What makes July in Barcelona unique?
“Hey Google! I searched for things to do in Barcelona in July and most of your results are just the average list of Barcelona sites! I’ve already done my sightseeing research, I want to know what’s special in July! And no, don’t give me a general list of “Summer things to do”. Don’t make me sort things out. That just adds more work to my plate!”
What to do in Barcelona in July: our insiders guide
The legend says king James I the Conqueror was thirsty after battle in the Valencia area. A young girl approached offering a white drink. The king tasted it and loving it, asked the girl what is was. She answer: “Your Highness, it’s just tiger nut juice”. And the king replied: “Juice? That’s not just juice: this is gold, dear!”. “Or, xata”, “gold, dear” in Catalan.
Since then, Orxata (or horchata in Spanish) has become a Summer staple. Nothing better than planning an afternoon walk and ending it at your favorite orxata place! Beware, it visually looks like milk, so the shock of not tasting at all like you expected it to be can put you off. But it’s truly delicious if you open up to the unknown. Tips to up your game: order a “canari” (orxata with lemon slush) or a “cubanito” (orxata with a scoop of chocolate gelato). Love it or hate it!
Go to the beach
Tourist favor the beaches between the W and the Arts hotel, because of their central location. Instead locals prefer to go further away. You can learn about the Barcelona beaches in this other post. Also, make sure to check our beach safety recommendations before planning your beach time. And here are some additional beach tips.
And why just staying in Barcelona for a beach day? Do like locals do, and head out of town! There’s many Catalan seaside villages that you can access by train from Barcelona. You’ll find some ideas here. Or you might prefer to rent a car and drive to the Costa Brava or the Costa Daurada (or let us take you there).
Not a beach person? Here are our favorite hotels with outdoor pool in Barcelona, in case you haven’t secured your accommodation yet.
Not many people are aware that Barcelona features several world-class award-winner gelato parlors. The truth is that Spaniards consider gelato and ice cream a Summer thing. We’ve been procrastinating visiting our favorite gelato places during the colder months, but in July locals flock there to catch up. Find here our top list of Barcelona gelato places.
This is why there aren’t many options in the winter, but the offer in the Summer is tantalizing! From basic rides to see the port, the beaches and the city skyline, to full moon or sunset outings, to tapas or vermouth or breakfast treats on the boat. Sometimes even life music on board or the opportunity to swim in deep water.
Barcelona opened up to the Sea in the occasion of the 1992 Olympics, and since then it’s become a vital part of its personality. So why not enjoy this special connection during your trip? See our favorite recommendations here.
Gazpacho is a famous Spanish cold soup that consists of crushed tomatoes, cucumber and other veggies. It’s super refreshing, and a must in the Summer. While the rest of the year you won’t find it in the menus, in July it’s common to see it as part of the day specials or in the starters list of most restaurants. Make sure to try it! Or if you prefer to make it at home, here is my mom’s gazpacho recipe. There’s always some in my fridge during the hot months!
Evening sightseeing in July in Barcelona
Make sure to consider the options when planning your sightseeing! For instance, if you want to visit both Casa Mila and Casa Batllo, choose one for a daytime visit and one for an evening tour. It’ll make such a difference! Check out my list of evening sightseeing ideas.
July is a time to eat outdoors
What are the top cultural events on July in Barcelona?
July traditional celebrations
And right after starts the Festa Major del Poblesec. They are small festivities mostly aimed at the neighbors, but you’ll be able to see samples of local folklore such as Giants and Monster parades, fire runs or human towers, as well as other activities that build community.
Talking about July 16th, this is the day of Our Lady of Carmen. She’s the patron saint of sailors and fishermen, and many fishing villages in Catalonia celebrate her day with boat parades, flower offerings in open waters, masses and habanera song concerts. The closest to Barcelona are held in Sitges, Arenys de Mar and Caldes d’Estrach (Caldetes), all of them easily accessible by suburban train.
July Barcelona performing arts scene
July in Barcelona doesn’t only mean music festivals. There’s also theater, cinema, circus and dance. The theater season isn’t over yet, and besides their regular offer there’s Summer festivals that join the local scene:
- Grec. LATE JUNE AND ALL JULY. The Grec Festival keeps art and culture lovers busy this month. Music concerts and performing arts events happen every day in the Hill of Montjuic and around the city. The program also includes family-friendly shows.
- Sala Montjuic. ALL JULY AND EARLY AUGUST. Cinema festival taking place outdoors in the Montjuic Castle. The ticket includes a music concert related to the movie, one movie and it can also include a deck chair for an extra fee. There’s bar service offering organic food so you can organize your picnic while watching the movie. All movies are in original version with Spanish subtitles.
- Cinema Lliure a la platja. ALL JULY AND EARLY AUGUST. This independent cinema festival takes place in the beaches of Barcelona and other Catalan seaside villages. The session consists of a short film followed by the main feature film, and occasionally chats with cinema professionals. The public seats in the sand, the entrance is free but must be booked in advance.
- Ready to drive 1.5 hours for the finest music and dance shows? Then check out the Festival de Peralada, taking place all month in the superb gardens of the Peralada castle near in the Emporda county. Then the Festival de Cap Roig starts towards the end of July in the idyllic Cap Roig botanical gardens in Calella de Palafrugell (Costa Brava).
Music Festivals in July in Barcelona
- Els Vespres a la Fresca. MID JULY. The University of Barcelona organizes 10 nights of outdoors concerts of young promising local musicians.
- Cruilla Barcelona. MID JULY. One of the most vibrant music festivals in Barcelona, featuring international and Spanish names during an entire weekend.
- Mas i Mas Festival. LATE JULY AND ALL AUGUST. Impressive program of indoor and outdoor concerts with local and foreign jazz and other music artists.
- Festival Jardins de Pedralbes. ALL MONTH. This festival starts end of June and continues all though July. The program includes an eclectic variety of music including flamenco, Spanish pop, ballet, song-writers, Spanish pop and rock stars and some international guests. The location is unique: the Gardens of the Pedralbes Royal Palace, where besides the stages there’s also a chill out area with an enticing gastronomic offer.
What are your favorite things to do in Barcelona in July?
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