Easter in Barcelona – Visiting During Semana Santa 2023
Planning an Easter in Barcelona? Welcome.
First off a bit of congratulations – with the winter cold long gone and the insufferable heat of summer yet to arrive you’ve found the city’s schedule sweet spot, just in time for your Easter holidays.
Whether you’re clinking glasses in the city’s picturesque squares or taking a sunset tour of Barcelona’s top attractions there’s hardly a better time to visit than Easter.
Let’s get into it with my Barcelona Easter guide.
Easter in Barcelona 2023
Easter weekend in Barcelona goes the 7th of April (Good Friday) to the 10th of April (Easter Monday).
With Spain being a Catholic country there are naturally a ton of festivities for the entire Setmana Santa (Holy Week in Catalan) so there’s a lot to see even if you arrive a bit earlier.
Barcelona Weather During Easter Week
In general the weather in Barcelona over Easter is quite pleasant – average temperatures during Semana Santa hit 17°C (62°F) with lows dropping down to a manageable 8°C (47°F).
With an average of eight hours of daily sunshine and only five days of rain you likely won’t be getting wet.
Before Visiting During Semana Santa
Firstly, it’s recommended you get yourself a Barcelona transport discount card. They save you money and help you take full advantage of your Holy Week holiday.
Secondly you’re going to want to avoid huge holiday lines by buying your attraction tickets in advance online. Quite simply, it’s super crowded during Easter so you need your tickets in advance – or you could be turned away.
In many cases you can save up to 20%.
I also suggest reading my article on the best area to stay in Barcelona and selecting one of the best Barcelona hostels, Airbnb discount homestays, or Barcelona holiday apartments for your money.
OK, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way let’s get into the meat of it.
Easter Events in Barcelona
It wouldn’t be Easter in Barcelona without the defining parades, religious ceremonies, and especially the top quality baked goods.
Here’s a list to get you started on visiting Barcelona during Semana Santa – if you need any particular advice hit me up in the comments below.
Mass at Sagrada Familia
Yes, any layman off the street can participate in the Easter celebrations at Sagrada Familia – Easter Sunday Mass (April 9th, 2023) starts at 9:00 am and is on a first come, first served basis until all seats are full.
If you’re in a group of 25 or more you’ll have to fill out the form on Sagrada Familia’s website.
Also, for those interested in attending Easter Mass you can participate in the international version during Easter holidays at the Santa Maria del Mar in the ritzy Born neighbourhood starting at noon on Easter Sunday.
The Barcelona Cathedral also hosts masses for visitors – the Mare de Déu de l’Alegria is celebrated, and mass will be held at its altar at 9:00 am, 12:00 pm, and 1:00 pm on Easter Sunday and Monday (April 9th and April 10th 2023).
Keep in mind though that it is Spanish and Catalan only.
Eating a Mona de Pascua
Of all the things to do in Barcelona Easter weekend eating cake is a great one.
This local tradition dates back to a time when godparents would buy their grandchildren simple sponge cakes with a painted hard boiled egg on top. It was traditionally given in Barcelona during Easter after Sunday mass.
Today these Barcelona Easter cakes have taken on a whole new form.
You’ll see them in bakery windows everywhere – towers of delicious cake layers mounted with chocolate figures, animals, famous characters, marzipan and more. You’ll at least have to get a photo, though the more cheeky of tourists can’t resist taking one back to the hotel 😉
A great place to get one is Escriba Gran Via found at 546 Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes.
Also, right near the Picasso Museum and Ciutadella Park you’ll find La Mona Pastissos.
The Palm Leaves
On Palm Sunday you’ll see children everywhere holding on to palm leaves – a gift from their godparents.
Today the tradition has expanded to include almost everyone, and buying a palm leaf bouquet that honours the crowds which lined Jesus’ path into Jerusalem is city tradition.
Some of Barcelona’s best markets stand outside the Barcelona Cathedral or Sagrada Familia are your best bets.
Barcelona Easter Processions
Here’s a quick list of Barcelona Easter parades – as a general rule you’ll see them more conveniently in the city’s famous Gothic Quarter.
April 2nd (Palm Sunday – La Burreta)
The first of the Easter religious processions takes place in the Ciutat Vella (‘Old City’).
La Burreta (‘little donkey’) commemorates the arrival of Jesus to Jerusalem. Here you’ll find a ton of stalls selling the traditional bleached palm leaves and an eye-catching procession of floats and dressed up devotees.
Things get going early starting at Plaça Sant Agustí (metro Liceu)
Time: 10:00 am.
Route: Plaça Sant Agustí (10:00), Hospital (10:15), Pla de la Boqueria (10:30), La Rambla (10:45), Santa Ana (11:15), Portal del Ángel (11:30), Cucurulla (11:45), Portaferrisa (12:00), La Rambla (12:15), Pla de la Boqueria (12:30), Hospital (12:45), and Plaça San Agustín (1:00).
There will be a blessing of the palms ceremony at the end in Plaça San Agustín.
You’ll find this Barcelona Easter parade on Good Friday starting in the famous Gothic Quarter.
The Procesión de Viernes Santo de la Hermandad y Cofradía de Nuestra Señora de las Angustias involves wave after wave of tambourine bands playing through floats of all the important religious imagery associated with the holiday.
I’ve listed the times at some of the easiest/best viewing points below.
Time: 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
Route: Plaça San Agustí, La Rambla (5:45), Calle de Santa Ana, Portal del Ángel (18:30), Arcs, Plaza Nova, Avenida Catedral, Boters, Pi, Plaza del Pi (21:30), Cardenal Casañas, Boqueria, Hospital and Plaça de San Agustín.
April 7th (The Second Round)
This later-starting parade is good for (really) late risers who may have taken the Semana Santa celebrations too far the previous evening.
It’s much the same as the other Barcelona Easter parade honouring its patron saint – the goal here I assume was simply to spread out crowds and create less chaos.
Time: 6:30 pm.
Route: Parroquia de San Jaime (Calle Ferran 28), Calle Ferrán, Plaza San Jaime, Calle del Bisbe, Avenida de la Catedral, Boters, Pi, Plaza del Pi, Cardenal Casañas, Boquería, Ramblas, and Ferrán.
Easter Opening Hours
At the best of times Spain’s opening hours are frustrating – imagine Barcelona during Easter!
Want to visit something and aren’t sure about the hours? Drop me a line in the comments below.
The Barcelona Tourism Office
First bit of good news, travellers! The hours here never change, even during the Semana Santa public holiday.
Over Easter in Barcelona you’ll be able to pick up your transport tickets as usual, whether it’s at either Barcelona airport terminal (T1 or T2) or Plaça Catalunya.
Barcelona Easter Week Transport
On Easter Thursday (April 6th) and Easter Friday (April 7th) 2023 the Barcelona metro closes at 2:00 am.
On Easter Saturday (April 8th) it’s open all night while on Easter Sunday (April 9th) it closes at 2:00 am.
City buses and night buses run regularly just like the rest of the year. Consult the schedules at any bus stop for times and frequency.
The famous hop on hop off Bus Turistic and the Aerobus run normally.
At the moment there are no large schedule changes at Sagrada Familia over Easter.
That said, to accomodate masses there will be some slight alterations:
- Palm Sunday: doors open at 3:00 pm
- Holy Thursday: doors close at 5:00 pm
- Passion Friday: doors close at 3:15 pm
- Easter Saturday: doors close at 6:00 pm
As this is high season you must buy your tickets in advance online (at least 2-3 weeks in advance) or you simply won’t get in.
You can do so using the buttons below:
The world’s most spectacular urban park also follows regular hours over Easter.
The shuttle bus included in the ticket also will run at regular intervals.
Again, you must book in advance online or risk being shut out of the attraction all together.
Casa Mila (La Pedrera)
Gaudi’s wobbly mansion and its famous rooftop warriors also runs as usual. There’s also the added bonus this year of having a photography exposition by the talented William Klein.
To guarantee times and save €3.00 per ticket it’s advised to book online.
This private entity doesn’t change hours and is open 365 days a year.
Over Easter you’ll even find this epic, marine-inspired mansion to be decorated with special lighting to commemorate the holiday.
To guarantee tickets and save €4.00 per ticket you must book in advance online.
Gaudi’s original masterpiece which has only recently been made available to the public is open as usual over Easter 2023.
You’ll save 10% per ticket buying online using the buttons below:
One of Europe’s greatest football stadiums is open with regular hours over Easter 2023.
If possible, schedule your visit for another day.
You’ll guarantee your spot and save €3.50 a ticket booking online using the button below:
The world’s biggest Picasso Museum also runs normal hours over Easter, though keep in mind that on Thursday the 6th it’s a free entrance day so if possible best to schedule the visit then.
Tickets for free days are only available 4 days in advance using the buttons below:
This spectacular open air architecture museum doesn’t change its hours and is open 365 days a year.
Typically over Easter there are some special events organized and I’ll be updating the 2023 events here as they become available.
The Magic Fountain show usually goes Barcelona Easter week on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 9:00-10:00 pm.
That said, for Easter 2023 the fountain is currently in shutdown mode due to local droughts – so it may not be back on by then.
For Easter last year there were no shows on Easter Sunday or Easter Monday.
Always best to check the official Magic Fountain calendar to be sure.
La Boqueria Market
The Rambla’s famous Boqueria Market is closed on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday..
In 2023 you’ll need to visit on Saturday the 8th.
Easter Week Shopping Hours in Barcelona
Bad news, shopping lovers!
Most major Barcelona shopping destinations will be closed on the 7th, 9th, and 10th so if you’re looking to do some shopping you’ll have to do so on the days before or after the holiday.
There is one very convenient exception however: Maremagnum Shopping Centre.
You’ll find it at the bottom of Las Ramblas open as usual.
Where to Eat during Easter in Barcelona
If you’re looking to stuff yourselves silly over Easter break in Barcelona you should consult my list of the best restaurants in Barcelona.
Most of them allow easy online reservation (if not, drop them a line on Facebook!). Again, do double check the hours by getting in contact with them directly. During bank holiday days in Barcelona it’s hard to guarantee online information.
When you’re there know that traditionally Easter in Barcelona is a time of no meat, ideally heading to the best vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona.
That said, this also means feasting on seafood and you can’t go wrong getting any of the following:
- Bacalao con garbanzos (cod with chickpeas)
- Bacalao con sanfaina (cod with a delicious tomato-based vegetable sauce)
- Croquetas (fried potato croquettes with cheese or fish)
- Buñuelos de cuaresma (fried dough balls filled with cream or chocolate)
Another thing to keep an eye out for during your Easter break is the ultimate of all Catalan dishes: calçots. These massive spring onions are barbecued and served with a tangy red pepper and garlic based sauce called romesco.
Just make sure they bring you a bib: things tend to get messy.
Finally, if you’re traveling to Barcelona with kids during Easter keep in mind that Palm Sunday holds one of the region’s great traditions: giving kids the gift of a ring-shaped cake called tortell de rams.
This very colourful marzipan-stuffed cake decorated with candied fruit is given only after the masses have been attended – a type of traditional, culinary bribe!
Easter Week Parties and Flamenco
- For people visiting the Barcelona with kids it’d be wise to check out the “De Flor en Flor” event at the legendary Poble Espanyol from (2023 dates TBA). Here you’ll have some creative recycling activities, floral decorations, gardening, and much more. All accompanied by amazing music.
- Those looking for a fiesta loca can’t miss the classic Elrow electro festival on (2023 dates TBA) – the outdoor dance fest goes from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm.
- In the market for a spectacular Flamenco show in a setting straight out of a movie? Check out the Gran Galà Flamenco.
Easter Events in Barcelona FAQ
Are shops open in Barcelona on Easter Sunday?
Generally no. The majority or large shops, supermarkets, and pharmacies will be closed on Easter Sunday. There are exceptions to this though – the Maremagnum Shopping Centre for example.
What to do in Barcelona during Easter?
If you’re visiting Barcelona over Easter you can attend various easter parades, go to a restaurant to eat a classic mona de pascua, attend mass at the Sagrada Familia, go to a flamenco show, or visit many of the city’s top attractions which still remain open.
Does Barcelona shut down over Easter?
Aside from major tourist thoroughfares like La Rambla and other areas in the Gothic Quarter and El Born you can expect a strong majority of shops to be closed. That said, it’s a bit extreme using the word ‘shutdown’ as most of the major attractions remain open over Easter – so if you want to visit Park Guell or Sagrada Familia you’re in luck.
When is Easter in Barcelona?
The simple answer is that Easter in Barcelona is the same day it is everywhere else! Easter 2023 in Barcelona runs from the 7th of April (Good Friday) to the 10th of April (Easter Monday).
Visiting Barcelona During Easter?
Get at me with any questions for custom advice in the comments below.
And don’t be afraid to join the Easter in Barcelona discussion liking the Barcelona Hacks Facebook page then joining my group I’m Off to Barcelona – here you can ask any questions, air out grievances, and chat with thousands of Barcelona travelers.
Enjoy Easter in Barcelona 🙏
March 24, 2023 at 3:37 pmHi Ash, we will be visiting Barcelona from Good Friday for a week and would appreciate it if you could let us know if the shops on La Ramblas and Gothic Quarter are open on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. Thank you.
January 24, 2023 at 8:01 pmThis blog has been so helpful! We will be in Barcelona April 7-11, and I was worried it would be a bad time but now seems like it will be a great one. We are thinking we may do a day trip to Montserrat/Girona/Tarragona on Sunday or Monday (want to catch some Easter festivities but though might also be a good time to explore with things closed). Have you been to any of those (or others) that you'd recommend? Any worry they might be shut down for the holiday too? Thanks so much!
January 28, 2023 at 8:23 amHi Luke, Easter time is big business for tourism in Barcelona and so you'll find most of the tours run. Obviously, searching for tours and booking your tickets in advance online at Tiqets or other places is a way to guarantee you're in and not showing up to a closed ticket booth. You can go right into the calendars to see which tours are on or not. I've been to all three and they're different... for a seaside vibe with great food and roman ruins Tarragona is fine, though I'd rather do the trip to Montserrat (if you love nature) or Girona (if you love culture). So much to see!
April 15, 2022 at 9:29 amHi Ash how difficult will it be to get into Easter mass on Sunday at Sagrada Familia with only 500 seats available ? Do you have to line up early? Also will restaurants be open on Easter Sunday and Monday? Thank you!
April 15, 2022 at 11:11 amHi Tim, I've only been during non-COVID times so might not have the best frame of reference, but then you had to line up a good 90 minutes before. Tourism has recovered maybe 25% or so percent so maybe there's some ass backwards calculation there to say get there an hour early. It's tough. I would get there early just in case. You can always have a coffee and walk around and admire the building from the outside if there's no rush. As for restaurants, expect the majority to be open on the Sunday and Monday. Cheers,
April 17, 2022 at 3:36 pmThank you Ash we made it into Sagrada Familia for Easter mass. It was fantastic!
April 17, 2022 at 6:06 pmFantastic news Tim! Glad to hear :)
April 6, 2022 at 11:33 amHi Ash, I know your blog is for Barcelona but I was hoping you might be able to help as I’m finding lots of conflicting info online. I’m thinking of visiting Sitges from the 15-20th of April. As it’s a smaller town I’m concerned that shops and bars may be closed on Friday Sunday and Monday. Pretty much the whole of our stay ☹️ Would you happen to know about Sitges? Thanks Emma
April 7, 2022 at 8:42 pmHi Emma, Never having been to Sitges during this period I unfortunately can't comment from any personal experience. That said, in looking at the Sitges official website it looks like they're gearing up for a few events, like the Jazz Festival and a few parades over Easter. This leads me to believe that it won't be completely deserted, and will at least be resuming some sort of normalcy. I wouldn't expect the clubs to be rammed, but bars and restaurants should be operating. What I would do is get in contact with any bars/restaurants on your list via social media just to make sure. Most are very responsive. If they all say they're shutting, maybe you could change plans... I think it should be ok though! Cheers,
March 27, 2022 at 10:27 pmI'm trying to confirm that Easter Mass at Santa Maria Del Mar at noon but they do not have the times posted on their Web site. Could you please confirm that time? We would like to make lunch reservations. Thank you for all of the great information!
March 29, 2022 at 5:35 pmHi Julie, For whatever reason they are not updating the English masses schedule, however I am looking at it in Catalan and it appears they are saying it is going to be at noon on Easter Sunday (Diumenges: 12:00h Missa Major Internacional). Unless stated otherwise this should be the time. That said, I would check back closer to the date as maybe they make a more official statement. Cheers,
March 17, 2022 at 2:17 amHi! I’m visiting Barcelona April 9th-12th. Can you provide the dates the la boqueria market will close and where/when is the Easter procession?
March 17, 2022 at 5:03 amHi Linda, The only days Boqueria closes for holidays are Dec 8, Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Years Day. That said, since they close Sundays it'll be closed on April 10th as well. As for the processions we're currently doing a big of digging to find out. COVID is naturally still putting a damper on these so we want to make sure we get the info correct... there's a lot of old links out there and not much on 2022. I'll be updating this page shortly with the info. Cheers,
February 29, 2020 at 12:09 pmThank you for your tips :) I'm thinking about going to Barcelona from 9.-12. april in easter, but I can see, that you are writing, that all shops will be closed. Im afraid there will be nothing to do, but Would you recommend going in this weekend, or is it a bad time because of the holiday?
March 2, 2020 at 12:41 pmHi Emily, Some shops will be closed, that's true, but not all of them ;) Depends on what you're looking for. All the attractions of the city will be open. If you're coming to Barcelona only for shopping, maybe it's not the best weekend... Let me know if you have any questions! Cheers, Lucile
February 15, 2020 at 4:28 pmHi. We're heading to Barcelona, arriving in the afternoon of 12th April, Easter Sunday. We're staying self catering, in the area around Camp Nou, and I'm wondering if any supermarkets will be open on the Sunday or Monday. We plan to eat out quite a bit, but hoping to be able to get basics, even if it's just for breakfast! Thanks.
February 15, 2020 at 8:57 pmHi Anastasia, Most supermarkets are closed on Sundays even on non holiday weekends and Easter Monday is also a common time to close. You'll likely only have the little corner shops open plus maybe a shop called Open Cor or Super Cor (there appears to be one right across from Camp Nou). These are supermarkets open 24-7 but they'll charge a premium. Basics are definitely there. Cheers, Ash
February 3, 2020 at 2:26 pmHi there, Glad to have found your site as this is our first visit to Barcelona. Arriving April 11 - April 16th. Would like to do the international mass at Basilica of Santa Marie del Mar at noon. Do you have any experience with that service? We are not Catholic but Christian and don't speak much Spanish. Already booked the English speaking tour at Sagrada Familia for another day. Also, can you recommend a restaurant in the area following mass? Looking for something a little upscale for a special occasion easter meal. Thanks so much!,
February 4, 2020 at 12:02 pmHi Gina, I have never been to the mass at the Santa Maria del Mar so can't really comment much on the service. That said, I've talked to a friend about it and they said keep in mind that they use the term 'international' very liberally. There are some greetings and basic instructions in English but the rest will be in Spanish. I don't see however how that would take away something, in fact it could add a little something and even encourage a bit more self reflection :) In that area I really like the idea of going to 7 Portes which is quite upscale and a place Picasso used to dine. Just make sure to book in advance! Cheers, Ash
February 5, 2020 at 4:17 amThanks so much Ash. I appreciate the info, you have put a ton of time into this site I'm sure! Figuring out city pass or barcelona card and will likely hit you up again for input! Thanks again, Gina
February 5, 2020 at 10:27 amNo worries at all Gina! That's what I'm here for :) Let me know.
January 23, 2020 at 9:05 pmHello Ash, Thank you for all the useful info here. I was wondering if most of restaurants are closed April 12th, 2020 in the evening, I am thinking around 8:30-9pm? Thank you, Lilit
January 24, 2020 at 5:34 pmHi Lilit, It's not typical for restaurants to close over these days as it's a mini high season for them. I would consult each one though directly via their social media accounts though just to be sure. As for the restaurants recommended above I will add any info if and when it comes available, but generally I expect them to be open. Cheers, Ash