Planning an Easter in Barcelona? Welcome.
First off a bit of congratulations – with the winter cold long gone and the insufferable heat of summer yet to arrive you’ve found the city’s schedule sweet spot.
Whether you’re clinking glasses in the city’s flooded squares or taking a sunset tour of Barcelona’s top attractions there’s hardly a better time to visit than Easter.
Let’s get into it with my Barcelona Easter guide.
Easter in Barcelona 2018 Dates and Weather
Easter weekend in Barcelona goes the 30th of March (Good Friday) to the 1st of April (Easter Monday).
With Spain being a Catholic country there are naturally a ton of festivities for the entire Setmana Santa (Holy Week) so there’s a lot to see even if you arrive a bit earlier.
In general Barcelona Easter weather is quite pleasant – average temperatures hit 17°C (62°F) with lows dropping down to a manageable 8°C (47°F). With an average of eight hours of daily sunshine and only five days of rain you likely won’t be getting wet.
Before You Arrive
Firstly it’s recommended you get yourself a transport discount card. They save you money and help you take full advantage of your holiday. Check out my article explaining the differences of these cards.
Secondly you’re going to want to avoid huge holiday lines by buying your attraction tickets in advance online. In many cases in addition to skipping the lines you can save up to 15%.
Easter Events in Barcelona
It wouldn’t be Easter in Barcelona without the defining parades, religious events, and especially the top quality baked goods. Here’s a list to get you started – if you need any particular advice hit me up in the comments below.
Mass at Sagrada Familia
Yes, any layman off the street can participate in both the Palm Sunday mass (March 25th) and Easter Mass (April 1st) at Sagrada Familia. It begins at 9 am and is on a first come, first served basis until all seats are full.
If you’re in a group of 25 or more you’ll have to fill out the form on Sagrada Familia’s website.
Also, for those interested in attending Easter Mass you can participate in the international version at the Santa Maria del Mar in the ritzy Born area starting at noon on Sunday.
Eating a Mona de Pascua
Of all the things to do in Barcelona Easter weekend eating cake is a great one.
This local tradition dates back to a time when godparents would buy their grandchildren simple sponge cakes with a painted hard boiled egg on top. It was traditionally given in Barcelona during Easter after Sunday mass.
Today the cakes have taken on a whole new form.
You’ll see them in bakery windows everywhere – towers of delicious cake layers mounted with chocolate figures, animals, famous characters, marzipan and more. You’ll at least have to get a photo, though the more cheeky of tourists can’t resist taking one back to the hotel 😉
A great place to get one is Escriba Gran Via found at 546 Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes.
The Palm Leaves
On Palm Sunday you’ll see children everywhere holding on to palm leaves – a gift from their godparents.
Today the tradition has expanded to include almost everyone, and buying a palm leaf bouquet that honours the crowds which lined Jesus’ path into Jerusalem is city tradition.
Concerts, Club Nights, and Markets
On the 30th and 31st of March Bob Dylan arrives in Barcelona to perform a 2 night series of gigs at the Gran Teatre del Liceu for the festival called Guitar BCN.
UPDATE: tickets for both Easter dates have sold out and will only be available through second hand ticket sites like Ticketea.
You can also see English singer-songwriter Harry Styles on March 30th at the the Palau Sant Jordi.
Another great option if you’re into shopping would be at the Ovella Negra in Poble Nou (Carrer Zamora 78, metro stop Llacuna) on Easter Sunday there’s the “Todo a 1€ by Two Market”, a second-hand Barcelona market where everything costs just €1.00!
You also can’t go wrong checking out any of Barcelona’s powerful flamenco shows.
Barcelona Easter Processions
Here’s a quick list of Barcelona Easter parades – as a general rule you’ll see them more conveniently in the city’s famous Gothic Quarter.
March 25th (El Paso de la Borriquita)
The first Easter procession of the season takes place in the Ciutat Vella (‘Old City’).
El Paso de la Borriquita (‘the route of the little donkey’) commemorates the arrival of Jesus to Jerusalem. Here you’ll find a ton of stalls selling the traditional bleached palm leaves and an eye-catching procession of floats and dressed up devotees.
Time: 12:00 noon.
Route: Plaça San Agustí, Hospital, La Rambla, Santa Ana, Portal del Ángel, Cucurulla, Portaferrisa, La Rambla, Hospital and Plaça San Agustín.
March 30th (La Procesión de la Virgen de la Macarena)
You’ll find this Barcelona Easter parade on Good Friday starting in the famous Raval area.
La Procesión de la Virgen de la Macarena (the procession of the Virgin of Hope of Macarena – patron saint of Barcelona) involves wave after wave of tambourine bands playing through floats of all the important religious imagery associated with the holiday.
Time: 5:00 pm to 10:30 pm.
Route: Route: Plaça San Agustí, La Rambla, Santa Ana, Portal del Ángel, Arcs, Plaza Nova, Avenida Catedral, Boters, Pi, Plaza del Pi, Cardenal Casañas, Boqueria, Hospital y Plaça de San Agustín.
March 30th (The Second Round)
This later-starting parade on the other side of Las Ramblas is good for (really) late risers.
It’s much the same as the other Barcelona Easter parade honouring its patron saint – the goal here I assume was simply to spread out crowds and create less chaos.
Time: 6:45 pm.
Route: Parroquia de San Jaime, Ferrán, Plaza San Jaime, Bisbe, Avenida de la Catedral, Boters, Pi, Plaza del Pi, Cardenal Casañas, Boquería, Ramblas y Ferrán.
Both processions beginning on Good Friday eventually meet at 8:00 pm in front of the Cathedral (Plaza de la Seu 20).
Easter Opening Hours
At the best of times Spain’s opening hours are frustrating – imagine Barcelona during Easter!
Want to visit something and aren’t sure about the hours? Drop me a line in the comments below.
The Barcelona Tourism Office
First bit of good news, travellers! The hours here never change.
On Friday March 30th the metro closes at 2 am.
On Saturday March the 31st it’s open all night while on the 1st and 2nd of April it closes at midnight.
City buses and night buses run regularly just like the rest of the year. Consult the schedules at any bus stop for times and frequency.
The famous hop on hop off Bus Turistic and the Aerobus run normally.
The Magic Fountain show goes on Friday March 30th and Saturday March 31st from 8:00-9:00 pm. For Easter 2018 there will be no show on Sunday April 1st or Monday April 2nd.
The Rambla’s famous Boqueria Market is closed on March 30th as well as April 1st and 2nd. You’ll need to visit on Saturday March 31st.
The Picasso Museum is closed Easter Monday April 2nd. Also keep in mind that free museum Sundays will not be applicable over the Easter holidays at Barcelona’s top museums.
Easter Shopping Hours
Bad news for shopping lovers! Most major shopping destinations will be closed on the 30th, 1st, and 2nd so if you’re looking to do some shopping you’ll have to do so on the days before or after the holiday.
There is one very convenient exception however: Maremagnum Shopping Centre.
You’ll find it at the bottom of Las Ramblas open as usual.
Where to Eat during Easter in Barcelona
If you’re looking to stuff yourselves silly over Easter weekend in Barcelona you should consult my list of the best restaurants in Barcelona.
Most of them allow easy online reservation.
When you’re there know that traditionally Easter in Barcelona is a time of no meat. This means feasting on seafood and you can’t go wrong getting any of the following:
- Bacalao con garbanzos (cod with chick peas)
- Bacalao con sanfaina (cod with a delicious tomato-based vegetable sauce)
- Croquetas (fried potato croquettes with cheese or fish)
- Buñuelos de cuaresma (fried dough balls filled with cream or chocolate)
Another thing to keep an eye out for during your Easter weekend in Barcelona is the ultimate of all Catalan dishes: calçots. These massive spring onions are barbecued and served with a tangy red pepper and garlic based sauce called romesco.
Just make sure they bring you a bib! Things tend to get messy.
Get at Me in the Comments Below
Is there anything I missed? Let me know.
Also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: whether you’re looking for more information about Easter in Barcelona or anything else for a great Barcelona holiday then ask me in the comments below.