October is a great time to take a trip to Barcelona. It's a favorite summertime destination of Europeans, but by the time October rolls around, the beaches, restaurants, and clubs are a lot less crowded, and you can meander around a lot easier. The weather is mild, and the sun is out a good bit of the time, which means alfresco dining, roaming around the Gothic Quarter, and beach days are on the agenda.
Movies and music dominate special events, and that gives you even more to do than usual in this exciting Spanish city on the Mediterranean.
Barcelona Weather in October
As is true everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, October is a month of major temperature change from the beginning of the month, when the warmth of September still lingers, to the end, when it is feeling more like November. And on top of that, it gets dark earlier and earlier in the evening, culminating with the end of Daylight Saving Time on the last Sunday in October in Spain.
But on the positive side, average temperatures in Barcelona in October are ideal, with daytime highs reaching 73 F and nighttime lows 58 F. (If you go to Barcelona at the end of October, expect these temperatures to be noticeably lower.) October is historically the wettest month of the year in Barcelona, with about three inches of rain expected. Historical averages predict about six days of rain in October, so even though it's relatively wet, you very well might have all sunny days on your trip.
And you can still go to the beach and dip your toes into the Mediterranean. The sea temperature runs about 72 F in October on the shores of Barcelona.
What to Pack
Barcelona is an upbeat, stylish, artistic city, but the locals dress conservatively. It's always best to emulate the locals so you don't look like a tourist.
This kind of weather calls for layers. Take jeans or other cotton pants and short- or long-sleeved shirts and tops, or a mix of both, depending on whether your trip will be early or late in the month. A lightweight pullover or cardigan cotton sweater or two will come in handy. Add a lightweight jacket like denim or a cotton blazer for a top layer. Women might find a pashmina useful. October is a time of transition so darker fall and winter colors are appropriate. Since you want to be able to layer as needed, keep your colors neutral and in one scheme so all the pieces harmonize.
Comfortable and broken-in walking shoes are a must because you'll want to explore the city on foot and perhaps take in a festival in one of the outlying villages. You may encounter cobblestones in the towns and grass or dirt footpaths in the outskirts. Ankle boots are a good choice, and they look sharp with anything you put on.
Take swimwear and a beach coverup if you plan to touch the water of the Mediterranean. If you just want to walk on the beach or wade on the shoreline, take a pair of shorts and a short-sleeved top instead.
If you plan on checking out upscale restaurants and nightclubs, add some pieces that will dress up jeans or pants, like a dressy top, heels or boots, and nice jewelry for women and a dress shirt and blazer for men (tie optional), with appropriate shoes.
Throw a collapsible umbrella into your bag just in case you hit a rainy day. Or you can risk it and buy one there if needed if you prefer.
October Events in Barcelona
Barcelona has appeal no matter what time of year you go, with its Gothic Quarter, beaches, clubs, restaurant scene, and museums. If you go in October, you'll also have a chance to catch great films and hear some renowned jazz.
- In-Edit Barcelona: An international film documentary festival that tells the story of famous music groups via the big screen. It's happening from Oct. 25 to Nov. 4, 2018.
- Sitges International Fantasy Film Festival of Catalonia: This film fest focuses on the science-fiction, horror, and fantasy genre and takes place Oct. 4 to 14, 2018. And it draws A-list stars. On the list for 2018 are Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris, and John Carpenter. Sitges is about 43 miles from Barcelona and worth the trip.
- Voll-Damm Barcelona International Jazz Festival: This world-class jazz fest with renowned musicians and up-and-coming ones runs throughout the fall, with programs on six days in October 2018, Oct. 26 to 31. The events take place at many venues around Barcelona and should not be missed.
- Fires de Sant Narcis: This festival in honor of the Saints Day of Sant Narcis on Oct. 29, the patron saint of Girona, will be on Oct. 26 to Nov. 4, 2018. You'll find rock, pop, and jazz concerts; activities for children; and fireworks across many venues across Girona, which is about 64 miles from Barcelona. This festival draws locals from all over Catalonia.
October Travel Tips
No matter when you go to Barcelona, it is smart to remember that it is a large city and has its share of pickpockets and others who prey on tourists. Bring an under-the-clothing pouch or crossbody bag for your passport and money. Don't put a large wallet in your back pocket. It's wise to leave some money and cards in a hotel safe while you are out and about in Barcelona.
- Make reservations: Barcelona is a top destination all year-round, so book your hotel well in advance and make restaurant reservations for trendy dining spots or places you especially want to experience.
- Watch the weather: Since it is a relatively rainy month, check the forecast when you arrive and plan your itinerary around when it's expected to rain. Those days are perfect for shopping like a local and visits to Barcelona's many top museums.