Keeping cool in Catalonia


COOL YOUR VISIT. Tropical heat stoked by a relentless sun is not for everyone. July, August and September in Catalonia boast daily highs touching 30 C and the weather man guarantees about 10 hours of sunshine. Not for you? Then consider being cool in the cooler months. October is rather lovely at around 22 C (with 6 hours of sun daily) and May is about the same (but with 8 hours of sun). While seeking the shade may seem obvious if it’s still all too much, the coolest places are often the Cathedrals and churches that are scattered through the entire region – their thick walls let little heat through. Oh, and anywhere with air-co of course.

COOL YOUR DAY. Although air-conditioning has rendered the need for a siesta obsolete, the idea of not doing certain activities in the hottest part of the day is not apparent to all. While Catalans may take some down-time between 12.00 and 15.00 each day, visitors often decide that that this searing mid-afternoon window is the ideal time to play tennis, beach volleyball, sun bathe, cycle or hike. Local advice suggests ‘go active’ early (before 11.00) or late (after 18.00) and if you just have to exert yourself in the mid-day oven, make sure you can stand it and take precautions (slip, slap, slop as the Ozzies say…)

Spanish sun
Parque Nacional de Aiguestortes

DO COOL THINGS. Yes, the famous attractions – many of them in Barcelona – are worth the effort: Park Güell, La Sagrada Família, Museu del Futbol Club Barcelona, Castell de Montjuïc… the list goes on. But there are some very cool, less known distractions including: Fórum Romá (Taragona) – the ruins of a temple to the god Jupiter; Moll Parc (west of Figueres) – a wildlife park in the foothills of the Pyrenees; Parque Nacional de Aiguestortes (just west of Andorra) – a beautiful and expansive national park packed with wildlife; Beget Village (north west of Girona) – a charming, picturesque town well worth spending a half a day in; Mount Monserrat (highest point of the Catalan lowlands) – its abbey and museum is a day trip in itself… search, and ye shall be cool.

LOOK FOR COOL CATALAN BRANDS. There are some very cool Catalan brands worth checking out: Desigual is a strong fashion brand with its origins in Barcelona; Mango – another clothing brand – has its roots in Catalonia and was started by a Turkish entrepreneur; for sports and fashion shoes, consider the Catalan brand Munich which has been around since 1939; beer your thing? there are many micro-breweries and 55 Catalan beers (check this site for more info:; if you want that Spanish feel from your rental car, why not rent a Seat? (OK, technically it’s not from Catalonia and is owned by Volkswagen); as far as food is concerned – the world is your oyster… follow the locals and have the local experience.


ACT COOL. If you’re feeling artsy but just not quite artsy enough to actually visit a gallery or museum, then kick-back and relax with a cool film starring someone Spanish (possibly from Catalonia) that was filmed somewhere where Spanish is spoken (possibly Catalonia although for completeness, the official language is in fact Catalan). Here are a few films to get you going: Los últimos días (The Last Days, 2013); El sexo de los ángeles (The sex of the Angels, 2012); Anita no pierde el tren (Anita takes a chance, 2001); Todo sobre mi madre (All about my mother, 1999). Should you be longing to see the most famous Spanish films stars, then try watching anything starring any of the following: Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Paz Vega, Elsa Pataky, Jordi Mollà, Óscar Jaenada.

Be c o o o o o o o o l.