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, February can be a great time to drop by our beautiful city. Let’s see what to do in Barcelona in February and what to expect if you visit at this time of the year.
Events and Festivals in Barcelona in February 2020
Santa Eulàlia Festival 2020 (7th to 12th February)
Santa Eulàlia is the patron saint of Barcelona City and lived here in the Roman period. At the beginning of the 4th century the intolerant Roman Emperor Diocletian ordered the persecution of the Christians in his empire. This led to the 13 year old Eulàlia 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 (September 24th) and it has a strange tendency to rain on that day. Locals believe that it is the tears of poor old forgotten Saint Eulàlia. Not completely abandoned, festivities occur around her feast day on February 12th, becoming the Barcelona Winter Festival.
The Ajuntament (Town Hall), a stunning building, throws open its doors to the general public on February 12th, Saint Eulàlia’s Day. Other selected museums will also offer free entrance while the crypt of the Cathedral opens its creaky iron gates only on this special day. This is a rare opportunity to closely view the beautifully 15th century carved sarcophagus with the saint’s remains supposedly still inside. Check out last year’s programme of the week’s activities (2020 programme will be updated as soon as it is published) where you will find gegants (giants), castells (human towers), sardanas (traditional dance) and correfocs (fire runs) amongst other things.
Barcelona Carnival 2020 (20th to 26th February)
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
Half Marathon of Barcelona 2020 (16th February)
Those of you interested in running or watching others doing a hard slog, don’t miss this event on February 16th. A different way of sightseeing, 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 at least 1 week before the marathon begins. A great thing to do in Barcelona in February… for the fit ones anyway.
Chinese New Year celebration (1st February)
With 19,000 members, the Chinese community in Barcelona is big enough to celebrate the arrival of the New Year. In 2020 the celebrations run from January 25th to February 5th with the main activities in Barcelona happenin on February 1st. If Catalonia and Barcelona are famous for its endless dragons (thank you Saint George!), the Chinese have a word to say here. Head towards the area around Arc de Triomf where all the activities take place. Last year there was a Dragons street parade at 11.30am and a fair with food stalls and shows until 8pm that evening (times and dates for 2020 edition. It will be updated shortly). Happy Year of the Rat!
Barcelona 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 in February 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 (February 24th to February 27th) 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.
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. If you are also here for a few days in January or March don’t forget to check our posts with recommendations for January and for March. Remember that our Free Walking Tours run all year around and we also offer Private Tours in low season.
Post originally published on February 2017. Updated on November 2019
Main photograph: Barcelona Carnival by by Maria Alvarez.