You may think of Barcelona as a summer destination, but the city is just as good a place to visit in winter. There's still plenty of sunshine, fewer crowds and cheaper accommodation. Here are five of the best things to do on a Barcelona city break in winter...
Be a foodie in the Boqueria Market
The Boqueria Market is one of the very best places for fresh food in Europe. In-season wild mushrooms and calçot's are delicious and in abundance across the stalls in winter, along with the Escudella i carn d'olla (a delicious Catalan winter stew). Popular restaurants Pinotxo and El Quim de la Boquería serve up traditional local dishes, usually with a modern twist. There's plenty to satisfy your sweet tooth in the market too, from churros to suizos (a sort of chocolate fondue).
Skip the queues at the Sagrada Família
The Sagrada Familia is mesmeric in winter. Without the overwhelming crowds of summer, visitors can appreciate a truer solemnity in Gaudi's greatest masterpiece. As the winter sun shines through the stain-glass windows and into the church, the vivid light evokes a sense of spiritual wonder. Entrance tickets cost €15 and can be purchased here. The Park Güell and Camp Nou stadium are other ordinarily-packed attractions that can be experienced in a much calmer environment at wintertime.
The Carnaval de Barcelona takes over the city for a week leading up to Easter, which falls at the end of February this year. Events of the carnival will spread all across Barcelona's neighbourhoods, but the Gothic Quarter is where the main action will take place. The celebration will contain lots of colourful costumes and marching bands, dancing, drinking and fantastic street food.
Relax in the AIRE de Barcelona spa
Although the city is rarely freezing in winter, it can occasionally get a bit chilly. If it does, head to the AIRE de Barcelona. Aiming to keep the traditions of Roman and Greek bathhouses alive, in this stunning building (which was once a home for meat storage), you can spend a couple of serene hours in the warmth of its spa baths and massage rooms. Time stops still here, and one can expect to feel revitalised and ready to explore the city afterwards.
Though not technically in Barcelona, it's easy to forget that only one to two hours away from the city you can find some of the best skiing mountains in Europe. Head to La Molina resort, where one-day skiing trips prove very popular with Barcelona natives and tourists alike. The resort can be reached by car or train, and it makes for a fantastic alternative to the city. The snow in January and February is usually great too. Day passes can be bought from here, which includes Ski equipment rental.
Whatever way you choose to spend your time in the Catalonian capital, it will certainly beat the UK winter blues... see our best deals to Barcelona below!