I wasn’t sure about visiting Barcelona in December originally. Would it be cold? Would everything be shut? Is it better in Summer? After asking around and reading some experiences, I figured why not try it. And it was booked. Here’s how I found Barcelona in December.
Attractions Will Still Be Busy
Whilst December is part of the low season in Barcelona, it still gets pretty busy. The big attractions such as Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and museums will still get big queues and so it’s always advised to book online in advance. The first two mentioned have timed entrances too, so you do need to plan those out. I chose early entrance times for both and I would recommend doing that. The crowds inside were much smaller compared to when I was leaving them around midday.
I happened to be around on the first Sunday of the month, and on this day some museums have free entry. Including the Picasso museum. I didn’t realise you still had to book those free tickets online and so by the time I headed around that area the tickets had already gone. So decide on what you want to do, see what offers are available and grab your tickets early.
Christmas in Barcelona
In all honesty I found the Christmas markets that I found in the square next to the Cathedral a little disappointing. I was picturing Manchester’s where there are pancakes everywhere, hot foots, hot drinks, cakes, biscuits… Barcelona’s Christmas Markets just had Christmas decorations from what I saw. Interesting, but not that amazing really. I might have missed something – feel free to correct me if so!
The decorations in the city were gorgeous though, especially all the lights. And I definitely enjoyed the groups of carol singers dotted about! They could be heard before you saw them, being in the Gothic Quarter mostly and it just felt so cheery.
Always Something Interesting to See
Cities are always filled with interesting people, whether that’s the locals or the tourists. My particular favourite was the guy above, taking photos with an amazing old film camera. In fact, he took one photo of a group of friends, and worked on this image for a good while. Real interesting to watch – I do love film photography!
Also spotted the girl below drawing the cathedral, and you can see part of her drawing of the Arc de Triomf. Just thought it looked amazing, and she was just so lost in her own world, drawing away.
Obviously there are also a lot of really interesting buildings (Gaudi’s influence is obvious everywhere) and I’d recommend just spending some time walking and looking. Go for a stroll. Get on a free walking tour or join a bike tour. I learnt so much from a 2 hour bike tour that I went on and say so many smaller details that I might not have noticed myself.
There are also plenty of musicians dotted about. Big pianos just placed in the middle of a square, or people sitting with guitars.
Art is Everywhere
Barcelona is a very artistic city, of course. There are various museums to visit, but there are also plenty of random pieces to see on the streets. Some graffiti, some old artwork on the sides of buildings. Detailing on the buildings, fountains, statues. It’s everywhere.
I’m a big fan of street art, no matter what kind of form it takes. Always looks cool, brightens up the wall and gives an interesting thing to photograph… I found a few bits dotted about but didn’t actually photograph them all. My favourite was probably the lips below – made from images of people from Barcelona. Just random photos chosen because they signified ‘moments of freedom’ to the person all grouped together and coloured to make the design. Really cool.
Barcelona in December
Not quite into the depths of Winter, December gives fairly mild weather in Barcelona. I found it quite chilly at times, but when the sun popped out it felt warm. More sweater weather rather than the ‘two coats and a hat’ weather that the UK gets.
I managed to see blue skies for the majority of my 4 day trip. Some days were around 10 degrees, the last day as I was leaving was hitting 16 degrees. Take thin layers and you’ll be fine.
With this time of year though, the sun does rise quite late and set quite early, so you do lose a lot of daytime. I managed to get to Park Güell at around half 8, and witness the sun finish rising over the city. It was light as I was making my way there, but the sun hadn’t fully risen.
Around evening time, the sun was starting to set around 5-6pm whilst I was there. It’s not a big problem really, but if you wanted to fit a lot of things in that specifically needed daylight you might have to get through them that bit quicker. Something to keep in mind.