Barcelona is possibly one of the best destinations in Europe. With a fantastic mix of historic architecture, famous landmarks from the likes of Antoni Gaudí, as well as beaches, museums, shopping districts and nightlife. You’ll find this city on the East Coast of Spain and it is an affordable and enjoyable destination that is perfect for a city break. In this quick guide to visiting Barcelona, you’ll find information on how to get around, some suggestions of things to see and do, as well as various tips on eating and accommodation.
What to see and do
Barcelona has a wonderful range of things to do from relaxing to exploring. Below are a couple of the top things to do during your visit. For more ideas head to 10 Best Things to See and Do in Barcelona.
- Visit Park Güell – Park Güell is a unique park and extremely photogenic with colourful mosaics, and architecture using interesting shapes and patterns. Designed by Gaudí in the 1900s this park should definitely be visited during your trip. A few highlights include the Dragon Stairway, The Hypostyle Room, and the fantastic Nature Square. From here it is the perfect place to see and enjoy views of the cities skyline.
- Casa Batlló is a stunning building designed by Antoni Gaudí and consists of a beautiful facade and a unique interior. The building consists of curves, shapes and mosaics and is stunning to see. You can visit both the interior or the exterior and this is also a top photo spot for photographers and Instagrammers.
- Explore the Gothic Quarter – A fantastic area with the city is the Gothic Quarter. This is just east of La Rambla (one of the city’s main shopping streets). Here you’ll find shops, cafes, medieval streets and impressive churches. It’s a great place to explore and get lost.
- Relax on the beach – Towards the south of the city and along the waterfront is the fantastic Barceloneta Beach. Here you can enjoy the summer sun, drink a few beers and take a swim in the Balearic Sea.
- See the Basílica de la Sagrada Familia – One of the most iconic buildings in the city, The Basílica de la Sagrada Familia is a must-visit landmark. The building has been under construction since 1882 and should hopefully be completed in 2026. You can visit the interior or just admire the building from the outside if you prefer.
- Explore some of the incredible Instagram and photography spots in Barcelona.
Tours and activities for Barcelona
There’s lots more to see and do in Barcelona. You can start booking tours and activities through our partner getyourguide.com. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Eating and drinking
Spanish food is delicious, and when visiting I highly recommend trying Tapas as well as Paella. To find a great place to eat when travelling read my guide. Or start your search on tripadvisor.com for lots of ideas and reviews. When dining at a restaurant it’s polite to tip around 5-10% if you receive good service.
Places to stay in Barcelona
You’ll find no shortage of great places to stay in Barcelona with a large mix of hostels, hotels and Airbnb apartments. As always I recommend staying as central as possible and not too far from a subway station. This makes seeing a lot more in the city possible, without spending to much time on transport.
You’ll find various accommodation suggestions below, or find a deal on Booking.com.
- Luxury hotel: Hotel Arts Barcelona – With a fantastic rooftop pool and in a great location near the beach.
- Mid-range hotel: Tripledos Bed & Breakfast – I stayed here and it was beautiful and very central.
- Hostel/Budget: Yeah Barcelona Hostel – In a great location and with excellent reviews.
See more places to stay in Barcelona using our interactive map. Zoom in or out to adjust your search.
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Getting around the city
To get to Barcelona by air you’ll arrive at Barcelona–El Prat Airport. The airport is around 30 minutes out of the city and accessible by public transport. Another way to get from the airport is by using a service such as airport transfer which will take you directly to your accommodation.
Once in the city, it’s easy to get around. The public transportation is vast and consists of the subway, urban rail (FGC) and buses, which will get you quickly around the city. Tickets are cheap with one-way tickets for around €2.20, as well as travel cards starting at €15 for 48 hours (at time of writing).
Of course, if you didn’t fancy the trains or subways you can also get taxis everywhere, although this will be more pricey.
General info and tips for Barcelona
Here are a few tips for when you visit Barcelona.
- Be streetwise with your possessions and watch out for pickpockets. I had no issue but know of people who have. Read my post 20 Tips for Keeping You and Your Possessions Safe Whilst Travelling for tips.
- The official languages are Spanish and Catalan, although I found English was pretty good everywhere.
- The currency in Barcelona is euros and you’ll find plenty of ATMs throughout the city.
- Head out early to take photographs when the streets and attractions will be quieter.
- Visit numbeo.com…Barcelona to get an idea of the cost of meals and food.
Being a city packed with awesome things to do, a fantastic cuisine, and some of the most photogenic architecture on the planet, I’m sure you will come back from Barcelona having had lots of fantastic experiences.
Why not also consider combining Barcelona with other cities? Have a read of our article to help plan your trip: Ultimate Guide to Planning a Multi-Destination Trip
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