What to do in February in Barcelona
February is generally a quieter tourist month in Barcelona, making it a fine time for visiting the city’s top sights and enjoying the local Carnival celebrations. Let’s not forget the tradition of barbecuing strange shaped onions in the countryside with friends and loved ones – We would definitely recommend! As the high season begins to pick up in March, this is your last chance to go sightseeing without tackling big crowds of people. February really is the perfect time to be a tourist in your own city.
Things to do: February in Barcelona
Alongside the Santa Eulàlia festival, every February Barcelona puts on a display of light art called LlumBCN.
The Llum BCN festival is a dazzling display of the marriage of art and technology through luminous installations. For three nights (3rd to 5th February), the festival will transform the Poblenou neighborhood into a unique world of expressive light and imagery. The cleverly-placed lights bring the city’s façades to life and highlight pieces of its history and culture.
Availability to these shows are limited, so advance booking is recommended so that you can plan your visit and have an all-round quality experience.
The Santa Eulàlia festivities, also known as La Laia, is arguably Barcelona’s biggest Winter celebration and is held around the 12th February each year.
The festival pays homage to St Eulàlia, patron saint of Barcelona since the end of the 17th century. Barcelona legend tells of how, in the 4th century, the Roman Emperor Diocles ordered the persecution of all Christians in the empire. In Barcelona, many hid and some fled. Upon seeing this situation, Eulàlia, a 13-year-old girl who lived in a house in Sarrià, courageously presented herself to protest against such injustice. Eulàlia was imprisoned and tortured 13 times, once for each year of her life, but she was not defeated and did not stop fighting for her ideals. This ended up costing her her life.
From then on the girl became a symbol of solidarity and the defence of justice, and she is still venerated by the people of Barcelona.
You can find the crypt of Saint Santa Eulàlia in the Cathedral of Barcelona. In the Monastery garden of the Catheral live thirteen white geese that protect the city of Barcelona. There must be absolutely thirteen, otherwise it is thought to bring bad luck.
- Eulàlia is one of the two Patron Saints of the city, along with Mercè.
- ‘Eulàlia’ and ‘Laia’ continue to be common girl names in Barcelona.
- Barcelona’s Cathedral is named after Eulàlia.
Valentine's Day - February 14th
Although Catalonia has their own day to express one’s love for another, Sant Jordi on the 23rd of April, the popularity of international Valentine’s Day is increasing. February 14th is still a perfect day to celebrate your amor in Barcelona.
There are plenty of romantic things to do in Barcelona, whether you prefer a stroll by the sea, a relaxing spa day or a nice candle-lit dinner, the world is your oyster in this city.
Sitges Carnival is one of the world’s top 10 carnivals and attracts more than 250,000 people to Sitges over 7 days with amazing parades, shows and parties. It is known as the greatest party in Spain because during Carnival week, the city transforms into a non-stop, 24/7 fiesta.
Sitges Carnival always starts on the Thursday prior to Ash Wednesday (this year it will begin on 16th February, until 22nd February. The Carnival officially begins when the King of Carnival arrives into town, and ends when he leaves on Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent).
The Carnival is extremely popular with the gay community, largely due to the reputation Sitges has as being the gay capital of Europe. While Sitges Carnival isn’t specifically a gay event, you cannot deny the influence that this community has on the local celebrations. The town takes pride in throwing such an open and diverse celebration.
Everyone, both young and old, put on crazy costumes and take to the streets, socialising, singing, dancing and partying the night away. Bars and nightclubs host endless parties all week long from night until the early hours of the morning. There are also drag shows, contests, concerts, fireworks, cultural events, traditional dances and so much more going on.
This is one Winter festival you don’t want to miss!
Mobile World Congress (MWC)
Mobile World Congress is the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, where some of the biggest electronics players and telecoms firms in the world show off their latest innovations. Every year the MWC takes place in February and it has a tremendous effect on the city.
The Congress brings together 2,400 companies and over 100,000 visitors from all over the world. The impact of the Congress on the local economy is around 500 million euros, and it generates 14,000 temporary jobs (figures taken from 2019, before the pandemic).
You will 100% experience the excitement in the streets of Barcelona. Prepare for hotels and restaurants to be fully booked while this event is on. MWC will be the talk of the town.
Those visiting Barcelona in springtime may have noticed an unusual amount of green onions (known as ‘calçots’ in Catalan) being sold in the streets. This is part of an annual festival known as Calçotada.
The focal point of the meal is – obviously – the fresh calçots, that are barbecued and then dipped in a nutty romesco sauce (be sure to remove the charred outer layer of the onion before dipping).
It is possible to find places to celebrate the beloved calçot inside Barcelona, but it is recommended to try one of the barbecues in the countryside, such as Castelldefels, Sitges or Valls.
Come the cooler months, the Pyrenees offer a great alternative to the more popular Alps resorts, with generally quieter slopes and a more family-orientated atmosphere. The closest are La Molina, La Masella and Port del Comte, which are roughly 2 hours by car or train from Barcelona airport or the city centre.
Generally the skiing resorts close to Barcelona have great snow, uncrowded pistes and short lift queues. These resorts have high altitudes and a low tree line, so there are many free ride trails and off piste runs to enjoy.
The after-ski scene is generally much quieter than the Alps. This makes skiing in Spain perfect for beginners and families. If you want a lively apres-ski scene, then the Andorran resorts are probably your best bet with many UK skiers and a lively nightlife scene.