It’s been almost a year since I visited Barcelona. I happened to have a free week in the early November and was struggling to decide where to spend it. It got colder in Germany, so my eyes turned South. Barcelona was not an obvious choice, but I’m so glad I went. To be honest, If I ever get a chance to go again, I will try to go in autumn or spring again, because…
It is still warm. Compared to the rest of Europe, it never gets really cold in Barcelona. Even winters are mild with average temperatures around 14-15°C during the day. It tends to rain more in colder season, but there are still many sunny days. I was lucky enough to spot 21 degrees for the whole duration of my stay and even walk around in t-shirt one day. As for summer, it can get really really hot here. Some people love high temperatures, but I personally don’t enjoy sightseeing at all when it is more than 30°C. If you can’t deal with heat well like me, choose autumn or spring for mild and pleasant weather.
No crowds. This is what makes me especially happy travelling in the off-season. Of course, Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in Europe and there will be always tourists around, but nothing compares to the amount of people who fill the city in the summer. Lots of them come in summer for a party, but if your main goal is sightseeing – autumn, winter and spring are the best. I didn’t even book my visit to Sagrada and Gaudi park online and still was able to get in without waiting in a long queue. Beaches are also empty and even though it’s already too cold to swim, there are many other ways to enjoy the sea. Walking or biking along, having picnic becomes more pleasant when it is not so crowded.
It’s cheaper. This is obvious and same for all travel destinations, but once again. It’s easier to spot deals on hotels during colder months and flights also tend to be less expensive. Hotels prefer to rent rooms for a lower price than keep them empty. Even if your budget is not very tight, it is pleasant to book a better hotel for the same money you could get only 3-star in summer. Or spend the extra money on shopping, food or whatever makes you happy. The only exceptions during low season are holidays like Christmas, New Year, and Easter that can cause prices go higher.
Locals are friendlier. Imagine if you live in a top tourist destination that gets flooded with visitors every summer. Whether you work in the tourist industry or not, you would be probably a bit annoyed by this number of people.
Relaxed atmosphere. Shorter waiting lines, more space for walking, no party people – it all creates a general more relaxed feeling in the air. You actually feel on vacation and not on the race to get all the sights ticked off your list. I find it is also a bit more safe in low season. Barcelona is called the pickpocket capital not without a reason, so you should always be careful. But when the city is not so crowded and you have a bit more personal space, it is easier to watch after your belongings and notice if something is not right.
NOTE : Don’t even think of going to Barcelona in off-season if:
You want to enjoy the beach the traditional way. It is obviously too cold to swim or get a tan.
You want to party. Summer is the best time to party in Barcelona. Bars and clubs are full of people from everywhere, there are also a lot of open air and beach parties that are most enjoyable in warm weather.
Have you been in Barcelona? What time of the year it was and how did you like it?