With endless sunshine, blissfully warm waters and a myriad of scintillating fiestas to enjoy, there’s no denying that Barcelona is at its very best during the summer. Here are a few essential tips on what to do, see, eat and drink during Barcelona’s balmy days of ‘Verano’!
1. Cool off with wild watersports at Barceloneta beachBarcelona has over 4 km of blissfully beautiful beaches that are perfect on a hot summer’s day. Try a SUP (stand up paddle boarding) class or rent a jet ski and cool off in the Mediterranean waters.2. Refresh yourself with traditional Spanish ‘horchata’There’s nothing more Spanish than sipping ice-cold horchata, which is the local version of milkshake made with tiger nuts instead of cream. You’ll find it all over the city, but you can try the best of the best at Horchateria El Tio Che and Sirvent. If ice cream is more your thing, then check out the artisanal scoops at Swiit Ice Cream in the heart of the Gothic Quarter and Delacrem in the trendy Eixample barrio.3. Take part in the explosive Sant Joan celebrations (June 23 to 24)– One of the biggest cultural celebrations of the year, Sant Joan lights up the city with huge bonfires, fireworks and a whole lot of cava. From the beaches to the streets of the Gothic Quarter, this a fiesta not to be missed!4. Go au natural at one of Barcelona’s nudists beachesStrip off and let the sea breeze cool your skin at Barcelona’s chilled out nudist beaches of Mar Bella and San Sebastia. Just don’t forget your sunscreen!5. Take part in one of our delicious food tours and eat your way through the very best of BarcelonaThere’s simply no better way to explore Barcelona than by hopping from tapas bar to restaurant, sipping and nibbling on local delicacies along the way. Treat yourself to one of our day or evening food tours, or surprise your loved ones with our gift certificates and let us introduce you to the very best bites in Barcelona’s fabled culinary institutions.6. Watch the sunset over the ‘Magic Fountain’Held from Wednesday to Sunday night throughout the summer, the ‘Magic Fountain’ is a spectacular choreography of light, water and music. It takes place at the foot of the Palau Nacional and is one of the most special places to be at night, especially as the sun sets as turns the sky into an equally inspiring light show.7. Take it to the rooftops!What better way to see the city than from the rooftop terraces of Barcelona’s most exclusive hotels – with cocktails! There are countless options, but don’t miss the rooftops of the Majestic Hotel, Hotel 1898, Grand Hotel Central, Barceló Raval and Almanac Hotel.8. Fiesta with the Locals at the Gracia Festival Held every August in the bohemian, village-like barrio of Gracia, the Fiesta Mayor de Gracia is one of the most important neighborhood celebrations of the year. The streets are decorated by the residents, with each displaying a different theme: Star Wars street, King Kong street, political satire street… It’s amazing to see such a high level of creativity at work! Of course, you’ll also find plenty of live music and makeshift bars where you can grab a cold beer or mojito to help keep your cool!9. Watch a movie – al fresco style!Join Barcelona’s biggest film buffs for the annual outdoor screenings that take place in the gardens of the Montjuic Castle. The Cinema Lliure a La Platja also sees Barcelona’s beaches transform into a lively outdoor cinema. Take a blanket, a few nibbles, and drinks and you’ve got the perfect night out!10. Relax with a picnic in the parkBarcelona’s beaches may steal the show when it comes to outdoor living, but the city’s leafy parks are also made for ideal escape routes to on a hot day. Pack a picnic and claim your own bit of leafy real estate for a lazy day out. Parc de la Ciutadella is the largest and most famous park, with palms galore, fountains and even its own boating lake. Other beautiful gardens include Parc de Pedralbes, Parc de Joan Miró, and Parc del Centre del Poblenou.11. Glam it up with jazz on a Gaudi rooftopAntoni Gaudi’s iconic Casa Batlló and Pedrera buildings both host nightly music nights on their colorful rooftops. Book your tickets ahead of time and prepare for a night of pure magic!12. Cruise the Mediterranean Jump on a boat and drift away with the Mediterranean breeze. Barcelona looks even more beautiful from the sea!13. Hike up to TibidaboPerched atop the Collserola mountains, Tibidabo Theme Park dates back to 1899 and is among the oldest running theme parks in the world. The rides are fun for kids of all ages, while the epic views over the city make it a thrill for all ages.14. Escape to SitgesJump on a train and trundle your way along the coast to the beautiful seaside town of Sitges. This whitewashed utopia is only 30 minutes or so away from the city, but feels like a whole new world.15 Party on the beachBarcelona knows how to throw a fiesta, and some of the hottest happen right on the beach. Grab your dancing shoes and party the night away at iconic clubs like Opium, Shoko and CDLC, all of which open up directly onto the beach.16. Be ‘a-mazed’ at the beautiful Labyrinth of HortaOne of Barcelona’s lesser-known treasures, the Parc del Laberint d’Horta is like something straight out of a Disney movie. Be sure to pack supplies as it’s all-too-easy to get lost in the maze.17. Take a Spanish classOn those days when the heat is just too much, why not spend a few hours mastering your español in the comfort of an air-conditioned classroom. Speakeasy BCN is located right in the city center and organizes fun social activities and excursions for its students.18. Discover the magic of market morningsEarly mornings in the summer are fresh and crispy and there’s no better place to experience them than at one of the local markets. Explore the colourful stalls of La Boqueria and Santa Caterina, or hunt for bargains at the space-aged Mercat dels Encants.19. Enjoy a barbecued feast at the secret Caseta del MigdiaHidden away in a cliff-side pine forest overlooking the sea, La Caseta de Migdia outdoor barbecue bar is a bit of a local secret. Sip the local Moritz beer and devour a freshly-grilled botifarra hotdog – it doesn’t get any better than this!20. Indulge in perfect paella at the beachNothing says “Verano” (that’s summer in Spanish, amigo) more than a paella feast by the sea! There are countless places serving paella, but for the very best you’ll want to get as close to the sea as possible. Try to book a table at Xiringuito Escribà, Can Majó or Can Solé for the very best!
June 25, 2018 | Words and photos by Ben Holbrook for Eye On Food Tours