BARCELONA TRAVEL GUIDE

Barcelona is an absolute must-see for any budding or seasoned traveller alike. The incredible architecture and outstanding cuisine, alongside the picturesque beaches and booming nightlife, is sure to be a big hit for anyone travelling to the Catalonian capital.

With culture to spare, Barcelona offers an insight into Catalonian life with an added splash of colour. Combining the very best that Mediterranean life has to offer, the charming streets of Barcelona will welcome you in with open arms. Experience mouth-watering cuisine and become immersed in the traditional festivals that grace the streets of Barcelona each year.

Fall in love with the humble and family-run businesses just as much as the grand and stunning architecture. Barcelona’s identity is clear, and that’s exactly why so many people love it.

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How to get to Barcelona

As Catalonia’s capital on the coast of northeastern Spain, there are plenty of options for how to travel to Barcelona, both domestically and internationally. From air travel to public transport, here are the best ways to travel to and from Barcelona.

How to get around Barcelona

You have so many options when it comes to getting around the Catalonian capital. Dust off your walking boots to get your steps in whilst taking in all the beauty of Barcelona’s streets. If that’s not quite your style, there are several other options for you to explore the vibrant city.

As far as public transport is concerned, you’ve got the choice between the Metro, the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat (FGC), the tram, and buses. All these modes of transport offer fast travel across the city at reasonable prices.

Personally, I walked where possible and used the Metro for longer journeys, which I found easy to use (and far less stressful than the London Underground!). I recommend picking up an Hola Barcelona travel card, as it makes getting around Barcelona easy and affordable. You can get them for 48 hours, 72 hours, or 96 hours.

We’ve also seen the rise of e-mobility in towns and cities. This means electric scooters and electric bicycles won’t be at all out of place in Barcelona.

As far as taxis go, the official Barcelona taxis are black and yellow, displaying a green light if the taxi is free. Uber does not exist in Barcelona, but you can use the alternative app Free Now, which is essentially the same.

Alternatively, book a sightseeing tour in Barcelona for an easy way to get around while seeing the key attractions.

Jessie at Barcelona Cathedral
Barcelona Beach
Parc de la Ciutadella

Best time to visit Barcelona

Whenever you decide to visit Barcelona, it’ll no doubt be unforgettable. It’s worth considering what time of year you travel though, so you can meet your own travel needs best and experience everything you set out to.

Spring

Barcelona in the spring is truly the perfect time to explore and walk around the gorgeous city. Temperatures stay mild, but cool enough to be comfortable on your travels. There’ll be less visitors during spring than in the high season, but Easter is always busy. You’ll definitely experience a more laid-back vibe in the spring months.

Summer

Unsurprisingly, summer is the busiest time in Barcelona for tourists and travellers alike. Plus, it's best time to enjoy the beaches. If you can handle the crowds, the buzz and atmosphere will be unforgettable. Summertime sees many locals travel away from the city to make space for the masses wanting to experience the beauty of Barcelona.

Autumn

Taking a dip in the Barcelona sea in September shouldn't be too much of a shock as the sea is still warm from the summer months! Autumn brings mild weather with fewer crowds than in summertime, so you can explore ‘till your heart’s content. Towards the end of Autumn, the weather can be a bit more hit and miss, so be prepared for both sunshine and showers.

Winter

Travelling to Barcelona in Winter will see you avoid the masses of tourists seen in high season and greet you with lower cost accommodation. You’ll still be able to see all the famous sights, just with a few more layers on! Experience the magic of the Christmas markets in Catalonia’s capital by travelling to Barcelona during the festive season.

Barcelona highlights

Infamous landmarks in Barcelona

Barcelona is steeped in history, and as such is abundant with infamous landmarks. You simply can’t visit Barcelona without taking a trip to see Basílica de la Sagrada Familia. It’s largely regarded as Antoni Gaudí’s best-known work, and has become somewhat symbolic of Catalonia’s capital city. Another of Gaudí’s installations is the beautiful Parc Güell which offers a stunning space to explore and spectacular views over the city. Although La Sagrada Famillia steals much of the limelight, don’t miss the beautiful Barcelona cathedral. While it may not have the iconic status of Gaudí’s masterpiece, it is still a seriously impressive piece of architecture in the Gothic Quarter. If you’re more bothered about football than architecture, then FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium is for you. Visit the club museum at Camp Nou to see Barcelona FC trophies up close and personal, and some of Lionel Messi’s many Ballon D’Or trophies. Las Ramblas, a 1.2km long shopping street and promenade, is the perfect outing for the shopaholic. Just be wary of the many tourist traps and scams. I’d avoid eating along Las Ramblas, as you’re unlikely to get an authentic Catalonian experience. Learn more about the landmarks and things to do in Barcelona. Or book a Barcelona sightseeing tour.

Beautiful beaches

As Barcelona is a coastal city, Catalonia’s capital has beaches to spare! From Bogatell Beach and Barceloneta Beach to Nova Mar Bella Beach and Sant Sebastià Beach, you’ll find the perfect beach for you.

Popular with locals and tourists alike. Barcelona’s beaches are a buzzy and inviting place to be. Be sure to visit one of the beach restaurants and bars for super fresh seafood paella or seaside tapas.

For the adventurous traveller, try your hand at watersports, or have a go on some inflatable assault courses at sea. Volleyball is a common sight on the beaches and is a fun way to wile away an afternoon for those who get restless sunbathing.

But if you’re one to enjoy a spot of relaxation, stretch out on the beach and bask in the sun. Just make sure you remember your sunscreen!

Read more about the best beaches in Barcelona.

Bars & restaurants

Barcelona is famed for its traditional cuisine – from rooftop bars to local tapas bars, the foodie in each of us is ignited in this high-spirited city.

Whilst not a Catalonian concept, tapas bars can be found right across the capital for you to enjoy. It’s worth doing your research to discover the places where locals like to eat. This is the only way to experience an authentic Barcelona dining experience. Try asking the hotel staff or Airbnb host where you are staying, as this is how I got some of the best recommendations.

Across Barcelona, most restaurants open from 13:00 – 16:00, and then 20:30 – 00:00 (although many open earlier to cater for tourists). Locals tend to eat quite late in the evenings, which is worth bearing in mind if you want to enjoy a more buzzy restaurant experience.

Tips are rarely added to the bill, so if you’ve experienced especially good service, a tip would be greatly appreciated anywhere you go. 

Discover my pick of the best rooftop bars in Barcelona.

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Frequently asked questions

How to get from London to Barcelona?

The easiest way of getting from London to Barcelona is to fly from London Heathrow or London Gatwick into Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN). From there, get the Aerobus into the city centre. The flight from London to Barcelona takes around two hours.

What is the best area to stay in Barcelona?

One of the best areas to stay in when visiting Barcelona is the Gothic Quarter. It’s centrally located with excellent transport links and charming streets. Browse hotels in Barcelona.

What language is spoken in Barcelona?

Barcelona has two official languages: Catalan and Spanish. Most locals will speak both languages, but many also speak English, especially as there are a lot of expats in Barcelona.

How many Michelin star restaurants in Barcelona?

There are 19 Michelin star restaurants in Barcelona. These include two restaurants with three Michelin stars, six with two stars, and 11 with 1 Michelin star.

What are the best day trips from Barcelona?

One of the most popular day trips from Barcelona is Montserrat Mountain. It’s an iconic location with religious significance as well as simply stunning surroundings.

Is Barcelona a good destination for solo travellers?

Barcelona is a fantastic destination for solo travellers, including solo female travellers. It’s a relatively safe city with extremely friendly locals. The tapas bar culture is perfect for dining solo. Read more about the best European cities for solo travel.

What is Barcelona famous for?

Barcelona is famous for its spectacular Gaudí architecture, including La Sagrada Família. It’s also very well known within the football world. Barcelona is a famous city destination for its beautiful beaches and proximity to the mountains.

Is Barcelona a safe city to visit?

Barcelona is generally a very safe city to visit. The biggest issue – as with many European cities – is pickpockets. They are especially prevalent on the Metro and around La Rambla.

What is the famous cathedral in Barcelona?

The most famous cathedral in Barcelona is La Sagrada Família. It’s still under construction but is still a jaw-dropping sight to see. Barcelona’s Gothic Cathedral is another recognisable landmark in Barcelona. Although the limelight has been somewhat stolen by La Sagrada Família, the Gothic Cathedral is still a stunning piece of architecture.

Luxury accommodation picks

From beautiful boutique hotels to opulent five star establishments, Barcelona has an overwhelming choice of luxury accommodation. Whether you’re after jaw-dropping rooftop views or exceptional cuisine, here is my pick of the top luxury hotels in Barcelona. Or browse all available hotels in Barcelona.

Almanac

An opulent 5-star boutique hotel in the heart of the city.

Majestic Hotel

For a gorgeous rooftop pool and impeccable service.

Serras Hotel

An elegant luxury hotel located in the Gothic Quarter.

H10 Madison

A new and stylish 4-star hotel with views of the cathedral.

Barcelona restaurant picks

Discover mouth-watering tapas and authentic Catalonian cuisine in Barcelona. My absolute favourite restaurant recommendation in Barcelona is El Xampanyet. Don’t be put off by the queue outside and the slightly chaotic informal setting inside. This was the best meal I had in Barcelona – sat at the bar ordering heavenly plates of tapas with unlimited cava. The dream!

Camping Mar

A waterfront eatery offering seafood paella by the sea.

El Xampanyet

A bustling traditional tapas bar. An absolute must-visit.

El Nacional

Grand interiors and a selection of excellent eateries to enjoy.

La Xarxa

Serving delicious innovative takes on the Spanish classics.

Barcelona rooftop bars

Barcelona is renowned for its gorgeous rooftops bars. Order a cocktail, tuck into some tapas, and enjoy spectacular views over the city. I can’t think of a better way to spend a balmy summer evening. Here is my pick of the best rooftop bars in Barcelona.

Terraza de Vivi at Kimpton Vividora

An inviting urban oasis overlooking the Gothic Quarter.

Sky Bar at Grand Hotel Central

A relaxing setting with uninterrupted views over Barcelona.

The Pulitzer Terrace

A popular and vibrant bar with a rooftop DJ set. Expect dancing!

Terraza Ayre at Ayre Rosellón

For the best view of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Barcelona travel inspiration

Planning a trip to Barcelona? Have a read of these Barcelona travel articles to help you plan your visit.

Terraza de Vivi

15 best rooftop bars in Barcelona

Looking for the best rooftop bars in Barcelona? With wonderful weather, a vibrant music scene, and attractions open for long hours, it’s no surprise that Barcelona carries a culture of rooftop bars. Enjoying a rooftop

Port Vell Barcelona

A guide to the best beaches in Barcelona

Ah Barcelona, a beautiful Spanish city that’s bursting with life. The beaches in Barcelona are truly special, but can often be overlooked by travellers due to the plethora of other things to do in and

Things To Do in Barcelona

20 best things to do in Barcelona

Barcelona highlights are many and varied, which is exactly why this city in Catalonia is such a hit. With around 300 days of sunshine per year, Barcelona offers beautiful beaches, rooftop bars, fabulous food, and

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