Visiting Barcelona in November
Keeping busy when the autumn weather kicks in…
By Jessica Bowler
From jazz festivals to scoffing toasted chestnuts, there’s plenty of things to do in November, whatever the weather…
With the average November high temperature in Barcelona around 17ºC and an average low of 8º, this is usually the month where the temperatures noticeably drop in the city. The days also get quite a bit shorter. The lower temperatures aren’t all bad news though; they can make a day of sightseeing considerably less sweaty! You’ll also find that there are significantly fewer visitors in the city, meaning less crowded attractions for you. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite things to do in Barcelona in November to help you plan your trip.
1. All Saints’ Day
November starts off with a holiday in Spain – El Día de Todos los Santos, or All Saints’ Day. It’s a national public holiday to honour and remember the dead. Flower vendors line the streets to sell floral displays to people to leave at their dearly departed’s graveside. But it’s not all sombre contemplation; this is also the day when people traditionally eat small round almond cakes called “panellets.” Look out for them on sale at bakeries around the city.
2. Celebrate the “Castanyada”
One of the traditions of All Saints’ Day is to eat hot toasted chestnuts (“castanyas” in Catalan) that come wrapped in newspaper. They start being sold by street hawkers with pop-up roasting stalls around the holiday, and they continue doing brisk business throughout the winter. They also often sell roasted sweet potatoes at the same stalls.
3. Visit La Sagrada Familia While You Can!
Around 3 million people visit Gaudi’s masterpiece each year, and it’s rarely less than chock-full, especially during the summer months. November is actually one of the best times to visit as its one of the city’s quieter months for tourism, and you should have a bit of breathing space as you marvel at the white forest-like interior of the nave, and ascend / descend the towers. Check out our page for more info on skip the line tickets, tours and towers or go right ahead and reserve via Get Your Guide. We’d recommend one of the tickets with both audioguide and tower access.
4. And Don’t Forget The Other Modernista Marvels!
Barcelona’s unique aesthetic comes from the artistic movement known as Modernisme, also known as Catalan art nouveau. Gaudi was just one proponent of the genre (in fact his most famous works took on a style all of his own), and his contemporaries like Domenech i Montaner and Puig i Cadafalch are held in almost the same esteem by locals for the architectural legacy they left. You can see some of Barcelona’s most beautiful facades when you visit the Palace of Catalan Music, the Hospital of Sant Pau and the Casa Amatller for starters.
5. See the Changing Colours at Parc de la Ciutadella
Not all of Barcelona’s trees change colours in the fall, but plenty of them in the ‘Citadel Park‘ do. November is a great month for a stroll in the park to enjoy the autumn foliage. Take a picnic or rent a rowboat, or simply walk around and take in the sights. If you’re visiting with kids, the zoo is located inside the park too.
For our complete guide to all of Barcelona’s parks head here.
6. Lock Yourself in an Escape Room
A hot craze in Barcelona right now, and indeed the rest of the world, escape rooms offer participants the chance to pit themselves against the clock in a battle of wits. By solving a series of puzzles, one after another, you have to move closer to finding the key or the code that will allow you to exit the room before the time is up. Each room has its own theme, and you might find yourself doing anything from rescuing Gaudi’s blueprints for La Sagrada Familia to infiltrating a secret society known as the ‘WD’. Read a list of some of our favourite rooms here. The perfect activity on a wet autumnal day.
7. Eat Tapas and Watch Flamenco
An extremely popular activity, the Tapas & Flamenco experience is a great one for fans of Spanish culture who want to sample two of the country’s most typical traditions, both of which have strong roots in Catalonia as well. First you get to watch a classic flamenco concert before sampling some authentic dishes served up and down Spain. It runs every night and you can find more info here.
8. Visit the World Press Photo exhibition
The World Press Photo exhibition honours the best in photojournalism and travels to different cities around the world throughout the year. November usually means it’s Barcelona’s turn. The exhibition is hosted at the CCCB contemporary art museum in the Raval district. If you go on a Sunday afternoon, you can get in for free!
9. Take a Wine Class with a Sommelier
Spanish wines are both very affordable and extremely underrated. In this fun workshop that takes place in the city centre you will taste five local Catalan wines in the company of an expert sommelier, who will first introduce you to several smell and taste challenges to train your palate. The wines are paired with gourmet cheeses and by the end of the session you’ll leave with a firm appreciation of the local vintages, and a better understanding of wine in general. The session can also be arranged at your hotel or apartment if you prefer.
10. Get Brainy at the “Barcelona Pensa” Philosophy Festival
Barcelona’s very own philosophy festival is usually held in mid-November. It’s promoted by the Department of Philosophy at the University of Barcelona to get the city more involved in philosophical stuff. It takes place at multiple locations around the city and features talks, presentations, workshops, and debates (naturally). You may need to brush up on your Catalan though to make the most of it.
11. Go on a Hipster Bar Crawl
If a typical pub crawl seems a bit boisterous and naff to you, how about a “hipster” one. This local bar hop, run by Tapas & Beers tour company, takes you to some really authentic bars in the edgy Raval district so that you can sample a real slice of the city’s raucous nightlife. The experience takes place every Friday night.
12. Visit The Amazing Picasso Museum
Picasso spent his formative years in Barcelona and his legacy in Catalonia is marked by the museum that bears his name. Over 3,500 of his works are exhibited, with a focus on his early life and the evocative Blue and Rose periods. You can read more about guided tours and tickets on our website. A great option if it’s raining.
13. Buff up on the Best Films of the Year
Both the In-Edit film festival featuring musical documentary films and L’Alternative Film Festival for independent films typically take place in November in Barcelona. If you like films, this is the perfect time to check out what the city has to offer for cinephiles.
14. Jazz Festival
The annual jazz festival in Barcelona usually kicks off in late October, and continues into November. Tickets can range anywhere from €12 per concert to upwards of €150 for multi-show entrance packages. The festival has celebrated nearly 50 editions and attracts some of the biggest names in jazz music.
15. Celebrate Thanksgiving with the American Expat Crowd
Held on the fourth Thursday in November every year, Americans abroad often head straight to the nearest Irish bar to eat their traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Flaherty’s do a great one every year if you’re looking to get your fix of turkey and stuffing for the year.
16. See the Start of the Christmas Season
In late November, the first signs of the Christmas season start to appear on the streets of Barcelona, like holiday markets and festive lighting displays. The exact dates vary from year to year, but you’ll definitely start to notice some of the Christmas cheer descending on the city by the month’s end.
So there you go… plenty of things to see and do this November! But if for some reason you haven’t filled your agenda yet then check out this long list of fun and unusual activities.
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!