Looking for things to do in Barcelona when it rains? The Catalan capital is known for its sunshine, but don’t worry… if you’ve got unlucky with the weather, there are still a lot of fun ways to spend your time. From encapsulating museums to chocolate-making workshops and many more things in between, we’ve put together a whole bunch of ideas for how you can spend a rainy day in Barcelona.
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The Barcelona Card: make rainy days cheaper!
When planning for a rainy day in Barcelona you’ll probably be looking for indoor activities like museums, galleries and fun workshops. We’ve picked out a whole range of ideas for this below, but first of all we highly recommend investing in a Barcelona Card.
The card gives you free entry or discounted deals for dozens of museums, galleries and other activities around the city. We always get one for our trips to the city regardless of the weather forecast, but it’s especially good for saving you money on things to do in Barcelona when it rains.
You can buy the card for a duration of 72, 96 or 120 hours. It also gives you free unlimited access to the city’s public transport system. It’s nice not to worry about buying metro and bus tickets when you get around!
Heading to Barcelona for a long weekend city break? Read our suggested 3 day Barcelona itinerary to help you plan.
Best things to do on a rainy day in Barcelona
Take a ride inside the Barcelona Turístic bus
Walking tours are off the menu on rainy days in Barcelona, but you can see still the sights and learn about the city’s history on the hop-on hop-off tourist bus.
The bus has two different routes, which navigate you around the city’s architectural and historical attractions. Your journey is accompanied by audioguide narration in 16 languages to give you detailed insights into the sites along the way.
It works on a hop-on, hop-off basis, so you can take it as slowly or as quickly as you like. You can buy either a 24-hour or 48-hour ticket, and they’re valid on both of the routes.
Discover Barcelona’s creativity in its art galleries
The creative spirit of Barcelona is clear to see all around the city, from the tremendous architecture to the array of colourful street art. As well as producing homegrown artists like Joan Miró and Santiago Rusiñol, Barcelona has also attracted many other greats to live here over the centuries, most notably Pablo Picasso.
Exploring the city’s creative side at the many art galleries and museums is one of the most captivating things to do in Barcelona when it rains. There are dozens to discover, from world-class institutions like the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art to tiny galleries you will stumble upon on cobbled alleys in the Gothic Quarter.
We loved exploring the European Museum of Modern Art (MEAM). It features a revolving schedule of temporary exhibitions showcasing the work of local and continental artists.
Explore history and science at the city’s incredible museums
It’s a bit of a cliché to make a beeline for a museum when it rains, but Barcelona caters amazingly for it. The city is home to some of the best museums in the world, and you can get lost for hours inside them.
In the basement of the The Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA) you can walk among 2,000-year-old ruins of Barcino, the Roman city that pre-dated Barcelona. Look out for the remains of an ancient wine cellar! Back upstairs, the museum has a series of immersive displays that tell the story of the city through to the present day.
More into science? Then jump on the L7 metro line to Av Tibidabo and head for CosmoCaixa. This is a fantastic science museum, with over 30,000 square metres of exhibitions making it one of the largest in the country. Another option is the Museum of Natural Sciences of Barcelona on the east side of the city. Entry to both is free with the Barcelona Card.
Some of Barcelona’s museums and art galleries offer free entry at certain times of the week. Check out our article on free things to do in Barcelona to find out more.
Warm up with a hot chocolate at Casa Amatller
We didn’t realise this before we visited, but chocolate is a big thing in Barcelona. The city has been at the fulcrum of many significant chocolate-making developments and inventions over the centuries. You’ll see this legacy around the city today, with many chocolatey activities to be enjoyed!
Casa Amatller, standing next door to Casa Batlló, is a building closely associated with Barcelona’s chocolate heritage. You will soon make the connection with the name, as Amatller chocolate is sold in shops all over the city and in the surrounding region.
Antoni Amatller was a pioneering chocolatier, and his family was one of the wealthiest in the city. Their residence at Casa Amatller has been wonderfully preserved in state with original furnishings throughout.
Taking a tour of the house is one of the most interesting things to do in Barcelona when it rains. Even better, there is a café and shop on the ground floor where you can grab a delicious hot chocolate when you’ve finished, try some tasty treats and buy some to take away.
Try a fun chocolate making workshop
We’re not finished with chocolate yet! Casa Amatller isn’t the only place you can explore the city’s chocolate heritage. At the Chocolate Museum, Museu de la Xocolata, you can learn all about the history of chocolate-making techniques and traditions over the centuries.
The museum also has a café where you can buy incredible chocolates and cakes, or indulge in a hot chocolate. This was definitely the best chocolate we tried anywhere in Barcelona.
Want to spend even more time here and have some fun? The museum runs various activities, such as chocolate making workshops. This is a fun and engaging activity to try on a rainy day in Barcelona (or any time!). Workshops last about an hour and a half, and you’ll learn to make chocolate bars, bonbons, lollipops and more.
Check out the Museu de la Xocolata website to find out the schedule for chocolate workshops and other activities.
Go shopping at El Corte Ingles
Barcelona is one of the shopping capitals of Europe. So, if you’re hit with a rainy afternoon in the city, one thing you can do is head to the shopping centres and department stores. The city centre is full of places to shop!
El Corte Inglés is the city’s largest department store. There are three in the city, but the biggest and most iconic is the huge outlet on the corner of Plaça de Catalunya. It’s stood here for some 75 years.
Inside the store is a labyrinth of high-end shops where you can buy clothing, shoes, jewellery, homeware, books, and many more things besides.
Up on the ninth floor there’s also a restaurant and café called La Rotonda with some incredible city views. It’s the perfect place to relax while waiting for the rain to subside.
Take a stadium tour at FC Barcelona
You’ve probably heard that Barcelona is home to one of the world’s greatest football clubs. Legends like Messi, Maradona and Cruyff have plied their trade at Camp Nou, which is Europe’s largest stadium.
Camp Nou has an amazing interactive museum where you can learn about the club’s history and past legends, and relive some of the greatest goals scored. If you take a Camp Nou stadium tour you’ll have access to this, as well as the chance to explore behind the scenes and see inside the stands, the changing rooms, press rooms and trophy cabinets.
Eat and drink in a local tapas bar
When it’s raining and we’re in a city, our first instinct is usually to head for a bar. Tapas culture in Barcelona presents an even more appealing option.
The food in Barcelona is all-round amazing, and the city is riddled with outstanding tapas bars to enjoy it with a local wine or craft beer. Make sure you try some seafood dishes, as it’s unsurprisingly a speciality in a seaside city.
We tried some fried aubergine and a charcuterie dish at a nice little tapas bar called Tallers 76. For somewhere a bit more upmarket, try Gilda, which has created a really interesting fusion of Catalan tapas and Belgian cuisine.
But honestly – you could walk into pretty much any tapas bar in town and the food will be good! We tend to avoid places around Plaça de Catalunya and La Rambla, as they can be tourist traps.
Check out this guide to food in Barcelona to read about some of the tapas dishes to look out for.
Get your laptop out at a coworking café
Barcelona is an amazing city for working remotely. Flexible work arrangements have given us the opportunity to visit the city again and again. The Mediterranean Sea and Catalan mountains make a much more inspiring daily backdrop than our home office!
The laidback lifestyle in Barcelona makes it feel natural to work, or not work, at any time of day. When we’re on ‘workation’ in the city we like to mix up working shifts at times when we are most productive with exploring in our downtime.
Coworking spaces and cafés are spread all over the city. This means it’s usually easy to find somewhere to plug in with a cuppa for a while and get some work done when it’s raining.
Coco Coffice, for example, is a coworking space in the up-and-coming Sant Antoni district. It’s got a cosy, community feel, with a shared kitchen. What’s great here is that you can rent a desk by the hour for just €3.50, or pay €18 for the day.
You can read more about this, and other coworking options, in our guide to taking a workation in Barcelona.
Bad weather forecast? Indoor activities to book ahead in Barcelona
Some of the best things to do in Barcelona when it rains are activities that need to be booked in advance. This may rule them out if you’re looking for something spontaneous. But if you’ve got a bad forecast, the following activities are great to book in advance when rain is on the horizon.
Skip the line at La Sagrada Familia
The last thing you want to be doing on a rainy day in Barcelona is queueing outside. But the city’s architectural masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, is so popular that you will still see lines of people waiting outside during downpours.
La Sagrada Familia truly is one of the world’s most magnificent buildings. Designed by legendary Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, its construction began in the 19th century and still has not finished. Its storybook jewelled turrets are an icon of the city, and the interior is just as impressive too.
To visit in bad weather, you can either pack an umbrella and join the queue, or book a Sagrada Familia visit that includes skip-the-line access and a professional guided tour.
Try the 10D experience at Casa Batlló
Another of Gaudí’s most celebrated works in Barcelona is Casa Batlló. This enchanting house built over several floors takes its name from the prominent family who bought it in 1903. Today, the building is one of the city’s nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Like many of Gaudí’s famous works, the house’s design feels like something from a fairytale book, and every room is different. You could easily while away a couple of hours on a rainy day in Barcelona exploring its intricate features and learning the stories behind them.
For an even more immersive visit to the building, try the Casa Batlló 10D experience. This will take you inside the mind of Gaudí while you explore! You will see a completely different perspective of the building with a virtual reality tablet and entry into the Gaudí Dome and Gaudí Cube.
Learn Gaudí’s mosaic style at a trencadís workshop
Want to learn some of Gaudí’s techniques for yourself? You can do that at a trencadís workshop. Trencadís is a mosaic style that Gaudí used and developed extensively. It’s a hallmark of many of his finest works.
Trencadís workshops can be one, two or four hours depending on the complexity of the object you would like to make. It’s a family-friendly activity, so this is one of the top things to do in Barcelona when it rains if you are travelling with children.
Take a cooking class
Want to make some Catalan cuisine for yourself? Then you can try a Barcelona cooking class, which has two different workshop options. One is a general Spanish cooking class, and the other (our favourite) will teach you to make tapas dishes and pair them with fine Catalan wines.
The good news is that a wine pairing session is included whichever option you choose! The class also includes a tour of Boqueria Market, the city’s most famous street market, where you will buy produce and ingredients for your recipes. It’s entirely indoors so you won’t be affected by the rain.
Map of things to do in Barcelona when it rains
You can see the locations of the activities for a rainy day in Barcelona featured in this article on the map below:
Have you spent a rainy day in Barcelona? Let us know about any more activity ideas in the comments below.
Read our guide to getting around Barcelona and the best areas to stay in Barcelona for all you need to know about navigating the city.
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