Top Things To Do In Barcelona In May
YOUR MAY BARCELONA GUIDE
May in Barcelona is already the high season, with lots of cruises arriving daily and tourists crowding the sites every day of the week, not just during the weekends. But hey! The low season is really short in this city, and then the weather is terrible!
It’s well worth it to cope with the crowds if you can enjoy lovely sunny days that aren’t terribly hot yet, like it’ll be next month, and while the day is long. Plus there’s so many interesting festivals and events taking place!
What to do in Barcelona in May
Rembember May 1st is a holiday (Labor Day)
And that means more Spaniards will be visiting Barcelona, specially if it's close to a weekend. More expensive flights and hotels, restaurants full, tickets to sites and events selling out and larger crowds around...
It also means that banks and shops will be closed, and that most sites will be open on May 1st as if it was a Sunday in Barcelona. And your favorite restaurant might be closed, too. So plan ahead to avoid surprises!
Also keep in mind that being Labor Day there’s many chances that there are demonstrations in the city center. They aren’t violent, but it all of a sudden gets very crowded, the traffic is cut and you end up having to leave the taxi and walk to your destination…
Check the day’s newspapers for exact timings and itineraries and try to avoid them unless you are planning to join in. For an extra measure, avoid booking a hotel on Via Laietana, Plaça Catalunya and Passeig de Gracia for that day.
Catch the end of the Feria de Abril
Buy a souvenir for your mom for Mother's Day
Did you know in Spain we celebrate Mother’s Day on the first Sunday of May? You won’t really feel it much around the streets (except for maybe in the windows of parfum stores). But it’s always a good excuse to buy a cute something from Barcelona to your mom.
Run the Barcelona Marathon (Early May)
The 4th most important European marathon paralizes the city for an entire Sunday morning. The streets all over Barcelona are closed to the public to let the Barcelona Marathon runners go through. Its 42km / 26mi itinerary that covers pretty much all the best city sites.
If you aren’t a runner but you happen to be in town during the marathon, plan for a day when you won’t need to use taxis or head to the airport by bus or shuttle: walking and underground transportation such as subway and trains will be your best friend.
MORE INFORMATION: https://www.zurichmaratobarcelona.es/
Put your hat for a stroll (Early May)
The Passejada amb Barret (stroll wearing a hat) is a popular walk that takes place up and down Rambla de Catalunya, where participants wear a hat, bonet, beanie or something else on their heads. Join in to feel the complicity with locals, show off your favorite hat and explore the area.
MORE INFORMATION: https://www.ambbarret.com/
Be green and sustainable at BioCultura (Early May)
Bio Cultura is the largest trade show for organic businesses, responsible consumption and natural therapies. Spend a fun day tasting organic foods (many stalls give free samplings), shopping for organic clothing and cosmetics, learning about the latest technologies to make your house greener… and even having a free massage!
MORE INFORMATION: https://www.biocultura.org/barcelona/
Go geek at the Comic Book Show (Early May)
MORE INFORMATION: https://www.comic-barcelona.com/
Head to Girona for the Temps de Flors Festival (mid-May)
In May, for an entire week, the old town of Girona has its alleys and medieval patios decorated with floral compositions. It’s a great opportunity to visit the city, as there’s many private buildings that open specially for the event and otherwise aren’t accessible to the public.
But plan carefully: during the weekend it’s packed and it’s hard to move around the narrow alleys with so many people, or find a place to eat for lunch. Go during a week day if possible, and make sure to make reservations for lunch to avoid starving while waiting for a table.
MORE INFORMATION: https://tempsdeflors.girona.cat/
Herbs and candy fruit for Sant Ponç - May 11th
Head to the Museums on International Museums Day - May 18th
May 18th is the International Day of Museums, and the museums run by the Barcelona City Council will be celebrating an Open Doors Day – which means… free entrance! But also crowds…
So depending on where you place your priorities, take advantage of it or avoid the museums that day. Some sites that adhere are the Picasso Museum, the Pedralbes Monastery, the MNAC Museum, the Maritime Museum, the Roman Ruins of the MUBHA, the MACBA and the Miro Foundation.
Enjoy the flowers at the city parks
Join the traditional celebrations at the Festa Major de Nou Barris (second half of May)
A “Festa Major” is the main festival of a city, town or district in Catalonia. It’s a time to celebrate the community and participate in parades and traditional shows. Nou Barris is a modern working-class district in one end of Barcelona with little interest for tourists, but their Festa Major can be a great excuse to head there. There’ll be Giants, sardana dancing, correfoc fire runs, castellers human castles, havanera singing and more.
MORE INFORMATION: https://www.barcelona.cat/
Watch the Formule 1 Grand Prix (Mid-May)
For one weekend of May, the F1 World reunites in Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix. It takes place in the racetrack of Montmelo, where it’s been celebrated for over 30 years (almost a world record!)
Getting there isn’t easy, though: you’ll need to take the suburban trains (line R2 to Montmelo) and from there take the bus shuttle. Get ready for a very packed trip! There’ll be lots of people crowding the train – but at least it’s a short 30 minute ride from Sants Estacio.
If you are planning to drive, the parking lots are huge but… the road as soon as you exit the highway becomes only one lane per sense of direction. The traffic jams are memorable! It is advised to depart Barcelona several hours in advance.
Can’t make the F1 Grand Prix? Did you know the racing track offers you the opportunity to ride a real racing car on days when there’s no competitions?
MORE INFORMATION: https://www.circuitcat.com/
Take your hipster friend to a film festival
- D’A Festival. END OF APRIL AND EARLY MAY. The best national and international experimental film, from big names to young talents.
- Docs Documentary Film Festival. SECOND HALF OF MAY. International documentary film festival programming screenings and meetings with professionals.
Attend a music festival
- Guitar Barcelona. One of the longest festivals in the city, programming concerts during most of the year. They feature top Spanish and international musicians and bands that use guitars in their music, no matter their style.
- Ciutat Flamenco. Taking place during the last two weeks of May, this Flamenco festival is organized by one of the most prestigious music schools of Barcelona: Taller de Musics. The program includes local and foreign artists from all flamenco specialties: dancing, classic and fusion flamenco music, singing, guitar…
Eat your way out at the Time to Eat Fest (end of May)
The famous magazine Time Out sponsors this food festival with famous chefs, tastings, showcooking, food trucks, concerts, conferences and more. Its main focus is Catalan food.
MORE INFORMATION: https://www.timeout.es/
Travel back to the early 1900's at the Fira Modernista de Barcelona (end of May)
It’s a fun activity to pair with your exploration of Passeig de Gracia and the Block of Discord.
MORE INFORMATION: https://www.firamodernistadebarcelona.cat/
Attend a soccer match
The Spanish League ends in May, and the last matches will decide the champion. Will it be the FC Barcelona? They play every other week at home, so make sure to check if that’s during your May trip to Barcelona!
If they are playing away or you couldn’t get tickets, it’s always fun to watch the match from some local sports bar. And you can also visit the Stadium some other day!
And don’t forget there’s a second soccer team in Barcelona, the RCD Espanyol, who might also be playing at home. And if you are more of a basketball person, check out the FC Barcelona Basketball team schedule too!
May Barcelona Weather
Climate and average temperature in Barcelona in May
The sky is usually partially cloudy, but it gets better as the month advances. Early May is the pick of the spring rainy season – but that only means a 20% chances of rain, and it hardly ever lasts much or it’s too intense. The air humidity remains low between 0 and 5%. The wind (mostly from the South, this time of the year) has started to slow down.
All about the Barcelona Beaches in May
While in May it’s nice to seat outside, it’s not as pleasant to be sunbathing on a bikini. And the water temperature continues to be too cool for locals to want to swim (15.5 to 18.5ºC / 60-65F). You can see the odd person getting in the water, but most locals won’t really try until the end of June.
And until then, you’ll just see them eating in beach restaurants, walking along the waterfront and using the many sport facilities of the Barcelona beaches. The fact that the wind is slowing down makes it great for sailing outings, though.
What to wear in Barcelona (Spain) in May
May in Barcelona is the change of seasons. Bring a light jacket in case there’s a cold day (or you enter a place with strong air-conditioning), some light long-sleeved tops and some short sleeves in case it’s hotter than usual. No wool, but no tank tops either.
Jeans, slacks and skirts (with light stockings on) will work – but only tourists will be wearing shorts and capris this time of the year (unless you wear them with stockings). Comfortable flats, walking shoes and trainers for your feet – still too cool for sandals.
Did you get any good ideas for your next Barcelona May holidays?
Marta is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She is a passionate tour guide that loves Barcelona and loves writing too. She is the main author of our Blog, and is committed to sharing her knowledge about Barcelona and her best tips with our readers.
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