I wish I received a euro for every time I get asked the question When is a quiet time to go to Barcelona? If you are willing to put up with a bit of chilly weather, this month can be a great time to drop by our beautiful city. Let’s go through what to expect if you visit Barcelona in February.
Weather in February
We rarely get below 0ºC and temperatures average at 10ºC (50ºF). Be warned clear days with the sun shinning can be quite warm and other overcast days with northerly winds can cut to the bone. In other words, pack enough thermals and jumpers. There is not much rain in Barcelona but take an umbrella as the downpours are on the raise this month (nearly 50mm).
Accommodation and queues
Off season always means cheaper prices to lay your head at night. Make sure you don’t collide with major concerts or big event such as the Mobile World Congress as rates will rise steeply. Popular sites that usually have long lines of patiently waiting tourists miraculously seem to dissolve. You can get away without booking tickets online to avoid big queues. However, be aware that Saturdays and Sundays are busier with local visitors.
Events and Festivals
Santa Eulalia (12th of February)
She was the first patron saint of Barcelona City and lived here in the Roman period. At the beginning of the 4th century the intolerant Diocletian ordered the persecution of the Christians in his empire. This led to the 13 year old Eulalia being arrested, tortured and finally crucified. Canonised in 633, you can find her entombed in the crypt of the Cathedral of Barcelona which is named after her. In the 17th century she lost her popularity with the citizens of Barcelona who started to hold La Mercè (Our Lady of Mercy) in higher regard. The main festival of Barcelona is in honour of Mary (24th of September) and it has a strange tendency to rain on that day. Locals believe that it is the tears of poor old forgotten Saint Eulalia. Not completely abandoned, festivities occur around her feast day on February 12th. The Ajuntament (Town Hall), a stunning building, throws open its doors to the general public for the day. Other selected museums will also offer free entrance. Also, the crypt of the Cathedral opens its creaky iron gates allowing entrance to the faithful. This is a rare opportunity to closely view the beautifully 15th century carved sarcophagus with the saint’s remains inside. Check out the programme of the week’s activities (Catalan only) where you will find gegants (giants), castells (human towers), sardanas (traditional dance) and correfocs (fire runs) amongst other things.
The date of this festivity varies according to the date that Easter falls on. Coming from the Latin expression carne vale (farewell to meat), it is a time of indulgence before the start of lent. Carnival officially starts on Dijous Gras (Greasy Thursday) and the idea is to eat and drink as much as you can before the 40 days of fasting begins. The King Carnival ceremony kicks off the week long celebration. In Barcelona there is no longer one big parade as each neighbourhood hosts its own small one. Most Barcelonans looking for a more spectacular experience will head 15 km away to the seaside town of Sitges. The locals take huge pride in this event and the gorgeous costumes and party attitude are certainly worth the trip.
Those of you interested in running or watching others doing a hard slog, don’t miss this event. A different way of sight seeing, this 20km run should keep you in shape and allow you guilt free gorging of tapas afterwards. If planning to take part, you need to pre-register 2 weeks before the marathon begins. I hope this helps if you are planning to visit Barcelona in February and for all the photographers among you, keep an eye out for those beautiful winter sunsets.
Photograph by Maria Alvarez
Ann Marie Brannigan
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