Barcelona City Guide

Barcelona sits on the east coast of Spain, its banks dipping into the Mediterranean Sea. Barcelona is the capital of the Catalonia region it is in. A region that distinguishes itself as different and separate from the rest of Spain, and continues to fight for independence.

Why visit Barcelona?

There are a million reasons to visit Barcelona and few not to. The city has spectacular architecture, sandy beaches and a sparkling sea. You’ll find no shortage of delicious food, cool beer and refreshing wine.

Barcelona is home to the most supported football club in the world and the fiercest, most proud and loyal citizens to back up those claims. Twenty-four hours a day there is something to do here, the nightlife is plentiful and world renowned.

Best time to visit

The best time to go to Barcelona is in shoulder season. That’s essentially spring and autumn. May to June, and September to October. This is the time that the weather is in the perfect midpoint, of not being too hot or too cold. Any spots that close in the off season are open. The streets are busy but the onslaught of tourists hasn’t quite arrived.

Top things to see and do

  • Sagrada Familia: Gaudi’s church masterpiece that is still waiting completion more than 100 years later.
  • Park Güell: Another Gaudi creation on a hillside, showcasing the integration of nature into his work.
  • La Rambla: The famous street running through the heart of the city, full of living statues, shops and cafes.
  • Gothic Quarter: A central neighborhood full of small, pedestrianized alleyways, and beautiful, old architecture.
  • La Boqueria: The main city food market which is as much for shopping as it is for observing and smelling.
  • Beaches: The long expanse of clean and cheerful urban beaches, leading to numerous small beach towns, and the very chic Sitges.
  • Day trips: Diverse destinations like out of the world Montserrat, and perfectly Catalan Girona.
  • Catalan cuisine and Vermouth: Traditional cuisine brings together produce from the sea and mountains of the region. And Vermouth is poured straight from the tap.
  • Nightlife: The legendary urban and beach party city that literally never sleeps.

Where to stay in Barcelona

Barcelona has a buzzing central area clustered around Placa Catalunya, with many major attractions located here. Like in any major city, the central area is convenient and good for shops and restaurants, and touristy. The central areas is also close to the beach, the Gothic quarter, and is well connected by several metro stops.

Many visitors also consider staying in one of Barcelona’s unique neighbourhoods; they are full of authentic and hip bars, restaurants, local street life and festivals, and cultural diversity.

More : Where to stay

Getting around in Barcelona

Barcelona is an easy city to navigate on foot. Many visitors see Barcelona without ever needing to get in a taxi or take the metro. If you don’t want to walk or don’t have enough time, Barcelona has highly efficient metro and bus services. If you anticipate high usage of public transport, consider buying one of the transportation cards.

More : Essential information

Day trips from Barcelona

Barcelona’s hinterland in the Catalonia region has many excellent choices for excursions. In the north, the Costa Brava region has many beach towns that deserve to be made the base for a longer stay. Transportation around Catalonia is efficient; so going on a day trip from Barcelona is a breeze, it is fast and cheap.

More : Day trips ideas

What to eat and drink in Barcelona

From traditional Catalan Cuisine to Molecular Gastronomy, Barcelona attracts millions just for food. Cooking classes and shopping for local ingredients, are popular food experiences in Barcelona.

  • La bomba (eat): Potato croquettes named after the bombs thrown throughout the city during the Spanish civil war. Where: La Cova Fumada
  • Calçot (eat): A native green onion celebrated when its harvest arrives at the end of winter, should be eaten with romesco sauce.
  • Esqueixada (eat): Bacalao, or raw, salted cod, salad with romesco sauce, tomatoes, onions, and black olives. A classic of Catalonia.
  • Cava (drink): A sparkling wine, of which 75% comes from Catalonia.
  • Sangria (drink): Refreshing for summer, red wine mixed with juices and fruits. Some now come with spirits.
More : Eat & Drink

Planning a Barcelona visit as a family

The Spanish love kids and Barcelona is no exception. With dozens of child friendly attractions like the stunning Aquarium, a beach next door, and child friendly restaurants, Barcelona is a popular holiday destination to visit with families.

Visiting Barcelona as a couple

Couples like that fact that Barcelona has everything to offer, from nightlife and secluded spots, all in one city. They also enjoy the many bars, cozy dining options, rooftop pools, and panoramic views of the city from spots like Tibidabo.

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