In the vast majority of cities, the arrival of the warm weather invites you to pack your bags and set course to destinations where the thermometer does not get the best of you, a place where all the leisurely activities do not hang a CLOSED FOR HOLIDAYS sign. Fortunately, Barcelona is one of those exceptions where activities suddenly multiply instead of being reduced or disappearing. If you are wondering what to do in Barcelona in summer, you will be surprised by the number of opportunities that await in the Catalan capital.
Of course: if you want to join any of the plans that we suggest below, you will need a quiet and well connected place to stay in Barcelona. If you are travelling as a couple or within a group, we encourage you to take a look at apartments with a terrace in Barcelona, or the other alternatives by Lugaris to stay in the city in the most comfortable way.
To help you make up your mind on the best choices we would like to let you know more about the most recommendable suggestions. With them, your summer in Barcelona will be picture-perfect. Want to dive into them?
Celebrate the summer solstice
The Catalan proverb Per Sant Joan i Sant Pere, adeu primavera (‘on Saint John and Saint Peter, goodbye spring’) proves the importance of these two festivities in Catalonia, which inspire countless open-air activities. In Barcelona, the festivities that are held on the night that goes from June 23th to 24th starts in Plaça de Sant Jaume with the arrival of the flame of Canigó (‘Flama del Canigó’). The celebration unites people carrying fire from the south of France with which the neighbors will light bonfires in streets and squares. These will illuminate the revetlla Sant Joan (Saint John’s eve), the shortest night of the year, where concerts, firecrackers and fireworks and dinners with family or friends are the center of attention. The same can be said of the coca de llardons and the cava, two products that can be found in most Catalan fridges to welcome summer.
The festival of Sant Pere, held on the night of June 28th and 29th, is much more modest in terms of the people that keep up with the tradition and has lost most of the popularity it had yesteryear. However, it is still celebrated in some neighborhoods of Barcelona.
El Grec: the most summery drama festival
For more than four decades, culture has found its particular space in the Barcelonian summer thanks to El Grec, an international drama, dance, music and circus festival that has established itself as a European reference in the field of performing arts.
This event owes its name to its most emblematic space: an open-air amphitheater (the Teatre Grec) built for the 1929 International Exhibition on the mountain of Montjuïc. Although this was the only equipment that housed the performances at first, these have been extended to other theaters, cultural facilities and public spaces of Barcelona.
With more than 100,000 spectators in each edition, El Grec offers performances throughout the month of July in several timetables. Have you bought your ticket yet?
The so-called cinema a la fresca (that is, outdoor cinema) is another of the great on offer in Barcelona in summer. One of the icons of this nocturnal activity is the Sala Montjuïc. In this space enabled next to the Montjuïc castle, classic films and (more or less) recent box office successes are projected between the end of June and the beginning of August. Go ahead and check this year’s program!
However, there are also free alternatives for those who want to enjoy the seventh art under the stars. One of them is the Cinema Lliure a la Platja initiative, which allows you to watch a film on the beach. It takes place in Barcelona and in three other cities in the province: Badalona, El Prat de Llobregat and Mataró, all well connected by the Barcelona metro and train. In the case of the Catalan capital, the films are projected on the beach of Sant Sebastià at nightfall, between the end of June and the beginning of August.
Other free outdoor sessions take place in the Canòdrom de la Meridiana innovation space, between the streets of Riera d’Horta and Concepción Arenal, in the neighborhood of El Congrés i els Indians, in Sant Andreu. In this case, the films are shown on Friday nights during the month of July. Likewise, the Nou Barris district headquarters (Plaça Major de Nou Barris, 1) also usually organizes this type of activity during the summer.
Let’s go to the beach!
To paraphrase the famous Nicky Minaj super-hit that broke the dance floors a few years ago, this is one of the star activities for those who are wondering what to do in barcelona in the summer. And it is no wonder, since the 10 beaches of Barcelona offer almost 5 km of fine sandy coast and numerous services: lifeguards, beach bars, showers, public toilets, Wi-Fi, deckchairs rental … If you stay in our apartments in the beach of Barcelona, the closest ones are those of the Mar Bella and Bogatell, two spaces enabled for the Olympic Games of Barcelona.
Moreover, if you want to move away from the crowds, you can easily get to the neighboring beaches of Castelldefels, Gavà or Badalona by bus or train.
Festivities taking place in Barcelona in summer
The calendar of popular festivals and festivities in Barcelona does not rest in summer. In addition to having a drink on one of the amazing rooftops bars in Barcelona (an option that is more than advisable), the city also invites you to attend the festivities of many of the neighborhoods of the city.
Among the most famous, those of the Poble-sec stand out, which are celebrated the second week of July and until the days before July 25 and, of course, the Festa Major de Gràcia, between August 15 and 21. These celebrations, with more than two centuries of history, are well known for the magnificent decoration exhibited on the neighborhood streets, which are designed and elaborated by the neighbors themselves. Only a few days later, the colorful fiestas of Sants also decorate their streets to celebrate their festivity.
To end the summer, between the second and the third week of September, the Festa Major de Poblenou arrives, which puts the finishing touches to the summer season. In addition, this is also the neighborhood in which the Lugaris apartments are located.
Do not forget to take a look at our list of the best events in Barcelona for 2019 to check out the best music festivals and other venues taking place during this season, which include such renouned festivals as Primavera Sound, Sónar or Barcelona Beach Festival. Don’t miss out on any of them!
How about you? Do you know what to do in Barcelona this summer? If so, do not hesitate to share your ideas with us. We will love reading them!