Hay Fever Season in Barcelona

Since moving to Barcelona I have found that I suffer less from hay fever than when I lived in the UK. I believe that this is because Barcelona is a large coastal city and there is generally less airborne pollen than in smaller cities or towns surrounded by countryside.

The only time of year that I take antihistamines is when London Plane trees (Platanus x acerifolia) are in bloom. Known locally as Plataners, they very common in Barcelona and line most of the city’s streets and avenues. They are easily identified by their bark which has a distinctive camouflage pattern.

A row of hay fever triggering Loandon Plane trees in Barcelona
London Plane Trees in Barcelona

London Plane Trees

London Plane trees produce 2 irritants which affect people who suffer from allergies, hay fever and asthma. In addition to pollen, the leaves have small hairs which they shed as they grow. I find that I am affected from shortly after the trees sprout new leaves until they produce pollen. The exact dates vary slightly from year to year but roughly from mid April until mid June. On windy days during May you can often see flowers and pollen surrounding the trees or blowing down the street!

Hay Fever Medicine

Antihistamines are available in pharmacies without a prescription and cost around 4 Euros a packet. You probably won’t find the brand names that you are familiar with so if you’re here for a few days it’s a good idea to bring your medicine from home. Alternatively take note of the active ingredients before you travel. Pharmacies in Barcelona will be able to attend you in English so you don’t need to worry about the language barrier.

Barcelona Pollen Forecast

The Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) maintains a very useful website for hay fever sufferers. The site includes a 7 day pollen forecast for Barcelona and 8 other Catalan cities. Instead of an overall pollen count, the site has separate forecasts for each species.

There is also an annual calendar based on previous years.


IMPORTANT: I am not a doctor or medical professional and have received no medical training. This article is based on my personal experience as a hay fever sufferer who has lived in Barcelona for more than 10 years. If you suffer from hay fever, asthma or any other medical condition I recommend that you consult your doctor. For more information please read the general disclaimer.


4 comments

  1. I had hay fever while in Barcelona and Paris to the point that my throat closed for seconds and I freak out my eye will swallow … but it will go away. I don’t remember if it was spring or summer … but I would like to know how is the pollen right now in Barcelona?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Gina,

      I’m sorry to hear that, your hay fever seems to be much more severe than mine.

      There is still some pollen about, but not as much as earlier in the year. The seven-day forecast (see link in the article above) is currently showing low or null for all twelve of the pollen types listed.

  2. Hello and thank you for your article – I didn’t have allergy when I lived in London but I have allergy since I live in Barcelona.
    It’s becoming bothersome cause it means I can’t enjoy the springtime here which is a season I love. Is there a solution? no antihistamine works for me! Should I go to another city? country?

    1. Hi Dalila,

      If I were you, I’d start by making an appointment at your local CAP to see a doctor. He/she will be able to refer you to a specialist who can test to find out what you are allergic to and decide what medication, if any, is best.

      If it turns out that you are allergic to the London Plane trees mentioned in this article, then you could try moving to a street that doesn’t have them, preferably a top floor flat so that you’re above the level of the trees.

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