May is the month when the beautiful warm weather definitely settles in Barcelona. It is a fantastic time to visit the city for those who can’t take the Summer heat. Being the peak of Spring you can expect flowers to be in full bloom in the parks and some festivals take advantage of this. Also, if you are looking for things to do in Barcelona in May and you like music, you are at the right place as some of the most important music festivals happen this month. Read on and discover why there is something for everyone if you visit Barcelona in May!
- Events and Festivals in Barcelona in May 2018
- Barcelona Weather in May
- Accommodation and queues
Events and Festivals in Barcelona in May 2018
The Night of the Museums (19th May)
This is a very special night. All the museums in the city celebrate the International Museums Day opening their doors to everyone from 7 pm to 1 am. Not only you can see the main rooms and itinerary exhibitions for free but there are plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained. Music? Theatre? Circus? There is a place for everything on this very special night. We have written a post dedicated to The Night of the Museums 2018 where you will find a list of our personal recommendations. Don’t miss it if you are in Barcelona on May 19th!
We stumbled across this group swing dancing at the National Art Museum last year so I recorded it for everyone to get a feel for the atmosphere of this special night.
Fira de Sant Ponç (11th May)
If you are into medicinal herbs and honey, you are in luck! Saint Ponç is the patron saint of herbalists and beekeepers whose feast day is May 11th. On that special day, El Raval neighbourhood gets filled with the herbal aromas coming out of more than 80 stalls lined up around L’Hospital street. This healthy tradition has been going on since medieval times and nowadays you can also find jam, preserved fruit, essential oils, and natural cosmetics.
Primavera Sound (30th May-3rd June)
One of the main music lovers dates in Barcelona’s calendar is the Primavera Sound Festival 2018. The programme is incredibly huge and the offering is quite varied so I am sure you will find something to your taste. Last year, the festival attracted more than 200,000 visitors and the numbers are expected to grow in 2018. So, if you don’t have your ticket, be sure you book as soon as possible.
16 different stages are located in Parc del Forum where pop-up restaurants and food trucks are ready to recharge your batteries in between concerts. Belle and Sebastian, Spiritualized, Björk, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The National, Migos, Artic Monkeys, Lorde, A$AP Rocky… These are just the some of the artists on this year’s festival but you can also check the full line-up to find out who is playing and where.
Not all the activities of the festival take place around Parc del Forum. As part of the Primavera a la Ciutat programme, the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) organises a party with concerts on two stages on Sunday, June 3rd. It is all free so there are no excuses for not enjoying the live music without the expensive prices of the main festival. You can check who will be playing at Primavera al Raval.
Ciutat Flamenco Festival (17th-27th May)
Celebrating its 25th year in Barcelona, Ciutat Flamenco Festival not only showcases important names of the flamenco scene but also includes new artists and upcoming figures. These are very special concerts as they show the flamenco that doesn’t stick to tradition but looks for new and more experimental ways of bringing this art to the great public.
It takes place at different venues in Barcelona during May between the 17th and the 27th. There are many places to enjoy Flamenco music and dancing in the city (some good, some not so good) but if you want to enjoy Flamenco without the tourists, head to one of the festival’s concerts.
International New Rose Competition (11th- 13th May)
Never heard of a New rose competition? It is quite simple. A public competition for plant breeders that specialise in new species of roses. It showcases varieties never seen by the public before. This is a must-do for all flower lovers that takes place every May in Barcelona at Parc de Cervantes. There is a first prize for the best new rose of the show and also another one for the popular vote. The roses are the main protagonists here but there are also concerts by Barcelona’s Municipal Band, demos of floral Art, workshops and guided visits. A lovely way for all ages to spend the day surrounded by the scents and fragrances of spring!
Girona Flower Festival – “Temps de Flors” (12th-20th May)
Girona is a beautiful city over an hour away from Barcelona. It is quite popular now with Games of Thrones fans that follow the famous series locations but the city is definitely worth a visit despite this modern trend. For a week during May, the streets and corners of the city are decorated with flower installations during the annual Flower Festival. This is definitely the best time to visit Girona! Not only can you see the city at its most beautiful but it is a grand opportunity to visit hidden courtyards and gardens that only open to the public for this special event.
Barcelona Weather in May
May in Barcelona is the month when it can get pleasant, warm, or even very hot. It doesn’t reach the heat of July and August but a heat wave at this time of the year is not unknown of. Bring a light jacket and jumper in case it gets not-so-warm after the sun sets but with temperatures ranging between 14ºC and 27ºC (57ºF to 80ºF), sandals and shorts are starting to come out of the closet.
Accommodation and queues
May is high season and the prices for accommodation will reflect this. There is no other way around it. For the same reason, queues at the main attractions could be long so, to avoid waiting, be sure you pre-book your tickets, specially at Sagrada Familia and Park Güell, or book one of our skip-the-line private tours in Barcelona. When booking make sure that you only use the attractions official websites (links included) instead of 3rd party sellers where you will have to pay an extra booking fee.
I hope this is helpful in planning your visit and you get to enjoy some of the special activities this month. Remember that you can still catch Barcelona’s April Fair that continues through to the first days in May. If you are in the mood for a fun and informative walk in the balmy weather of May, you can join our Barcelona Free Tours every day at 11am and 4.30pm. Have fantastic Spring visit to Barcelona!
Main photograph by Tina Teng