A jewel of a seaside town on the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula; Barcelona is a heady mix of dramatic architecture, a vibrant city life, glorious weather and delicious food. Inspiration oozes in the Catalonian capital’s air. The city’s streets, art and culture are proof of it. In addition to being known for its soccer team, it is also a thriving hub of modern art museums, serene parks, historical monuments and lip-smacking tapas. The city’s beauty cannot be expressed in a few words and the above details just scratch the surface. Read on to know the inside-out of Barcelona’s culture, hustle and bustle with this ultimate travel guide.
The culture of Barcelona is a unique one in Europe and this reflects perfectly in the architecture of the city. Barcelona has been home to many great visionaries, none bigger than the man that defined an entire movement - Antoni Gaudi and the Modernisme school of design. Numerous stunning examples of his work are scattered throughout the city - from the iconic Sagrada Familia and the familiar Park Guell to the wavy Casa Mila and the whimsical Casa Batlo. With palm tree-lined city squares, boardwalked beaches, towering churches and historical houses all within a walk's reach of each other, Barcelona truly is one of the most stunning cities in the world.
Barcelona has more restaurants per square capita than any other city in Europe. Famous all over the world for its culinary scene, Barcelona is renowned for its paella, jamón, amazing tapas bars and for having the freshest seafood in the world. The settings are equally breathtaking, with outdoor paella restaurants that serve food on the beach to elegant Art Nouveau restaurants and street cafes and bars.
Located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona has been gifted with a climate that sees that city stay pleasant throughout the year. This makes it extremely popular amongst tourists and groups of them can be found queuing up at attractions throughout the year. If it gets too hot, there's always a beach to relax at while you go dipping in the sea. If you've had your fill of that, you can head to the Collserola hills on the outskirts of the city and enjoy a peaceful hike.
Life in Barcelona moves at its own speed - with the rush of a storm and the billow of a breeze all rolled in one. The relaxed pace of a seaside town finds itself neighboring the cosmopolitan ways of a modern city in Barcelona, of course, intermingled with generous offerings of the chic and bohemian. No day feels true without a siesta while the sun shines hard in the afternoon, no sunset feels complete without a sangria in hand at a beachside chiringuito (bar) and no night comes to a close without spending time with friends and loved ones at a tapas bar.
Why Visit Barcelona?
Barcelona has been a cultural, economic, and social centre since the middle ages. No matter when people step into the city, they have always been amused by its Catalan Gothic architecture, sandy beaches, contemporary art, scholarly museums, and brimming nightlife. The city is home to the famous sports club, FC Barcelona. Barcelona has a style inspired by its Spanish and Moorish heritage and you'll take note of this at the famous Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, and Park Guell. Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, the city has an abundance of art, entertainment and leisure to make it one of the most memorable trips you will ever take.
Barcelona Travel Restrictions
Can I travel to Barcelona right now? Short answer - Yes. Long answer - there are a few things you should keep in mind before traveling to Barcelona. Here's all about the travel restrictions in Barcelona.
Top 10 Things To Do in Barcelona
Barcelona Trip Planner
All you need before you book your tickets and zip your bag!
Weather in Barcelona
Barcelona is a vibrant city and enjoys a moderate climate throughout the year, thanks to the Mediterranean Sea. However, there are slight discernable seasonal changes. Here is a guide to the seasons in Barcelona. You can check the weather here.
Barcelona in Spring
Spring feels like watching Barcelona through a cool shade of tinted sunglasses. The sun is mild, the weather has cooled down, and the spirit of festivals is in the air. While it is not just yet time for bringing out the swimsuits, it is perfect to enjoy walking and exploring the city. The locals are in a festive mood, enjoying the pleasant weather, celebrating Easter parades among other festivals.
Barcelona in Summer
If a season embodied the vibe of Barcelona, it would be summer! The sun may be hot, but the sweat isn’t dampening anyone's courage. This is the season of outdoor concerts, street parades, and creative festivals. Barcelona is busy with tourists who enjoy the parties on the beach and sampling the best of Barcelona’s cuisine, culture, and history. It is the best season to experience Barcelona, if not for the heat and crowds!
Barcelona in Autumn
The occasional rain and cloudy weather brings cheer and refreshes the grime off Barcelona. The temperatures goes down, and you get ideal weather meant for exploring the city without the tourist swarm. This is a shoulder season and perfect for those who wish to tour Barcelona like a local.
Barcelona in Winter
Barcelona is the perfect destination to enjoy the Christmas fervor and New Year festivities without the chilling snow and dreary weather like other European cities. Although your swimsuites may not be of use during this season, the Christmas markets and shopping sales more than make up for the pleasures of the beach. Wrap up in warm sweaters, and enjoy Barcelona in winter!
The best time to visit Barcelona is from April to July to spend some time getting a tan at the beaches of Barcelona, outdoor events and festivals. However, if only sightseeing is your focus winter(March to May) and summer(September to November) is a good time as there are fewer tourists and queues shorter. If budgets are tighter, then early winter (November to March) is ideal, but you might have to give up the beaches.
Best Time to visit Rome - For Different Kinds Of Travelers
Best Time for Staying Outdoors in Barcelona: April to July, September to November
Best Time for Sightseeing & Museum Hopping: April, May, September, and October
Best Time for Honeymooners: April, May, September and October
Best Time for Budget Travelers: November, December, January and February
Best Time for Shopaholics : Late January and February
Read our detailed blog on the best time to visit Barcelona.
Daily Paris Budget
The daily budgets can vary substantially depending on how deep one’s pockets are and whats the planned. For a budget traveller it should be in the range of approx. €122/ day. This includes:
- Bar: €10
- Food: €27
- Attractions: €20
- Transportation: €15
- Accommodation (Hostel/ budget hotel): €50/night
This amount can easily double or triple itself if one plans to go little liberal with their spending.
Budget your trip here.
Depending on the purpose of one’s travel to Spain, there are different types of visas that will apply to the occasion. Depending on whether one is planning to go on a visit, study or work and reside there permanently, one will have to apply for a different Spain Schengen Visa, accordingly.
However , citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are not required to have a visa to enter Spain. Nationals of the following countries, irrespective of the reasons for their stay are also exempted for Visa; Albania, Antigua And Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Andorra, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Bosnia And Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, North Macedonia, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Malaysia, Mauritius, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Moldova, Montenegro, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Panama, Palau, Paraguay, Peru, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Serbia, Solomon Islands, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, United Kingdom, and Venezuela.
There are plenty of reasons to put Barcelona in your bucket list. The Catalonian capital is one of the best places to bask in the Iberian sun. The nightlife at Barcelona is glorious and the architecture is bound to take your breath away. It is also home to some of the most hospitable people in Europe. However, that doesn’t mean that the city is free of vices. Beware of the numerous tourist traps waiting to bait inexperienced travelers. If there is a language barrier, you are even more susceptible to end up with bitter experience. This is why we have compiled an exhaustive list of tips, tricks, and warnings that to come in handy when you visit Barcelona. Read our curation of Barcelona Barcelona travel tips and insider hacks for saving money on food, transport and more!
Detailed Barcelona Itineraries
Look no further if you want a readymade itineraries to avoid the hassle of internet surfing and meticulous planning. Take a look at our well crafted Barcelona itineraries that have been designed to give you a hazzle free stay in Barcelona, even if you're popping by the city for just a day.
How to Save Money in Barcelona
1. Visit museums for free
In Barcelona, the entry fee of many museums is waived on the first Sunday of every month. Given that these museums are the best places to discover the history and culture of Catalonia and Spain, you should not pass on this terrific opportunity.
2. Book tickets online in advance
In this day and age, online tickets are available for virtually every attraction. If you are heading to Barcelona, you should book online tickets in advance for as many attractions as possible. Not only will you save time and dime, but also skip-the-line of long queue to the world famous attractions.
3. Haggle hard when shopping
Haggling is a skill and you can use it to your advantage when shopping in the streets of Barcelona. There are numerous outdoor markets in Barcelona that are perfect for shopping for souvenirs. If you are not shy and bargain a little, you can buy twice as much for the same amount of money.
4. Rent apartments and airbnbs instead of hotels
Hotels come with a certain level of luxury. However, if you want to divert more of your kitty towards exploring the gems of Barcelona, you should opt for an apartment or airbnb instead. You can save money on food by cooking for yourself in the kitchen. Hostels in Barcelona are great too and most of them have free food or even kitchens. This also gives you an advantage of getting to make a few local friends.
5. Visit during the shoulder season
The low seasons see a significant decline in the number of tourists. As such, it is not uncommon for hotels and renters to slash their rates by a great number to attract more tourists. Low season in Barcelona is between January and March.
Sagrada Familia. Park Güell. Casa Milà. Palau Guell. Casa Batlló. Casa Vicens. Everywhere you go in Barcelona, you will find a dash of Antoni Gaudí's magic. His work will stop you in your tracks and leave you awestruck with its rarity and grandeur.
Walking by his timeless architecture, with an expert historian guide narrating interesting lores and facts about the building is an experience of a lifetime. If you're not much of a guided tour person, you can do a Gaudi Tour in Barcelona all by yourself.
Day Trips from Barcelona
You could spend a lifetime in Barcelona and never get tired of its charm and beauty. However, after you've spent an afternoon or two around the city admiring teh architecture, streets and museums, set off to explore a little more of Catalunya's coastline. Barcelona is the perfect base for a bunch of day trips - beaches, vineyards, monasteries and what not! Here are our top picks for the best day trips from Barcelona.
Public Transportation In Barcelona
Barcelona, home to FC Barcelona and capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia, is a globetrotter's heaven for all the right reasons. Officially the second most populous city in Spain after Madrid, Barcelona is perhaps best known for showcasing the now renowned works of Antoni Gaudi and Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Adding to that list, the city is also honed many UNESCO World Heritage sites, and a ton of other things including a robust public transport system that please tourists.
Hop On Hop Off Barcelona
The people, the language, the food, the culture — everything and everyone in Barcelona is full of passion and excitement. As a tourist you will be enthralled by the quirky architecture of Gaudí’s creations from Sagrada Familia to Park Guell. Ideal for solo travelers, families and friends, Barcelona has something to offer for everyone. The best way to explore this lovely city is through Barcelona hop on hop off buses. The amazing double decker buses conveniently zoom through the city’s main attractions, allowing you to hop on and hop off as you wish, by saving a few pennies.
Read more about Barcelona Hop On Hop Off Bus Tours.
Aerobus is the city’s shuttle bus that transfers people to and from the airport. Most importantly, it reaches the city from the airport within 35 minutes! This saves much time for the travellers to see a few more attractions, which Barcelona is never short of. Missing a bus is no big deal since there is one arriving every 5 minutes and runs every day of the year. The bus feels like a mini luxury van with air conditioning, TV and wifi. Space is the last thing to be worried about since the bus has ample room for you and your luggage.
Read more about Aerobus Barcelona.
iVenture Card Barcelona
iVenture Card Barcelona is a pre-paid attractions pass that lets you explore the city in an easy, flexible and economical manner. Go cash-free, skip-the-line entrance to popular attractions across Barcelona, depending on the variant of card chosen.
The iVenture Card Barcelona includes:
- A 3 day or 5 day or unlimited pass that gives you access to 3 or 5 or all attractions from a list of 35 attractions, within a 7 day period.
- Each pass is valid for 7 days from the first day of use, which allows you to spread out your tours and be flexible with your adventures in Barcelona.
- Enjoy hassle-free entrances and admission with one multi-attraction iVenture Card.
- All variants include additional 3 free offers at Casino Barcelona, Matalaranya’s bar and Gaudi’s La Pedrera.
- Navigate the city easily with a full-colour, fold-out guide with a map, itineraries and schedules included in the card.
- An interactive online map on the app with directions and a feature to mark your favorites beforehand.
- Enjoy 24 Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour (only with unlimited ticket variant).
Here is our complete guide to Visit Attractions For Free With iVenture Card Barcelona.
Hotels in Barcelona
We've rounded up the hotels in Barcelona to suit all budgets. Book your stay in advance, especially if you're traveling around peak tourist season.
Dining in Barcelona
While there are a wide assortment of dishes and desserts, here are some local favourites that you should bite into while in Barcelona.
1. La Bombas
2. Manchego Cheese
3. Pa amb Tomàquet
4. Iberico Ham
5. Esqueixada de Bacalao
7. Patatas Bravas
Tips For Saving Money On Eating In Barcelona
Eat street food at the Gothic Quarters
The Gothic Quarters go back centuries when it comes to flavour and offer authentic recipes unique to the region. As you familiarize yourself with the history of this locality, try the delectable street food from the hawkers. The one item that you absolutely cannot miss is the churro con chocolate.
Discover local cuisine at Barcelona’s neighborhoods
Local neighborhoods of Barcelona aren’t just famous for the mind-blowing architecture and street art. The lanes of Poble Sec and Sants are lined with small but proficient restaurants and cafes. Instead of throwing money at the stalls at popular tourist spots, opt for the authentic dishes here.
Tip around 10% at restaurants
While it is not a stringent rule, a tip of about 10% is standard in Barcelona. So even if you are habituated to pay more than that in your country, remember that 10% is just enough. You may tip as much as your budget allows you.
Try the set menus for lunch
Menu of the day or menu del dia is probably the best and the cheapest way to explore the local cuisine. Eateries in the city offer a set lunch menu for as little as 15 euros. It includes a main, a dessert, and complimentary drinks.
Drink outdoors instead of bars and restaurants
This one is quite obvious. Restaurants charge steep service charges to bring your drink to your table. Bars also charge an entry fee late at night. Instead, grab a bottle of your favorite liquor from the shop and drink outdoors. It saves money and multiplies the fun.
Walking Tours in Barcelona
A guided walk is undoubtedly the most economical and indulging way to learn about a city. Touring by foot, lurking around the winding cobbled lanes adorned with Gothic spires, Gaudi's eccentricity and stareworthy graffiti is an all together different experience. These walking tours in Barcelona are not too heavy on your pocket, so you can buy an extra plate of tapas and thank us later!
Here are our top 5 picks for the Barcelona Walking Tours.
Barcelona With Kids
The balmy coastal city makes for an ideal vacation destination year round. Be it November or April, Barcelona is a delight year round with plenty to keep you entertained. If you're planning a trip to Barcelona with your kids, here are a few family-friendly, rather kid-friendly attractions you can squeeze into your itinerary. It doesn't take much to keep a child entertained in this city and you'll know why as you study our guide below.
Festivals in Barcelona
Barcelona has a year long festivities- some cultural, some religious, some patriotic, a few for the love of music. Here are the top recurring festivals that you should know of:
- Holy procession of the Three Kings: January 5
- Carnival: February
- Festival de Sant Medir de Gràcia: March
- Barcelona Marathon: March
- Sant Jordi: April
- The Tamborinada: May
- Sant Ponç: May
- Festival Sónar: June
- Corpus Cristi - L'ou com Balla: June
- Festa Major de Gràcia: August
- Catalan National Day: September 11
- La Mercè: September
- Christmas: December
Barcelona Culture Tips
Barcelona is best explored on foot
An aerial picture of Barcelona's neighbourhood will tell you that you must be prepared to walk. This is a deliberate step taken to shape the city's lifestyle and reduce four-wheeler's dominance on the pavements.
Catalonia ≠ Spain
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, not Spain. Catalonia and Spain are not one and the same. Locals in Barcelona take offence if you call them Spaniards, hence read up about Catalonian history to remain politically and culturally right.
Vermouth or Cava over Sangria
Although Spain is known for sangria, Barcelona likes to differ. If you are eager to order sangria to taste the local flavour, know that it is common for many bars to add a ton of sugar to veil the cheap wine. Choose the local drinks - Vermouth or Cava, which Barcelona is known for and to get an acknowledging nod from the bartender.
In Barcelona, hills have eyes
High raised buidings offer beautiful night views of any city. Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Barcelona has hills. Don't be afraid to run to the hills at night to catch some of the most stunning views of the vibrant city and the Mediterranean sea. Bunkers del Carmel, Tibidabo, and Montjuïc are a few where you can capture picture-perfect shots.