Barcelona in the springtime

Barcelona remains one of the great European cities. Like any southern European metropolis though, it can be unbearable in high summer. Time your break a little earlier in the year and enjoy Barcelona in the springtime.

Foodies will be in their element in spring. A stroll down La Ramblas, with its flower stalls, invariably brings you to the city market, La Boqueria. Fresh produce from around the region. Mushrooms from the mountains and abundant fruit from the south make this a brilliant place to gather a picnic.

The highlight of the season in the city is Holy Week, or Semana Santa. The holiday is marked by colourful processions around the city and by the local confectioners competing to put the most lavish chocolate creations in their shop-windows.

Romantics should time their Barcelona spring city break to coincide with Saint Jordi's day on 23 April. Saint Jordi is the patron saint of the city and locals traditionally mark his day by presenting gifts to their lovers. Men give women red roses and the women give their men a book.

Before the heat gets stifling, take the opportunity to see the city on a bike tour. Barcelona is becoming more cycle-friendly and rental companies like Budget Bikes, Barcelona Biking, and Barcelona Rent-a-Bike offer easy hires. Explore the coast, where routes are flat and there's always a café round the next corner.

Late May sees Barcelona spring give way to early summer, marked by the annual rock festival Primavera Sound. Stages are set up by the coast for a five day festival with acts raging from rock to trance. It's Catalonia's urban Glastonbury.

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