When to Go
- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- Spanish Phrases
Mobile AppDownload Fodor's City Guide App for FREE!
When to Go
For optimal weather and fewer tourists (which gives you a sense of local life), the best times to visit Barcelona, Catalonia, and Bilbao are April through June and mid-September through mid-December. Catalans and Basques themselves vacation in August, causing epic traffic jams at both ends of the month. Major cities are relaxed and, except for tourists, empty in August, though Gràcia's Festa Major in Barcelona and Semana Grande in Bilbao keep these two cities very much alive during the festivities. Small shops and some restaurants shut down for the entire month and musical venues are silent, but museums remain open.
Summers in Barcelona are occasionally very hot, but temperatures rarely surpass 100°F (38°C), and air-conditioning is becoming more widespread. In any case, dining alfresco on a warm summer night is one of northern Spain's finest pleasures. All in all, spring and fall offer the best temperatures at both ends of the Pyrenees. Barcelona winters are chilly enough for overcoats, but never freezing: ideal for walking, fireside dining, and hearty winter cuisine.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe