The arrival of summer in the city of Barcelona is well anticipated. The warm temperature is perfect to enjoy the outdoors and surely, you won’t have trouble finding an enjoyable one. The food if superb, the people are warm, and the culture is spectacularly amazing. Here are the top ten things to do and see when in Barcelona in summer.
Summer officially arrives in Barcelona on June 21 and exits in September 23. The temperature here can be pretty unforgiving with a peak of 30°C around August. Fortunately, the heat acts as a motivator and there are diverse distractions for the restless.
There is something for everyone. There are sports to watch (especially the Spanish favorite - football), beaches to go to, night parties to get wild in, and festivities that allow you to immerse with the locals and their culture. What’s more? Lots of these things are free - or for a minimum fee. So what are you waiting for? !Vamonos!
1. Explore the Tapas Route
Image Source: AnB
Tapas are basically snack servings of any Spanish cuisine that you usually eat with your beer. Every year, most beer companies in this Spanish city sponsor restaurants who compete to create the best tapas among the bunch. The biggest Tapas Routes include De tapes per Barcelona, Vespres Inedits, and Food Explorers de Ruta.
Venture out and you’ll enjoy the variety of tapas offerings by the participants. It’s a delicious way to get drunk, perhaps meet some new people, and to get familiarized with the streets of Barcelona as well.
2. Chill at Rooftop Bars
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Many Spanish tourists and locals enjoy chilling outside during summers. That’s why most hotels and restaurants in the city start opening their rooftop spaces for the patrons at the beginning of the season. The rooftop setting is the perfect setup for dining al fresco while enjoying the view of the city or simply chilling with a beer among your friends. The warm summer atmosphere definitely completes the ambience.
In Barcelona, some of the best Rooftop Bars include:
Sky Bar at the Grand Hotel Central
Open from March to October daily from 8pm to 1am
Beer €3, glass of wine €4, cocktail €10
The Pulitzer Terrace at Hotel Pulitzer
Open from May to September, from 6pm til midnight
Beer €4, glass of wine €5, cocktail €10
La Isabela at Hotel 1898
Open from May daily 10am til midnight;
Opens in Jun daily from 1pm til midnight;
Open from July to September daily from 1pm to 2am;
Open in October daily from 1pm to 9pm
Beer €5, glass of wine €7.50, cocktail €9.50
La Terraza at Villa Emilia
Open daily from 11am to 1am
Beer €4.50, glass of wine €5, cocktail €10
La Terraza del Claris at Claris Hotel
Open daily from 1pm to 2am
Glass of wine €6, cocktail €15
La Dolce Vitae at Majestic Hotel
Open from October to April daily from 10am to 9pm;
Open in May daily from 10am to 11pm;
Open from June to September daily from 10am til midnight
Beer €7, glass of wine €10, cocktail €15
B-Pool Bar at B-Hotel
Open daily from 8pm to1am
Beer €3, glass of wine €4, cocktail €9
3. Party Like Maaaad
Image Source: Vacation Parties
Nothing like a good party to conclude the day. And in Barcelona, there are plenty of summer parties to look forward to. Fiesta Mayores are definitely a blast. These are local neighborhood parties replete with street pop ups and colorful decors. The biggest celebrations in summer occur in Gracia and Sants in August.
The Brunch in the Park will be held at the Jardins de Joan Brossa in Montjuïc, a continuation of the Brunch in the City series in Poble Espanyol. This brings the biggest names in electronic music to center stage. The parties will take place every Sunday between the first of July to the 16th of September.
The WetDeck Summer Sessions at Hotel W also happens every Sunday from June 10 to August 19. During the summer, this prestigious hotel offers one of the most exclusive series of parties in the city with top DJs such as Roger Sanchez, Todd Terry and Roland Clark for the groove.
For those who love discos, head to the terrace of the Top at The Gallery Hotel on July 4 to August 7. The Love Come Down: El Verano del Disco summer party brings great city views, cocktail, an all-night dance floor, and the best disco records for the funnest disco soiree in the Barcelona.
For two days, on August 10 and 11, the DGTL Festival will return to Parc del Fòrum for an all-out summer party with the best of electro music with conceptual art performances and installations.
4. Attend a Music Festival
Image Source: Barcelona Hair Academy
Because there is music where the party is, this list is an addition to the aforementioned. Electro music is not the only genre getting the spotlight this summer. Pop and the rock genres will also takes the stage.
On July 19 to 22, the Festival Internacional de Benicàssim combines music and art in its music-filled frenzies that features electronica artists as well as pop and rock masters. The Benicàssim music fest is reputed to be among the best iun the international festival circuit and an easy crowd favorite.
At Parc del Forum on August 10 and 11, the DGTL Barcelona takes place with a full display of inspiration and surprise. Like the Benicàssim music fest, it also includes art in its musical production, tantalizing visitors and keeping them thirsting for more.
The Rototom Sunsplash is another musical event to be held in Benicàssim from August 16 to 22. The Rototom features the best of European reggae.
Meanwhile, in Borianna from July 21 to August 5, the seaside becomes a busy scene where musical performance from both international and local stage will be witnessed. Fans can take a dip or party by the pool for a complete summer-themed party.
5. Watch a Movie
Image Source: Devour Barcelona
In Barcelona, open air cinemas in summer are held in different locations:
Hell of High Water from David Mackenzie will air at Sala Montjuic on August 1 with Spanish subtitles. Before the concert, you will be serenaded by a jazz concert from Lucia & Horacio Fumero.
On August 2, CosmoNits de pel-licula will show the animated film Wall E by Andrew Stanton with Spanish subtitles. This film is the closing film of this year’s outdoor cinema festival at CosmoCaixa which delved on the theme Robotics. A live performance from the band The Soul Tito will be witnessed at 9pm.
On the same day, the Cinema a la fresca a l'Illa Diagonal will also air The Big Sick directed by Michael Showalter. This film is also the last of L'Illa Diagonal's summer outdoor film series.
On the following day, head to the Canondrom in Sant Andreau for a showing of Mad Max: Fury Road, the 2015 film by George Miller, starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron.
6. Explore Costa Brava
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In summer, most of the local folks pack their bags and head to resorts, beaches, or the cooler countrysides to refresh from the summer sun and enjoy their holidays. A common favorite in terms of what you’d call a ‘quick escape’ is the beautiful Costa Brava coastline, a 160-km stretch of rugged coast in Catalonia, the province where Barcelona belongs to.
Costa Brava starts from Blanes which is north of Barcelona, all the way to Roses, near the French border. The whole coast is lined with small towns and fishing villages whose silence has easily been disrupted by tourism in the last few decades. However, you can still feel the quiet ambience of the towns, each with their proud Spanish culture that is very evident in their food, festivals, and way of life.
Listen to the famous habaneras in Calella de Palafrugell, visit the ancient city of Tossa de Mar and the botanic gardens in Blanes and Lloret de Mar. The Pals and Peratallada has its own to offer, and the Parc natural de Cap de Creus or the Parc Natural Aiguamolls in L'Empordà are also worth stopping by.
Rent a car if you want to tour the whole coast.
7. Enjoy Picnic at the Park
Image Source: Linguaschools Barcelona
After a full night of partying, it’s nice to enjoy a lazy, laid-back afternoon with your travel buddy or new Spanish friends. In this case, a picnic at the park is what you need. Head to the most beautiful park in the city, the Parc de la Ciutadella, which holds a boating lake, playgrounds, a waterfall, and even a city zoo! There are always a lot of people but no worries - the crowd does not diminish the tranquility and beauty of the place.
If you want something surreal, you can check out Park Güell, a space seem to be cut out of the ordinary with its otherworldly and unusual buildings that looks like it popped right out of a Grimm’s fairy tale chapter. Park Güell is famous for its sinuous tiled bench that winds around an esplanade with a view across Barcelona.
After a day of people watching, the Born district just beside the Parc de la Ciutadella is an easy destination. It’s filled with shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants to keep you busy all afternoon.
8. Have a City Walk
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Walking gets you closer to a city like no other activity does. And in Barcelona, walking is E-ssential, especially if you are on the hunt for the specials.
You can easily find guided walking tours in the city but if you don’t want to depend on a group and would rather take the DIY route, be sure to take the Ruta del Modernisme which winds through the city and takes you to more than a hundred examples of Catalonia’s art nouveau. Buy a map and treat yourself to the best sights of Barcelona such as the famed Sagrada Familia and the Palau de la Música Catalana.
At the famous La Rambla, great restaurants and handsome buildings line the wide street. Be on the lookout for Joan Miró’s pavement mosaic. Enjoy the shops and stop by cafes for refreshments. And if you get hungry, there’s nothing like the Boqueria market to find the best local food in town.
A lovely walk around the Montserrat is another wonderful pastime. Ride a cable car from the Montserrat-Aeri station or take the train from the Monistrol de Montserrat station to the famous monastery. Montserrat is considered the cradle of Catalunya’s independent spirit. Be sure to witness its famous boys choir during the mass at around 1pm every day.
9. Walk Along the Beach
Image Source: Barcelona Turisme
It’s pretty great to have a convenient beach escape right in the city itself. But actually, the beach hasn’t always been there - or at least it never really looked like as it is today. Around 1992, during the Olympics, sand was dredged from the sea bed and some palm trees were transported from Malaga, the result of which is what we now see as the 7km-stretch of sand that is much loved among locals who can’t escape the city during the summer months. Being in the city, it’s not especially crowdless though it does get quieter the further you head down to the Forum. The part of Platja de Barceloneta can get the most peopled.
After a long day of walking or sightseeing, the beach is a nice escape. Walk along the coast or simply chill and see people walk past, before the night comes and you head back to the summer raucous of La Barcelona.
10. Dine Al Fresco
Image Source: foodandwine.com
Food is definitely one of the many things that the Spanish take seriously and as much as they love cuisine, they love to dine too! In the summer months, many local folks take it a habit to dine outdoors, basking in the warm summer air and enjoying the lively atmosphere, especially with great food and a view of the city.
If you wanna joint the fun, there are plenty of restaurants in the city with outdoor seating. Unfortunately, these are coveted spots too so if you want to find a good seat, be sure to reserve first or show up early. Or else, you should at least be willing to wait.
Barcelona is a beautiful summer destination. The places are memorable and the atmosphere is lively. There´s plenty to see and even more to do. You scarcely need an itinerary to have fun but if you want to keep organized, this list will definitely go in handy.