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How to survive Barcelona in the rain

Barcelona is an al fresco city.

So what do you do if 'al fresco' is rained off?

Avoid the top deck of the open-top bus

Yes, it sounds obvious. But when you're itching to see Barcelona and the bus pulls up with a water-proof canopy on top deck, you think everything will be ok. Wrong.

We braved the slippery seats and horizontal rain for about 32 minutes, then gave up and went downstairs for an altogether different (and less flattering view) of Barcelona.

Less ramble on La Rambla

Walking down Barcelona's most famous boulevard when it's hammering down with rain is stupid. Don't do it. Not only will you do a Bambi on the skiddy flagstones, there is nowhere to take shelter.

You could try squeezing under the awning of a hospitable flower-seller's stall, but it's not ideal. Either bring a brolly or leave it until another day. After all, part of the joy of La Rambla is lapping up its social vibe and taking it slow.

Take a detour to El Born

El Born is Barcelona's culture hub. It's small, so you won't be wandering in the wet for hours. It's also home to some rather cool places to dry-off: wine bars, cocktail lounges, dance clubs – just the thing when the heavens open and don't stop (godamit).

We splashed into the seductively-lit Alsur Cafe and, boy, we were glad we did. Trendy, friendly, cosy and comfy – with a cocktail list that will make you glad for the rain.

Splash into the Aquarium

Admittedly, I'm a bit of a kid. So I would've wanted to see L'Aquarium de Barcelona even if it was blazing sunshine outside.

When rain is driving, catch a taxi or bus down to the city's old harbour – Port Vell – for a morning or afternoon in Europe's largest aquarium and the largest Mediterranean aquarium in the world.

It's got more than 8,000 fish and twenty bassins, divided into a number of themes. I LOVED the shark tunnel with its huge sand tiger sharks, eels and sunfish. And if you feel the need to make silly voice for the fish as you stare at them, feel free. It kept us amused.

Finally, don't go in November

My final bit of blinding travel insight: check the weather before you go. We didn't, and ended up packing a spring wardrobe. Which meant we spent the first 24hrs in H&M shopping for jumpers.

Barcelona is, essentially, an outdoor city; life happens here in the open-air. Add rain and it doesn't mix well. We had fun, nevertheless, but we know that this beautiful city would've sparkled more brightly had the sun been out.

Trip type: Girly city break

We stayed: At the Silken Diagonal Barcelona


Profile photo of Claire Robinson

Meet Claire. An award-winning freelance writer, based in Gloucestershire, England, with an obsession for travel and gin. Her difference? Everywhere she goes, she seems to bring calamity along also. So her stories have a humorous edge - and are mostly about Claire making a travel buffoon of herself. For Claire, too much travel content is serious and high-brow. Her take on travelling is the opposite - her view is a fun one, with a lightness of touch that makes travelling feel real and human. And if she makes people laugh along the way with her tips, personal stories, and guides, then all the better.

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