Mediterranean, creative, cosmopolitan, daring, unique… There are many adjectives that can be applied to Barcelona, a city as full of life as ever this summer. There’s more to do here than sunbathe on the beach or stroll through lovely neighbourhoods like the Barri Gòtic: festivals, immersive exhibitions in amazing cultural spaces, water sports on the sea... Barcelona in summer is always the right choice. Read on to see all the ideas and things you can do.
With all the appropriate safety measures in place, this year’s festival season is looking good. For example, the annual and much-anticipated Grec (music, dance, circus, and theatre festival) will be popping up in different parts of the city. If you’re hoping to find concerts in exceptional settings or with a special touch, you’ll love the Festival Jardins de Pedralbes and the Festival Vinyasons: live evening performances, accompanied by an exclusive set dinner in iconic wine and cava cellars. And if you're a fan of jazz, don't miss the Barcelona Jazz Festival.
Beyond the traditional cultural sights
Some of the city’s most famous museums, like the Picasso Museum, hold interesting exhibitions. But there are also plenty of unusual spaces worth visiting. For example, the Museum of Illusions, where you can interact with large murals and 3D illustrations. Or the Olympic and Sports Museum, where you can run in a simulated race against Carl Lewis.Of course, you won’t want to miss the Sagrada Familia Basilica or other iconic landmarks created by the genius of Gaudí, including Casa Batllò, which now offers the 10D Experience: a dome of over 1000 screens where you can enter the mind of the architect.
A stroll in the park
These green spaces are perfect for relaxing in the shade or enjoying a picnic, and often hold outdoor concerts in summer. You have plenty of parks to choose from, but the most famous is Park Güell, another Gaudí design with stunning spots like the Dragon Stairway and the Hall of the Hundred Columns. You could also opt for Parc de la Ciutadella or the Botanical Gardens.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The whole city feels like a dream when the sun goes down. Art Nouveau spaces like La Pedrera offer concerts and audiovisual shows. Other cultural centres, such as Poble Espanyol, CaixaForum, and El Born Centre de Cultura i Memòria, are open in the evening once a week.Outdoor cinemas are very popular, including movie nights at Montjuïc Castle. And for a delicious idea, why not try the “Dinners with Stars” at Observatorio Fabra, where you can combine astronomy-themed fine dining with a lecture and a tour of the Observatory.
Kids just don’t get bored in Barcelona. For one thing, there’s Europe’s largest aquarium, with an underwater tunnel over 80 metres long. And the hundred-year-old Tibidabo amusement park, on top of a mountain with classic rides and views of the city, is like something out of a movie. Plus, about an hour and a half away by car is Catalonia’s flagship theme park, Port Aventura World, with some of the highest-rated rides and shows in Europe.
Water sports on the sea
One of the great advantages of Barcelona in summer is that you can swim and sunbathe on any of its beaches, such as the well-known Barceloneta. And you can try activities like surfing or kayaking. Another option is to sail into the Mediterranean sea on the sailboat trips that are usually available from the Port Olímpic. You can have a go crewing a boat, or learn about the history of the city from the sea.Another great way to experience maritime Barcelona and see the city skyline from Port Vell to Port Fòrum is a quick boat trip on the motorboats known as Las Golondrinas.
Unusual outings to nearby areas
If you’re spending a few days in the city, you might have time for a quick break somewhere more rural. For example, you’ll love the stunning mountain of Montserrat. You can even fly over it in a hot-air balloon.Also near Barcelona, the Penedès district is home to some of Spain’s best-known wines and cavas. There are organised excursions which include cycle tours of the vineyards, a guided tour of a family winery with tasting, and lunch at a traditional restaurant. In summer, this area is also home to Vijazz Penedès, a wine and jazz festival in which you can taste up to 300 different wines and cavas, and listen to great music.And why not explore a lovely coastal town, such as Sitges?