- Airport – Barcelona–El Prat Airport (BCN)
- Currency – Euro (€)
- Languages – Catalan, Spanish
- Population – 1.6 million
- GDP (Spain) – $1.2 trillion (14th overall)
Introduction to Barcelona Travel
Barcelona, the second largest city in Spain, is known as the metropolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region. Also known for its unique art and architecture, incredible cuisine and vibrant nightlife, a trip to Barcelona is definitely worth your while. Dating back to the medieval times, this city is full of rich history as well. Barcelona is home to the works of the famous Antonio Gaudi, the amazing Boqueria market, and so much more! Below are some of our recommendations for your visit.
Where to Stay
While there are many places to stay when traveling to Barcelona, we recommend a couple of options. If you want to be closer to the main attractions, we recommend that you book somewhere on or near Las Ramblas. It can be touristy but you’ll be in the middle of the action!
If you would like to be a little less touristy, you could stay by the water. This will leave you right next to Barcelona’s great beaches and only about 2.5 km from La Sagrada Familia.
Barcelona is very accessible by foot, bike and subway. You can also hail a taxi on the streets. We recommend first hitting up the tourist spots in Barcelona, including the fabulous works of Antonio Gaudi and more. See the important Gaudi sites like Park Güell and La Sagrada Familia, and then go off exploring what this incredible city may be hiding on its side streets or outside of city center!
Barcelona is located in the warm-temperate subtropical climate zone. With that being said, Barcelona ‘s weather is generally mild year-round. The warmest months tend to be May-July, with August typically being the hottest. The cooler months generally range from November to February. However, at any given time of the year, you can expect to see some sunshine. One thing to possibly keep in mind while packing is the season you plan to visit in. Native individuals tend to dress for the season rather than dressing for the weather for that particular day.
Activities for Barcelona Travel
Scroll down for our top activities. Here’s a clickable summary to skip to an activity of choice:
1) Visit Park Güell – Get Lost in Gaudi’s Architecture!
If you appreciate nature and architecture, a stop at Antonio Gaudi’s Park Güell is an absolute MUST while in Barcelona. This magical park is a public park in the heart of Barcelona that is composed of beautiful gardens and amazing architecture. At the top of Park Güell, you can see breathtaking views of the entire city of Barcelona from the amazing terrace that Gaudi had built. You will also find beautiful, multi-colored tiled seats- the vibrant colors are truly incredible. Because of how large the park is, you will have to set aside at least half a day to tour the park and to enjoy it, but we promise it is completely worth every second!
2) Have Absinthe at Marsella: Barcelona’s Oldest Bar
Tucked away on the side streets of El Raval, you’ll want to stop by the oldest bar in Barcelona, Marsella. The bar opened more than 200 years ago, and both locals and tourists alike flock to Marsella mainly for one reason, absinthe. Whether you are a seasoned drinker, or just want to experience something new ordering absinthe is the way to go. The absinthe itself is made from wormwood and herbs and the drink is both strong and contains hallucinogenic properties.
Unlike having a beer or hard liquor, consuming absinthe is more of an experience versus a consumption because of the way it’s prepared. This involves using a sugar cube, water, and a fork all while following steps before you start drinking. Frequented by several historical icons including Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemmingway, the atmosphere and ambiance of the bar has a both welcoming and classic vibe and it can seem like a journey into the past. It is no surprise that Marsella draws in people of all ages and backgrounds, as everyone is there for the same experience. The bar is open all night and a glass of absinthe costs roughly 5 Euros.
3) Sing the Anthem at an FC Barcelona Game
Camp Nou: FC Barcelona’s home and the largest soccer stadium in Spain, holding up to 100,000 fans. If you are a sports fan and are visiting Barcelona during the fútbol season, you must attend an FC Barcelona game. However, if you are visiting during their offseason, Camp Nou offers tours of the stadium to fans. During the tour, you will get to see many historic parts of the stadium and you’ll even get to take some awesome pictures very close to the field. We can’t imagine a visit to Barcelona without a trip to Camp Nou!
4) Visit the Iconic La Sagrada Familia – Gaudí Round Two
Antonio Gaudi spent over 40 years designing this amazing landmark in Barcelona. He worked on the temple until his death in 1926, due to a tragic accident. While it is still under construction, they plan on finishing La Sagrada Familia in 2026. We have never seen anything like this in our entire lives. La Sagrada Familia is truly spectacular. From the stain glass windows that cover the inside of the building, to the intricate designs all throughout the building, La Sagrada Familia is truly a piece of art.
5) Explore and Wander Through Las Ramblas
If you love to shop and want to get a taste of the most touristy part of the city, a visit to Las Ramblas is a fun way to experience Barcelona. Las Ramblas is the first landmark that many associate with the city of Barcelona. Because it is touristy, be on the lookout for pick-pocketers and make sure to hold on to your valuables with extra precaution. While walking down Las Ramblas, be sure to stop at the famous Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, one of the largest public markets in Barcelona. You’ll be sure to try some tasty food and have an incredible experience at La Boqueria!
6) Visit the Museums – Picasso and Chocolate
A trip to Barcelona without a stop at some of their museums is a shame. Home to some of the most amazing architecture in the world, Barcelona is also home to one of the best Pablo Picasso museums in the world. With over 4,000 pieces of his work, this museum has one of the largest and most complete exhibits of his work. This museum was also the first museum dedicated to only Pablo Picasso’s work and the only one that was created while he was still alive.
You should also visit the Museu de la Xocolata, also known as the Chocolate Museum, which is right around the corner from the Picasso Museum. If you have a sweet tooth and appreciate art made out of chocolate, this is definitely a fun spot to visit. How could you turn down a place that gives you a chocolate bar as your ticket? Especially if you are visiting with younger children, this museum is a fun place to break up the long tours and all of the historical sights that Barcelona has to offer.
7) Montjuic Castle & Cable Car Ride
Take a ride on the Montjuïc cable car to see beautiful views of Barcelona. You can also explore the famous Castle of Montjuïc which served as a prison and dates back to the 17th Century.
Tip: Go in the evening and you can catch the Fountain Show (Thurs – Sun 9 pm – 11 pm).
8) Rent Bikes to Explore the City
An easy and rather fun way to explore the beautiful city is to rent a bike at one of the many vendors that line the streets. You can even take a bike tour with guides that speak many different languages to accommodate your needs. So why be stuck in a bus or on a train while traveling around when you could be enjoying the surroundings wherever you travel.
9) Hang Out at Parc de la Ciutadella
A place to simply just relax, Parc de la Ciutadella is definitely worth the visit during your trip to Barcelona. Located on the northeast edge of Ciutat Vella, this park was founded in the mid-19th century and now includes many attractions such as a city zoo, the Parliament of Catalonia, museums and a large water fountain. With an entrance near the metro and a commuter train, Parc de la Ciutadella is very easy to access. Do not forget to add this 44.5-acre historical garden to your list!
10) Bunkers Del Carmel
Tucked on the peaks away from the city you will find one of the most beautiful views of Barcelona, Bunkers. What is home to the remains of the Spanish Civil War is also home to one of the best panoramic views. No matter which side you are facing from you will catch a glimpse into everything that is Barcelona. You can see as far as the beach, mountain peaks, suburbs and everything in between. While it’s a hike away, it is definitely a must see! Many love to come sit and relax while the sunsets and the city changes from day to night. Being able to see the city from this viewpoint is something that is hard to pass up!
11) Trip to the Beach
Tired of sightseeing on the streets and thinking of keeping it simple? Well look no further. Barcelona is home to a stretch of sandy beaches and sunny weather. With that combination, how could someone pass that up! You can lay a blanket and relax, walk through the crowd or even dine at a top restaurant. The beach is always bustling with nonstop activities and lined with gourmet restaurants on every block.
12) Night on the Town
One thing is for sure- this is one city that never sleeps! This is one diverse city when it comes to hitting the town and has a little something for everyone. Each neighborhood brings its own unique personality and venue to check out. One popular spot is the Dow Jones bar. This bar works just like it sounds and follows a similar structure to the stock market. Drink prices correlate with the number of people purchasing them and at certain times hit a “crash” and prices drastically decrease. This overall vibe and experience is very upbeat and engaging. Looking for a sit-down experience instead? Look no further! The bar Pippermint offers a one of a kind experience that can be enjoyed sitting and in the company of your friends. They serve shareable drinks and offer a group-friendly atmosphere. Thinking of being by the beach instead? Barcelona’s beach is lined with cool restaurants and night scene that make it hard to pass up. These restaurants offer outdoor seating on the boardwalk that will have you one with the beach and the night sky.
Barcelona/Spanish Food in General
Catalan cuisine is mostly Mediterranean and consists of a lot of meats and fish. In Barcelona, they are known for their amazing tapas which are small, shareable plates that allow you to enjoy tastes of various flavors and various different dishes. You must also taste some Paella, which is a rice dish that can have different types of seafood, different meats, and different vegetables as well. It is up to you what you want to put in your Paella. For dessert, while you are visiting Barcelona, make sure you try some churros con chocolate!
Patatas Bravas, often served in tapas bars in Barcelona
Visit La Boqueria
Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, or La Boqueria, is an awesome public market located on La Rambla about halfway between Plaza Catalunya and the water. Known for its rich history that dates back to the 1200s, La Boqueria still has amazing food, fresh squeezed juices and more. Check it out!
Cerveceria Catalana has some of the best tapas you will ever have. You know a restaurant is awesome when it is full of locals. This place is off the beaten track and you’ll probably have to wait in line, but it is definitely worth the wait. The prices were reasonable and the food was delicious. The service was also great and the atmosphere as well! We definitely recommend having a meal here during your stay in Barcelona.
A visit to Cal Pep is a must if you are a foodie. While you better expect to wait because this place is very small and in very high demand, it is worth the wait because this place is the real deal. If you are lucky, you will be seated at the bar and the chef will just continuously bring you their special dishes. Cal Pep does not have a menu, but be sure that you will have some of the best tapas of your life here. Some of our favorite dishes included the pan con tomato and their seafood paella dish! Make sure you also try their Jamón Iberico!
While this spot tends to get crowded, it is absolutely worth checking out. Try the tapas and make sure to get some champagne! The food is delicious and prices are very reasonable.
Brunch & Cake
Looking for a place to find delicious brunch food or amazing smoothies?? If so, be sure to stop by this restaurant located at Carrer Enric Granados, 19, whose philosophy is to “make absolutely everything by hand and slowly, with care.” Whether you are stopping by for brunch or a late-night snack, Break & Cake is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 am to 9:30 pm and Friday through Sunday from 8:30 pm to 10 pm. From sweet to savory dishes this is a great place that also is very accommodating to vegetarians.
Granja Petitbo is nestled in the neighborhood of Eixample, and is one cozy lunch spot with a lot to offer. Located just out of the city center, this comfortable café will have you feeling like one of the locals. The soaring ceilings and lofty windows let the Barcelona sun filter in and fill this vintage space with life. They serve an assortment of organic breakfast foods, fresh juices, and coffees as well as snacks and desserts. Each day they have a unique featured juice that they freshly squeeze in house. This hot spot does not take reservations so you’ll want to snag you spot in line before it fills up. This is one breakfast place that will have you coming back for more!
This is one food spot that is sure to satisfy! This spunky space is filled with vibrant ornate decorations and splashes of color on ever corner. The food has its own vibrant taste too. It serves a traditional Mexican cuisine bursting with flavor and packed with large portions. It serves up tasty drinks, satisfying dishes and all a reasonable cost. This fun atmosphere is a great way to start the night!
Bo De B
This small sandwich shop has nothing small about its taste, tapas, and sandwiches. People line the streets outside to get their fix of this freshly made food. The main attraction is the sandwich. Customers pick and choose from the endless toppings and sauces. These personalized sandwiches allow you to add your own touch and taste to the creation. The fresh toppings spill out of the freshly baked buns and you get a bang for your buck at around 4 Euros. The place itself is pretty small but that shouldn’t stop you- these sandwiches are portable! The location is right by the marina and offers tons of places to sit and things to see outside! A must eat in Barcelona that can’t be passed up!
Take a trip to Mallorca
Just an hour south by plane is the amazing Island of Mallorca. Mallorca is one of the Balearic islands in the Mediterranean that is known for its beautiful beach resorts and beaches, it’s hidden coves, it’s pearls and it’s limestone mountains. Mallorca is the hottest summer destination for European travelers. Because of its location and how easy it is to get to, many Europeans spend their holidays in Mallorca. If you go for the day, we recommend checking out some of their incredible beaches and doing a tour of one of the towns in the mountains. If you rent a car and drive up the mountains, you are sure to see some breathtaking views. Also, make sure to walk into the main town, Palma De Mallorca, at night for some local cuisine and for some views of the most incredible yachts you have ever seen!
Taken at the St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca