While many head to Barcelona for its beautiful beaches and terraces, there are actually quite a few awesome things to do in Barcelona in winter too! This guide covers some popular favorites!
While many attractions and activities on this list are available year-round, Barcelona does suffer from over-tourism, and visiting in winter can give you the chance to have a calmer experience (and even a cheaper trip)!
This guide covers some of the top things to do during winter in Barcelona from a seasonal standpoint, but also it recommends some popular tours and sights that can be visited year-round (but offer a better experience in winter).
If you’re looking to get away from freezing-cold temperatures, Barcelona is, in fact, the perfect place to consider visiting due to its mild winters and virtually no snow.
Did we miss anything important to know before taking a winter trip to Barcelona? Let us know in the comments. Thanks!
Winter in Barcelona Quick Facts
Barcelona Winter Temperatures
One misconception people have about Barcelona is that it doesn’t get cold in the winter. Well, it definitely stays milder than Northern Europe, but the temperatures are not particularly swimmable!
Here are the averages throughout the winter in Barcelona:
- December in Barcelona: Highs, 16°C (60°F). Lows, 9°C (49°F)
- January in Barcelona: Highs, 15°C (59°F). Lows, 8°C (48°F)
- February in Barcelona: Highs, 15°C (59°F). Lows, 8°C (47°F)
- March in Barcelona: Highs, 17°C (63°F). Lows, 10°C (50°F)
Does it Snow in Barcelona?
While you will easily find snow in other parts of Spain during the winter, the likelihood that you’ll see it in Barcelona is very slim!
Best Things to Do in Barcelona in Winter
1. Visit the Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia has been the emblem of Barcelona since the beginning of its construction in 1883 and is currently the largest unfinished Roman Catholic church– proclaimed by the Pope as a minor basilica.
Explore the mind of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and his combination of Gothic and Art Nouveau architectural traits in his biggest masterpiece and accomplishment.
Due to the high number of tourists annually, it’s best to skip the queue at the door and purchase the tickets online.
The tickets work with time slots and thus, the exact time and date of the visit must be chosen with purchase.
To tour the temple at your own pace whilst also receiving an informational guide aid in your respective language, consider the popular Audio Guide tour.
2. Enjoy the Llum BCN (Barcelona Festival of Lights)
In the heart of Poblenou is the recently inaugurated annual Barcelona Festival of Lights; the modern architectural district is turned into a light show by the hands of art students from Barcelona’s art, architecture, and design schools in collaboration with local and international artists.
When nighttime comes around, Poblenou’s buildings, streets, and plazas transform into a light and sound show arena using projections, LED lights using large-scale projections, and audio-visual displays.
This illuminated, urban laboratory attracts international talent and thus challenges the world of art and its potential, approaching trends, with its own distinctive features and groundbreaking, aesthetic transformation of light.
3. Stop by Park Guell
The same Catalan modernist architect who created the iconic symbol of Barcelona– the Sagrada Familia– also designed the gardens and architecture of the privatized Park Güell.
It is built on Carmen Hill in the neighborhood of La Salut (which is one of the best neighborhoods to live in Barcelona even if it is expensive), and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
It has more than 17 hectares and is one of the largest green spaces in Barcelona.
Tour the garden at your own pace by arriving at the time selected on your ticket.
After your admission, wander through the Austria Gardens and admire the Dragon Stairway mosaic, or the skyline of the city from the viewing points.
4. Watch the L’Home dels Nassos Parade
On the last day of the year, on the 31st of December, the mythical L’Home dels Nassos comes out of hiding.
Children are on the hunt for the nose man that their parents told them about– the man with as many noses as there are days left in the year.
This Catalan folklore alludes to the notion that man can start afresh on New Year’s Day and time is but a transitory attribute of life.
In the Gothic Quarter from 10 AM until the early afternoon, a large-nosed Capgross makes its appearance before nosily moseying around the city.
5. Christmas Walking Tour of Barcelona
Christmas in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter and Old City is nothing short of magical; from illuminated streets decorated with an assortment of lights to nativity sets and Christmas markets in a Cathedral, there are tons to see, do, and enjoy.
For the most out of your experience, start your visit to the Quarter with a tour guide to give you all the ins and outs of where to go, eat, and do– prior to wandering around yourself at your own pace.
Learn about local Catalan Christmas traditions whilst admiring a historic architectural center and eating Spanish Churros with chocolate sauce.
6. Check Out the FC Barcelona Museum and Camp Nou
The home stadium of FC Barcelona is Camp Nou, also the largest stadium in Europe, which is packed with people every game.
Learn about the history of Barcelona and the football club as you tour through Camp Nou while enjoying panoramic views of the stadium.
Afterward, take a tour of the FC Barcelona Museum while experiencing its new audiovisual multimedia area, interactive walls, showcases, and collection of items.
The included Camp Nou Experience tour takes you into the changing rooms, the tunnel, the television studio, the multimedia space, the mixed zone, the press room, and the commentary boxes.
As you tour the facilities, you can learn about the legendary players, the values of the club, and their legacy.
7. Celebrate Christmas in Barcelona
The streets in Barcelona are illuminated brightly with lavish and ornate Christmas decorations as early as December 8th with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Christmas trees, decorations, and the atmosphere last until after the Epiphany on January 6th when the handing out of presents takes place.
The shops in the narrow streets of the old city and the Christmas markets, particularly the Fira de Santa Llúcia Christmas Market and Fira de Nadal at the Sagrada Familia attract the most visitors.
Historically famous for its sale of building materials for Christmas mangers, there are also figurines and miniatures made of wood, incense sticks, candles, and festive delicacies like the Roscón de Reyes, a special brioche cake, and the Caga tió, a Catalan symbol for a good harvest.
This is one of Europe’s best places to celebrate Christmas!
8. Enjoy the Barcelona Christmas Markets
In the plaza in front of Barcelona Cathedral is the oldest Christmas market dating back to the 18th Century, the Market of Saint Lucia, which sells items ranging from handcrafted figurines, jewelry, and ornaments.
At the Fira de Nadal de la Sagrada Família, there are traditional snacks and delicacies like roasted chestnuts, churros, and hot chocolate.
Fira de Nadal del Port Vell offers more activities, with a Ferris wheel, a traditional carousel, a floating nativity scene, and a giant LED Christmas tree.
The first two markets open at the end of November and close on Christmas Eve, whereas the latter is until the Epiphany.
On Kings Day, Fira de Reis has children’s toys, caganers, and cagatios for last-minute gift-giving! Celebrating Christmas in Barcelona is actually pretty fun!
9. Celebrate La Fira de La Candelera
On the 2nd of February, it is La Candelera, a Roman Catholic holiday commemorating the purification of Mary; however, the holiday actually holds its roots in Juno Februa, a pagan ceremony marking the halfway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox in Roman times.
Traditionally it has been an important day for farmers, but today it is an agricultural fair of over 900 stalls with produce and items ranging from trees, plants, tools, handicrafts, cheese, and wine.
Additionally, there are wine and cava festivals, in which large tables are set up nearby so that paellas, botifarras, and the traditional stew of the region, La Coradella, can be eaten.
The fair also has an exhibition of historical farm equipment and machinery, as well as vintage and newer vehicles.
10. Party at the Sitges Carnival
Celebrate Mardi Gras for a week straight at the Sitges Carnival; experience back-to-back parties in different towns and events with endless food, floats, dancers, costumes, and music in a procession through the street from February 15th to February 22nd.
It is the last blowout part before the start of Lent, and thus Barcelona takes pride in throwing one of the largest extravaganzas in Spain.
All locations and times will be confirmed upon the start of the carnival, but the Barri de Ribera neighborhood and El Born Centre de Cultura i Memòria are prime locations.
As Sitges is one of the gay capitals of Europe, the festivals include drag queens.
The week-long celebration kicks off on Fat Thursday and ends on Ash Wednesday.
11. Have a Fine Dining Experience at Disfrutar
For a Mediterranean meets Modern gastronomic experience, Disfrutar has a highly raved proposal for you.
Right in front of the Ninot Market in Eixample sits the bold establishment, with bright, versatile colors of ceramic and clay textures leading you into the central corridor.
It has had two stars in the Michelin Guide since 2018 and is rated third place in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2022 along with other achievements.
There are four true gastronomic, fine dining experiences to select from the Disfrutar Classic, Festival, Wine Pairing, and Alcohol-Free Wine Pairing.
Specialized tasting menus composed of classic creations of the house or seasonal compositions are served with or without alcohol.
Enjoy an artisanal display of dishes, excellent service, and mind-blowing flavor combinations of almost 30 courses!
12. Watch a Flamenco Show at the City Hall Theater
The traditional Spanish art form of flamenco, which is the fusion of various folkloric music traditions of southern Spain, was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2010.
In the Teatro de Barcelona, enjoy the Spanish cultural heritage performed by some of the most prominent dancers and talented artists in Spain with Catalan roots.
The most notable characteristics of authentic flamenco are the beat percussion, fast-rhythm guitar solos, the melismatic and microtonic slides of the vocalist that are equally both melodic and rhythmic called Soleás, and face-to-face duels that showcase the emotion of the artform and specific song at hand.
The beautiful, red velvet theater hosts these one-hour shows every day for those looking to get a taste of flamenco.
13. Celebrate the New Year in Barcelona
New Year’s in Barcelona has extravagant parties, but it also has the tradition of gathering families and friends together to enjoy one last meal for the year– a late meal –before hitting the big parties at the clubs, bars, pubs, and discos.
The locals gather in the Parc de Montjuic to celebrate the new year, and nearby in Plaça Espanya is where Barcelona holds its official New Year’s celebration, near Font Magica where the fireworks are held.
Also, nearby the fountains is another one of the biggest parties of the night in Poble Espanyol. In the center of Plaça Catalunya you will find another packed party.
Called Nochevieja in Spanish and Cap d’Any in Catalan, Catalonia’s tradition lies in family.
14. Dive into Barcelonaʻs Craft Beer Scene
The craft beer culture in Barcelona is newer but by no means is it amateur; with experts from all over the world with the ambition of making craft beer, Barcelona is no longer in the shadow of other cities.
For delicious IPAs and an extensive snack menu, with items such as quesadillas and pulled pork sandwiches, there are two locations in the city to check out the popular Garage Beer Co. BlackLab Brewhouse & Kitchen offers a unique menu consisting of Asian-American dishes and brews ranging from stouts, IPAs, and fruity flavorings inside a historic building with a large outdoor terrace near the Palau de Mar.
Biercab offers around 30 taps to choose from with a delicious menu of comfort food in its stylish establishment.
15. Shop the Winter Sales
The old town of Barcelona has small, traditional shops, some of which are family businesses of many generations, and others belonging to new, trendy fashion boutiques.
The Maremàgnum and the El Corte Inglés are large malls and department stores with just about anything in them– from restaurants, cafes, shops, supermarkets, discos, and a cinema complex; on the top floor of El Corte Inglés there is even a cafe with a beautiful view of the Plaça Catalunya.
For outlet malls, La Roca Village is a great designer discount outlet with not only big names in Spain’s fashion industry but international brands as well.
Winter sales in Barcelona take place after the Epiphany on January 7th and some may even go through February.
16. Take a Paella Cooking Class
Learn to create authentic paella de marisco, or seafood paella, Spain’s traditional rice dish.
Tour the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, Barcelona’s best food market, dating back to the 13th century.
While telling you about the foods on offer, especially the seafood, and the basics of Spanish and Catalan cuisine, the chef will buy some of the fresh ingredients needed to prepare the dish.
The chef will lead you through the streets of the old town of La Ciutat Vella to El Born, where the kitchen and dining room for the cooking experience will be held.
Eat popular appetizers while the chef prepares the paella and tells you about its history, and after you eat, end the meal with homemade sangria.
17. Take a Tapas and Wine Walking Tour
Tour Barcelona’s historic El Born district and Gothic neighborhood as you learn the history of the ingredients, flavor combinations, and profiles of the various kinds of cheese from around Spain, the Iberian ham, seafood such as octopus, signature bread and tomato, and patatas bravas.
As you pass by the beautiful buildings along the neighborhood, you’ll come across four different tapas bars in which the tour guide will initiate a tasting there for your group.
At each authentic restaurant, have a glass (or more) of wine as your tour guide informs you on the history of the cuisine, in relation to the region, the ingredients, and the preparation process.
The restaurants and venues are carefully selected by the guide for the best tapa experience.
18. Go on a Day Trip to Montserrat
Visit the famous monastery of Montserrat and the stunning views from the mountain with a height of 2,380 feet above sea level.
The Benedictine Monastery of Santa Maria is a continuously functioning monastery and its Basilica is notable for housing the Virgin of Montserrat, known as the Black Madonna.
Stroll through the national park next before visiting the Holy Cave, which is now a center of pilgrimage and prayer, where the Virgin appeared according to legend.
At the end of the tour, you can catch the performance of one of the oldest children’s choirs in Europe, La Escolania de Montserrat. Return with the tour guide to Barcelona after your respective tour at either 2:30 PM or 8:30 PM.
19. Enjoy Some of Barcelonaʻs Best Cafes
Nomad Coffee Lab is located near the Parc De La Cuitadella in El Born. It became popular with not only locals but tourists alike due to its coffee training courses, in which the owner– National Barista Champion, Jordi Mestre– has a hand in.
Additionally, the lab offers a variety of beans roasted in Barcelona and is popular for its flat white and nitro cold brew.
In the Gothic Quarter is Tostaderos Bon Mercat, and its low prices in such an ideal, picturesque location will have you suspiciously double-checking their menu.
They also offer a variety of drink sizes, going up to XXL, and alternative milk options, including Oatly oat milk.
El Raval’s Caravelle, in contrast, is more known for its healthy, full food menu; its popular items include coconut French toast and roasted pumpkin salad.
20. Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride
Fly thousands of meters above the landscapes of Catalonia in a hot air balloon ride with views of mountains, forests, blooming, green hills and fields, and streams.
Take pictures and videos of the surreal sight and look for the beautiful traditional architecture distributed throughout the terrain.
The launch is from the Natural Park of Montseny, which is a UNESCO-declared Biosphere Reserve.
The hot air balloon adventure typically lasts for more than 1 hour with a maximum of 9 passengers on the flight, including the pilot; however, private flights are available as well!
After flying, you can savor some of the most popular and local dishes with a Catalan-style breakfast in a country house.
Rides to and from the meet-up point can be accommodated.
Where to Stay in Barcelona
If you’re looking for the best places to stay in Barcelona, here are some of our top picks:
Did we miss any of the best things to do in Barcelona in winter? Let us know your favorite Barcelona winter activities and sights below!
More Spain Travel Guides
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- Valencia in winter
- Lanzarote in winter
- Northern Spain itinerary
- Things to do in Zaragoza
- Airbnbs in Zaragoza
- Weekend trips in Spain
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