Partying in Barcelona: A guide to the best clubs and festivals

by Ellen Curham

Barcelona offers the perfect escape for those looking to party up a storm but still enjoy all the cultural and historical benefits of a top European city. With a club at almost every corner and festivals throughout the summer, you’re guaranteed to find something no matter what your music taste. Barcelona’s party scene takes no prisoners so stick on your dancing shoes and prepare to make some memories!

For fans of electronic music…

Club: Razzmatazz
Calvin Harris DJing at Barcelona’s Razzmatazz One of Barcelona’s best-known nightclubs, this monster venue has five dance floors where you’ll find everything from techno to pop to old school disco. A top European venue, anyone who’s anyone has DJ’d at this iconic spot. Razzmatazz draws both locals and tourists thanks to its killer line-up that’s worth checking out in advance of your trip. This dance metropolis is located in an industrial area that can easily be accessed by the metro from the city centre. You’ll find a trail of party goers at the metro station leading towards the thumping venue at all night long.


Club: Moog
Moog BarcelonaJust off one of Europe’s most celebrated streets, La Rambla, you will find Moog nightclub. Somewhat of a paradox, it is steps from tourist central but has a distinctly local vibe. Moog features a dingy downstairs floor with house and techno tunes and a more modern, mirrored room upstairs with pop songs thrown into an electronic mix. Don’t be deceived by the fact that it boasts two dancefloors; this place is small and gets seriously crowded.


Festival: Sónar
Sonar BarcelonaSónar is one of the most popular electronic music festivals in Europe and is now in its 22nd year. Starting on 16th June, this three-day-and-two-night festival showcases some of the best DJs on the planet along with art and multimedia installations. This year’s lineup includes New Order, Flume, Boys Noize, Four Tet, James Blake, Kaytranada, Fatboy Slim and way more….and all against the perfect backdrop of the Mediterranean summer. If you love dance music, you’ll adore Sónar — from its innovative line-up to super-cool crowd and well-thought-out venues, it’s an unforgettable experience. Stay at a hostel in the city centre and take the short transit journey to the festival’s two locations — one for daytime and one for night-time — that are not too far from each other. In fact, Hostel One Paralelo is only a 10-minute stroll from the daytime venue while still being very much in the city centre.

For those who want indie, alternative and everything in between…

Club: Magic Rock and Roll Club
If dance music isn’t you thing, that won’t be a problem in Barcelona. Head to the arty El Born neighbourhood and check out Magic Club, a hole-in-the-wall rock bar and club. With two crowded dance floors, it will be easy to dance the night away to 80s, 90s and current rock hits. The venue is also famous for hosting some legendary shows and awesome theme parties.


Club: Sala Apolo
Banbury Cross onstage at Club ApoloA Barcelona institution, this club and concert venue has been around for over 20 years. You’ll find some of the hottest bands and DJs performing here almost every evening of the week, with the venue turning into a nightclub after. The setting is a beautiful hall with decadent chandeliers and it boasts an alternative and indie vibe with indie, electro, drum and bass or house pumping from the speakers depending on the night. The Apolo always has a good crowd making it ideal to hit up on a weeknight.


Club: Arena Group
Not just one, but a group of five clubs dotted around the city centre. The Arena group offers the best gay night spots in the city. You’ll find techno, cheesy pop, drag shows and more at the centrally located venues. A pioneering group for the Barcelona’s gay-friendly nightlife scene, the Arena Sala Madre spot is its first and most well-known club in the city and a must for LGBTQ folks searching for some fun.


Festival: Primavera Sound
Primavera Sound BarcelonaThis festival is known for showcasing up-and-coming independent acts along with massive headliners. You’ll find alternative, hip hop, pop, indie and electronic at this eclectic festival so large groups with varying tastes will love it. Taking place in early June this year, it’s an ideal way to start summer with a bang. Primavera Sound is located just outside of Barcelona city centre, directly on the coast. The setting couldn’t be more perfect for those looking for sun, sea and good music. Enthusiastic crowds travel from all over the world to attend Primavera and create an electric atmosphere. Lasting five days, you get serious value for your money from this festival. 2016’s lineup features LCD Soundsystem, Air, Sigur Rós, Moderat, Parquet Courts, Psychic TV, PJ Harvey, Radiohead—we told you it was eclectic! Stay in central Barcelona to make the most of your trip and watch the city turn into one giant party. Urbany Hostel Barcelona has both dorms and private rooms, just 20 minutes’ bus from the main festival grounds. Plus there’s free Wi-Fi, a pool table, a chilled-out bar and more.

Tips for clubs in Barcelona

Barcelona bar★ Clubs won’t start getting busy until 1am so take advantage of the siesta culture or stick to bars before then.
★ Many stay open until 6am, giving you plenty of time to check out a few.
★ Most require an entrance fee so be prepared to pay at the door. However, these will often include a free drink so don’t throw your ticket away once you’re in.
★ Barcelona is notorious for pickpocketing so don’t take valuables and keep an eye on your stuff.

Tips for festivals in Barcelona

★ Generally music festivals in Barcelona do not have camping grounds. Start planning your accommodation as soon as you buy your ticket because hostels can fill up quickly.
★ The city can get pretty hot so it’s important to keep hydrated and wear sunscreen. Don’t let heat stroke kill your buzz.
★ Read the rules of the festival before you head there. There’s nothing worse than travelling to a new city and not being allowed into the venue because of something in your bag.

Check out our huge variety of hostels in Barcelona city centre, with outdoor terraces, bars, local art, swimming pools and way more.

Thanks to Alterna2, Joakim Olander, Anna Bruguera and jim for use of their great images under the Creative Commons license.

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