Time in Barcelona

What time is it in Barcelona?

Are you planning a trip to Barcelona and wondering what time it is right now? Whether you are an experienced traveler who has been around the world or a new traveler who has never left the country, understanding the time zone in Barcelona is important to help you plan your next holiday.

Daylight Saving Time in Barcelona

Like many other countries, Barcelona follows daylight saving time. Daylight saving time is when the clocks are set one hour ahead of standard time during the summer months, and one hour behind in the winter months. In Barcelona in 2023, daylight saving time will start on 26 March and end on 29 October.

History of the time change in Spain

The change of time, or Daylight Saving Time (DST), is a long-established policy in Spain and many other countries. Its aim is to make better use of daylight hours by moving the clock forward one hour in summer and backward one hour in winter. This policy has varied throughout Spanish history and is still subject to change, such as the one made in 1996 changing the dates and times to a permanent DST. You may wonder when and why the time change began in Spain, and why it is still in force today.

The time change in Spain, until 1901, was the responsibility of each province or community. The first real change to a unified time zone did not occur until April 1918, when the Council of Ministers announced the first change to Spanish Civil Time (the nation’s official time). The aim of this change was to reduce costs by alleviating the shortage of coal during the First World War.

More changes in the 1920s

The second major change came with the National Time Act, passed on 3 March 1924. Under this law, daylight saving time was to begin on 1 April and end on 30 September of the same year. This allowed for a more efficient use of daylight hours in summer, and was initially a temporary measure.

The most recent change in time policy came in 1981, when full summer time was established. According to this timetable, on the last Sunday in March the clocks were put forward by one hour, and on the last Sunday in September they were put back by one hour. In 1996, the European Union introduced permanent summer time, extending the period from the end of March to the end of October, but the Spanish government subsequently opted to reinstate the original calendar.

Changing the time for political reasons?

The most famous Spanish time change occurred in 1941, when General Francisco Franco had the clocks changed by two hours to match German time. Historians disagree on the reason for this change, with some arguing that it was driven by foreign policy and others claiming that it was done in an effort to correct an error in the 1924 National Time Law.

Spain’s relationship with daylight saving time has had its changes over the years and the country has seen a variety of implementations of this policy. However, the most recent version has been quite successful in helping Spaniards make better use of daylight hours, and so remains in place today.