Why I love Barcelona winters
Thoughts of Barcelona equate with palm trees, sunny skies, and miles upon miles of Mediterranean beaches. Regardless of the time of year, these three elements are ever present in the seaside Spanish city. But in winter, Barcelona is slightly--and pleasantly--different.
Yes, the sun shines year-round in Barcelona, but sunny days in the winter are pleasantries that are not always possible in other European cities. Sure there are rainy and cloudy days even in sunny Spain, but el sol makes its presence known often enough to offset the periodic dreary skies that send Spaniards inside. This leads me to the temperatures...
Cool, but not cold.
Barcelona winter temps can drop to the tolerable 40s Fahrenheit at night, but sunlight during the 50- to 60-degree days draws residents outside, shedding their heavy coats and scarves, and lying in the grass or on the sand for a winter day of light. Snow can cap the distant mountains, especially the Pyrenees due north where many escape for ski holidays, but at sea level the chance for snow or ice is minimal.
Not only are the skies more clear, but so are the streets. Barcelona is Europe’s third most-visited city, and this stat is most evident when the temperatures begin to warm up and the quaint alleyways begin to fill out.
Winter brings a smaller number of tourists who enjoy the less-expensive airfare and fewer fellow foreigners, but the majority of people out at bars and restaurants are locals or expats who are taking advantage of the Barcelona they have come to know and love. Instead of skipping out to nearby beaches to avoid the hordes of visitors, Barcelona residents frequent the beaches that are right outside their front doors. The seafood is just as fresh, the cava is just as good, and the selfie sticks are scarce.
Twice a year, Spain stores substantially drop their prices and it feels as though the entire city is on sale. Shops are eager to rid themselves of last season’s inventory, and consumers are the ones to benefit. Everything--from clothes to housewares to electronics--is available for cheap for at least two months before the spring season rolls in.
Not only is travel within Spain cheaper during the cold months, but travel outside Spain is reasonably priced, too. Not too many people long to visit Poland in January, for example, so the best flights and hotels are available and affordable. Although cold-weather haters (like myself) may find these locations to be too cold to tolerate, it is far easier to acquaint yourself with the local lifestyle when fewer tourists are crowding the roads.
What are your favorite places to visit in the winter? Leave a comment below.
Lead photo: Barri Gòtic, Barcelona.