When to fly
There are several annual events which transform Barcelona and make it even busier and more festive than usual making it a great time to fly. Sant Joan is the main event in city, and it usually takes place on the night of the 23rd June. It sees the city light up with bonfires and firework displays, especially on the beach where the celebrations continue until dawn. There is an increased travel service, with special metro and FGC trains running all night.
Música als Parcs: From June to August, a series of free, alfresco concerts are offered in some of Barcelona’s most beautiful parks. Enjoy both a jazz and classical concert programme while taking in the scenery during the summer months.
Be immersed in over 600 events all over Barcelona in the week-long celebration of Festes de la Mercè in honour of the patron saint of the city, Our Lady of Mercy. Expect to see a seafront air show, sporting events, firework displays, free concerts and parades. This is a huge event and around 100,000 people descend on the centre of Barcelona with the hope of watching the final parade.
Barcelona is Spain’s most popular tourist destination, and summer is the peak season. Many of the locals depart for the beach in August and leave the city to the visitors.
Ideal times to visit are May, June, and September when the weather is warm but not sizzling hot and there are more cheap flights.
Between tourists and business travellers, Barcelona is busy year-round. September has fewer tourists, and October has lots of rain. Although the winters are mild, if you are booking a trip, make sure your room is heated. Flights may also be cheaper around this time.
Barcelona, Catalonia's capital and Spain's second-largest city, has it all - effortless cool, history, culture, magical architecture, one of the world's biggest football clubs, beaches, and, the underpinning of any successful trip, a local population with an unquenchable thirst for a night out.
Its standing as a must-visit city means that there is no shortage of cheap flights to Barcelona. The international airport is 13km southwest of the city.
Two very different artists define Barcelona. One is Picasso, who lived in the city from his teenage years to his early-20s. The Picasso Museum has 3,500 of the artist's works, from sketches to paintings and collages. The other artist is Antonio Gaudi who designed the stunning Sagrada Familia (its construction started in 1882 and is still not finished), and Parc Güell, with its resident smiling dragon.
The Gothic quarter has some of the best-preserved medieval streets while the new part of town is around Montjüic hill, from which there are panoramic views of the city.
The tree-lined Las Ramblas sweeps down from the Plaza de Catalunya to the water, a lively area of cafes, market stalls and lots of street theatre.
Well-known for hosting the Summer Olympics in 1992, Barcelona continues to be a popular destination for competitive sports. People with an interest in arts and crafts can also enjoy a variety of trade exhibitions and artisan markets in addition to museums exhibiting classical artwork. The city also boasts a vibrant night life, with a variety of clubs, theatres and music venues to enjoy.
On the shores of the Mediterranean, Barcelona has hot summers and cool winters. July and August are the hottest months with the temperatures occasionally pushing 37 degrees. January is the coolest month when temperatures are usually in the 10s. May and June are sunny and warm, and in September the heat starts to cool down to comfortable ranges.Getting from the Airport to the CityOnce the flight arrives at Barcelona airport (BCN), the Aerobus service goes to and from Placa de Catalunya every 15 minutes, stopping off at locations along the way. It is a good option for those with little luggage. Trains run from the airport to various stations in the city centre every 30 minutes. The airport station is located near the terminal and is connected to it by a moving walkway. There are taxi ranks outside the airport. Taxis are metered and the journey time by road or rail is between 20 and 30 minutes.
Getting around Barcelona
The public transportation system is very thorough and includes a bus network, a metro, several tram networks and aerial cable cars. It's a great way to get around Barcelona but walking is a very nice way to explore.
The double-decker Bus Turistic makes stops at popular tourist destinations in the summer. Save some money by buying multiple-ride tickets. The Barcelona Card gets you discounts at various restaurants and tourist attractions. You can also rent mopeds and bicycles, or hail a taxi.
Taxis are reasonably priced, but it’s always a good idea to make sure the meter is running. Note that fares are more expensive at night.
Visitors who prefer to drive will find that Barcelona is well-connected with neighbouring areas. Three international routes cut through the city, and an extensive network of highways and smaller roads help to connect major sights within the city.
Barcelona insider information
- There are so many major tourist attractions in the city that you may feel like getting off the beaten track and seeing something a little more esoteric. If so, the Museu del Calcat, or shoe museum, is the perfect spot. The museum showcases the cobbler’s craft from Roman times to the modern day.
- The catamaran Orsom is moored at the port of Barcelona and is a great way to escape the city to the sea or to parts of the Costa Brava. Jazz cruises set out in the evenings. To book, just head to the port at the bottom of Las Ramblas.
- As with most major tourist attractions, it’s best to visit the Sagrada Familia in the very early morning if you want to avoid the crowds. Millions of people come here every year, so unless you enjoy being jostled, arrive first thing in the morning to see it in relative peace and quiet.
- For a more relaxed enjoyment of a Gaudi masterpiece, head for the Parc Guell. Buses stop right outside, or you can take a short walk from the metro. The Unesco site is filled with Gaudi’s stunning sculptures, but there is plenty of room just to sit back and enjoy the views of the city.
- If you want to visit the beaches of Barcelona, the closest to the city centre is Barceloneta. However, this is, understandably, extremely busy. A short bus ride away is Nova Icaria, near to the Olympic marina. As well as the beach are bars and restaurants – but again it is almost always full. To experience the sea in a bit more solitude, take a train to the north (local custom has it that the beaches to the north attract a higher class of visitor) and stop at Ocata, where you'll find a long sandy beach with plenty of space and beautifully clean water.