We finally say goodbye to the warm weather and welcome the winter in Barcelona in November. This means colder nights, although it can get surprisingly pleasant during the day. The festivals don’t stop but now they take place indoors. Chestnuts, sweet treats and thick hot chocolate is what we all feel like having in November. Keep reading to find out how we do it.
- Events and Festivals in Barcelona in November 2018
- Barcelona Weather in November
- Accommodation and queues
Events and Festivals in Barcelona in November 2018
La Castanyada (31st October to 1st November)
The night before All Saints Day La Castanyada takes place in all Catalan homes. Families gather together to eat chestnuts (castanyas), roasted sweet potatoes (moniatos), confit fruit and panellets, a sweet marzipan delicacy. Everything is gulped down with a glass of moscatell, a delicious sweet wine.
To me the highlight of these days are the panellets themselves. They are an offering to the dead and symbolise a communion with their souls. The traditional ones are covered in pine nuts and are usually prepared at home for the festival. Nowadays you can find many versions of this sweet treat though. Almonds, coconut, coffee or even chocolate panellets are the main feature of every patisserie in Barcelona. Once you try them you’d wish it was All Saints Day all year around.
Another way to know that the winter has arrived and the Castanyada is starting are the chestnuts and sweet potato seller stands that you will find all around the city. There is no better way to warm up your hands on those cold winter days than holding a bag of freshly roasted chestnuts.
Halloween Night (31st October to 1st November)
Although celebrating Halloween is not really a tradition here, it has gained more popularity in recent years. This Celtic festival is celebrated in Barcelona as you might expect: fancy costumes of ghosts, witches and zombies paired with children asking for sweets and parties until the wee hours of the morning.
If you are traveling with kids you can head to Tibidabo Amusement Park where a special fright night is offered until November 5th. Another original option is to play one of the escape rooms that specialise in terror themes. I haven’t tried it myself but the ones offered by Horror Box sound pretty scary.
For those who prefer the dark history side rather than guts and gore, the Dark Past Night Walking Tour is running on October 31st at 9 pm. Always a fascinating way to learn about the Spanish Inquisition and methods of execution in Barcelona.
All Saints Day (1st November)
November 1st is a bank holiday in Spain and, traditionally, families head to he cemeteries to remember their deceased loved ones. All cemeteries in Barcelona will extend their opening hours to accommodate everyone. I love the quietness of a graveyard while walking around the aisles so, if you are like me, maybe this is not the best day to go there. However, if you are staying in Barcelona for a few more days, the weeks after All Saints Day are probably the best time to enjoy the cemeteries. Why? Well, the place just looks beautiful with all the flower offerings from that special day.
There are many around but the most important cemeteries in Barcelona are located in Montjüic, Poblenou and Les Corts. If you decide to visit the one in Montjüic, don’t miss the stunning Museum of funeral horse-drawn hearses and carriages. All graveyards have free guided visits on weekends that I highly recommend (Catalan and Spanish only). In addition to that, some of them offer theatrical candle lit night visits on special days, including, of course, All Saints.
Mushroom season (October, November & December)
If you visit La Boqueria or any of the city food markets in Barcelona in November you can’t miss the mountains of freshly harvested mushrooms. We are always looking forward to Autumn in our family as this is the time to buy and cook them in the most imaginative manner.
Rovellons (in the photo) are the most common but you will also find ceps, rossinyols, camagrocs or trompetes de la mort, just to name a few. Restaurants all over the city will adapt their menus to include dishes with these delicacies. This is a fantastic time in Barcelona to try traditional Catalan dishes like fricandó (veal fillets in sauce and mushrooms), rovellons a la llauna (saffron milk caps cooked in the oven) or, my favourite, just griddled with a pinch of olive oil and salt.
In-Edit Music Documentary Festival (25th October to 4th November)
For all music lovers out there this is a dream come true: A film festival that specialises only in music documentaries! Running for 16 years in Barcelona, now you can find a version of the In-Edit Festival in places as far apart as Amsterdam, Greece or Peru.
Check In-Edit’s 2018 programme to find out if there is if there is an artist, band or music style that you are interested in. I already have a list of what not-to-miss this year. Films like Bad Reputation, Cocksucker Blues or The King are definitely there. But I am sure you will have your own.
Barcelona Weather in November
Winter in Barcelona always comes unexpectedly. One day you are in a T-shirt and on the following one a leather jacket and scarf. Don’t fret too much though as daytime temperatures are usually quite pleasant ranging from 9ºC to 18ºC. However, at night it could get chilly so do pack those warm clothes. Dressing in layers is probably the best solution for Barcelona in November.
Accommodation and queues
The number of visitors to Barcelona really start to slow down, specially towards the middle of the month. Accommodation prices are not as expensive as during high season. Without any major fair in sight, there should be no surprises finding a good place at a reasonable price.
The opening times for the main attractions change in November to adjust to the shorter daytime hours. However, the good news is that all the long lines will disappear. You won’t need to pre-book tickets at Casa Batlló or La Pedrera but we do recommend booking at sites like Sagrada Familia or Park Güell, even during the winter.
I hope you found this post helpful. Remember that Barcelona in November might not be the best time to go to the beach but it is definitely warmer than most of Europe, with plenty of things to do and see. Our Gothic Quarter and Gaudí Free Walking Tours keep running every day at 11 am and always serve as a the best introduction to the city.
Main photograph: Montjüic Cemetery by Jon Ander