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What to do, eat and drink in Barcelona in the summer

Barcelona serves up sun, sea and sand in buckets and spades, not to mention sangria, shopping and some seriously impressive architecture. Here’s what to do there in the summer.

Barcelona, the vibrant capital of Catalonia, Spain, beckons travelers from around the world with its unique buildings, golden beaches and rich cultural heritage. And, when the summer sun graces the enchanting city, the opportunities for exploration and indulgence multiply.

By choosing a cruise that starts and ends in Barcelona you’re sure to have plenty of time to maximize your time in the Mediterranean. Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) offers a wide range of such Spanish cruises that stop at a wealth of continental highlights throughout the summer months.

This August, NCL’s Mediterranean: Italy, France & Spain itinerary will set sail round-trip from Barcelona so you can soak up the Tuscan coast, swim in Ibizan waters and culture-seek in Naples and still have time spare for Barcelona.

Yes it’s hot, yes you’ll need suncream and no you won’t regret it.

What’s the weather like in Barcelona in the summer?

Barcelona is blessed with a Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot, dry summers, so the summer season in the Spanish city typically spans from June to September when temperatures gradually rise, peaking in July and August.

In July temperatures reach an average high of 28°C and sometimes even exceeding 30°C while August is typically the hottest month. Expect average highs ranging from 29°C to 31°C. We can see why the Spaniards like a siesta!

At night, temperatures remain mild, offering a pleasant respite from the daytime heat – so don’t be surprised if locals party by the sea until the sun comes back up!

In fact, Barcelona’s coastal location ensures a refreshing sea breeze, providing some relief from the summer scorch making Barcelona’s beaches all the more inviting and enjoyable.

Another advantage of visiting Barcelona during the summer is that the sun rises early and daylight lingers until late in the evening, so you’ll have ample opportunity to discover the city’s architectural marvels, stroll along its streets or relax in a café.

However, it’s important to note that the city can become crowded, especially in July and August. Tourist attractions, beaches and restaurants may be busier during this time, so do plan accordingly and make reservations in advance when possible.

What to do in Barcelona in the summer

Start your summer of adventure with the city’s beaches. Hit up the lively Barceloneta Beach where you can bask in the sun, enjoy beachside sports or take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

For panoramic views of the city (and the chance for some shade), venture to Park Güell [below], a UNESCO World Heritage Site designed by the renowned architect Antoni Gaudí. Immerse yourself in the whimsical world of Gaudí’s architecture and marvel at the intricate details and vibrant colors that define his style.

No visit to Barcelona is complete without exploring the Gothic Quarter, or Barri Gòtic, with its narrow medieval streets, charming squares and awe-inspiring cathedrals. Discover hidden gems, boutique shops, and cute cafés (no judgement if you pop in purely to lap up the air conditioning) as you meander through the labyrinthine alleys of this historic neighborhood.

Escape the summer tourist hordes and discover Barcelona’s hidden gems during your NCL cruise here. Visit the enchanting quarter of El Raval, known for its diverse and bohemian atmosphere.

Explore the eclectic art scene, browse vintage shops and immerse yourself in the vibrant street life. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona), a hotspot for contemporary art lovers (and therefore cool, in both senses of the word).

When the sun sets, Barcelona transforms into a playground for night owls. Dive into the buzzing nightlife by exploring the lively neighborhood of El Born. This vibrant district is home to countless bars, clubs and live music venues, where you can dance the night away to the beats of local and international artists. It might get sweaty, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

What to eat and drink in Barcelona in the summer

Barcelona’s culinary scene is a tantalizing fusion of flavors, offering something to please every palate. Indulge in the country’s world-famous tapas or head to La Boqueria, the city’s vibrant food market to sample a plethora of fresh fruits, cheeses, seafood and cured meats.

For a quintessential Barcelona experience, do try paella, a savory rice dish typically infused with saffron and packed with a variety of ingredients, such as seafood, chicken, or vegetables. You’ll know the sea produce will be fresh here!

To beat the summer heat, cool down with a traditional horchata, a refreshing drink made from tiger nuts. The sweet and creamy beverage is the perfect accompaniment to a stroll along the city’s picturesque streets. Alternatively, opt for a glass of Sangria, a classic Spanish wine punch infused with fresh fruits, best enjoyed at a beachfront bar or an outdoor terrace.

How to cruise to Barcelona

By cruising with NCL your vacation will begin and end in Barcelona so you can explore the beauty of the city either before or after your cruise. Why not make it a cruise and stay vacation and book yourself into a hotel pre or post-voyage?

Your cruise itself will take place onboard Norwegian Epic. The ship boasts a wide array of stateroom choices, including luxurious suites and comfortable staterooms. For true luxury at sea book yourself into The Haven on Norwegian Epic, home to reimagined Suites and redesigned experiences including The Haven Restaurant and The Haven Courtyard Pool & Sundeck.

Passengers can also indulge in an incredible selection of dining options, from specialty restaurants (think choice cuts of Angus beef at Cagney’s Steakhouse or delicious pasta at chic Italian eatery, La Cucina) to casual eateries.

Make the most numerous entertainment options while onboard! There are theatres showcasing Broadway-style shows, live music performances, comedy clubs and a thrilling casino. Guests can even experience the legendary Liverpool venue where the Beatles performed, The Cavern Club.

Norwegian Epic is also known for its water park, complete with exhilarating slides and pools for both adults and children. The 200-foot-high Epic Plunge is the only bowl slide at sea! That’s the ultimate way to cool off as far as we’re concerned.

What’s more, NCL passengers on cruises to Barcelona can upgrade from just £199 and benefit from the Free at Sea package, featuring Premium Beverages (a wide selection of soft drinks, spirits, cocktails, wines by the glass and bottled or draft beer) and specialty dining.

Jetsetters will also bag Wi-Fi and excursion discounts (US$50) per stateroom, per port of call) while guests three and four in the stateroom pay only the applicable tax for their cruise on select sailings.

Now, where’s that sangria?

Set Sail

Mediterranean: Italy, France & Spain

Duration: 9 nights

Where: Barcelona, Spain | Cannes, France | Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy | Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy | Naples, Italy | Palma (Majorca), Spain | Ibiza, Spain | Barcelona, Spain

Ship: Norwegian Epic

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Published 06.01.23