Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities of Europe. The city’s relaxed vibe, sunny weather and cultural attractions make it Spain’s number one tourist destination. Barcelona’s beauty is reflected by the millions of tourists visiting the city throughout the year. Not without reason is Barcelona the biggest cruise destination of Europe. The downside of this all is that the city becomes very crowded during the summer. We have made an overview of the best tips to avoid crowds in Barcelona.
If you don’t care too much about the weather, try to visit Barcelona outside of Peak Season. Peak season in Barcelona runs from the end of May until September. If your plan is to mainly visit museums, do some shopping or visit the Sagrada Família, the weather isn’t so important. If the weather is not so important, the off season is your time to go. March, October or November are less crowded alternatives to visit Barcelona. Check our Avoid-Crowds.com crowd predictor to see when it is busy in Barcelona.
Tourists tend to slowly start their much-deserved vacation days. They often sleep in or enjoy a sumptuous breakfast. Get up early and you can beat the crowds. Even on the busiest summer days, getting up early will help. Lines at the main tourist attractions will be shorter or non-existing in the morning. Best moment to arrive is just before they open. This information can simply be obtained by using Google Maps. There are some other reasons mornings are usually less crowded. Arriving tourists will be busy getting to and from the airport or cruise terminal and are not able to get to the sights yet. Meanwhile, departing tourists are often busy checking out of their hotels and AirBnB’s. One additional benefit of getting up early is that you can benefit from Golden Hour and make the most beautiful pictures of Barcelona.
Why waste vacation time standing in line? More and more tourist sights are selling tickets in advance. This allows you to plan ahead. In Barcelona, you can for example buy tickets for Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia or FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou in advance. This means that you don’t have spend time in line to get tickets. Sometimes, the tickets even include timed entrance and you can skip the line. One place you won’t even get into without a ticket is Park Güell. Buy your tickets to Park Güell here. If you have timed entrance or priority access tickets, you can often simply pass by thousands of ill prepared tourists that are waiting in line for hours.
Think about more than access tickets alone. How will you move around Barcelona? If you plan to use public transport, it pays off checking Metro and bus schedules. Also, there might be events or demonstrations limiting your options. If you plan ahead, you can see this coming. In Barcelona, there is also the option to jump on a hop on hop off bus. This is probably the most touristic thing you can do but it does allow you to see a lot of Barcelona in relatively short time. Once again you can save time by buying these tickets in advance. The best line to use would be the original Barcelona Bus Turistic operated by Barcelona Turisme and the local transport authorities.
Barcelona is well known for the Sagrada Família, Las Ramblas, La Barceloneta, Camp Nou and the Gothic Quarter. Cruise ships dock almost at the beginning of Las Ramblas. As you can imagine, these touristic hotspots are also the places where you will find most crowds. Wonder beyond Las Ramblas into other areas of the city and you can experience the real Barcelona where it is less crowded.
Tip by TheLocal.es: Explore Barcelona’s old villages
In 2016 TheLocal.es explained how Barcelona’s expansion project made the city grow and absorb small surrounding villages. Two of those villages, Gràcia and Sarriá have become neighborhoods within the city and are now ‘wonderful places to explore away from the crowds’. The website explains how Sarriá offer ‘cobbled lanes and low houses’ and is home to tapas bars only frequented by locals. Meanwhile Gràcia has kept its ‘village-like charm’. Although the neighborhoods, especially Gràcia, are becoming more popular with tourists than before, it still has a more relaxed atmoshphere.