Sunshine and Barcelona seem like a natural combination, but this coastal metropolis gets its share of rain, especially in the spring and autumn months. Luckily there’s more to Barcelona than just sunbathing. Don’t let the rain spoil your visit. Do what the locals do, and explore some of the great cultural offerings of this dynamic city, including music, theater, and art. Not to mention that cooler weather means the perfect time to discover local cafés, tea houses, and granjas for a little treat to warm you up.
Art in the Montjuic area:
Atop Montjuic hill is the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, with an expansive collection spanning more than 1000 years of Catalan art. Particularly impressive is the extensive medieval Romanesque collection, as well as the Modern collection, representing movements from Neoclassical to Modernisme and Noucentisme. And if you’re craving still more, right next door is the Fundació Miró, housing an important collection of Joan Miró’s works.
Art in the Old Town area
The Picasso Museum features one of the most complete collections of Picasso’s works, particularly of his formative years, including the Blue Period, while revealing the artist’s lifetime relationship with the city of Barcelona. The perfect rainy day activity—but get there early as you won’t be the only with the same plan.
Family Fun in the Harbor area
Bring the kids down to the Port Vell area to see the Aquarium of Barcelona where you can take an “underwater” stroll along the Mediterranean seafloor. Or for a touch of history drop by the Maritime Museum where you can see life-size reproductions of historical ships.
Indulge Your Senses in the Santa Caterina and El Born areas
Located between the Old Town, the Arc de Triomf, and Ciutadella Park, the traditional Market at Santa Caterina offers colorful food stalls, quality produce and great restaurants—a nice alternative to the heavy tourist traffic of La Boqueria. Or, for some deeper relaxation, disconnect from the tourist hum altogether and book yourself a singular luxury spa experience at Aire de Barcelona near the El Born Market. And for a touch of decadence the whole family will love, drop by the Museu de la Xocolata where your ticket for museum entry is a tasty treat.
Recharge with a spot of quiet and a warm drink in the city center, where you’re not far from the concert and opera venues.
Divine dessert displays will tempt your senses at Caelum—many of the delicacies are made at nearby nunneries and monasteries. Visit the cellar where you can relax among the atmospheric stone arches of a former medieval Jewish bathhouse. With a wide selection of loose-leaf teas and a delicious Moroccan menu, Salterio offers the perfect retreat. If tea isn’t your thing, enjoy a Turkish coffee or chai made from scratch.
Take a stroll along Carrer Petritxol, where numerous granjas serve up traditional hot chocolate—more like melted-chocolate, because it is thicker and more decadent. Pair with churros for a perfect dipping combination. Treat yourself at Dulcinea, one of Barcelona’s oldest chocolatiers, and neighborhood fixture since 1941. Or, at La Pallaresa the air of a bustling neighborhood café will have you feeling right at home.
Cultivate your inner serenity with a classical guitar concert amidst the stunning Gothic architecture of one of Barcelona’s churches, like Basilica Santa Maria del Pi or Inglesia de Santa Ana. With shorter concerts and an easier repertoire, these are a great option for the entire family.
Centrally located on the famous La Rambla, the Gran Teatre del Liceu is one of the largest and most important opera houses in Europe. Built in 1847 and inspired by Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, this magnificent building has survived two fires and painstaking restoration, but the results are a gleaming example of architecture and design from the golden age of opera—a truly grandiose setting for an opera experience.
The Palau de la Música Catalana is nothing short of an architectural masterpiece in the Catalan Modernista style. The sumptuous Concert Hall décor is crowned with a glorious stained glass skylight, making it the only auditorium in Europe capable of natural light illumination during the day. Conceived and designed by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner as a showpiece of Catalan nationalist renaissance, the Palau was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Home to the Orfeó Català choral society, the Palau is dedicated to the promotion of Catalan music and culture while offering world-class performances spanning the gamut of musical experience.