This blog post was originally posted on July 20, 2015 and was updated on July 1, 2019.
When it comes to visiting Spain in August, few destinations pack as much allure as Barcelona.
Sure, many locals leave and head out on vacation, but the city also takes on a much more relaxed summer vibe. Throw in the fact that the beach is just a stone’s throw away, and there’s no reason not to go.
Whether you’re looking to experience an authentic Barcelona neighborhood festival, cool off with a swim, or anything in between, this guide to visiting Barcelona in August is required reading.
1. Experience the Gracia neighborhood festival…
We love the Gracia neighborhood for many reasons, not the least of which is their famous festa major, or neighborhood summer festival. In fact, it’s so iconic that people flock to the event from across Spain and even the world—not every block party can claim that.
The event’s major claim to fame is its street-decorating contest, which transforms the charming streets of Gracia into colorful, whimsical wonderlands. If that’s not enough, you can also enjoy plenty of concerts, parades (featuring Barcelona’s famous giants) and local bites.
2019 dates: August 15–21
2. …and don’t forget about the Sants festival, either
Gracia may get all the love from around Spain and the rest of the world, but don’t forget about the little guy, either. In this case, we’re talking about the off-the-beaten-path Sants neighborhood, which also celebrates its festival in August.
In a similar vein to the Gracia event, you’ll find decorated streets, loads of live music, great street food and more at the festa major de Sants. It’s the ideal way to immerse yourself in Catalan culture and feel like one of the locals.
2019 dates: August 17–25
3. Watch a movie under the stars
One of the most popular things to do in Barcelona in August is to head to the movie theater. And no, we’re not talking about the kind you may be thinking of. Summer in Barcelona is synonymous with outdoor cinemas screening movies in the balmy evening air in some of Barcelona’s most idyllic spots.
Sala Montjuic is perhaps the most famous open-air movie theater in Barcelona, but there are more where that came from. Cinema Lliure offers screenings at beaches throughout Catalonia all summer long, and the movies at L’illa give you the chance to enjoy the show in a hidden corner of paradise not far from bustling Avinguda Diagonal
4. Cool off in the museums
One place you can guarantee to beat the heat: a quiet, air-conditioned museum. Luckily, there’s no shortage of those in Barcelona, so if you’re looking to kill some time and beat the heat during the dog days of summer, here’s your answer. You’ll escape the worst of the sun’s rays without missing out on any of Barcelona’s spectacular cultural offerings—it’s win-win.
RELATED: Our Favorite Museums in Barcelona
5. Dive in and cool off
Want to cool off fast? Head to one of the many swimming pools in Barcelona. Here are a few spots to get you started:
- Montjuic Olympic swimming pool: built for the 1992 summer Olympics, this is an enormous swimming pool with some great views.
- Centre Esportiu Parc de la Ciutadela: This quiet pool sits atop the city park sports center. It’s the perfect spot to relax, cool off and disconnect from the city below.
- Torre de las Aguas: known as “the beach of Eixample,” this swimming pool is a total hidden gem and great for kids. You’ll find it tucked away one of the Eixample district’s many enormous inner patios.
- El Llac de la Creuta del Coll: A lake-turned-swimming pool in the northern part of Barcelona’s Gracia district, this scenic city pool is worth the 15-minute metro ride.
READ MORE: 5 Ways to Cool Off in Barcelona