10 Reasons to Visit Barcelona in the Winter

Choosing our sunny Mediterranean city for your winter escape may be one of the wisest decisions you could make.  Not only is Barcelona a great place to be year-round, but the winter in particular offers its own set of advantages.  The city is at one of its most beautiful seasons during wintertime, as the streets are less packed, Christmas is evident in every neighborhood, and most importantly the climate allows you to enjoy it from outdoors.  If you’re not convinced already, here’s our case as to why Barcelona is an ideal winter vacation spot.

1. Simply Put: Vitamin D

As you’re probably already aware of, the most natural way to get your healthy dose of Vitamin D is from none other than the sun’s rays.  Unlike many European cities in the winter, our climate has a plentiful amount of winter days with an abundant amount of sunshine.  Indeed, the days and evenings in particular can be chilly, so bundle up on cooler days with a proper coat and scarf.  However, despite the chill, the odds are in your favor to get some sunshine on a winter weekend.  Coming along with the sunnier, warmer days are groups of families and friends enjoying the day, and it makes for a great ambiance in the city.

2. Hot Chocolate with Churros

This treat is one of the best ways to work a chilly afternoon around.

One can surely dream, but not everyday will offer endless sunshine. For those days that are a bit chillier or if you’ve happened to find yourself in a squall, we’ve got the perfect remedy.  In the winter months, locals and tourists alike enjoy a Spanish delicacy known as “churros con chocolate.”  Now, don’t be mistaken — this is not your typical hot chocolate.  You’re given a generous serving of dangerously thick, dense, warm chocolate and a portion of churros to accompany it. Before you know it, your chill is long gone.  For some of the best cafes in the city to warm up by way of this decadent spanish treat, to have a coffee in our favorite coffeehouse, or a tea in a Czech-style lounge, check out our article on Barcelona’s cafe culture.

3. Hassle-free Sightseeing

Catch the views from Gaudi’s Park Guell without being surrounded by hundreds of tourists.

Our city is famous for Gaudi’s brilliant works, the mark he left on our city, and the Modernist architecture that distinguishes Barcelona from other Spanish cities. Have a visit to the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell or Casa Battló with a quarter of the crowds.   We still recommend that you purchase your tickets for the Sagrada Familia ahead of time, as there can still be a queue.  With the decrease in tourists in Winter, have a stroll down La Rambla without brushing arms with others to make your way to the end.  Also, our famous food market, La Boqueria, is much more easily navigable without the heaps of people — so you can really take your time and admire all its stalls.  Whichever sights you have your mind on visiting during your time in Barcelona, we assure you it will be a more relaxing experience and you’ll get a more accurate perception of the sight itself.

4. See the Legends Play on Their Home Turf

Messi’s season is one of his best yet, head out for a game and catch the history being made live!

Wintertime is the peak of the main La Liga (Spanish league) action.  FC Barcelona has an average of a couple matches a month on home turf at the famous Camp Nou.  Finally see Messi, Neymar, and the squad in action in one of the most well-known stadiums in Europe.  If you’ve come to Barcelona on a weekend without a home match, you can still visit the grounds of Camp Nou with “The Camp Nou Experience,” where you can visit the pitch, museum, and learn about the history of the successes of the club.

5. Christmas Wonderland

“Llums de Nadal,” or Christmas Lights, decorate every neighborhood in the holiday season.

Care to stroll with views of the sea, underneath sparkling Christmas lights? Or peruse a beautiful Christmas market next to the Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter or by the Sagrada Familia?  We may not have snow, but I would argue this isn’t such a bad thing.  Just in front of the Santa Llucia Cathedral is our most renowned Christmas Market, running until December 23rd.  Here, you can find all sorts of homemade crafts, Christmas decor, and plenty of traditional holiday items distinct to Catalonia.  Be sure to check out Christmas lights on Passeig de Gracia and Port Ángel, all the way up until after the 6th of January, as Kings Day prolongs the holiday spirit.  Head to the nearest bakery and try some “Pan de Nadal,” the typical Christmas bread from here, or some “Turrón,” a very sweet delicacy consumed during the holidays.

6. Beach Days in January?

Plentiful sunshine reflects on the Mediterranean almost year round.

If you head out to the beach on a brisk sunny day, you’ll be in good company.  Along the boardwalk parallel to the sea stretching from the W Hotel all the way to Forum, you will come across vacationers, families, and friends out for the day.  Groups of picnickers gather on the border of the sea, bundled up and enjoying the sunshine.  Families head out for a Sunday meal and enjoy it next to the ocean.  If you’ve gotten particularly lucky and come on a weekend when there are waves, you can rent a board and a wetsuit at one of the many surf shops on the boardwalk.

7. Ice skating in Plaça Catalunya

Your feet in the sand and on the ice in the same day — what a wonderful luxury.  Every year during the holidays, an ice skating rink is set up in Plaça Catalunya.  It is the biggest ice rink in Europe.  For an hour, you can get skate rentals and enjoy the rink for 10 Euros.  Kids are welcome too, as there is a seperate bit apportioned for young skaters!

8.  Fewer Crowds

Stroll through normally-packed areas with ease.

Visitng in the winter is the absolute perfect time to truly get a feel for Barcelona.  With the absence of overcrowding, you’ll see more locals out than any other time of the year.  During high season, many families flee to the surrounding coastal areas in the Costa Brava, or to Sitges and so on.  When the high season is over and the school year begins, the families settle into a routine and have their city back.  With this, you’ll be able to enjoy the city without a great deal of tourists around.  Sure, Barcelona is always visited, but in the winter period, streets vacate, restaurants and cafes are more relaxing, and your holiday is simply more stress-free.

9. Go by Foot or Bike

Walks or bike rides along the boardwalk are a great way to spend a few hours even in the wintertime.

The Mediteranean climate allows us to travel by foot or by bike most days of the winter.  You may be a bit chilled, but with a few layers, the city is still travel-able by being outdoors.  If you’re worried about the cold or not keen on walking, grab a T-10 and get the walking in when you can.  At the Ramblas Building Apartments, we offer bike rental year-round.  Opt for our city bikes and take a cruise along the boardwalk of the beach.  If you would like to rent our Brompton bikes, fold them and pair it with a metro ride or take them inside with you wherever your day may take you!

10.  Tapas and Outdoor Terraces

Dining can take place even in winter outdoors!

Again, the weather enables us to still enjoy a meal or afternoon café on an outdoor terrace.  Most restaurants keep their terraces open for the entirety of the year.  Sitting outside, enjoy tapas and a caña (small beer of what’s on tap), year-round, is some kind of miracle.  We’ve got loads of fantastic cuisine near the apartments in Ciutat Vella.  Ask our reception for their own personal favorites and they’ll happily direct you!

If you’re not convinced yet, take our word that winter is one of the best times to visit Barcelona.  The heat of summer has officially gone and the crowds have retreated. If you are planning a holiday and searching for a place to stay in the most central part of Barcelona, just a 10 minutes walk to Plaça Catalunya and in the heart of the city, we offer beautiful, spacious apartments for rent in the city center. Experience the best of Catalonia´s winter with our wonderful staff pointing you in the right direction. From our Ramblas Building, you will be in one of the most well-located apartments in the city and be able to make the most of your time in Barcelona.

Photo Credits: GloboVision, Tim Lucas, Himbeerdoni, Moritz Peterson, Adam Wyles, Ajuntament Barcelona, Antonio Gil,  Jorge Franganillo, Dany M.

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