Visiting Barcelona in April
Outdoors weather, festivals old and new and a spot of Gaudi
By Jessica Bowler
Is April A Good Time To Visit?
T.S. Eliot may have said “April is the cruelest month”, but that could be because he never made it to Barcelona this time of year (at least as far as we know). The city has usually said a firm “adiós” to winter by the time April rolls around, and it starts to show its sunny side. It’s still not the height of the tourist season for a couple of months, so you can enjoy the great weather without the insane crowds of high summer – although for sure they’ll be quite a bustle of people, Barcelona has a year-round appeal as a city break destination.
The city has usually said a firm “adiós” to winter by the time April rolls around, and it starts to show its sunny side.
Aside from its perennial attractions, there are also a slew of events that happen throughout April, so just about any time you come during the month will have some interesting stuff to go see, on top of the classic sightseeing stuff. We’ve tried to combine a bit of both on this page, and we’ve confident you’ll take up at least one of the suggestions we have listed below… you’d be crazy not to!
What’s the Weather Like in April?
You might not want to pack your swimsuit (the sea is probably still too cold for a proper swim, though there are always a few brave souls who give it a go anyway), but do expect lots of nice sunshine. The average high in April is just over 19 ºC (66 ºF), though you’ll want something to wear in the evenings, which get down to around 13 ºC (55 ºF).
The chances of getting a few showers in April are a bit higher than in the rest of the year, with an average of around 8 rainy days during the month. But don’t worry even if it does rain, because there’s lots going on both indoors and outdoors.
Festivals & Things To Do
Here are our top picks for what to do in Barcelona in April…
1. Sail Away on the Mediterranean
Think private cruises on the Mediterranean sound like something only for the rich and famous? While they’re definitely enjoyed by plenty of A-listers, you can get your own taste of the luxury life with a private sailing trip along Barcelona’s coast. Sail off on the deep blue see to get some truly unforgettable views of the city skylines made only better with the scent of the sea breeze. If hiring your own boat and skipper is a bit too expensive, check out our feature length article on sailing tours, as there are some amazing options to join a small-group boat trip from just €39 per person.
Barcelona is home to plenty of masterpieces by eccentric architect Antoni Gaudí, but none are better enjoyed on a spring day than Parc Güell. This whimsical park features some of his signature ceramic work, as well as a couple of great vantage points to take in sweeping cityscapes. It was designed to be a housing development, but the idea never really took off. Still, you can still see a couple of houses in the park today, including a pretty pink one where Gaudí himself lived for twenty years. If you’re planning on visiting Parc Güell, we highly recommend booking tickets ahead of time, as the park limits the number of visitors per day and it’s not unusual for it to be fully booked. If you can’t get tickets for your trip, you can still see parts of the park for free (just not the postcard stuff).
3. Celebrate Easter and Holy Week
Although Barcelona isn’t home to massive Easter celebrations like in other parts of Spain, you can still see glimpses of the traditions in action, if you know where to look. A few parades take place throughout the city, generally in the historic city centre. The Raval has La Burreta procession on Palm Sunday (commemorating Jesus, entering Jerusalem on a donkey) and another procession on Good Friday. The Gothic Quarter also has one on the Friday. If you’re not interested in the religious side of the holiday, you might be interested in the culinary side. Bakeries do a roaring trade around Easter and sell treats like chocolate eggs, the “mona de Pascua” cakes with their elaborate decorations, and buñuelos de Cuaresma (literally “Lent fritters”, which are fried balls of dough sometimes filled with cream or chocolate). Lots of shops will be closed around Easter Sunday, so make sure to make your shopping plans accordingly! They tend to close both on Good Friday and the Monday after Easter.
4. Visit Gaudi’s Casa Vicens
The latest of Gaudí’s works to open up to the public is Casa Vicens, a stunning mansion inspired by architecture from all over the world, including Arabic influences and orientalist touches. The house only opened up to the public at the end of 2017 and the secret isn’t quite out about this place yet, meaning you can avoid the queues you often find at other Gaudí sites. The house sits on the edge of the bohemian Gràcia neighbourhood, which makes a nice stop for a coffee or meal after visiting the house, and is also near to the aforementioned Park Guell. More info and tickets here, or grab yours via Get Your Guide.
5. Get Immersed in Monet
For a limited time only in Barcelona (until the 27th April 2020), you can step into the world of the French master impressionist, Claude Monet… literally. At the IDEAL centre in Poblenou, art lovers are invited to immerse themselves in 360 projections of the maestro’s iconic paintings in this revolutionary digital exhibition. More info here, tickets available on Tiqets.com.
6. Celebrate Sant Jordi’s Day (April 23)
Often described as the Catalan equivalent of Valentine’s Day, the Diada de Sant Jordi (Saint George’s Day to us) is not just a romantic celebration but also a truly local one. Saint George is the patron saint of Catalonia, so the romance gets mixed in with a bit of local pride as well. It coincides with World Book Day, so traditionally men receive books and women receive roses (although today, almost everybody gets a book!). The streets fill with stalls selling books, roses, and all kinds of items adorned with the red and yellow stripes of the Catalan flag. Coupled up, or going solo, take a stroll around the streets of Las Ramblas and the Passeig de Gracia to see plenty of happy smiles along with the scent of fresh roses and new books.
7. Take a Day Trip to Cadaqués
A couple hours north of Barcelona, the Costa Brava is famed for its beautiful wild beaches, pretty white villages and world-class cuisine. The jewel of the coastline is Cadaqués, a small town that sits on a picturesque bay. Famous artists have summered here through its history (most notably Dalí, who had a house a short walk away; Picasso, Miró, Duchamp, and more have also passed through). The town makes a perfect place for a quick break, or as the first stop on your way up to visit other towns on the Catalan coast. It’s a bit tricky to get to via public transport, but you can hire a car, or else sign up for a tour. The one below is great value and includes a trip to the Dali Museum in Figueres.
8. Take a VIP Nightlife Tour
Party like a rock star, or a movie star, or a football star – whatever kind of star you’d love to be, the VIP Nightlife Tour gives you access to Barcelona’s most exclusive clubs. With stops (and drinks) in the city’s top choice of bars, you’ll be whisked around the glamorous side of Barcelona in luxury transport, skipping the queues in true VIP style. Every Friday and Saturday night starting in the spring, this is the perfect way to know you’re getting to see the premium side of the city’s nightlife with a fun group of party people.
9. Enjoy the return of Brunch Electronik
Barcelona’s got a reputation as a hedonistic city, and there are few better parties to enjoy in the spring than Brunch Electronik, which runs from mid March to June, and is in full swing during the whole of April. This open-air electronic music event brings together music lovers from around the world to dance all day long every Sunday. Despite a distinct hipster vibe, it manages to be a relaxed, fun event where you’ll see people of all ages and get to hear music from both local and international artists. Even though Sunday might sound like an odd party day, this event is so popular you’ll probably want to get tickets in advance.
10. Peace Out at the Earth Day Festival
The Fira de la Terra takes place annually around Earth Day to celebrate all things eco-chic and environmentally friendly. You can find it in and around the Ciutadella Park, and it features lots of interesting stalls featuring local food and products to browse, as well as performances, concerts and events. It’s worth stopping by just to check out what’s going on, as it livens up the already lovely park location.
11. Visit the Feria de Abril
The April Fair is a week-long (or more) festival that usually takes place in the expansive Parc del Forum. The festival is traditionally from Andalusia, so you’ll see traditions from southern Spain (including traditional clothing, dances, drinks and food) along with a good dose of the fiesta spirit (concerts, carnival rides, late nights and plenty of fun). Entrance is free, so round up a group of friends and see if you can master the elaborate art of flamenco – or if not, at least have a good laugh trying. The dates for 2019, are the 26th April to the 4th May.
12. See a Show at the Flamenco Palace
If your trip to Feria de Abril got you hankering for all things from southern Spain, then satisfy your urges with a visit to one of Barcelona’s professional flamenco tablaos. One of the best is undoubtedly Palacio de Flamenco, which throws on three performances a night, together with your choice of a paella or tapas dinner (or just a drink, if you’re already made dinner plans). You can read more and buy tickets for El Palacio here, or following the button below. For more options, check all of our favourite flamenco shows.
13. Rock Out At Telegrocesca Music Festival
The concrete jungle of the Parc del Fòrum makes the perfect urban setting for events throughout the year in Barcelona, and April sees the Telegrocesca music festival come to town. This is the biggest university festival in Spain with lots of young and up-and-coming groups featured on stage. Tickets come in at student-friendly prices, starting from €17. You don’t have to be a student to go, and it can be a fun chance to hear lots of local music on the cheap.
14. Check the Indie D’A Film Festival
April rounds out with a film festival celebrating the best in indie film and what’s next to come in the world of cinema (think more Sundance than Hollywood productions). There are always plenty of fascinating, creative movies; after all, the “D’A” stands for “d’autor” – auteur cinema in Catalan. The website has information about which films will be showing (although, as of writing, none have been confirmed yet), but they promise “a flawless programme” – and if past editions are anything to go by, it could certainly live up to those big words.
That’s it for our favourite things to do in Barcelona in April! You can also see what we recommend in February and the best events in March if you happen to be in town a bit earlier, and our guide to visiting in May if you’re here later in spring.
And whenever you’re coming to Barcelona, don’t miss out on our list of fun and original things to do any time of the year.
About the Author
Jessica was born in England and grew up in California before moving to Seville to study Spanish. She now lives here in Barcelona, where she works in communications, studies for her masters and still finds time to update her award-winning blog Barcelona Blonde – as well as being a regular contributor to Barcelona Life!