Barcelona Travel Guide & Essential Tourist Information 2023
It’s no wonder this incredible city is on your radar, but you’re probably gonna need a Barcelona travel guide to do it.
That’s where I come in with Barcelona Hacks – to help you sniff out tourist traps and plan your Barcelona holiday perfectly.
This Barcelona visitor guide is all about local information, so thanks for letting me share it with you!
Barcelona Travel Guide Budgets
While it’s not as cheap as alternatives in southeast Asia or South America you can do Barcelona on a budget. In fact if done right it’s one of the cheapest big cities in Europe.
Priceoftravel.com gave Barcelona a $84.62 backpacker rating (€78.87) which ranks 94th out of 136 top vacation destinations. This means for $84.62 a day tourists can enjoy:
- A dorm bed at a good hostel.
- 3 cheap meals.
- 2 public transportation rides.
- 1 paid attraction like Sagrada Familia or Park Guell.
- 3 beers.
In all expect to pay about $150.00-$200.00 (€128.60-€171.48) for a standard weekend with some local food, drinks and 2-3 top attractions.
This can be lowered to $38.50 (€35.00) a day by cooking up cheap meals, walking, or skipping out on the beer.
For more money saving tips look up my list of free things to do in Barcelona.
Barcelona’s Main Attractions
A spectacular interpretation of Gothic architecture and the most fascinating place of worship you’ll ever see is any tourist’s priority at La Sagrada Familia Church. A logical next stop is a trip up the hill to the Utopian urban park with the best view in the city at Park Guell.
No tourist guide would miss wonder-architect Antoni Gaudi‘s marine-inspired mansion Casa Batlló and its counterpart, the wobbling jell-o-like apartment block with no straight lines called La Pedrera.
Football fans can’t go wrong doing a tour at football Mecca Camp Nou Stadium or even checking out some of Barcelona FC’s matches if you’re there in season.
Barcelona’s best free attraction is the Magic Fountain Show. For better or for worse you’ll need to walk up the famous pedestrian boulevard La Rambla and try some delicious snacks at La Boqueria Market.
There are also a ton of day trip options from Barcelona for beach and mountain escapes and more.
Need more? There’s in depth info about all these attractions more in my 3 day Barcelona itinerary.
There’s no better way to knock off a bunch of major attractions at once, plus learn about the current political situation and future of Barcelona than with a 2.5 hour Gothic Quarter tour (video preview here).
Our Secrets of the Old City tour runs daily with one of the best guides in the business:
‘Local Texan’ Alvaro.
Prepare to be ‘edu-tained‘ with at La Rambla, Boqueria Market, Barcelona Cathedral, Plaça Sant Felipe Neri, Augustus Temple, the Jewish Quarter, and much more.
You’ll also get an old Picasso haunt, one of Barcelona’s sweetest snack stops, and street art galore.
Update (01/22/2023): Unfortunately the tour is no longer running. In the meantime we suggest going with a tour below:
Pretty much everywhere you’ll need to go finds itself in zone one of the Barcelona transport network.
Single tickets for every mode of transport on the system (airport not included) are €2.20. For this reason it is recommended to get a discount transport pass which could cut costs in half.
The two travel cards used most by tourists are the Barcelona Card and the Hola Barcelona Card – read my article comparing the differences and find which is right for you.
There are 11 metro lines that cover the entire city so after your metro ride you’ll rarely end up walking more than 10 minutes for any given destination.
The system is quiet, clean, and efficient. The air conditioning on the trains is great even though on the platform it can get sauna-like in summertime. This is your main mode of transport.
Check out my article on using the Barcelona metro.
The Barcelona bus system covers a lot of ground and runs frequently. You’ll never wait more than 15 minutes.
The new futuristic-looking fleet of buses which are slowly taking over the city are electric, silent, and have wifi. The only problem you’ll face is the need for slightly better navigation skills or knowledge of the city – so study up!
While Barcelona parking isn’t exactly the cheapest option, if you’re a driver through and through and plan on making excursions outside of the city to places like Girona or Lloret de Mar this is a great option. And the drives are super-scenic.
For top prices and convenience I prefer booking my car rentals online at Rentalcars.com.
What to Eat in Barcelona
We’ll start with the culinary symbol of Spain: Jamon Serrano. You need to try this thinly sliced cured ham and you can’t go wrong with the acorn-fed, high quality variety called Bellota.
For regional specialties of Catalonia we find the irresistibly simple pan con tomate: an accompaniment to any tapa or main dish. Grilled bread is rubbed with garlic and fresh tomato and drizzled in a good olive oil.
More filling are the traditional butifarra con alubias (sausage and beans), patatas bravas (fried potato chunks with a spicy sauce), and the legendary alioli – a garlicky mayonnaise-like sauce which goes on pretty much everything especially fideuà (a paella-like noodle dish).
If you’re in the city in March or April something you won’t want to miss are calçots – these massive spring onions are barbecued and drenched in a tangy, rich red pepper and almond sauce called romesco.
On the sweeter side a staple for breakfast are the famous churros con chocolate while a great dessert is la crema catalana (a type of pudding similar to crème brûlée but with milk instead of heavy cream).
Make sure to check out my list of Barcelona’s best restaurants to enjoy any of these dishes.
OK so, I live here.
I won’t be talking about any grand experiences in hotels or discount homestays but there are a few things I can comment on like typical prices, best areas to stay, and how to book properly.
Barcelona Accommodation Prices
Compared to other major European cities Barcelona accommodation prices are quite reasonable – provided you’re not looking for something right in the middle of August or July.
Expect to pay about €20.00-€25.00 for a good night’s sleep at one of Barcelona’s best hostels.
Hotel prices are all over the place but in general consider these nightly averages:
- One star: $45.37 (€38.90)
- Two star: $59.30 (€50.84)
- Three star: $85.33 (€73.17)
- Four star: $115.63 (€99.15)
Remember: there’s a €2.48 city tax per person per night that won’t be included in portal prices.
Best Areas to Stay
I’ve also prepared an article on the best area to stay in Barcelona based on the various needs of my blog readers.
For tourists there are typically about 7-8 choices central which can lead to some confusion.
It’s not an exact science but let’s try a few of these suggestions:
- Solo travel: Barceloneta (near the beach, easy to meet people).
- Couples: Gracia (quiet, full of romantic squares and cool cafes).
- Party time: El Gotico (an area rammed with cool bars and clubs).
- Luxury: El Born (boutique shops and cocktail bars).
- On the cheap: Raval (street food and multi-cultural area).
- Sightseeing: Eixample (home to a ton of main attractions).
For a more in depth analysis of Barcelona neighbourhoods keep reading on my Barcelona guide.
How to Book
Since I haven’t stayed in a lot of places I go with Booking.com.
First of all you get the best price due to their price match guarantee. You also get a wealth of knowledge from over 123,000,000 traveler reviews. You also get flexibility with no payment down and free cancellation.
To go straight to the accommodation deals click the button below:
Festivals in Barcelona
Though I’d like to ramble on about tech-geek conferences like Mobile World Congress, the reality is Barcelona is a party city and is looking for any excuse to put up a stage and dance.
This Barcelona tourist guide isn’t going to skip out anything.
A great place to start are the Festes Majors, a type of annual neighbourhood party full of concerts, dancing, food carts, and more.
This feast day takes place every year on the 24th of September though the celebrations usually begin a few days before.
Barcelonians here honour the patron saint of the city with hundreds of events and concerts and among the most popular are the human castles, the correfoc fire run and its fire-spitting dragons, the parade of paper mache giants, and the famous Catalan dancing called ‘La Sardana’.
The best part of all? It’s all free.
La Fiesta de Gracia
Every year from August 15th-August 22nd the entire neighbourhood of Gracia transforms into a chaotic carnival-like atmosphere. Entire blocks are decorated according to a theme chosen by the city and it’s as if they’re wearing Halloween costumes – truly a sight to be seen.
At night DJ sets and all sorts of concerts are held in the many squares and back alleys. Throw in street food, workshops, contests, parades, sports activities, and even beer tastings and you’ve got the festival of the year.
On the 24th of June (festivities starting on the night of the 23rd) there is the uniquely Spanish celebration of the summer solstice.
Again, you’ll find a ton of free concerts throughout the city but locals flock to the beach by the hundreds of thousands to set off fireworks, take a midnight dip in the sea, and welcome summer with a bang.
Some other Barcelona festivals you’ll see in any self-respecting visitor guide.
- The Sitges Carnival – the biggest Carnival celebration in mainland Spain (2017 date: February 27th)
- Sant Jordi – the Catalan version of Valentine’s Day involving the simple exchange of a flower and a book between lovers (23rd of April)
- The Festival of Independence – Every 11th of September Catalan people take to the streets to show their solidarity with the Catalan independence movement. More of a protest than a party, but something to be seen none the less.
- Any time FC Barcelona plays – The strength of this team means it’s very likely they’ll be playing for a trophy in the months of May and June. You may also want to see if they’re playing against Real Madrid because the city shuts down and turns into a big party (if they win of course!)
In Barcelona we have a lot of fun and there’s always something going on. International DJ’s line up for the chance to play Barcelona’s best clubs and if not for Berlin it might be the capital of electronic music in Europe.
Not a fan of that repetitive racket? Not to worry, there’s something for everyone here.
- SONAR. Every year in June Barcelona plays host to one of the biggest electronic music festivals in the world. Nearly 100,000 people flock here for a long list of international and local DJ’s. Here you’ll also find a ton of audio-visual shows.
- ANTI-SONAR. The folks that don’t have enough money for Sonar make sure there’s no shortage of activity around the actual festival. Most major clubs in Barcelona will have these ‘off-Sonar’ events coinciding with the festival. The music is the same, the prices cheaper. Check around.
- PRIMAVERA SOUND. Another Barcelona festival institution that takes place every March. With 200,000 annual attendees it’s one of the biggest rock/pop/indie festivals in Europe.
- BRUNCH IN THE PARK AND BRUNCH ELECTRONIK. In the last two years this one has really taken off. Those looking for a drink and a dance on Sunday afternoon up in the hills over Barcelona would be good to check out this festival and its long list of international DJ’s.
- DGTL FESTIVAL: Another techno and house festival with a focus on eco-responsibility. This August weekend of mind-blowing artists, innovative art, and revolutionary production has sold out two years in a row.
- HOLI FESTIVAL. There are versions of this colourful Indian festival all over the world and the Barcelona version is as colourful as any. You’ll find various throughout the spring and summer.
- INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL. Every October and November you’ll find some of the biggest names in Jazz coming through the city.
- CRUILLA. Another July music festival with a variety of artists both local and international. Last year included Robert Plant, Skunk Anansie, and Rudimental.
- BBF BARCELONA BEACH FESTIVAL. A music festival on the beach so what’s not to like? Every June you’ll find it at the famous Forum and last year hosted artists like Hardwell, Alesso, and David Guetta.
The Gothic Quarter
This trash hip neighbourhood makes up part of the historic center and reaches all the way to the famous Rambla. To truly understand this neighbourhood I’ll divide it in two.
From Liceu metro stop up toward Plaça Catalunya it’s super commercial and famous for the shopping streets Portal de l’Angel and Portaferrissa. Here you’ll also find the Barcelona Cathedral and some of the best youth hostels in Barcelona.
The other part is from Liceu to Drassanes and is characterised by alley streets, a ton of bars, and a bit of drunk tourist-driven chaos.
Plaça Reial is the centre of the action in Barcelona and a wander around the streets here will find you a great place to go out. The prices here are medium-low except in the square itself which is a bit more touristy.
If you’re gonna super-central make sure you peep my article on things to do in the Gothic Quarter.
The other part of the historic centre is on the other side of La Rambla and is Barcelona’s undisputed ethnic enclave and has even more pedestrian traffic than the Gotico.
Here you’ll find a ton of cheap bars open late – keep this in mind if you see a hotel or hostel in this area because there’s bound to be a ton of noise.
A big part of this travel guide is aimed at young people looking to have fun and spend little – if that’s you you’ll love it here especially on bar-rammed street Calle Joaquin Costa.
This area naturally becomes a magnet for street walkers, pickpockets, and drug dealers so be on your guard. Contrarily it’s actually home to some of the city’s prettiest rooftop bars.
If you’re looking for some excitement go through my list of things to do in Raval.
One might call it the classier cousin of the other historic centre neighbourhoods and you’ll find it on the other side of Via Laietana near El Gotico.
Though the cozy streets are quite similar that’s about where the similarities end – in El Born you’ll find a ton of boutique clothing shops and quality cocktail bars.
The prices here are naturally a bit higher but when you’re walking through El Born’s picturesque squares what does it matter?
To get one step closer to the class check my article on things to do in El Born.
What Barcelona visitor guide doesn’t include the beach neighbourhood?
The last part of the historic centre was once a prominent neighbourhood for fishermen and still shows flashes of its former self with its characteristic ‘still parade’ of elderly people sitting outside their front doors socialising, knitting, or drinking a sneaky vermouth.
Here you’ll find the best seafood restaurants in the city as well as one of the best beaches in Barcelona for people-watching.
Though the old world charm is slowly giving way to touristy endeavors it’s still a can’t miss neighbourhood.
If you’re going to be spending a lot of time by the beach check my things to do in Barceloneta.
One of my favourite neighbourhoods is found at the metro stops Fontana and Joanic. Here you’ll find a mix of Catalan locals and travelers (not as much as Gotico or Barceloneta though) that have created a bohemian atmosphere.
There are no soul-sucking American fast food chains and street sellers to bother you here. The charming squares that define Gracia are the main reason locals flock here for beers in the early evening.
To put a little more grace in your stay head over to my article on things to do in Gracia.
Yes, it’s tough to write a Barcelona tourist blog with insider information and then turn around and talk about a neighbourhood characterised by tourist crap. But here she goes:
Found around the Ciutadella-Vila Olimpica metro stop (yellow line) is the area famous for beaches and clubs. The chaos is palpable here especially in summer when the 20 or so commercial, reggaeton, house, and salsa music clubs are pumping at their peak.
Here you’ll find tourists from every country though there’s hardly a local in sight. Those looking for a big one and a chance to let loose (very, very loose) would do well to hit this neighbourhood.
The second most populated district in Barcelona runs along the Mediterranean and many of the city’s beaches and its central business district can be found here.
It’s much less dense than the more central neighbourhoods and as such is less crowded and has more park space – making it a great place for people travelling to Barcelona with kids.
The cover photo of this article is an aerial shot of this impressive, grid-like neighbourhood cut up by wide flowing streets.
Those looking for the real information on Barcelona: this is the best place to stay due to its security and transport connections and wide variety of shops and services.
Getting a hostel or hotel near one of the metro stops (Hospital Clinic, Diagonal, Universitat) will put you in striking distance for practically everything but avoid the noise of other tourist neighbourhoods.
It’s right near some main points of interest like the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc but at the same time it’s a bit outside the centre.
Book accommodation here to save a bit of money on the room and have convenient transport to the airport. The area is pretty chilled out and well connected.
Predicting what the weather will be like in six months or even next weekend is hard enough for seasoned meteorologists – so let’s rely on averages and hope for the best.
I’ve never had to put on a pair of gloves or a make a great effort to go out and the weather rarely dips below 5°C – for my American cousins that’s 41°F.
- January – February: The coldest months. Bring a heavy jacket and some combination of hat and scarf. It’s not an unbearable cold but you need to cover up well.
- March: Unpredictable. It’s cold like February or warm like April so check the forecast. During the day a light windbreaker or sweater will usually work though later a heavy jacket may be needed.
- April – May: Some t-shirt and shorts weather. At night you’ll still need a hoodie or light jacket. It’s too early to go for a swim at one of Barcelona’s best beaches but we’re getting there!
- June – July: It’s hot! Dial up the flip flops, bikini, and speedos and take a dip.
- August – September: It stays really hot well into September and even sleeping in the evening becomes difficult. It’s quite humid so less is more on the clothing front.
- October – November: Basically the same as March and April.
- December: It’s not that bad but you’re still gonna need a sweater and a scarf.
Now that you’ve got a list of everything you need to see you’re going to need to figure out where to stay, where exactly all the Barcelona attractions are located, and how to get around with the metro.
Luckily I’ve put together a map trio that will help you do just that.
Still Looking for a Barcelona Travel Guide?
What are you looking forward to see in Barcelona most?
I’m always afraid of missing something so make sure you get at me if my Barcelona travel guide is lacking – ANY question you have will be answered to the best of my ability 😉
Also don’t be afraid to join the travel guide discussion by first giving me a like on Facebook and then joining my group I’m Off to Barcelona – here you can ask any questions, air out grievances, and chat with thousands of Barcelona travelers.
December 21, 2022 at 1:24 amI have booked the Wittmore in the Gothic District for my husband and I in July, but wondering if that location is the best spot after reading your advice above. What do you mean by trash hip neighborhood. Thanks!
January 10, 2023 at 9:04 pmHi Stephanie, In all honesty that's probably a bad choice of words there. What I meant by that is that it's got a lot of the over the top tourist elements (fast food, souvenir stores, street sellers, American chains) that one might call trashy in the context of the perfect, imagined Spanish holiday. By no means is it dirty or anything like that... in fact many of the areas are some of the prettiest in the city Cheers,
February 16, 2020 at 2:36 amHi there Ash, Your site in great and the more I explore the more excited I am getting for our trip to beautiful Barcelona! Can you help with filling in gaps in our itinarary and advice for city pass or barcelona card? We will be visiting April 11th through April 15th, 2020. Here's what I am thinking so far: Day 1- Arrive saturday at noon Apartment Carrer de la Creu dels Molers on Poble Sec What is the best way to Travel from airport to apartment? Magic fountain show tonight since this is the only day there is a show during our stay. Day 2- Easter Worship at Basilica de santa maria del mar at noon. Thinking maybe Flamenco show since shops will be closed for the holiday. Palacio del Flamenco? Day 3 - monday Day 4 - tuesday Day 5 - wednesday Guided tour sagrada de familia 12:30 (already booked since it was full all other days) Leave early on Thursday We want to fit in Park Guell, MUHBA placa del Rei and Gothic Quarter, one of the Gaudi mansions, beach area (though not big on sitting/laying on beach all day), some shopping, Good Paella and tapas of course! Considering day trip to Dali museum. Do we have time and is it worth the time it will take? Not sure which pass to get. Was considering the city pass but since I already purchased sagrada tour, is it worth it or would I be able to get a refund for sagrada and use the pass instead? We like the hop on hop off bus to get oriented once we arrive. We like to wander and don't mind not having a strict itinerary but don't want to miss something great due to not planning. Not sure when we will get back! Traveling with my husband and 2 sons, 20 year old studying history and literature and 16 year old who loves music, so want to fit in things that would interest them. We love to explore the local cuisine and culture! Thanks so much for any help!
February 17, 2020 at 12:18 pmHi Gina, Thanks for writing and your very kind words... I'll try and bang off my advice in a quick, point form way :) - To get to Carrer de la Creu dels Molers you'll can take the Aerobus (included in the City Pass) and then get off at the first stop Plaça Espanya. From here you can walk 12 minutes or take the green line of the metro down to Poble Sec (only one stop) and then from here it's a shorter walk. - Palacio del Flamenco is the best price-quality tour so I'd definitely choose them. - I'd have one of the Gaudi mansions for early the Monday... then take the short walk down for a big Gothic Quarter/Plaça del Rei/MUHBA/Portal del Angel (the main shopping street) tour for the rest of the day and then also dip down into the Barceloneta area in late afternoon for a quick walk along the beach and maybe a vermouth. - The next day is where I'd put in one of your day trips. It would break the Barcelona stuff up nicely. If you're big Game of Thrones fans and think Girona is a nice idea as well I'd include that in the Dali/Figueres tour. The combo tour info is in my article on Dali. It's totally worth it if you've got the extra time... for a five day trip I love slotting that in. - I'd throw in Park Guell on the same day as Sagrada... try and do it early in the morning as the air is fresher, crowds smaller, and light better for photography. - About your refund on the guided tour... it depends who you bought with. Some people allow changes/refunds and some people don't. If you're allowed to do it I think it would be a great choice from a money saving and convenience standpoint to get it all done with the pass. You're clearly needing all it offers. Also... I'd take a look at my 3 day itinerary post if you haven't already as it'll give you some better framework for timing and how to visit. Cheers, Ash
February 18, 2020 at 1:41 amThanks so much! I booked sagrada through the link on your blog...trying to give back a little for all the help/work you've done :) I will see if they can refund and then rebook through the pass. Since our apartment is in poble sec (hoping it's a nice area), will we be needing to rely on metro to get to Sagrada, Gothic, placido de flamenco, meeting the bus for Dali/Giordano tour? Wondering if it's more cost effective to get 3 day BCN card or pay by the trip? Thanks again, Gina
July 18, 2019 at 3:32 amSome of the tips and comments make it seem like you need reservations for bars that you go to after dinner. Can you let me know if the bars you recommended will require reservations for a group of 7 to go after midnight? Thanks : ) Karley
July 18, 2019 at 12:48 pmHi Karley, My mind might be slipping in my old age but I can't recall ever making a reservation to go to a normal bar... with some of the rooftop bars you'll probably have to do so, but other than this nothing really sticks out for me. Unless of course you're referring to a period like New Year's Eve or the like. Which ones were you referring to exactly? Cheers, Ash
July 19, 2019 at 1:32 amThanks for the quick reply! Honestly, I'd love your advice on all the places we have planed so I am just going to list them all and if you think we should switch it out for something better or if you think we need a reservation let me know : ) In Barcelona we want to go to: Chok Formatgeria La Seu La Fonda Tasca El Corral Placa Reial Bodega Biarritz We have to also choose between tickets and blavis (we have a reservation at both the same day and time) On the optional list is: Alaire terrace sol soler cerveseria catalana sor rita, bar la plata, antic teatre, bar leo We also have a list of the bars from your blog so if any of those need reservations that would be helpful carrer rabassa, almirall aixada, carrer samso, passeig del born Sorry for the overload- we are big foodies and love a good bar!
July 19, 2019 at 11:04 amHi Karley, First off I must say it looks like you've done your homework... a lot of these places are highly recommended. That said, I haven't been to all of them. I'll try and add quick comments to your list if I've been. Chok never been :( Formatgeria La Seu never been La Fonda great quality Catalan tapas, a local favourite Tasca El Corral a great place to get a bit tipsy on vermut and have some snacks, one of my favourites Placa Reial a beautiful square that's ruined by tourism, good for touristy clubs and one good restaurant Quinze Nits Bodega Biarritz great service but in my opinion there are better tasting places We have to also choose between tickets and blavis (we have a reservation at both the same day and time) haven't been to either but I've heard way better things about Tickets On the optional list is: Alaire terrace never been sol soler my favourite tapas/beer joint in Gracia due to its unique menu items and great terrace cerveseria catalana a great dinner spot that never fails to disappoint sor rita (funky with cheap beer! great for at least one), bar la plata (I always found it a bit overrated for the amount of praise it gets, but it's a solid establishment), antic teatre (one of the best terraces for a drink in the sun), bar leo (the ONLY place to grab a beer in Barceloneta on beach days, just don't expect much from the food). Hardly any of these will need reservations to my knowledge... or at least I have never made any myself. Hope this sheds some light! Ash
April 29, 2019 at 6:26 pmThis is a great website and I will refer to it often. I am traveling late May and have bought online tickets for major sites. My question has to do with restaurants at night. I am a most excited about sampling the local cuisine and wines. I will try to eat later than at home, but probably not as late as the locals. I was hoping I did NOT need to worry about restaurant reservations because I prefer to wander and find the "right" place. Will I be in trouble without dinner reservations? We are staying central near Urquinaona - are there any good recs right in that area, particularly for our first night (when we are exhausted)? Also - any suggestions on where to shop for authentic espadrilles at a decent price?
April 30, 2019 at 9:00 amHi Sue, Thanks so much for the kind words :) A lot of restaurants close in the afternoon and open at about 8... if you're there at 8 with most places you should be fine without reservations. That said, some of the most popular places may be booked anyway. Luckily you're super central so you have lots of choices. I would check out El Nacional, Bodega Joan, Cerveceria Catalana, or Ciudad Condal... all offer great Spanish food :) For espadrilles the most traditional place which has also kept up with the times (it has been in business since the Civil War and is still arguably the most popular is La Manuel. Ash
April 29, 2019 at 12:46 amHi 2 friends have booked 3 nights at Sunotel Junior as other hotels nearer to attractions much more expensive. We enjoy walking. Is it straightforward to walk to las Ramblas/gothic area? If not is the metro simple enough in particular when returning at night. Travel Agent said walk is 30 minutes which isn't a problem but some reviews are stating otherwise so now we are worried. Many thanks!
April 29, 2019 at 10:52 amHi Carol, You're in the super grid-like Eixample neighbourhood so it's very easy to walk... indeed, it'll take 30 minutes just to get to the top of La Rambla but during sunny days it's great to get out and take a walk anyway. No issues for me here, I would do it! When returning at night it's a simple 4-5 stop combination boarding the green line at Plaça Catalunya, going up to Diagonal, and switching for the blue line to Hospital Clinic. That said, it's kind of a clumsy route so I'd almost prefer waling. Your choice :) Ash
April 5, 2019 at 1:18 amLove your blog. Really helpful and well conceived. Lots of work and so appreciated. What areas do you recommend for outdoor vendor shopping for non-food items? Looking to shop for T-shirts, tea-towels, table cloths & runners, scarves, potholders, cloth bags and not break the bank. Thanks in advance.
January 3, 2020 at 1:40 amHi, I found this super helpful and will be referring to this when I come to Barcelona!! As I’m coming at the start of February I was just wondering is the area still as busy as I’m worried about walking around at night time as I’ve been told about the pickpockets and how Barcelona is notorious for it. Also I’m staying on Avinguda del Paral·lel and was wondering if this is dodgy or notorious at night time and would it be best to get a taxi back at night time? Many thanks!!
January 4, 2020 at 11:52 amHola Ciara, Thanks for the very kind words :) Let's say that February is low season and as such your risk of being victimized is much lower than in summer months. That said, your risk of anything happening in either case is very small and the media and internet in general is responsible for a bit of paranoia on the part of visitors. Paral-lel finds itself on the border of what I consider to be the highest risk area: Raval. But again, unless you're going deep into the side streets of this area it likely won't be a reality. I used to live at the top of Paral-lel and used to constantly walk home along this road and never had any troubles. That said, if I were out in the evening in the Gothic Quarter I'd rather get a taxi than having to walk through Raval. Cheers, Ash
January 5, 2020 at 11:59 pmThank you so much!!! Also I’ve heard stories of phones getting snatched out of hands when taking selfies would that be likely to happen? I am so excited to be going to Barcelona as it’s my dream to visit but Im just worried about something getting stolen and ruining it:/
January 6, 2020 at 10:27 amHi Ciara, No problem at all :) It's no secret that these things do happen, perhaps more than most major cities in Europe... but the odds of something like this happening to you are still quite low. I would try not to pay attention to the scare tactic articles, use some common sense, and enjoy your holiday. I have a few tips on how to avoid pickpockets as well just in case. Cheers, Ash
April 5, 2019 at 4:58 pmHi Donna, Thanks a lot for the kind words, it's a lot of work but well worth it with comments like this :) In my post on Barcelona's best markets you'll find some ideas here - the Els Encants Market would probably be the closest thing to what you describe. The city is really big on food markets but there isn't much as far as a central location with all sorts of consumer goods. Though I don't recommend the street since it's so touristy you will however find a lot of this stuff along La Rambla in the Gothic Quarter. Ash
March 2, 2019 at 2:32 pmHi Ash Hope you are doing well. This is Neha from india. I really loved your blog, but i m still clueless how to plan my itinerary. :( I am travelling with my husband and one year old boy..(his 1st trip &1st flight ... which leaves me anxious ). my travel dates are 9th april to 12th april. can you please help me ..i so dont wish to miss out on anything. really looking forward for ur advice. #stressedmomtravelling thanks in advance regards neha
March 2, 2019 at 3:26 pmand yes is the area around hospital clinic worth staying with a baby
March 3, 2019 at 12:21 pmHi Neha, Hospital Clinic is a perfectly fine area to stay with a toddler... it's great because there's no hassle in the streets, it's far away from the chaos, sellers, pickpockets, and noise of the true city centre... and yet it has a metro station that serves most of the main places in the city. As far as advice goes on the city... if you have any very specific requests please let me know, but in the meantime I couldn't have said it any better than in my 3 day Barcelona itinerary.. it has a bit of everything! https://www.barcelonahacks.com/3-days-in-barcelona/ :) Ash
February 24, 2019 at 1:08 pmHi Ash! Thanks so much for this awesome blog. It's been so helpful. My partner is coming to visit me while I am here in BCN studying abroad for a couple of months. He flies in this Saturday afternoon and will be here for a week. I am trying to come up with a solid itinerary so we can spend our time and money wisely instead of just getting lost and wasting time! However, I would love some advice because I am new to BCN and learning my way around still. Besides Sagrada Familia, which I have booked for Sunday at sunset, I don't really know where else to start. Sunday & Friday are our only free days together because I have morning classes Monday - Thursday. We don't drink- so nightlife is out for us. However, we do like Salsa dancing, hiking, and sight-seeing. We love seeing sunsets, and he loves museums & the beach, but there are so many recommended places I am having trouble finding out the best way to fit it all in the short time we have. Do you have any favorites? Also, we are vegan, so if you have any tips for veganism in BCN we would appreciate it! Thanks so much!
February 25, 2019 at 3:12 pmHi Tatum, Thanks so much for your very kind words on the blog, makes my work worthwhile :) If you're thinking sunsets I can think of no better place than The Bunkers because it's an amazing view of the city, and best of all free ;) What I would do is go visit Park Guell (equally beautiful but not great for a romantic picnic or whatever) on Friday around 4 pm and then work my way to the Bunkers around 5/6 for the sunset. There are all sorts of random hiking opportunities up there. You could also spend the afternoon in the charming neighbourhood of Gracia, maybe drinking vermut or wine or having tapas in one of the amazing squares there before heading up the hill. Plaça del Sol is my favourite. Also, right around the corner from there is a restaurant called Quinoa Bar Vegetaria with some great vegan options. For museums it really depends on what type your partner is into... the top visited ones are the Picasso Museum, Camp Nou stadium, and MACBA... that said, I think a really underrated one is the CCCB because it has so many amazing cultural items and temporary exhibits. Also, Veggie Garden in the Raval area is a veggie/vegan place I went to which in my opinion had an amazing curry... you may want to try this one. Ash
January 29, 2019 at 4:38 amHey Ash - I'm going to Barcelona from 2/23-3/2, 2019.. first time going totally solo getting excited about it. I wanted to say I love your site and I am SO happy I learned about Sitges as I think I'll check out the bed race on Saturday and hit up parties then (unless you think it's better to go another day!). I'm wondering if it's important to get a tour of Barcelona and/or specifically about Gaudi, or if you think wandering around and going to all the important places will be informative enough. Just figuring out where I should spend the money. I think I want to go to a flamenco dance lesson as I teach dance, and I like to cook so I may do one of those paella get togethers. I'm so doing up karaoke at the place that you said is leopard print/tacky goodness. Hopefully you can tell I like to party but want to get a dose of culture, so if you have any suggestions as to how to plan/tackle my first solo trip that would be super helpful. Thanks!
January 29, 2019 at 10:55 amWow Michelle it looks like you've got a lot of amazing things on your plate, and I'm glad I've helped out :) A couple of tips for solo travellers, since I've done my fair share over Europe when I'm not in Barcelona... if you're looking for activities or maybe a little company then sign up at Meetup.com and definitely create an account and download the Couchsurfing app. You'll be presented with all types of options and Barcelona has a huge meetup culture where travelers and locals gather. As for any tours I find that the general tours give you a good basis but don't go much into any interesting depth... if I wanted to understand the brilliance of Gaudi I would do it at the guided tour of Sagrada Familia (info in my link) and then perhaps as a secondary I would go to Casa Batllo because their augmented reality video guide is perhaps no better way to get inside the mind of a madman/genius. From here I would visit Park Guell alone with no tour... you'll get it ;) For Sitges you certainly can't go wrong going on the Saturday, in fact I've usually skipped out on Fat Tuesday simply because it's a hassle during the work week haha... I assure you there will be plenty party to go around on the weekend! So going to see the bed races then starting the party sounds good to me :) Ash
February 5, 2019 at 4:24 amThanks for helpful advice! I so far booked 4 "experiences" through airbnb - a general "spirit of barcelona" tour to start off on the right foot, a flamenco class, shopping at boqueria & cooking paella, and "rancing" which is running/dancing through the streets of Barcelona. So I've got that and the Carnival in both Barcelona and Sitges to look forward to. I definitely checked out meet ups - there were good options there, and I'll look at couchsurfing - good ideas! Tour at Gaudi sites sounds like a good idea too. I am going to be there for 8 days and a few hours extra and I'm trying to figure out the best pass. Unlimited transport is quite important I think. Since I'm there during the off-season, I don't think I should will need to worry about waiting in lines as much for the tours.. right? Is it best if I get a Barcelona card for however many days I'm going to be more touristy and then the Hola card maybe toward the end of my trip when I may wind down museum visits and need more transport? I've been reading over your transport/card tips a lot and I think that's what I can decipher that might make the most sense but wanted to ask your thoughts. As I mention, I'll go to Sitges - I think I'll just go for the bed race during the day, party at night and take an evening train back to Barcelona since I'm already booked all week for an airbnb there. Hopefully I will be able to get back to Barcelona ok at the end of the night. I have friends that said going to Montserrat (for the monestary) and Girona are better day trips. Do you think it's worth it to go to one of those on top of going to Sitges and exploring Barcelona.. and which one do you think it more interesting. Thank you so much in advance for all your help, I appreciate it. :)
February 5, 2019 at 10:49 amHi again Michelle, Wow, you're really going to town on the experiences and that enthusiasm is what I like to see! :) If you think transport is of the utmost concern and will be visiting a few museums on the Barcelona Card there is certainly no issues in you opting for this pass :) Honestly, for people staying long periods they often find their bearings after 4-5 days and don't need to go crazy on the additional cards... I would simply get a T-10 card (available at any metro station, gets you ten rides for about ten euros) after the expiry of the Barcelona Card and you'll be fine. While lines won't be as bad as summer keep in mind weekends at the big attractions like Sagrada and Park Guell need to be booked in advance even if just to guarantee a time slot. Often you may get tickets but have to come back for another slot hours later. If you've got 8 days I definitely recommend seeing Montserrat or Girona. I would go with the latter if you're a big Game of Thrones fan but the former is also amazing, spiritual, and a great place for fresh air and introspection! Could be a great contrast to the chaos of Carnival :) Ash
February 11, 2019 at 5:02 amThanks again so much for all your advice. I went ahead and just purchased the Barcelona Card for 5 days, then Sagrada Familia with in-person tour, and entrance to Parc Guell. I will look into the other side day trips as I mentioned.. I'm thinking Monterrat's monastary would be quite nice for me - I've never even seen Game of Thrones! I am super excited for everything and you definitely helped me sort everything out better - I have anxiety and am not the greatest planner so you made me get things in order, in a good way.
February 11, 2019 at 12:52 pmHi Michelle, That is wonderful to hear and I am glad to have helped :) It is always good to get a bit of structure to a holiday with some advanced planning since the chaos of being in a new place can be overwhelming to some, myself included even though I've been to many places. If you need any more help I am here! Ash
November 23, 2018 at 1:20 pmHey! I just loved how incredibly detailed your article is and that it has helped me plan so much about my trip already! I booked tickets to Barcelona with my boyfriend for mid-January and I'm very much skeptical about the weather, to the point that I don't know what kind of clothes to pack for the trip! How cold might it be? Does it get warmer during the afternoons? Also how might it be possible to make a one day trip to Ibiza from Barcelona? We are looking for very cheap options and consulting them online has just left me distraught as everything there is so costly. Maybe you could suggest us some better alternatives? Looking forward to your reply! Thanks! Annie :D
November 23, 2018 at 3:27 pmHi Annie, Thanks so much for the nice comments on the blog, I really appreciate it :) For January weather I couldn't really put it any more in depth than they do on holiday weather dot com. What I can say is that it can up to about 13-14 during the day (Celsius) but you're still going to need a decent coat and maybe even a scarf. It also doesn't rain much and is generally sunny. As for Ibiza a day trip isn't really advised unless you get a really early flight out and come back late at night. Since it's low season you should be able to find very cheap flights. I would use a website like Skyscanner to find them. Again, not the best idea just for a day trip but if you absolutely need to it can be done! Ash