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Barcelona in May (2024): Ultimate Guide To What To Do

example of what to do in Barcelona in May with weather that's warmer
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Barcelona in May is something special. The city starts to warm up, and there’s a buzz in the air as summer approaches.

I live in Spain and have spent quite a few Mays in Barcelona, each time relishing how the city shifts into a higher gear with longer days and more lively streets.

So, why is May a great time to visit Barcelona? From outdoor festivals to the perfect weather for exploring, Barcelona in May offers a mix of excitement and relaxed Mediterranean vibes.

Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from Barcelona at this time of year, and why it might just be the perfect month for your visit.

Planning a trip to Barcelona last minute?


If you’re booking your trip to Barcelona last minute, I’ve got you covered. Below are some of the top tours, hotels, and more!

⭐ Most popular sights in Barcelona

  1. Sagrada Familia – tickets often sell out weeks in advance so get your entry ticket here (or entry tickets AND a guided tour here)
  2. Park Güell – grab your skip-the-line entry
  3. Casa Batlló – click here for tickets and audio guide

🌍 Top tours in Barcelona

  1. Montserrat Tour, Monastery and Winery (great day trip!)
  2. Flamenco Show at Tablao Flamenco Cordobes (incredible night out)
  3. Tapas Walking Tour with Food, Wine, and History (all the highlights at once)

🛏️ Top hotels in Barcelona

  1. Ohla Barcelona (5-star luxury with an amazing rooftop pool)
  2. Seventy Barcelona (boutique hotel with beautiful décor)
  3. Àmfores Boutique Guest House (great budget option with superb location)

🚌 Want free public transport while you’re in Barcelona? Check out the Hola Barcelona travel card!

Is May a Good Time to Visit Barcelona?

Yes, May is a fantastic time to visit Barcelona. The city comes alive with a plethora of exciting events, cultural experiences, and beautiful weather that makes exploring a delight. And while it’s the start of peak tourist season, the streets aren’t heaving with crowds just yet.

The best reason to come here in May is that the weather in Barcelona this month brings mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine to the city. This makes it the perfect time to explore the many outdoor attractions, such as Park Güell, La Rambla, and Port Vell. 

The warm days and cooler evenings offer a comfortable climate for sightseeing, dining al fresco, and enjoying outdoor events.

In addition, Barcelona’s calendar is packed in May with a range of festivals and events that cater to a wide range of interests. Music lovers can attend the Primavera Sound Festival, while art enthusiasts can take advantage of the Nits dels Museus event.

example of what to do in Barcelona in May with weather that's warmer

The Ciutat Flamenco Festival, Fira Modernista, and the Girona Temps de Flor are just a few of the other unique experiences that await visitors in May.

As the weather warms up, Barcelona’s outdoor cafes, terraces, and parks also become lively social hubs. In May, the city’s streets are filled with locals and visitors alike, enjoying the pleasant weather and soaking up the sun. This convivial atmosphere is contagious and makes for a memorable travel experience.

With spring in full swing, you’ll also find Barcelona’s parks and gardens bursting into color, creating a breathtaking backdrop for your visit. Stroll through the lush greenery of Park Güell, wander the charming streets of Girona during the Temps de Flor, or simply enjoy the vibrant blooms lining the city’s avenues.

And as mentioned, while May is a popular time to visit Barcelona, it is still less crowded than the peak summer months you’ll see when coming to Barcelona in June, July, or August. This means you can enjoy the city’s attractions, restaurants, and events without having to battle the largest tourist crowds. 

Plus, you may be able to find better deals on accommodations and activities compared to the peak season!

band playing at the Primavera Sound music festival
Source: Michael Morel (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Weather in May in Barcelona

If you’re planning to visit Barcelona in May, the weather is perfect for exploring the city, with warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. The average temperature in Barcelona is around 23°C (73°F) during the day, making it a great time to explore the city without the heat being too overwhelming. 

At the same time, the average low temperature at night is around 14°C (57°F), which makes for some beautifully fresh evenings.

While May is generally a dry month here – much more so than coming to Barcelona in April – there are usually a few rainy days to keep an eye out for. On average, there are around 10 rainy days in May, with an average rainfall of 57mm (2.2 inches). 

However, the rain usually doesn’t last long, and you can still enjoy plenty of sunshine throughout the month.

Best Things to Do in Barcelona in May

May is one of the most beautiful times to visit Barcelona, with mild weather and a range of exciting events, festivals, and attractions that are sure to make your trip unforgettable. 

From art and music to food and drink, there’s something for everyone. Check out the best events in Barcelona in May:

1. Nits dels Museus (Night of the Museums)

Experience the magic of Barcelona’s museums after dark during Nits dels Museus. On a single night in May, dozens of museums across the city open their doors late into the night, offering free admission and special programming. 

This unique event allows you to explore the city’s rich history, art, and culture in a whole new light.

2. Primavera Sound Festival

If you’re a music lover, don’t miss the Primavera Sound Festival. Held annually in May (although sometimes it continues into June, so check the exact dates to make sure your trip to Barcelona lines up with it), this world-renowned music festival showcases a diverse lineup of established artists and emerging talents from various genres. 

From indie rock and electronic music to hip-hop and experimental sounds, Primavera Sound promises an unforgettable experience for all music enthusiasts.

3. Sagrada Familia

No visit to Barcelona would be complete without seeing the iconic Sagrada Familia. Designed by legendary architect Antoni Gaudí, this awe-inspiring basilica has been under construction since 1882. 

Marvel at its intricate façade, soaring towers, and stunning interior, which are particularly striking in the May sunlight.

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.

4. Ciutat Flamenco Festival

Experience the passion and intensity of Spanish dance at the Ciutat Flamenco Festival

Held in May, this annual event features performances by some of the world’s most renowned flamenco artists. Lose yourself in the rhythm and raw emotion of this unforgettable cultural experience.

Flamenco dancer at Ciutat Flamenco Festival in Barcelona in May

5. Fira Modernista (Modernist Fair)

Celebrate the architectural genius of Barcelona’s modernist movement at the Fira Modernista

This annual event takes place in May in the Eixample district and features guided tours, workshops, and activities designed to showcase the city’s iconic modernist landmarks. Don’t miss this chance to immerse yourself in Barcelona’s unique architectural heritage.

6. Park Güell

Escape the bustle of the city and find serenity in Park Güell, another of Gaudí’s masterpieces. This whimsical park features colorful mosaics, undulating benches, and playful sculptures that are sure to enchant visitors of all ages. 

In May, the park’s lush greenery and vibrant blooms create a stunning backdrop for a leisurely stroll or picnic.

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.

7. La Cursa de El Corte Inglés

Another big event in May in Barcelona is La Cursa de El Corte Inglés. It’s one of the world’s largest mass participation sporting events – we’re talking tens of thousands of people here.

This isn’t your typical race – it’s more of a giant, moving celebration through the streets of Barcelona. Participants range from serious runners to families with strollers.

The course takes you past some iconic landmarks, and the whole thing has a really festive vibe. Even if you’re not running, it’s worth checking out for the sheer spectacle of it all.

8. Dia del Trabajador (Labor Day)

May kicks off in Barcelona with Dia del Trabajador, or Labor Day, on the 1st of May. It’s more than just a day off work – it’s when the city comes together to celebrate workers’ rights with various events and demonstrations.

You’ll find marches and rallies, especially in the city center, where people gather to show solidarity for labor movements. Apart from the political aspect, it’s also a day when locals enjoy a relaxed pace, with many spending time in parks or at the beach.

It’s a mix of activism and leisure, reflecting the city’s vibrant community spirit.

Happy woman walking down street in Spain

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9. Barcelona Food Tour

Indulge your taste buds on a Barcelona Food Tour, where you can explore the city’s culinary scene and savor traditional Catalan dishes. 

From tapas bars and bustling food markets to hidden gems frequented by locals, a guided food tour offers a unique insight into Barcelona’s gastronomic culture. In May, the city’s cafes and terraces come alive, making it a fantastic time to enjoy local delicacies al fresco.

MY PICK: My favorite food tour in Barcelona is this Tapas Walking Tour with Food, Wine and History1,000+ 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!

10. International New Rose Competition

For something a bit more serene, check out the International New Rose Competition in Cervantes Park, usually held in mid-May. It’s a stunning display of the latest and most beautiful rose varieties from around the world.

Imagine wandering through rows of fragrant, blooming roses, each one trying to outdo the other in beauty. The park itself is lovely, making for a perfect afternoon stroll.

Whether you’re a gardening enthusiast or just appreciate the beauty of flowers, this event is a delightful sensory experience.

11. Gothic Quarter

Step back in time as you wander the narrow, winding streets of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. With its medieval architecture, charming plazas, and hidden courtyards, the Gothic Quarter is the perfect place to get lost in history. 

May’s mild weather provides the perfect opportunity to explore this historic neighborhood.

If you’re looking for a great tour that will show you the highlights of Barcelona’s incredible 2,000+ year history, I definitely recommend this Old Town and Gothic Quarter Walking Tour.

You’ll be taken to the best parts of the oldest, most interesting parts of the city, while hearing stories about this time and the centuries that have followed. In particular, for first-timers, it’s a great way to see all the main spots at once.

12. MotoGP Catalan Grand Prix

Now, for those who love speed and excitement, the MotoGP Catalan Grand Prix in May is a must-see. This motorcycle racing event takes place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, just outside the city.

It’s one of the biggest events on the MotoGP calendar, drawing fans from all over. The atmosphere is electric, with the roar of engines and the thrill of the race.

Even if you’re not a die-hard MotoGP fan, the energy and excitement of the event are contagious. It’s a full-throttle experience that combines high-speed action with a festive atmosphere.

MotoGP in Barcelona in May
Source: Box Repsol (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

13. Motoh! Barcelona

And just to continue the trend: for motorcycle enthusiasts, May is an exciting month in Barcelona, especially with Motoh! Barcelona. This event is a massive motorcycle show that features everything from the latest bike models to accessories and gear.

It’s a great place to check out new trends in the motorcycle world, watch some impressive bike stunts, and maybe even test ride a few models. The atmosphere is buzzing with energy, and it’s a cool spot to meet fellow bike lovers.

Whether you’re in the market for a new motorcycle or just love to be around them, Motoh! Barcelona is worth a visit.

14. Museu Picasso de Barcelona

Art enthusiasts will love exploring the Museu Picasso de Barcelona, which houses one of the most extensive collections of Pablo Picasso’s artwork. 

Discover the artist’s early works, his iconic Blue Period, and the evolution of his unique style. In May, the museum’s peaceful courtyards provide a serene respite from the bustling city.

Want to see several museums while you’re in Barcelona – without busting your travel budget?

The Barcelona Card gives you free admission to 25+ museums, including the Picasso Museum, the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC), the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), the Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA) and many more.

Valid for three to five days (so only pay for what you’ll use!), you also get free public transportation. Check the full list of museums and grab your card here.

15. RetroBarcelona

If you’re into vintage and retro stuff, you’ll love RetroBarcelona. This event, usually held in May, is a celebration of all things nostalgic.

Think classic video games, old-school computers, and vintage electronics. It’s like stepping into a time machine and reliving the golden days of tech and gaming.

You can play some of the classic games, browse through retro gadgets, and maybe even snag a rare collectible. It’s a fun, laid-back event that brings back a lot of memories for the older crowd and offers a slice of the past for the younger ones.

16. Barcelona Comic Fair

Comic book fans, assemble! The Barcelona Comic Fair is a big deal in the city’s pop culture scene.

Held in May, this fair brings together comic book lovers, artists, and publishers. You’ll find a vast array of comics, from mainstream superheroes to indie titles.

There are also workshops, talks by comic book creators, and plenty of cosplay. The atmosphere is super friendly, with everyone sharing their love for comics and graphic novels.

Whether you’re a hardcore collector or just casually interested in comics, this fair is a great way to spend a day.

17. Casa Batlló

Step into a world of fantasy at Casa Batlló, another of Gaudí’s architectural marvels. This colorful building, with its undulating façade and dragon-like roof, is a must-see for anyone visiting Barcelona. 

May’s warmer weather provides the perfect opportunity to explore the building’s rooftop terrace and soak in the city views. In particular, you should really try to come to one of the Magic Nights held at Casa Batlló.

That is, throughout the month, the rooftop is opened up for a concert, cava and some truly spectacular views over Barcelona. The name is totally appropriate given that, as cliched as it sounds, it really is a magical evening.

Casa Batlló in Barcelona in May

18. Casa Mila (La Pedrera)

Another of Gaudí’s masterpieces, Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera, is an architectural wonder characterized by its undulating stone façade and twisting wrought-iron balconies. 

In May, the building’s unique design is enhanced by the gentle sunlight, making it a perfect time to explore this UNESCO World Heritage site.

19. Barcelona International Record Fair

Music lovers, especially vinyl enthusiasts, shouldn’t miss the Barcelona International Record Fair, also taking place in May. This event is a treasure trove for record collectors, with vendors selling a wide range of vinyl records, from classic albums to rare finds.

It’s not just about buying records; you can also meet other music enthusiasts, listen to some great tunes, and maybe discover new artists. The fair has a relaxed, nostalgic vibe, making it a pleasant way to explore the music scene and add to your record collection.

20. Fundació Joan Miró

Immerse yourself in the colorful, imaginative world of Joan Miró at the Fundació Joan Miró. Located on the picturesque Montjuïc hill, the museum showcases a vast collection of the artist’s paintings, sculptures, and textiles. 

In May, the surrounding gardens burst with color, offering a serene setting to appreciate Miró’s playful and innovative creations.

21. La Rambla

Stroll down the iconic La Rambla , a bustling tree-lined boulevard that stretches from Plaça de Catalunya to the waterfront. In May, the promenade comes alive with street performers, artists, and flower stands, making it an ideal spot to people-watch and soak up the city’s vibrant atmosphere. 

Along the way, don’t forget to visit La Boqueria, Barcelona’s famous food market, where you can sample mouthwatering local delicacies.

22. Girona and the Temps de Flor

Just an hour away from Barcelona, the picturesque city of Girona is a must-visit destination. 

And in May, the city hosts the annual Temps de Flor festival, where the historic center is transformed into a colorful, fragrant oasis filled with floral displays and installations. Take a leisurely stroll through the medieval streets, marvel at the stunning architecture, and enjoy the breathtaking floral creations.

Temps de Flor in Barcelona in May
Source: Joan (CC BY-NC 2.0)

23. Passeig de Gracia

Shop, dine, and sightsee along the elegant Passeig de Gracia, one of Barcelona’s most famous avenues. Lined with designer boutiques, upscale restaurants, and stunning modernist buildings, Passeig de Gracia offers a delightful blend of style and culture. 

In May, the avenue’s outdoor cafes and lush greenery create a perfect setting for a leisurely afternoon of shopping and people-watching. Don’t miss the chance to admire some of Gaudí’s masterpieces, including Casa Batlló and La Pedrera, which line this elegant boulevard.

24. Port Vell

Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront at Port Vell, Barcelona’s historic harbor. In May, the port’s marina, restaurants, and attractions buzz with activity, making it an ideal spot to soak up the city’s maritime atmosphere. 

Don’t miss the chance to visit the impressive Aquarium Barcelona, one of Europe’s largest, or take a ride on the Port Vell Aerial Tramway for stunning panoramic views.

What to Wear in Barcelona in May

When visiting Barcelona in May, you’ll want to pack appropriately for the mild spring weather. The average temperature during the day is around 23°C (73°F), so it’s generally warm enough to wear light clothing. However, it’s always a good idea to bring a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings or rainy days.

For daytime activities, comfortable, breathable clothing is key. You’ll likely be doing a lot of walking and exploring, so opt for comfortable shoes like sneakers or sandals. 

Shorts and t-shirts are perfect for the warmer weather, but you may also want to bring something to dress up slightly more if you plan on going out for a nice dinner.

a tourist in Barcelona in May

In the evenings, you may want to add an extra layer to your outfit. A light jacket or blazer is perfect for cooler nights, and can easily be dressed up or down depending on where you’re headed. 

Overall, though, when packing for the weather in Barcelona in May, it’s best to bring a mix of light and warm clothing to be prepared for any eventuality. And don’t forget to pack comfortable shoes for all the walking you’ll be doing!

Why Shouldn’t You Travel to Barcelona in May?

If you’re looking for a perfect time to visit Barcelona, May might not be the best option for you. Although Barcelona is a beautiful city, there are a few reasons why you might want to avoid visiting in May.

Firstly, May is not the driest month in Barcelona. It is a transition month between spring and summer, which means it can occasionally be quite rainy and cloudy. This means that if you’re looking for a guaranteed sunny and dry vacation, May might not be the best time to visit. 

(That said, you have to be pretty unlucky to get a wet day, as there’s only a moderate chance of rain in May, with an average rainfall this month of 27mm.)

a hotel Balcony in Barcelona

Secondly, May is one of the busiest months in Barcelona. The city is filled with tourists from all over the world, which means that popular attractions and restaurants can be crowded. If you’re not a fan of crowds and long lines, you might want to consider visiting during a less busy time.

Lastly, May is not the cheapest time to visit Barcelona. As it’s one of the peak tourist months, prices for accommodation and attractions can be higher than usual. If you’re on a budget and looking for a more affordable vacation, you might want to consider visiting during the off-season.

Travel Tips for May in Barcelona

If you’re planning a trip to Barcelona in May, you’re in for a treat! With warm temperatures, sunny skies, and plenty of things to see and do, this is a fantastic time to visit this vibrant city.

Here are some travel tips to help you make the most of your trip this month:

Pack Layers and Comfortable Shoes

In May, Barcelona’s weather can be pleasantly warm during the day, but temperatures may drop in the evenings. Be prepared by packing layers, such as light sweaters and jackets, to stay comfortable throughout the day. 

Also, with plenty of walking and exploring on the agenda, don’t forget to bring comfortable shoes to make the most of your Barcelona adventure.

Book Accommodation and Event Tickets in Advance

May is a popular time to visit Barcelona, thanks to its mild weather and numerous events and festivals. 

To avoid disappointment, it’s wise to book your accommodation and event tickets well in advance. This will ensure you have a comfortable place to stay and can enjoy all the incredible activities Barcelona has to offer in May.

tourist walking in Barcelona in May

Plan Your Itinerary, But Be Flexible

With so many attractions and events happening in Barcelona during May, it’s a good idea to plan your itinerary in advance. Research the events and attractions that interest you the most, and create a rough schedule to help you make the most of your time. 

However, remember to be flexible and leave room for spontaneous adventures or changes in your plans. Sometimes, the best experiences happen when you least expect them!

Make Use of Public Transportation

Barcelona boasts an efficient and affordable public transportation system, including buses, trams, and the metro. Save time and money by taking advantage of these options to navigate the city. 

Consider purchasing a T-casual ticket, which allows you 10 rides on any combination of public transportation options, or a Hola Barcelona Travel Card, which provides unlimited travel for a specified number of days.

Wear Sunscreen

If you’re just wandering around the streets of Barcelona rather than sitting on the beach, it’s tempting to feel like you’re not getting that much sun, so there’s no reason to be careful.

But the sun can be deceptively strong in Spain in May and Barcelona is no exception. To protect yourself and avoid ruining your holiday with a painfully red souvenir, make sure you put on some SPF and, ideally, carry a hat.

tourists in the street of Barcelona in May

FAQs

Can You Swim at the Beach in Barcelona in May?

Yes, you can swim at the beach in Barcelona in May. The sea temperature in May is around 18°C, which may be a bit chilly for some but is still comfortable for swimming. The beaches are also less crowded in May, so you can enjoy a more relaxed beach experience.

Does It Rain in Barcelona in May?

May is a relatively dry month in Barcelona, with an average of 5 rainy days throughout the month. The rain is usually in the form of light showers, so it won’t ruin your plans. However, it’s always a good idea to bring a light raincoat or umbrella just in case.

Is It Hot in Barcelona in May?

May is the beginning of summer in Barcelona, but it’s not yet too hot. The average temperature in May is around 19°C during the day and 8.5°C at night. It’s warm enough to enjoy outdoor activities and sightseeing, but not so hot that you’ll feel uncomfortable.

Beach in Barcelona in May

Is It Cold in Barcelona in May?

No, it’s not cold in Barcelona in May. The average temperature is around 19°C during the day and 8.5°C at night, which is mild and pleasant. You may need a light jacket or sweater for the evenings, but overall, the weather is comfortable.

Is Barcelona Windy in May?

Barcelona can be windy in May, but it’s not usually a major problem. The wind can make it feel cooler than it actually is, so it’s a good idea to bring a light jacket or sweater. However, the wind can also be refreshing during hot days, and it’s not usually strong enough to cause any major disruptions to your plans.

In conclusion, May is a great time to visit Barcelona. The weather is mild, the beaches are less crowded, and there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. 

Just remember to bring a light raincoat, a jacket, and some sunscreen, and you’ll be all set for a fantastic trip.

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