10 reasons to get away to Barcelona this Winter
Barcelona doesn't hibernate in winter. Its mild climate and location close to nature mean that the city offers an endless list of things to do, even in the open air. Here are our top 10.
1. The mild climate means there'll be no stopping you
Barcelona's location, by the sea, means that the winter temperatures are very mild, with highs of 14 to 15ºC (57-59ºF) and lows of 7ºC (44ºF). If you wear a warm coat on chillier days, the city will be yours! Enjoy a walk by the sea or a drink and a bite to eat on a sunny terrace and soak up your vitamin D.
2. You won't have to take a snow check!
You'll find snow just two hours away from Barcelona, at the ski resorts in the Catalan Pyrenees. In addition to skiing, you'll be able to go snowboarding or choose from a great choice of activities in the snow from snowshoe treks and husky sled rides to a hot air balloon ride high above the Pyrenees. The SkiBus La Molina-Masella and Skibus Alp 2500 services will take you to the nearest ski resort. And with the Bus Natura Niu de l'Aliga you can spend a day in the high mountains. We've made it easy for you!
3. Barcelona, world cocktail capital.
It's official! Barcelona is a cocktail hotspot. For the first time, in 2022, Barcelona ranked number 1 in The World's 50 Best Bars with Paradiso, and had two more in the top 10: Sips (number 3) and Two Schmucks (number 7). This is the ultimate accolade for Barcelona's high-end cocktail bars, some of them located in amazing spaces, such as the sophisticated Skyfall Cocktail Club, under the glass dome of the Hotel Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower, 105m above the city. Here, you can sample a great cocktail and enjoy the breathtaking 360º views of the city. Got Coffee & Cocktails at the Hotel Kimpton Vividora Barcelona, in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, offers an ingenious cocktail list and traditional vermouths. The Punch Room at the Barcelona Edition Hotel is a speakeasy serving signature cocktails and punches made with local produce and served in vintage silverware. Raising a toast with your favourite cocktail is guaranteed.
4. You'll fall in love with our winter food
In addition to some of the star ingredients of the season, such as artichokes from El Prat and typical hearty fare, like the delicious broth escudella, you should also try calçots: tender baby leeks grilled over embers and served with the famous romesco sauce. Groups of friends get together for a calçotada, a fun party where they eat chargrilled calçots and wear bibs to stop their clothes getting messy. You can enjoy the experience at some of the many restaurants around the city that serve a calçotada menu. And if you have a sweet tooth, a delicious suizo – a cup of thick hot chocolate topped with a dollop of whipped cream – is another great way to warm up. If you accompany it with some churro fritters or melindros (delicious sponge fingers), you'll be hooked. You can sample a suizo at Barcelona's chocolate cafés, most of which are located on Carrer Petritxol.
5. Barcelona's churches have so many surprises in store
You can feel Barcelona's history in secret places that take us back to other times. Many of them are part of Barcelona's impressive religious heritage and are filled with peace and spirituality. Basilicas and monasteries conceal peaceful cloisters of infinite beauty where you can get away from the noise and bustle of the city. Some of the most appreciated include the Gothic cloister inside the cathedral, the one at the monastery of Sant Pau del Camp, which is one of the smallest Gothic cloisters in Europe, and the one at the Reial Monestir de Santa Maria de Pedralbes, which is one of the biggest Gothic cloisters in the world. Some of the city's churches have superb viewing points that boast spectacular views of Barcelona, such as the rooftop of the Gothic church of Santa Maria del Mar and the bell tower of Santa Maria del Pi. And if you want to touch the sky and see Barcelona at your feet, climb up to the viewing point of the church perched on top of Tibidabo, 600m above the city. The city's churches also have a programme of concerts: see what's on and relax your body and mind with live music.
6. A winter full of traditions
Barcelona continues to celebrate is centuries-old festivals and traditions. The city's big winter festival takes place on 12th February, the feast of Saint Eulalia (the city's co-patron saint along with Our Lady of Mercy, La Mercè). Over several days, the Saint Eulalia festival fills the streets with traditions, such as castellers (human towers), music, sardana circle dances, parades of giants and big heads, and the thrilling correfoc, with devils spewing out fire and throwing fireworks. Sant Antoni and the Tres Tombs is another unique tradition. First recorded in 1826, it is held on 17th January in honour of Saint Anthony the Abbot, the patron of domestic pets. The Tres Tombs consists of a procession of horse-drawn carts through the streets of the Sant Antoni neighbourhood and the blessing of people's pets. On 3rd March, the city holds the sweetest celebration of the year, Sant Medir, when horse-drawn carts and bands parade through the streets and squares of Gràcia. The local residents throw tons of sweets to the crowds from the carts. Between the end of February and the beginning of March, depending on the year, we celebrate the irreverent festival of Carnaval. Riotous partying, fancy dress, processions and parades… the city is one big party. Make sure you sample the typical carnival food: coca de llardons (a sweet flatbread made with flaky pastry and lardons topped with pine nuts) and botifarra d'ou (a sausage filled with pork meat mixed with egg).
7. Top-class sporting events
Sport doesn't stop in winter and Barcelona hosts major competitions, such as the eDreams Barcelona Half Marathon, which takes runners on a fast route through the heart of the city. Another big running event is the Zurich Barcelona Marathon, an urban road race covering a distance of 42 km, which has been awarded Gold Label status by World Athletics. And, of course, there's the best in football, with weekly matches played by Barça and RCD Espanyol. Barcelona is just a short distance from the Catalan Pyrenees where you can see the ISMF World Championships at the resort of Boí Taüll. Check out our sporting calendar and don't miss out on the action!
8. The much-awaited winter sales
Going shopping in Barcelona is a fascinating experience which has everything you could want: centuries-old shops, the world's leading brands, local designers, sustainable fashion and even the exclusive Barcelona Unique Shops. From 7th January to 31st March, you have the perfect excuse to renew your wardrobe: the winter sales. If you prefer to do all your shopping in one place, El Corte Inglés is the perfect choice and even has an exclusive services, and at La Roca Village, just 40 minutes from Barcelona, you'll find 160 boutiques selling top labels with discounts of up to 60% all year round. And the city's shopping centres also have a great choice of dining and leisure options, in addition to a wide variety of shops.
9. Barcelona, UNESCO destination
Barcelona is an art nouveau capital with no less than nine World Heritage sites that showcase Catalonia's home-grown art nouveau style, modernisme. Seven of them were designed by Antoni Gaudí and two of them are true architectural gems designed by Domènech i Montaner: the Palau de la Música Catalana and the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site. You can visit nearly all of them with the Barcelona Card Modernista, which includes free travel on public transport.
10. Unstoppable culture and leisure
Come and warm up with all the great things Barcelona has lined up this winter, including the Llum BCN. Festival d'Arts Lumíniques, which will light up parts of the Poblenou district; the new show from Cirque du Soleil, Crystal, with its spectacular acrobatics; and the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the death of Picasso and the 60th anniversary of the Museu Picasso, which has lined up three special exhibitions. If you're a music lover, don't miss Jazz I Am, Barcelona International Jazz Meeting and the classical music concerts at the Barcelona Obertura Spring Festival and the BCN Clàssics season. Satisfy your thirst for culture and feed your curiosity when you check out our things to do page.
As you can see, you won't get bored in winter in Barcelona. See you soon!
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