So you’re thinking about kicking off the new year with a trip to Barcelona in January? I’ve gotta say, you’re onto something special.
Most people flock to this Catalonian gem during the summer months, but January? It’s like discovering a secret Barcelona that few get to truly experience: cooler temps, fewer crowds, and a vibe that’s just as magical.
But why exactly is January such a great choice and what can you get up to in this Catalan winter wonderland?
Well, I actually live in Spain and have spent a hefty chunk of time roaming the streets of Barcelona. And let me tell you, January has its own kind of charm that’s completely different from any other time of the year.
Stick around and I’ll show you why this is the perfect month to visit and give you all the hotspots and happenings that’ll make your trip unforgettable.
Planning a trip to Barcelona?
Barcelona is incredibly popular for tourists and so it’s essential to book accommodation well in advance to avoid missing out here. Here are my top picks on the best places to stay for the ideal mix of comfort, convenience and (reasonable!) costs:
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Best luxury accommodation: Ohla Barcelona – amazing rooftop pool, incredible views, and the perfect location to explore the city
⭐⭐⭐⭐ Best mid-range accommodation: Seventy Barcelona – the décor of this boutique hotel is so modern and stylish, the rooftop pool is ideal, plus you’ll be near the main sights the moment you step outside
⭐⭐ Best budget accommodation: Àmfores Boutique Guest House – the rooms are comfortable, the location is superb and the terrace is a great spot to end your day
Is January a Good Time to Visit Barcelona?
January is definitely a good time to visit Barcelona. After all, it’s not the peak tourist season so you can avoid the summer crowds, the weather is generally mild and there are several great cultural events this month for you to experience.
As you can probably tell from that description alone, there are plenty of reasons why you should consider visiting the Catalan capital during this month.
First and foremost, the weather in Barcelona this month is mild and pleasant. With an average temperature of around 16°C (61°F) during the day and 10°C (50°F) at night, you’ll find it comfortable to explore the city without feeling too hot or too cold.
Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the (generally) sunny weather, which is a welcome change from the gloomy winter days in other parts of Europe.
It also means that you’ll have no issue weather-wise doing the outdoor activities that visitors love to do in Barcelona all year round. This includes things like tours of all the big sights, like this half-day bike tour of Barcelona, which, despite being outside (clearly!), is easily the most popular tour I see people booking, even in winter.
Another reason to visit Barcelona in January is that the city is less crowded than during the summer months. You’ll have more space to yourself to explore the city’s iconic landmarks and you’ll also find it easier to get a table at popular restaurants and cafes, letting you enjoy a more relaxed pace of life.
Finally, January is a great time to experience some of Barcelona’s cultural events and festivals. The Three Kings Parade on January 6th is a highlight of the month, with colorful floats and street performances letting you join in the Christmas fun, even if you didn’t manage to make it to Barcelona in December.
You can also catch the Festes de Sant Antoni, a festival celebrating the patron saint of animals, and the Festes de Santa Eulalia, a celebration of the city’s patron saint.
Best Things to Do in Barcelona in January
Barcelona is an enchanting city filled with rich history, stunning architecture, and a vibrant culture. Visiting this coastal gem in January is the perfect time to explore the city, with fewer tourists and a mild winter climate.
Here are the top things to do in Barcelona in January to make your visit unforgettable!
1. Sagrada Familia
As the most iconic landmark in Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia is an absolute must-visit. This breathtaking basilica, designed by the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, boasts intricate details and awe-inspiring architecture.
During January, you’ll benefit from shorter lines and a more intimate experience as you explore this masterpiece. The winter sunlight filtering through the stained-glass windows adds a magical touch to your visit!
PRO TIP: The Sagrada Familia is easily the most visited tourist site in Barcelona and tickets frequently sell out weeks ahead of time.
To make sure you don’t miss out, you need to book your tickets for the Sagrada Familia well in advance of your visit. As once they’re gone, they’re gone – and seeing inside is a definite must while you’re here.
2. Els Llums de Sant Pau (The Lights of Sant Pau)
If you plan to be in Barcelona during the first half of January, you can’t miss Els llums de Sant Pau (The Lights of Sant Pau). It’s an incredible display of lights, projection and innovative art work displayed at the biggest and one of the most spectacular examples of Art Nouveau architecture in the world: the Sant Pau Recinte Modernista.
The front façade of the main building has an amazing light show projected on to the front of it, that plays a couple of times each evening during the holiday season – so it’s free to see!
But the inside takes things to another level, as Sant Pau is transformed into a sparkling fairy tale setting, offering a truly unique experience. With about 1.5 km (almost one mile) of lights, projections and glowing art work, I mean it when I say you’ll truly be amazed by the spectacle.
You can find out more here, including information on getting tickets to this. Alternatively, if you’re coming later in the month – and especially if you’re interested in Art Nouveau – then the Sant Pau Recinte Modernista is definitely still worth a visit and you can grab your tickets to the Hospital of Sant Pau here.
3. Park Güell
Another of Gaudí’s masterpieces, Park Güell is a vibrant, expansive park that offers stunning views of the city.
In January, you can enjoy the park’s colorful mosaics, whimsical structures, and serpentine benches without the overwhelming crowds. The crisp air and bright winter sun make for an ideal setting to explore this beautiful outdoor space.
FYI: If you’re looking to visit both the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell and you’re short on time, you can get skip-the-line entry and a tour of both sights in one day right here.
4. Casa Batlló
Discover the modernist gem that is Casa Batlló, one of Gaudí’s most imaginative residential buildings. With its unique, colorful façade and curved lines, this architectural wonder will leave you inspired.
January’s fewer tourists provide a more relaxed atmosphere for admiring the organic shapes and innovative design of this iconic building.
5. Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera, is another Gaudí-designed masterpiece that you simply can’t miss. This striking building features an undulating stone façade and extraordinary rooftop chimneys.
January’s cooler temperatures make exploring the rooftop terrace and its breathtaking views of the city even more enjoyable. You’ll appreciate the opportunity to take in the intricate details and innovative design without the usual crowds.
And if you want to stroll in past the post-Christmas crowds waiting in line to enter, you can get skip-the-line entry to Casa Milà here.
6. Gothic Quarter
Step back in time and wander through the winding, narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter. This historic neighborhood is filled with stunning architecture, lively plazas, and charming cafés.
In January, you’ll find a more authentic atmosphere as you explore the area’s hidden gems, such as the stunning Barcelona Cathedral and the vibrant Els Quatre Gats café.
7. Barcelona Food Tour
No trip to Barcelona would be complete without indulging in the city’s delicious cuisine.
In January, you can join a food tour around Barcelona to sample the best tapas, sweets, and local dishes while learning about the city’s rich culinary history. Even if the weather’s a bit chilly, you’ll be ducking in and out of tapas bars anyway, so you’ll barely feel it.
And besides, “needing” some tapas and wine “to warm up” is basically the best excuse there is.
MY PICK: My favorite food tour in Barcelona is this Tapas Walking Tour with Food, Wine and History – 1,000+ reviews with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 can’t be wrong!
But if you want something to take your Barcelona food experience to the next level, check out this Paella Cooking Experience and Boqueria Market Tour. It’s a great way to learn (under the guidance of a professional chef) while getting to enjoy what you make at the end!
8. La Rambla
La Rambla is a lively, bustling boulevard that stretches from Plaça de Catalunya to the picturesque Port Vell.
January is a great time to stroll along this iconic street, as you can enjoy the various street performers, local markets, and unique shops without the usual throngs of tourists. Be sure to stop by La Boqueria market to sample delicious local cuisine.
9. Museu Picasso de Barcelona
Art enthusiasts will delight in visiting the Museu Picasso de Barcelona, which houses one of the most extensive collections of Pablo Picasso’s artwork.
January’s calmer vibe allows you to truly appreciate the genius of Picasso’s work, from his early pieces to his more experimental later creations.
10. Fundació Joan Miró
Discover the vibrant world of Catalan artist Joan Miró at the Fundació Joan Miró. This museum, located up high on the picturesque Montjuïc hill, offers a fantastic collection of Miró’s paintings, sculptures, and textiles.
The cooler weather in January in Barcelona is perfect for exploring the surrounding gardens and taking in the stunning views of the city.
11. Passeig de Gracia
One of Barcelona’s most luxurious and elegant streets, Passeig de Gracia is home to upscale boutiques, designer stores, and more Gaudí masterpieces.
Enjoy a leisurely walk along this beautiful avenue in January, when the city’s holiday lights still illuminate the street, creating a magical atmosphere.
12. Port Vell
Explore the stunning waterfront area of Port Vell and breathe in the fresh sea air. In January, you can take advantage of the quieter atmosphere to visit the impressive Barcelona Aquarium, catch a movie at the IMAX theater, or simply relax and enjoy the view of the marina with a warm cup of coffee at a nearby café.
Weather in January in Barcelona
January is a great time to visit Barcelona, as the weather is mild and pleasant. The average temperature during the day in January is around 16°C (61°F), which drops to 10°C (50°F) at night. The city isn’t likely to see much rain during your stay, with an average of only five rainy days per month in January.
While the weather isn’t as warm as during the summer months, it’s still comfortable enough to explore the city and its many attractions. You can expect to see plenty of sunshine during the day, but it’s important to pack warm clothing for the cooler evenings.
Of course, if you’re planning to visit Barcelona in January, it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast before you go. This will help you to pack appropriately and plan your activities accordingly. You can also use this information to decide which attractions to visit and when, based on the weather conditions.
What to Wear in Barcelona in January
Visiting Barcelona in January can be a wonderful experience, but it’s important to pack the right clothes for the weather. It can be warm and mild when the sun is out, but chilly at night.
Here are some tips on what to wear in Barcelona in January:
1. Warm Jacket
A warm jacket is a must-have for your trip to Barcelona in January. I’d recommend that you bring a jacket that’s waterproof and windproof, as it can sometimes get a bit windy and rainy in both January and February in Barcelona.
A fleece-lined jacket or a down jacket would be a great choice, as they provide warmth without adding bulk to your luggage.
While you’re not going to reach freezing temperatures in Barcelona in January, you’ll be surprised how cold it can feel. For this reason, bring a scarf to keep your neck warm.
If you want to be extra careful, you can also bring (light) gloves, but you may not need them. However, they don’t take up much space in your luggage so perhaps add them just in case.
Boots are a great choice of footwear for Barcelona in January. They’ll keep your feet warm and dry, and they are also stylish. Just make sure they’re comfortable enough for some long days of walking!
Why Shouldn’t You Travel to Barcelona in January?
If you’re looking for a winter wonderland with snow and chilly temperatures, Barcelona might not be the place for you in January. While the city does experience some cooler temperatures, it’s nothing compared to the harsh winters of other European destinations.
This means that you won’t be able to experience the joys of snowball fights or skiing in Barcelona during this time of year.
Additionally, some tourists are surprised that while Barcelona may not be snowy in winter, it can still feel quite chilly during January. If you don’t pack appropriately, this can make it difficult to enjoy outdoor activities.
Another potential downside to traveling to Barcelona in January is that some tourist attractions and restaurants may have reduced hours or be closed for renovations. It’s always a good idea to check ahead of time and plan accordingly.
However, Barcelona is a bustling city with plenty of options, so you’re sure to find something to do and somewhere to eat no matter the time of year.
Travel Tips for January in Barcelona
If you’re planning a trip to Barcelona in January, you’re in for a treat! The city is less crowded, the weather is mild, and the prices are lower.
Here are some travel tips to help you make the most of your trip:
1. Take Advantage of Cheaper Accommodation
Since January isn’t the peak tourist season, you can find some great deals on accommodation. Look for hotels and apartments that offer discounts for off-season travel.
You can also consider staying in hostels or budget-friendly guesthouses. Check out websites like Booking.com or Airbnb to find the best deals.
2. Pack for the Weather
While Barcelona in January is generally mild, it can still get chilly at night. Make sure to pack a warm jacket, a scarf, and a hat.
During the day, you can expect temperatures to be around 16°C, so pack plenty of light layers. Don’t forget to bring comfortable walking shoes, as you’ll likely be doing a lot of exploring on foot.
3. Explore the City on Foot
Barcelona is a great city to explore on foot, and January is the perfect time to do it. With fewer crowds, you can take your time exploring the city’s many sights and attractions.
Some must-see spots include the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and the Gothic Quarter. You can also take a stroll along the beach or visit the city’s many museums and galleries.
4. Use Public Transportation
While walking is a great way to explore the city, Barcelona also has an excellent public transportation system. You can use the metro, buses, or trams to get around quickly and easily.
Consider buying a T-casual ticket, which gives you 10 rides on any form of public transportation for a discounted price.
5. Try the Local Cuisine
Barcelona is known for its delicious food, and January is the perfect time to try some of the city’s specialties. Some must-try dishes include paella, tapas, and churros con chocolate. You can also sample some of the city’s excellent wines and cava.
Don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and try some of the city’s lesser-known restaurants and cafes. You might just discover a new favorite dish!
Can You Swim at the Beach in Barcelona in January?
While the water temperature is quite chilly in January, you can still swim at the beach in Barcelona if you’re brave enough to handle the cold. The average sea temperature in January is around 13°C (55°F), which isn’t exactly warm, but it’s still possible to take a dip.
However, it’s important to note that lifeguards are not on duty during this time, so swim at your own risk.
Does It Rain in Barcelona in January?
January is one of the driest months in Barcelona, with an average of only five rainy days throughout the month. However, it’s still possible to encounter some rainfall during your visit. Be sure to bring a waterproof jacket or umbrella just in case.
Is It Hot in Barcelona in January?
No, it’sn’t hot in Barcelona in January. The average temperature during the day is around 16°C (61°F), which can feel quite mild if the sun is shining. However, the temperature drops to around 10°C (50°F) at night, so be sure to bring warm layers for the evenings.
Is It Cold in Barcelona in January?
Compared to other parts of Europe, Barcelona’s January temperatures are relatively mild. However, it’s still considered winter, so you should expect cooler temperatures. The average temperature during the day is around 16°C (61°F), but it can drop to around 10°C (50°F) at night.
Be sure to pack warm clothing to stay comfortable during your visit.
Is Barcelona Windy in January?
January isn’t known for being particularly windy in Barcelona. The average wind speed is around 8 km/h (5 mph), which is relatively calm. However, it’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast before your visit to make sure you’re prepared for any weather conditions.