The Catalan capital may be a popular destination for a summer break thanks to its great combination of beach and city but there are plenty of reasons to visit in the winter as well. The cooler months mean fewer crowds, shorter queues and in some cases lower prices. Here are some of the best activities you can enjoy in Barcelona this winter.
Skiing in La Molina
Hope on a bus and within two hours you can be on the slopes at the La Molina ski resort. A day pass with transport costs starts from just €40 and there are shops on site to rent all the equipment you need for a fun day on the powder. There are numerous slopes ranging from beginner to advanced and restaurants and cafés on hand for when you need a rest.
The Santa Llucia Christmas market
The biggest Christmas market in Barcelona, the Fira de Santa Llucia is held on the square outside Barcelona’s impressive Gothic cathedral in the Old Town. Here you’ll be able to buy hand-made gifts and crafts including the famous caganer or ‘pooping man’ figurine which is an essential part of the Catalan nativity scene.
Ice-skating at Bargelona
Inaugurated in 2015 and back by popular return in 2016, Bargelona (a play on words with the Catalan word for ice being gel) is the city’s favourite winter ice-skating rink. Located in the La Fonda shopping mall, the ice-rink is some 4,000 m2 big and has areas for sports such as curling and ice-hockey as well as a kids’ play area and a café.
A paella cooking course
Warm yourself up and give yourself a new skill with a cooking course in Barcelona. There are a number of companies offering courses in English which typically include a tour of the market, a hands-on cooking class and of course the chance to sample your goods afterwards with a glass or two of local wine.
The Camp Nou Experience
Not only is the Camp Nou the home stadium of world-famous FC Barcelona, it’s also the largest stadium in Europe – set to be even bigger after upcoming work. The Camp Nou Experience allows visitors to go behind the scenes to explore the stadium grounds and facilities before ending with a tour of the FC Barcelona museum and of course, a trip to the official FC Barcelona merchandise store.
The Aire de Barcelona spa
Fancy pampering yourself? The Aire de Barcelona is a luxury spa inspired by the baths of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. The spa includes a circuit of water baths ranging in temperature as well as huge piles of rock salt at your disposal to give yourself a rich salt scrub and a relaxation area with complimentary mint tea.
The celebration of Santa Eulàlia
Co-patron saint of Barcelona, legend had it that when the decision was made to make Saint Eulàlia share patronage of the city she wept and cursed La Mercè by making it rain every year on her day (September 24th). In turn, the celebrations for Saint Eulàlia are held in the week leading up to February 12th and while not as spectacular as La Mercè they involve processions, traditional dances and plenty of merriment.
A traditional calçotada
Half way between a leek and a spring onion, the calçot is the Catalans’s favourite allium and sees locals flock to the countryside en masse each winter for the ritual calçotada. A large barbecue involving dozens of calçots cook over an open fire – and generous amounts of vermouth or red wine accompany the meal.
After the End of the World at the CCCB
This winter Barcelona’s contemporary culture centre, the CCCB will be hosting this thought-provoking exhibition about the impact of human intervention on the planet and what challenges we will face in the future. A multi-disciplinary exhibition, After the End of the World features work by photographers, documentary makers, performers, engineers and more, as well as workshops and conferences.
Chocolate Museum workshop
Consider yourself something of a chocaholic? The Barcelona Chocolate Museum is the city’s first museum exclusively dedicated to all things cacao. The museum’s permanent exhibition explains how chocolate is made as well as shedding light on Barcelona’s historic obsession with cocoa. Book a workshop – scheduled regularly during the week – and learn how to make your own chocolate lollipops and treats.
Bowling at Pedralbes
Show off your bowling skills in one of Barcelona’s best bowling alleys, the Bowling Pedralbes located in the Pedralbes neighbourhood of the city. Prices start from just €3.60 per person by game and there’s a restaurant and bar on site if you fancy making an evening of it.