Those who go to bed early in Spain miss half the fun! We share 19 of our favourite things to do in Barcelona at night, from classy cultural experiences to alcohol-fuelled nocturnal naughtiness… as well as some fun activities and tours.
What is there to do in Barcelona after the sun goes down? Well bon vivants keen to sample the local nightlife will certainly find plenty to occupy them (and will be well catered for on this list!), but what about those refined folk who want to make the most of their evenings in the Catalan capital?
Well, don’t worry, Barcelona by night has plenty to offer culturally curious travellers, from an evening at the opera, to jazz on the rooftops of Gaudi’s most famous buildings, and even a few more intriguing surprises – like a moonlit paddle on the Mediterranean.
The Catalan capital is not what you’d call a 24 hour city, but it’s no early-to-bed prude either, and even the kids stay up until midnight in these parts, so you’ve got no excuse for staying up a little later and taking advantage of everything The Great Enchantress has to offer after dusk.
To make this list more user-friendly, I’m going to put my suggestions in order of sophistication, starting with the most civilised first and finishing with several debauched booze ups that would shock the good people of Sodom and Gomorrah. I leave it up to you when you stop reading…
1. Dress Up For The Opera
Las Ramblas has been more or less commandeered these days by tourists waddling up and down in their cruise-ship casuals, but something that always heartens me somehow is the sight of locals gathering in formal evening wear outside the Liceu Theatre, as they await the start of their show: an elegant tradition surviving in the maelstrom of mass tourism. Once the biggest opera house in Europe, Liceu still boasts a programme of great repute, and this season they are staging Candide, Madame Butterfly and Hamlet amongst others, while their grand 2,300 seater auditorium also hosts several dance performances and classical concerts each month. You can buy tickets via their official website. During the day you can also take a tour of the theatre’s opulent interior.
2. See La Pedrera “The Origins” Night Show
Day tickets for Gaudi’s Casa Mila cost €22, and whilst I’d encourage any visitor to check out this epic mansion (also known as La Pedrera, or ‘The Quarry’), you don’t have to join the peak time rush. Ever since La Pedrera launched their “The Origins” show, savvy travellers have had the option of visiting the house during the evening, for a “semi-guided” night tour of the casa’s intriguing interior and period details, followed by an audiovisual show on the mansion’s famous roof terrace for not that much more at €34. The chance to drink a glass of Cava on top of one of the city’s most iconic buildings, with a sound and light display projected on to Gaudi’s surreal handiwork is certainly a unique experience. You can book via Get Your Guide.
3. Feel The Passion of a Flamenco Show
Migrant workers from the south of Spain brought their rich tradition of flamenco with them to Barcelona, and today the city is full of great tablaos where you can catch a show. It’s not exactly Catalan, but if you’ve been craving a slice of real Spanish culture and don’t have time to head down to Andalusia, then these passionate, foot-stomping, hand-clapping spectacles are well worth seeing. Most of the major venues stage several concerts a night, each with a dinner option, or you can just opt for the show with a complementary drink. Check out our article for all the best tablaos, or – if you want me to make your decision easy for you then buy tickets for Palacio de Flamenco. It’s set in a lovely refurbished 1920s theatre, centrally located and affordably-priced.
4. Enjoy Live Music at Gaudi’s Casa Batllo
Available spring to autumn
Another chance to visit one of Gaudi’s mind-boggling mansions at nighttime, this time the coral-faced Casa Batllo (which is just opposite the aforementioned Casa Mila). Your evening begins at 8pm with an audio-guided tour of the building Mick Jagger once tried to buy (allegedly), and then continues at 9pm with a live concert on the rooftop. The bands change every night, but typically you’ll be listening to some soft refrains of pop-influenced jazz, blues or flamenco as you enjoy the cool Barcelona evening air. The tickets cost €39 per person, and include two free drinks of your choice. So not a bad deal all in all!
5. Gather at the Magic Fountain
Sp’lunked all your cash on a guided tour of La Sagrada Familia by day, and looking for something free to do at night? Well rock on up to Barcelona’s Font Magica… aka the Magic Fountain. Dormant during the day, the waterworks suddenly spring to life at night, accompanied by a cacophony of kitsch pop and classical music. Somehow it works, and expect a large crowd to gather around sunset for the shows. Head to our article for more info on the Magic Fountain’s timetable, map and tips for visiting etc.
6. Take a Segway Tour by Night
To be honest Segways can be a bit of menace by day, especially in the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter, or along the crowded beach front. But by night, when foot-fall traffic is much lower, they can be a fun way to see the city without obstructing the good people of Barcelona going about their business. This private Segway ride is one of the best Barcelona night tours around and great value at just €55 per person (minimum two people). It takes you along the legendary Barceloneta beach, which is still lively by night with joggers, skaters, walkers and drinkers, reveals some of the history behind the Old Port, and the new Olympic marina too, before taking you inland to the impressive Arc de Triomf, and then to some of the most exciting modern developments in the city, such as the stunningly Jean Nouvel-designed Torre Glories. This towering steel and glass dildo (sorry there’s really no way of stepping around it!), is lit up after dark by 4,500 LED panels and is a true highlight of any Barcelona-by-night experience.
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in mid-summer
If you happen to be in Barcelona in July (or the end of June, start of August), then I can highly recommend to you this wonderful experience, which involves hiking up to the ramparts of Montjuic castle for an open air film screening, preceded by a concert. The format is to head up the hill with a blanket, pillow and picnic basket and enjoy a bit of a feast during the concert, then get comfortable (or as best you can) for the film. Romantic and fun as it is, you do need to bear a few things in mind. Firstly check for a film that’s in English, because all films are screened in their original language with Spanish subtitles, which probably won’t help you much if you’re a tourist here. Second buy tickets in advance, snagging a deckchair option if you can, as they sell out most nights. Third, even with an advance ticket, you’ll need to get there bang on time to hustle for a good spot on the grass. Website here.
8. Sign up for a Paella Cooking Class
No one leaves Barcelona without eating a paella, but instead of heading to one of the shoddy places on Las Ramblas or Barceloneta for microwaved mouthfuls of yellow goo, what about learning to cook Spain’s signature dish for yourself, with market-fresh ingredients and the help of a local chef? During this fun and informal cooking class you learn the secrets behind preparing a really great seafood paella, before devouring your creation. The activity takes place at 6pm every night and includes a tour of the famous Boqueria market, complementary tapas (the paella takes a while to cook!), and plenty of delicious glasses of sangria. Great value at €35 per person, and as the groups are usually large and friendly you should feel comfortable signing up for this activity even if you’re travelling on your own. Vegetarians catered for as well. More details and instructions on how to reserve here.
9. Go Paddleboarding by Moonlight
How about this for an original idea? Stand up paddle boarding has been a pretty big trend in Barcelona during those sizzling hot summer days, but for this activity you set out onto the Mediterranean when the stars have come out and the sunbathers have gone home. With bright LED lights attached to the bottom of your board you can see deep into the waters below you, and hopefully catch a glimpse of some marine life enjoying a nighttime swim. Meanwhile the lit-up beach promenade and W-Hotel create an epic backdrop to your watery nocturnal excursion. Not cheap at €95 per person, with a minimum of 4 people, but the price includes dinner at the sailing club at least. Available via Get Your Guide.
10. Book a Private Wine Tasting Class
Available year round
If you fancy combining boozing with sophistication, how about inviting a sommelier around to your apartment for a guided wine tasting of Catalonia’s excellent wines? During this private class (which can also be scheduled to take place in one of the city’s central bodegas), a local wine guru will introduce you to five of his favourite wines from the province’s 12 denomicacion de origen regions, including from the Priorat (second only to Rioja in Spain). He will also share some tricks on how to detect subtle flavours and nuances that you can recycle at your next dinner party with friends. Read more here.
11. Watch the Sunset at Bunkers del Carmel
Barcelona’s worst kept secret, a trip up to the Bunkers del Carmel to watch the sunset over the city has become a rite of passage for young locals and travellers, who enjoy the opportunity to fill their Instagram feed with spectacular vistas and pointless captions (#blessed), as well as to drink a few cheap tinnies of supermarket beer with some Jamon Ruffles and a giant-sized pack of pipas. You can take to the Restaurant Delicias and then walk up from there.
12. Take on an Escape Room
A fun activity that doesn’t involve drinking (at least not until afterwards), Escape Rooms involve solving a series of puzzles in order to, you guessed it, escape the room. Barcelona has several great ones, many of which have a theme tied to the city’s history or identity in some way, such as rescuing Gaudi’s architectural blueprints from the burning crypt of La Sagrada Familia (so you can pretend you’re doing something cultural!). You typically have one hour to solve all the clues, meaning it’s a relatively quick activity you can schedule before or after dinner, and depending on your group size they tend to work out pretty cheap. We reviewed a few of Barcelona’s best rooms right here.
11. Join an Evening Tapas Tour
Experience the city exactly as locals do, by hopping between some of the city’s many authentic bars and bodegas, sampling the best tapas in each venue, along with a cana of beer, or glass of vino. Tapas & Beers offer an evening tour with a knowledgeable local guide who knows plenty of the city’s secrets and lore. This is a bit more chaotic than your orderly midday food tours, and what a real night out in Barcelona looks like. More foodie activities here.
12. Taste Local Craft Beers with a Catalan Guide
The same company (Tapas & Beers) also offer an in-depth craft beer tasting tour in the company of a charismatic Catalan beer guru. Starting a Garage Beer microbrewery, you get a tour of the premises and an entertaining introduction into the process behind beer making, whilst of course sampling some of the homemade produce. Your tour then takes you to two more excellent beer bars in the neighbourhood for more guided tastings, with some accompanying tapas. At €69 it’s not cheap, but beer aficionados won’t be disappointed. A more affordable option, with better availability, would be Vivelus’ Craft Beer Tour, which you can book via Get Your Guide.
13. Drop By a Live Music Venue
A night out doesn’t have to involve just DJs and mindless drinking. Barcelona has plenty of cool little live music bars showcasing talented local bands, even if many of them, like Big Bang or Soda Acustic, are pretty hard to find (check out this article for a helping hand!). As well as the more Bohemian hang outs, there are the larger music clubs like Sala Razzmatazz where international acts play, a glut of Irish pubs (most of whom have live concerts, Friday to Sunday), not to mention the classical concert venues. One place that serves up music at the weekends with killer cocktails is Slow Barcelona.
14. Attend a Local Street Festival
Available during summer months
One of my favourite things to do at night in Barcelona is head on over to one of the city’s festes majors – if one is happening. Over the summer months there are at least a couple taking place every month, and they usually last for at least a week, so there’s a fair chance that you find yourself in town when there’s a party going on. Essentially neighbourhood street parties, a district’s festa major is an excuse to spend the whole evening outside, listening to free concerts, drinking cheap beers and desperately searching for somewhere to pee. (Top tip, better to drink spirits than beer!). Check our complete guide to the Barcelona’s festes majors, or check our event calendar to see what’s on.
15. Splash Out on a Champagne Sunset Cruise
Available Friday nights, June to August
So you’ve heard about Barcelona’s notorious boat parties? But you’re a little bit too sophisticated (viz. old) for that kind of fun? This Champagne Sunset Cruise combines elegance with hedonism, as a dressed up crowd board a luxury catamaran to sip Cava with live music and DJs, with the Mediterranean breeze in their hair and views back over Barcelona’s captivating skyline. Live like a millionaire for 2.5 hours, and then party back on land with the people you met on board the yacht. Your ticket includes free drinks, food and VIP club entry afterwards. More info and bookings here.
16. Get on Board The Original Barcelona Boat Party
Available April until October
If all the above sounds a lot to you like they’re overcomplicated the ingredients needed for a good boat party – ie. a tonne of a booze, and a boat – then don’t worry, you can unleash your beast mode upon this more raucous romp on the high seas. Boring things like the law, and safety conscious port authorities, means it’s no longer the open bar unlimited booze fest it used to be. But you can still sink several refreshing jars of beer or sangria, whilst dancing like an idiot, and brazenly flirting with every member of the opposite sex on board. This ticket also includes VIP club entry once you’re back on terra firma, so there’s nothing stopping the party continuing. If you’re interested don’t hang about, because they often sell out weeks in advance.
17. Explore the Back Alleys on a Hipster Bar Crawl
Every Friday, year-round
Not for you the cliched comforts of the Irish bar, the fake sangria places or the cocktail bars selling cheap poisonous mojitos to sunburnt guiris. You want to find the city’s authentic back street bars, where Barcelona’s creative underclasses engage in weighty discussions in between sinking craft beers and making suspiciously long trips to the toilet. The Hipster’s Bar Hop takes you around some of the multicultural district of Raval’s best hidden boozers, before dropping you off at one of the city’s less obvious nightclubs.
18. Party on a VIP Nightlife Tour
Available every Friday and Saturday night, April to October
The perfect choice for anyone with only one night to experience everything the local nightlife has to offer, this decadent tour takes you to some of the Barcelona’s most iconic hangouts, whilst introducing you to a bunch of other like-minded party people. Starting off with a welcome drink and mingling in Las Ramblas, you are soon whisked off to the magical Mirablau bar on the hills of Tibidabo, where you’ll enjoy magnificent night views over Barcelona’s urban landscape with a glass of Cava, as the evening begins to heat up. Next you drop by a suave pre-club lounge for a final bevy, before being ushered into the folds of the world-famous Opium nightclub, in VIP style. Here you can party until dawn with the city’s glitterati, either on the dancefloor or on their beach terrace overlooking the Mediterranean. Sells out most weekends, so book fast if you’re interested.
19. Survive An Epic Pub Crawl
Points 1-18, all sound a bit too tame for you? Then sign your soul away to this swashbuckling Bacchanalia of boozing and schmoozing that takes place around the bars of the Port Olimpic. Provided you book online in advance the crawl costs just €19.99, and for that you get a free drink in every bar, free nightclub entry (worth the fee alone!), drinking games, “I Survived Barcelona” vest, and the right to come on as many more pub crawls as you want during your stay in Barcelona for free! They regularly get 100 or so more people signed up per night, and if you’re down for meeting people, drinking (obviously), dancing and going a bit delirious, this is definitely the night out for you. You can reserve it right here.