Visiting Barcelona in March
Spring arrives, so pop open the Cava and make the most of the weather…
By Jessica Bowler
Barcelona’s fitness freaks will be running the marathon, but you can enjoy free sweets instead at the Festa de Sant Medir, or else sample every Catalan brew under the sun at the Barcelona Beer Festival. Meanwhile spring sunshine makes for great conditions for rounding up the key sights!
Thinking about visiting Barcelona in March? Wondering what’s on in the city during the month? This time of year still isn’t the high tourist season, so you’ll get a chance to see a more local side of city life, but there’s certainly plenty of spark and bustle as Barcelona warms up both figuratively and literally for the year ahead. All in all, it’s a great time to visit, with plenty of daylight for sightseeing and just a tiny promise of summer in the air.
We’ve made a list of all of our favourite things to do during March, which includes everything from traditional local festivities to cutting-edge professional events.
What’s the Weather Like in March?
March is also the month when Barcelona starts to gradually shake off its winter coat, but as the old saying goes it can come in like a lion and go out like a lamb. If you’re visiting near the beginning of the month, expect it to still be chilly. The average high is 17 ºC (62 ºF), with the average low at 11 ºC (52 ºF). There are usually around 6 rainy days a month in March, although it also gets a few lovely sunny days, especially towards the end of the month.
In other words, pack layers in your bag, but also plan on having a lot of fun – because there’s loads going on in the city this time of year, such as…
Festivals & Things To Do
1. Take a Bike Tour
Why not enjoy the early springtime weather by exploring the city’s best sights by bike? Barcelona is a relatively flat city with plenty of bike lanes, which makes it great for cycling. It’s also not a huge city, so you can cover a lot of ground in just a couple of hours. What might not be so easy is choosing a bike tour, as there are hundreds to pick from. But don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work and have selected the cream of the crop, such as Steel Donkey Bike Tours (named after the national animal of Catalonia) who do a fantastic job of getting you off the beaten track. Head to our feature article on bicycle tours for all your options.
2. Enjoy the Sweetest Celebration in the City (3rd March)
In early March, the bohemian Gràcia neighbourhood puts on a celebration that only takes place in that neighbourhood: Sant Medir. For the day, horse-drawn parade floats make their way through the streets, with the people sitting on top throwing out sweets to the local kids. The secret to getting away with the lion’s share of the candy? Bring an umbrella, open it up and turn it upside down to catch the sweets as they’re thrown. These Catalans are canny folk!
3. Take a Day Trip to See Dalí’s Digs at Figueras
Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí’s hometown of Figueras sits just about 90 minutes away from Barcelona. But it’s more than just his hometown; it’s also the place that houses his bizarre Dalí Theatre-Museum. The artist himself created it from what used to be the town’s theatre, and turned it into a museum that celebrated his works. You can see all kinds of his art and experiments here, and even the crypt where he’s buried today. Check out our article on the best day trips from Barcelona for more info on getting to Figueres. You could make your way there independently, or this sign up for this highly rated tour on Get Your Guide.
4. Cheer on the Vintage Cars at the Barcelona-Sitges Rally (early March)
For over 60 years now, Barcelona and Sitges have held a rally in early March, with streams of cars racing along the scenic coastal roadways. Today’s versions feature charming vintage automoboles making their way around Barcelona’s city centre and then out to the coast. You can also expect plenty to do around the rally route, like beer and wine tastings, live music, an “elegance contest” (their words, not ours!) and more. Check out their website. (Photo by Ferran Vidal).
5. See The Whole of Spain at Poble Espanyol
Poble Espanyol (literally “the Spanish village’) is a curious attraction on the edges of Montjuïc hillside. It features life-size representations of some of the most beautiful architecture from all around Spain. Step into a white-walled Andalusian patio, see a traditional house from Don Quixote’s turf of Castilla La Mancha or enjoy a concert at a typical Spanish Plaza Mayor – all without leaving Barcelona. Inside the buildings, you can find craftsmen’s workshops, art galleries, and little shops to peruse. Opening times, tickets and more info here. There are also activities for kids and families, so make sure to check out the schedule to see what’s on.
6. Work Up a Sweat at the Barcelona Marathon (March 10)
If running marathons is your thing, then why not add the Marató Barcelona to your to-do list? The marathon’s route takes you on a fantastic sightseeing tour of the city’s major attractions, making it an unusual way to get a tour in (that is, if you’re not too puffed to appreciate the sights!). Even if you’re not running, there are concerts and stopping points along the way where you can cheer on your friends. Sign-ups close on March 4, so make sure to sign up ahead of time!
7. Drink Up at the Barcelona Beer Festival (March 15-17)
Formerly held in the Maritime Museum, the Barcelona Beer Festival proved so popular it was moved to a larger venue in L’Hospitalet. Get there early to avoid the queues and focus on tasting all beers great and small. Well, maybe not all – but previous editions have seen more than 300 different varieties of beer on tap to sample.
8. Create Your Very Own Cava
A glass or Cava or two is a must on any trip to Barcelona, but have you ever thought of making your own? This activity takes you to a charming family-run vineyard in the famous Penedès wine region, where you’ll learn from the experts how to make the perfect bottle of Cava. First, you’ll try lots of the sparkling white wine to get a taste for it, and then you’ll help bottle and create your very own blend. Keep reading to find out more, and be sure to book ahead, because this tour fills up fast.
9. Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17)
OK, so this one might not be a very Catalan tradition, but it’s still a lot of fun. Barcelona’s Irish pubs get decked out green and orange, and of course, there’s plenty of Guinness on tap. Your best bets for a good time on the 17th? Try Flaherty’s Irish Pub, George Payne or the Michael Collins. Read more about the best pubs in town here.
10. Pop in to La Sagrada Familia
The weather might be gradually warming up in March, but the city is still well before peak tourist season. While it’s unlikely that you’ll ever visit the Sagrada Familia when it’s truly empty, you will be able to enjoy Gaudi’s masterpiece with far fewer crowds in March. Still, it’s always a good idea to book your tickets online ahead of time so you can skip the line and spend your time on more exciting things.
11. Enjoy the Festivities for the Festa de Sant Josep Oriol (Around March 23)
This festival is held in honour of a 17th-century saint, and the square named after him, in the Gothic Quarter, is point zero for the celebrations for his festival. The biggest moment is a parade that features things like gegants (giants), capgrossos (big-heads, a costume you wear on your shoulder, giving the illusion of having a, well, big head), castellers (human towers), and more. During the day, there are lots of activities for kids and families to enjoy together. Festival website here.
12. Take a Day Trip to the Colonia Güell
You may have heard the name “Güell” before (as in the park), but what you may not have heard of previously is the Colonia Güell, a curious company town (a “colonia” in Spanish) located near Barcelona. Like the park, this too features architect Antoni Gaudí’s creative work at play. Designed as a place where factory employees would work, go to church and relax, the complex has everything you’d need to never leave the company grounds again. Brilliant idea or too Big Brother? See it for yourself and decide.
13. Listen to the Beautiful Sounds of the Maria Canals International Music Competition (March 23 to April 4)
The Maria Canals International Music Competition is back for its 65th edition this year. Every year, you can see the competition take place at the Palau de la Música, with the final stages being held in its spectacular main concert hall. The competition will also run an OFF Maria Canals Barcelona Competition, which includes over 800 activities and will add 150 grand pianos all over the city to celebrate. Check their website for full details.
That wraps up our list of suggestions for things happening in March! If you’re coming earlier in the year, why not read our guides to January events and what to do in February? Arriving later in Spring, our April guide is live!
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!