Barcelona — home of Antoni Gaudi and his wild art and architecture, sumptuous seafood paella, scenic parks, and FC Barcelona — needs to be on everyone’s bucket list. In October, when the summer tourists are back to school and their work-a-day world, the city settles into a less hectic, relaxed local vibe. When visiting in October, you can experience the real Barcelona: charming and resplendent in her autumn glory.
1. Barcelona Weather In October
The weather in October is delightful for tourists seeking to explore Barcelona’s gems. The average high is 73 degrees Fahrenheit and the average low is 62. With an average of only 6 days of rain in October, Barcelona weather is perfect for long walks exploring the city. Barcelona’s hop-on, hop-off bus system covers transportation to all the must-do spots. With the cool and comfortable weather, you can ride in the open top deck without getting completely overheated.
A light jacket or sweater when you venture close to the waterfront, enjoy an evening stroll, or ride the cable car to Montjuïc will keep you perfectly cozy.
Early through mid-October, Barcelona celebrates the beer-focused tradition of Oktoberfest. For 12 days, the Plaza Universo is transformed into a German biergarten serving pints of foamy brews and plates of fat bratwurst. Lively polka music sets a festive tone — you may find yourself spinning your partner around the plaza.
You don’t need to pack your best lederhosen to attend, you just need to be at least 18 years old.
3. Culinary Barcelona Life
Autumn is harvest time and all the cultivated, caught, and foraged food of Barcelona will have your mouth watering in anticipation.
Paella is a wonderful idea any time of year — a classic seafood paella or a vegetarian version is the perfect sharing dish. You can learn the craft of cooking paella at The Paella Club. It is the perfect way to explore a new culinary technique while you make new travel friends. A little cava, a little rice, a little seafood, and a lot of laughs are the hallmarks of group cooking classes in Barcelona. If you aren’t into cooking and just want to eat all the paella you can, these are a few spots in Barcelona to sample some amazing paella.
As the weather cools and the rains fall, mushrooms are the delicacy of choice in Barcelona during the autumn months. Locals grab their baskets and sharpest tools, then they head to the woods to harvest these flavorful fall fungi. Local favorites like rovelló are traditionally served grilled with parsley and garlic — simple treatment for a beautifully fresh ingredient. Trompeta de la muerte, also known as “death trumpets” (but they are so delicious), are black chanterelles. Typically, they are sun-dried and ground to use as a powder. Rebozuelo are the yellow chanterelles we love to eat — order them on everything.
If you can’t get out to the woods, good restaurants will have them on the special menu. The better restaurants will not have pictures of the dishes in their windows. Look for an establishment that is less touristy and just off the main drag for a more authentic dining adventure.
Towards the end of October, you will find castanyeras, vendors who sell roasted chestnuts and dot the streets and plaças (“squares”). The nutty aroma from the roasting cart is intoxicating. You can buy a few steaming hot chestnuts wrapped in paper to enjoy as you stroll through the streets. Dine like a local and explore the flavors of the season.
4. La Sagrada Familia
Antoni Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia is a must-see when visiting Barcelona. It is the most popular tourist attraction in the city, so visiting in October with fewer crowds makes the experience more enjoyable. Construction on the spectacular church began over 140 years ago and it is still under construction. Perpetually shadowed by towering cranes, one wonders if there will ever be a photo of the completed church without the metal birds flying overhead.
The architecture must be experienced in person to grasp the full intention of Gaudi’s masterpiece. You will be craning your neck to take in all the statues, symbols, and architectural goodies. Be sure to stop by the museum; it will walk you through the historic timeline of Barcelona’s most famous church.
5. Casa Batlló
The amazing Casa Batlló is an interactive art museum showcasing Gaudi’s masterful design esthetic along with designs from other notable artists. Each room is an artistic experience unto itself. From the lower level to the rooftop viewing platform, the color, the movement, and the intriguing designs draw your eye across the walls, ceilings, and windows. It is an awe-inspiring Barcelona moment.
6. FC Barcelona Game
In the heart of the city is the FC Barcelona stadium: Camp Nou. The season begins in late summer/early fall and runs through the spring. The adrenaline rush of watching an FC Barcelona game in their home stadium is a wild ride for soccer fans and curiosity seekers alike.
Pro Tip: You can access Camp Nou from the hop-on, hop-off bus.
7. Plaça De Catalunya
The Plaça de Catalunya is a large plaza in the city center bringing the entire city together in a central meeting spot. Lined with cafés and restaurants, it is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal and people watch.
There is always something going on in the square. Take a stroll around and you’ll find two beautiful fountains, many artistic sculptures, and lots and lots of pigeons. Many people like to feed the thousands of pigeons and they wreak havoc when seed is scattered on the stones.
As you leave the plaza and stroll along La Rambla (also Las Ramblas), one of Barcelona’s main streets, you are immersed in the hub of the city’s vibrant lifestyle. Hotels, restaurants, shops, and entertainment can all be found along La Rambla.
Pro Tip: The Plaça de Catalunya is almost always crowded, even in October. Keep your valuables close and an eye out for pickpockets.
A trip up to Montjuïc on the Telefèric cable car offers a panoramic view of the city and is an exciting alternative to driving to the hilltop. The smallish cable car filled with riders slowly glides its way across the harbor waters on an upward trajectory towards the platform. It does sway in the lofty breeze and is not for the faint of heart.
However, when you reach the summit, you are immediately rewarded with a café offering local libations and a magnificent view. The sprawling hilltop park is a lovely spot for an afternoon visit. Enjoying the Botanical Gardens, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Joan Miro Foundation museum, Montjuïc Castle, and buildings related to the 1992 Olympic Games, make the ride worth the trip.
Pro Tip: You can access Montjuïc on the hop-on, hop-off bus if the Telefèric makes you nervous.
9. Mirador De Colón
Mirador de Colón, a towering statue in honor of Christopher Columbus, stands guard over the Port of Barcelona (Port Vell). For a nominal fee, you can take an elevator to the top and experience a panoramic view of the port, La Rambla, and the city of Barcelona.
Visiting Barcelona In October
Barcelona is a vibrant city with a hip urban culture. It attracts young travelers who come for the party nightlife and nonstop beach lifestyle of the summer months. October marks the beginning of a more peaceful Barcelona. October is a wonderful time to visit, marked by fewer tourists. It is the perfect time to enjoy the city like a local.