Visiting Barcelona: Finding the best dates to save money and beat the crowds


Barcelona Harbor
When the weather heats up, the crowds start to arrive in Barcelona. Photo: Regina W Bryan

As the temperatures start to rise in Barcelona and across Spain, so do the crowds and the prices. As a result, competition for hotels can get a little tough. But fear not Cheapos, because we’ve compiled the dates you need to pay attention to, so you can plan your trip with a little less stress and more money in your pocket.

Easter Holidays during April

Spring break in Spain happens during Easter Holy Week. This year it’s the week of the 14th of April through the 21st. Each year the spring break dates change, and this year it comes late enough to promise (hopefully) sunny weather and Mediterranean swimming for the brave.

Oftentimes, locals take the whole week off and travel. If they can’t get the whole week off then they take the 18th-21st off, as these dates are national holidays, and make for a nice four-day weekend. This is not a good time to travel because everyone else is.

Easter Holy Week, or Semana Santa as it’s called here, is the first big vacation for Spaniards since Christmas and they like to make the most of it! You’ll have a hard time finding rooms during these dates and sights will be more crowded. In addition, you might be asked to pay more for a hotel room because it’s Semana Santa: supply and demand.

Barcelona beach

Barcelona’s beaches fill with people ready to party for Sant Joan. Photo: Regina W Bryan

Sant Joan beach parties in June

After Easter Holy Week, things tend to calm down and prices return to low-season or shoulder-season rates, only to shoot up again in June for Sant Joan. Held on the 23rd and 24th of June, this is another block of dates when Spaniards like to travel. If you’re planning a trip around this time make your reservations way in advance. Wild parties are held on beaches all over Spain for Sant Joan, and Barcelona is no exception.

Where to stay during Sant Joan

If you like noise, fireworks and a rowdy good time, book one of the 72 rooms at Hotel del Mar, a three-star property between the Gothic Quarter and the beach. You’ll be right in the middle of all the action. If big bangs and late-night parties grate on your nerves, reserve a tastefully-decorated room at Fashion House, an intimate B&B in a non-touristy location away from the hubbub. There’s even a lush garden patio, so you can still relax outside, while the rest of the city parties down on the beach.

Fashion House

Fashion House hotel is far enough away from the Sant Joan party to enjoy some peace and quiet. Photo: Regina W Bryan

High season from late June to the end of August

From Sant Joan until the end of August, it is officially high-season in Barcelona and all over Catalonia. You’ll pay more during this time and will be sharing the city streets with many more tourists. In August visitors flock to Barcelona, but locals leave for month-long vacations elsewhere. This is a problematic month in that many shops and restaurants will be closed for 20 days or more (though this is not true in the tourist areas of the city).

Plan around these tough dates to save money and beat the crowds in Barcelona and around Catalonia. Good luck!

About the author

Regina W Bryan

About the author: Regina W.Bryan is a Barcelona-based freelance writer and photographer. When not eating tapas and exploring Europe, she is tending her balcony veggie garden and practicing Catalan. For more of her thoughts on Spain, check: and

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