the independent boutiques.
Nevertheless, if it’s raining, the mall is a great option. You can check Maremagnum near the Port Vell or Illa Diagonal. If you’re interested in outlet stores just outside Barcelona is la Roca Village.
9. Enjoy a live music concert
There are many venues where you can enjoy a concert in the evening, just make sure you are under cover. You can check the most iconic monuments like the Liceu Opera House and Palau de la Música. If you’re looking for some Flamenco try the Palacio del Flamenco or look into a more local music: Rumba Catalana. Julia wrote a fantastic article about her favourite venues for all kinds of music, there’s an option for everyone in Barcelona.
10. Go snail hunting
Believe it or not, many Catalans love to eat snails! Or, if you want it more delicatessen: escargot. The whole secret is in the sauce, the experts are in Lleida region and many towns have their own festivity exclusively dedicated to snail dishes.
So, when it’s raining, children love to go out with their grandparents and go snail hunting. I wouldn’t recommend to do that in the city centre thought, better go to Collserola or the nearby parks. It might also be easier just to look for all the snails and other animals in the Sagrada Família.
Storms in Barcelona can be quite amazing. And, as it is not often, the world really stops when it does. I actually got to miss school!! Although truthfully it wasn’t in Barcelona, but just a few miles north, in the Maresme region. They have ‘rierades‘ there: when there are storms, water suddenly comes charging down from the mountains and floods the main streets of the Maresme towns. These streets are called Riera or Rambla – so yes! That is exactly what used to happen to the Rambla when Barcelona was a much smaller town and the Rambla was in the outskirts.
What are your best tricks when it rains and you’re traveling? Have you already visited Barcelona? What was the weather like during you’re stay? Make the most of your comments and complain about the weather as much as you like – just like a true local.