Travel guide to Barcelona | Travel + Leisure
This travel guide to Barcelona will help you better understand the city and plan your trip to get the most out of your vacation in Catalan city.
With wonderful beaches and tourist attractions, Barça (its nickname) is a popular destination for many vacationers.
Find here the best bar and restaurants, the cheapest way to get around, and the must-see sights in the city center.
NOTICE: The information you find here is updated as best we can regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check activities, museums, and attractions before you go, as the situation can change quickly.
What do I need to know before going to Barcelona?
- Languages: The most spoken language in Barcelona is Catalan, followed by Spanish.
- Currency: Barcelona is part of the European Monetary Union, so the official currency is the euro.
- Time zone: GMT+2
- Airports: El Prat de Llobregat Aeropuerto (15 km from the City Center); Girona Airport or Girona-Costa Brava Airport (120 km from the City Center).
Barcelona tourist information
We have gathered all the information you need to make your vacation or business trip to Barcelona easier and more comfortable.
Best times to visit the city
Many people choose to travel in late spring (May-June) or early fall (September-October). However, Spain has a relatively mild climate, remaining pleasant throughout the year.
There are different passes for public transport in Barcelona, such as the Hola BCN card, the Barcelona Card, or T- CASUAL and T-FAMILIAR. However, tourists really appreciate the Barcelona City Pass, a pass used entirely online and avoids queues at the ticket office. It includes the Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, the Tourist Bus, the Aerobus, a 20% discount on the city’s main attractions, and the Hola BCN.
How to get to and from the airport
There are several ways to get to the City Center from the Airport or the Airport from the City Center. We have created a helpful guide that will make your travel easier.
Estació de Sants
Barcelona Sants is the most important station in the city and the second busiest station in Spain (the first one is Madrid’s Atocha Station).
Built as if it were a modern airport, it’s located right in the heart of the city.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday excluding holidays: 04:30 AM to 00:30 AM – Saturday, Sunday and holidays: 05:00 AM to 00:30 AM.
- Luggage trolleys
- Car rental
- Tourist information
- Ticket sales
Travel guide to Barcelona | Information Centers
You will find a tourist information point at the airport (Airport Terminals 1 & 2). In any case, there are numerous tourist points in the city, such as the one in Plaza de Catalunya, Plaça Sant Jaume and Oficina Catedral. For the complete list, consult the website.
Best things to do in Barcelona
Book a guided tour to get to know all the treasures of Barcelona, including the masterpieces of the architect Antoni Gaudí. The Sagrada Familia, Casa Milà, Casa Batlló, and many other locations are waiting for you!
This grand avenue that runs through the heart of downtown is an icon of the city and is popular with visitors. Here you will find several street performers and human statues, as well as stores, boutiques, and cafes.
If you are in Barcelona, you can not forget to visit the Gothic Quarter, one of the most beautiful places in the city! Its narrow streets overlooked by Gothic-style buildings and its bars and restaurants will leave you speechless.
Mercado de La Boqueria
If you want to indulge in shopping or buy fresh produce to prepare delicious lunches and dinners, this market is the right place. It is located in the Ciutat Vella district and has an entrance from La Rambla.
|Camp Nou (FC Barcelona)
Camp Nou is the stadium of FC Barcelona, one of the most famous soccer teams in Europe. You can reach it by subway, store your luggage and enjoy your day trip dedicated to sports!
|Cathedral of Barcelona
The Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia Cathedral is a Gothic-style church and seat of the city’s Archbishop. It’s located a few minutes from the metro stations Barceloneta and Urquinaona. The Cathedral is also close to the Parc de la Ciutadella.
Museums in Barcelona
- Picasso Museum – Located on Carrer de Montcada, this museum houses the largest collection of works by the great Spanish painter. Picasso’s 4,251 works make this museum one of the most special and rich in the city.
- Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art – Open to the public since 1995, this museum is perfect for anyone who loves the art of our time. It’s located in Plaça dels Àngels, in the old town, and is easily accessible.
- Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya – Abbreviated as MNAC, holds an extensive Romanesque collection. It’s located inside the Palau Nacional in the Parc de Montjuïc.
- The Fundació Joan Miró – Discover all the secrets of the great Spanish architect Joan Miró inside this building located in the Parc de Montjuïc.
- The Museum of the History of Barcelona -Discovering the city’s history is very easy at this museum. Located in the Barcelona Gothic Quarter, it preserves and shows the evolution of Barcelona over time. ✅Perfect if you’re in Barcelona with your kids.
Top-rated Barcelona’s Beaches
- Barceloneta Beach – Surely, Barceloneta is the most famous beach in the city. It’s about 1100 meters long and offers tourists many activities, such as dance classes, water sports, etc.
- Ocata Beach – 20 minutes by train from the center of Barcelona, this sandy beach is among the most popular among tourists.
- Llevant – Completed in 2006, it’s among the newest beaches in the city and stretches for 1200 meters. Several courses and water sports are available, bars and restaurants.
Festivals in Barcelona
Perhaps everyone has heard of Barcelona’s Primavera Sound (May/June), a music festival that hosts international artists every year, but few know about all the other festivals in the city.
Formula One Spanish Grand Prix
Sports and Formula 1 lovers cannot miss this fantastic Grand Prix held in May at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo (20 km from Barcelona).
Fans of experimental electronic music won’t have missed the Sonar Festival, a mega event held every year in June that colors the city with parties and lots of music.
Based mainly in the Greek Theatre, this festival gathers musicians, actors, and dancers from all over the world to perform in every city corner (Mid-June to early August).
This event is hosted in the Montjuic Fortress (July and August) and consists of jazz concerts and outdoor movie nights. It’s always advisable to book tickets in advance.
L’Alternativa – Barcelona Independent Film Festival
If you are a lover of contemporary cinema, you can’t miss this event. Every year in November, new films and promising directors are presented.
Most recommend restaurants and bars
The most famous bars in Barcelona are mainly located in the Gothic Quarter. But if you want to find a club where you can have a drink, listen to music and meet new friends, you can also try the area of Port Olímpic.
Definitely among the most popular bars in the Gothic Quarter are El Paradiso, Sub Rosa, and Les Tapes (don’t miss the tasty tapas!).
Among the favorite restaurants on TripAdvisor, we found Brugarol Barcelona, Babula Bar 1937, and Rasoighar.
FAQs about Barcelona
- How many days are enough in Barcelona? 3 days. In 3 days you can visit the main attractions and museums in the City Center. If you want to visit the surroundings and beaches, we suggest spending at least one week in the city.
- Is Barcelona expensive to visit? Like all European tourist cities, Barcelona is not exactly a cheap city. However, it is much cheaper than London, Paris, and Rome.
- Is Barcelona cheaper than Paris? Yes, Barcelona is less expensive than Paris.
- How much money do I need per day in Barcelona? Expect to spend about €120 per day (average daily price based on other visitors’ spending).
- Are tapas free in Barcelona? In Madrid and Andalusia, restaurants usually offer tapas to their clients, in Barcelona, this does not happen.
- What is a typical Breakfast for Barcelona? The typical breakfast for a local in the city is coffee with milk and a pastry, croissant, or doughnut. As for the savory, you’ll find sandwiches or bocadillos.
- What should I avoid in Barcelona? Saying Catalan is a dialect, speaking loudly in the streets at night, expecting every restaurant to serve paella.