Barcelona, ??the city out of the imagination of Gaudi…
Barcelona, ??as well as other cities in SPAIN, is very lively during the day and the evening.
This haven of gastronomy (not too expensive) and cultural visits will seduce you for sure. Party animals will enjoy the awesome nightlife.
In addition, the city is located by the sea, so you can enjoy the beaches of Barceloneta to get rest and work on your tan during your stay.
The city enjoys a Mediterranean climate, so it can be visited at any time of the year, summer and winter.
The wettest seasons are April-May and October-November. Then we can expect heavy rain, but that does not stop the tourists to visit the city.
How to Go to Barcelona ?
Barcelona’s airport is served by low-cost Ryanair, Easyjet and Vueling airlines, so you can find tickets for great prices.
Be careful, do not fool yourself, the main airport of Barcelona is El Prat or BCN and it is 10 km from the city center, unlike Girona and Reus airports that they are about 100km from Barcelona.
The El Prat airport has two terminals.
How to go downtown from the airport of Barcelona ?
The easiest and fastest way to get to the city center is the Aerobus.
It reaches the city center in roughly 35 minutes. You can buy tickets at the bus driver for 5.30 one way and 9.15 for a round trip (valid for return within 9 days).
The most economical way is to take the subway a few steps from the airport. It takes a little more time, but you still get fast in the city center. Get off at Passeig de Gracia or Sants station and from there take the metro Line 3 Catalunya. You will arrive at the beginning of the Ramblas in the city center.
Barcelona has eight subway lines, they cover most of the city.
More economical than buying one ticket per trip (1.45 ), there are 10 trips cards for 8.25 that can be used in a group. Each person must point his journey.
In the turnstiles, the ticket is obliterated by the left. In sliding doors by cons, the ticket goes on the right. It is a little bit tricky !
The funicular to Montjuic
It is one of the things that you absolutely must do!
You have to take the subway one, not the one from the port, the price is significantly different. Take line3 university area and exit in Parallel.
What to visit in Barcelona?
Most tourist sites are within walking distance of Las Ramblas, only for the Park Güell and the Sagrada Familia, you need to take the subway.
- The Sagrada Familia
- Güell Park with multicolored ceramic
- Casa Batllo & Casa Ametller are at Passeig de Gracia
- Casa Mila or La Pedrera near the Passeig de Gracia
- The covered market La Boqueria on Las Ramblas: a pleasure for the eyes and to stomach ! There are stalls of exotic fruits, scents from the south, stalls of fresh fish and local meats. It is closed on Sundays!
- Las Ramblas: the busiest and most famous promenade in Spain
- Place of Catalonia (Plaça de Catalunya) dominated by a large Corte Ingles. One can also see huge fountains, statues, the tourist office in the basement and the Hard Rock Cafe on one side of the Place
- Place of Espana
- The Montjuïc and the funicular
- Port Vell
- Camp Nou (FCBarcelona Stadium) for football fans
How to organize your visit in Barcelona?
You should know that the city is divided into different areas, so it is easy to visit all the attractions that are in a neighborhood.
Barcelona districts to visit
Barri Gňtic : This is the old town area with lots of things to see including: Cathedral Saint Eulalie (named after the patron saint of the city) on the Plaça Nova (where you may be lucky enough to see the dances on Sundays and holidays), the Plaça del Rei, the Gothic church of Sta.Maria del Mar, Plaça de Sant Jaume where the Town Hall faces the Palace of the Generality . It should take about a day to get lost in the picturesque streets of the old quarter. Do not hesitate to enter the courtyard of the Minister of Culture.
La Ribera houses Església de Santa Maria del Mar, the Picasso Museum, the Palace of Catalan Music, the Ciutadella Park and the Santa Caterina Market with its colorful roofs and corrugated particular architecture.
La Rambla is a large pedestrian walk of more than one kilometer from Plaza Catalunya and Port Vell. Busy street filled with tourists, vendors, florists, street artists and street cafes. Do not miss the Boqueria market, a place to eat very good food for cheap. It is decorated with a colorful mosaic made by Miró. Plaça Reial shaded by palm trees, is illuminated at night by streetlights Gaudi, it is worth to be seen at night. The place is very lively and hosts lots of bars and restaurants. You can also see the Gran Teatre del Liceu. We advise you not to eat on the Ramblas (except the Boqueria market) because it is quite expensive and touristy!
Eixample : avenues of this neighborhood are lined with gigantic monuments with beautiful facades.
Discover the Passeig de Gracia with its beautiful houses: the most extravagant building, Casa Batlló (covered with blue, purple and green tiles, and with windows and balconies that undulate like waves), right next to the Casa Ametller, a little further the Casa Mila, an icon of Art Nouveau generally known under the name La Pedrera “career” with its famous chimneys. Admire the beautiful lights of the avenue.
The Torre Agbar is one of the sights to see at night for its blue and red light. Exit at Metro Glories.
And of course the famous Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, still unfinished today. The ticket price of entry is quite expensive to finance completion. Book your tickets in advance via the website : you get a discount and you do not have to queue.
Gracia and Park Güell : stop at Lesseps or Vallcarca (shorter walk) metro station or take the bus #24 bus which drops you off at the entrance near the top of the park. A beautiful panoramic view of the city awaits you at Park Güell and you can also see the Montjuïc. The road you must take to the park is sloping, it even has escalators. Park Güell is one of the most famous place of the city. The famous Park Güell benches are decorated with colorful mosaics and include reproduction of the dragon lizard mosaics throughout the city.
The beachfront: La Barceloneta beach is the most accessible after a day of sightseeing. You can also visit the old port (Port Vell). The place is also known for its seafood restaurants. Admire the Colomb monument in the middle of a roundabout.
Since the Montjuïc hill, it has fabulous views over the city. Only go on a clear day because otherwise you can not see much. Among the things to see, we can see the Magic Fountain (see section “things to see at nightfall” further down this page), the MNAC Museum and the Poble Espanyol.
The Olympic Stadium in Barcelona is not far off. To access the funicular see section above.
In ancient arenas of the city are now a large shopping complex. Take the elevator to the first floor and discover the beautiful view of the city at sunset is even better!
Local cuisine in Barcelona
- Tapas and raciones are varied, not too expensive and really delicious! (See our page about Spanish Tapas)
- Taste fresh fish straight out of the sea, they are delicious!
- The meat is often served with aioli.
- Feel free to take a fresh juice at Boqueria market fruit, they are super good and not very expensive 2!
- Catalan cream is a typical dessert (a sort of creme brulee).
- The opening hours of operations are generally from 1pm to 4pm and 8pm to midnight.
- Many restaurants offer a menú del dia which means daily menu with drinks and generally fairly economical (from 8).
Good places to eat in Barcelona
- El Quim in the Boqueria market: Wait for a vacancy and sit without hesitation. You will not regret the wait! This is a very typical Spanish atmosphere! You have to order several plates of tapas that you’ll share, with a beer. We recommend you the Patatas Bravas (potatoes with two sauces, one spicy and one aioli), they are to die for. The fresh seafood is also very good and of course taste the Serrano ham. The tortilla is also excellent! The market is closed on Sundays!
- Los Caracoles Escudellers, 14: this restaurant is a bit more expensive than others but you will highly appreciate the atmosphere and setting. The price of food varies between 17.5 and 25. You have to cross the often crowded bar to access the restaurant. Then pass through the kitchen and a multitude of small rooms which are like a labyrinth. Enjoy a seafood paella at 17.90! The specialty of the house is, as the name of the restaurant suggests, snails and roast chicken (which people cook in front of the restaurant). A liter of Sangria is 15 and it is very good! Be warned that breads in snail shape are not free and it is 1.80 !
- Tasca i wines on Industria Street, 118. A good place not far from the Sagrada Familia. This “canteen” style restaurant is really cheap and super good! Lunch menu of two dishes and dessert are offered 7.9 with bread and drinks (water and red wine). The service is very fast. The card is only in Spanish and the place is filled with locals.
- You must absolutely go for a ride to Bar Ramon, a local super cheap restaurant serving amazing tapas ! It is in Borrell / Tamarit Sant Antoni.
- Pans & Company: Find this sandwich in the city. Conventional and special sandwiches served with fries and drink.
Where to Have a drink in Barcelona ?
- El Bosc de les Fades : at the end of the Ramblas, when one moves towards the sea, opposite the Wax Museum (it’s not very hard to find) … It is not the museum which is worth, even if you can admire the superman on the roof, a person looking out the window and a robot from Star Wars. It is a bar with a great atmosphere, you must go into the store with origami exposed to the window, you walk along the window and you will arrive in the bar! It is really worth to be seen, we won’t tell you more and let you discover it by yourself!
- Sinatra is a coffee shop located near the Plaça Reial. You sit on sofas with cowhide and the atmosphere is subdued. Take a cocktail while listening to the hits of the 80s and watching the giant screen where old movies are projected. The guests are mostly foreign.
- There is an absinthe bar that you must try. The BAR is MARSELLA C / SANT PAU 65! Be sure to be in a good group and look too much as a tourist because it is located in the disreputable district of Barcelona. Although it is on the outskirts of the bad neighborhood, a pickpocket can happen quickly!
- Also try the Groucho, cheap student bar which is when you get off the subway at Plaça Catalunya and Las Ramblas, you go down to the sea in the first street on your right (Carrer dels tallers), you engage in this street continue straight, cross the street and go straight until you see on your right! Do not go too early because otherwise nobody will be there, go at midnight, midnight and a half ….
Best TIP in Barcelona
The first Sunday of every month & every Sunday from 3pm, the Picasso Museum opens its doors for free. It will give you a look at the early years of the career of the artist, his blue period and some cubist paintings as Las Meninas. This may disappoint those who hoped to see the later, more famous works.
Long queue outside the museum so you arrive early!
It is forbidden to take pictures in the museum. The museum is located in a medieval palace which is worth a visit.
What to see in the evening in Barcelona?
- Musical fountains of Montjuïc: sound and light show was only every 30 minutes from 7-9pm on Friday and Saturday of October to June. 9-11.30pm from Thursday to Sunday in late June and September.
- Casa Batllo
- The Torre Agbar is illuminated with beautiful blue and red lights from Friday to Sunday from 8 to 11pm.
- The city view from Montjuic
Shopping in Barcelona
- In the Ramblas
- El Portal de l’Angel, this is a great pedestrian with lots of shops
- El Corte Ingles store as Spanish galleries Lafayette or Galeria Inno.
- Lefties is a Spanish chain store, really cheap
Stores are closed on Sunday!
Good to know
- Hospital de Sant Pau (Lluis Domenech i Montaner) near the Sagrada Familia is currently under renovation! It’s not worth it to go, you do not really see anything!
- As in any tourist town in Spain, watch out for pickpockets! Especially in the Ramblas, the Metro and the Sagrada Familia.
- Feel free to replay the legendary films shot in Barcelona before your departure: Vicky Cristina Barcelona by Woody Allen and the french movie L’Auberge espagnole by Cédric Klapisch.
Where to find lockers in the city center?
Just steps from Plaza Catalunya is a cloakroom. This is very convenient as all the buses to the airport (the Aerobus) leave this place. The place is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.. The rental cost you 3.5 for a small locker, 5.5 for an average 7.5 for a wide.
Address: C / 36 Estruc
Here is the site where you will find more information on the rental of lockers.
Where to stay in Barcelona ?
The best location is the Ramblas.
We were not in a hostel, but a guest room.
Ramblas Portaferrissa is at the center, in the Ramblas. It is impossible to find a better location in Barcelona for a price quite correct from 23 !
A pub crawl in Barcelona
One of the best organized tour of bars in the city that we did. The Spanish atmosphere is definitely crazy. For 15 we went in four different bars with free shots in each bar and we ended the evening in a club. We started in the pub “Wild Turkey Tavern” in the street Carrer From Hospital 6. They distribute flyers in town for different pub crawls.
An excursion in Barcelona?
In Figueres 140km from Barcelona, ??is the famous Dalí Theatre-Museum.
18 trains per day from Estacio Sants station in Barcelona. Time of the journey: 1:30 to 2:15.
Some interesting sites to plan your trip in Barcelona
Thank you to Nico for his advice!
A question ? Other tips to add ?
Share your experience with other backpackers to enrich this article! Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below, we will answer with pleasure!