Visiting Barcelona in September
Great weather, a litany of festivals and less tourists…
By Jessica Bowler
Europe’s biggest street party, La Merce, is just one of the awesome fiestas that takes place every year in Barcelona in September, whilst it’s also the perfect time of year to try a wine tour, or enjoy some beach time without being burnt. These and more suggestions below…
September is one of the nicest months of the year to visit Barcelona. The tourist-heavy crowds of the peak summer months have calmed down a bit, and the locals are back from their lengthy August holidays. The temperatures drop off a bit, but there’s still plenty of warm weather and sunshine. We’ve rounded up some ideas for things to do in Barcelona in September so you don’t miss any of the great stuff going on.
Celebrate Barcelona’s traditions at La Merce
La Merce is an annual festival celebrating one of the patron saints of Barcelona, the Virgin of Grace. The official feast day is the 24th, and the celebrations take place a few days before and after this date. It’s been going since medieval days, and today there are 600 completely free events held throughout the city! Don’t miss a castellers – human towers – performance.
Rock out at the BAM Festival
BAM stands for “Barcelona Accio Musical”, and it’s a series of concerts to accompany the Merce festival (above). There are venues all over the city, and the music tends to be indie rock, though you’ll also find electronic and pop artists. The concerts are all outdoor, and – even better – free! Pop into your local tourist office and ask for a programme, or you should be able to find more info on La Merce section of Barcelona’s city website, which we linked to in the above paragraph.
Take a beach trip
Nine times out of ten, the weather is still great in Barcelona well into September. With the mix of warm weather and reduced crowds, as everyone gets back to school and work, there’ll be plenty of space for you to put down your towel in prime sunbathing position.
Wine Tasting in the Penedes
Early autumn is also a lovely time to get out into the wonderful rolling hills of the local wine country. The Penedes are full of first rate wineries, big and small, many of whom specialise in producing Cava… although you’ll find excellent table wines as well. For a splash of luxury hire a private tour guide who will pick you up from your hotel and take you to two boutique vineyards. Or check out the Create Your Own Cava activity, which is incredible value for money.
See Catalan pride in action during the National Day of Catalonia
Known in Catalan as the “Diada Nacional de Catalunya”, this festival on September 11th celebrates all things Catalan. Traditionally, it’s a day for cultural events, though they’re often overshadowed by the independence demonstrations and marches held in the city centre by Catalan nationalists. Depending on who you ask, either 500,000 or 2 million people showed up to last year’s demonstration. Either way, it’s not an insignificant number.
Live it up on a boat party
The last of the Barcelona boat parties set sail this time of year, so if you’re young and carefree and fancy spending a couple of hours at sea swigging sangria and dancing away then sign up here! A great way to meet fellow travellers.
Dance the night away in Opium
Experience the razzle-dazzle of Barcelona’s epic nightlife on a tour of some of it’s best venues, starting with Mirablau and night views over the entire city and finishing at the legendary Opium club. A great way to meet other party people and experience some of the city’s best venues at the same time…
Enjoy the “Mas i Mas” music festival
Starting in late July and going into September, the Mas i Mas festival fills Barcelona with concerts. All sorts of music gets played, from soul to classical to pop and rock to even a spot of flamenco. There are over 160 concerts in total, so there should be something to suit your fancy.
Get festive at a “Festa Major”
All year round, Barcelona’s neighbourhoods take turns hosting their versions of a neighbourhood block party. They’ll typically involve a mix of local traditions and a modern-day block party. Not surprisingly, these parties tend to be more popular in the warmer months. In September, the districts of Barceloneta, La Ribera and Poblenou all hold their “festa major”.
Savour the last moments of the summer rooftop bars
Barcelona’s coolest rooftop bars are usually found hidden inside swanky hotels, but you don’t have to be a staying customer to use them in most cases. Just head inside, go straight for the lift, and head to the top floor. These bars tend to open during the warm weather months, with most closing in September or October until the springtime.
Enjoy a local food or beer tour
Barcelona is full of foodie things to do, and hip local tours are multiplying year by year. One young company that specialises in both authentic tapas tours and regional craft beer tasting is the appropriately named Tapas & Beers. Their food tour takes place in the awesome district of Gracia, whilst their beer tour is led by an expert brewer.
Be prepared for a chance of rain
September and October tend to be some of the wettest months in Barcelona, with an average of 8 rainy days per month. Depending on where you’re visiting from, that may not be too damp – but maybe start thinking about indoor activities you might like to do just in case. Here’s a list of great museums to get you started.
Still here in October? Then check out more things to do in autumn!
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!