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Barcelona Tourism: Best of Barcelona

About Barcelona
When it comes to history, art, and architecture Barcelona delivers: There's Gaudí’s iconic Basílica de la Sagrada Familia, the Picasso Museum, and the Gothic Quarter. But look beyond the landmarks and busy mercados and you’ll notice how nature steals the show—the city’s literally surrounded by it. On one side you’ve got three miles of gorgeous sandy beaches that give the neighboring Balearic Islands a run for their money, and on the other, the Serra de Collserola mountains, home to Parc de Collserola—one of the biggest city parks in the world. It’s probably why bike culture’s big here: Over 180 miles of bike lanes makes it easy to get around the Catalan capital. Spend a low-key afternoon cruising the revamped La Rambla (you’ll have to walk your bike once you hit the pedestrian-only drag) and stop for tapas and sangria. You can really do it all and we’ve got more ideas, below.

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Essential Barcelona

The perfect three days in Barcelona

From street markets to masterpieces
Read on

All about Gaudi in Barcelona

You can’t come to Barcelona without visiting architect Antoni Gaudi’s incredible works. From one of the world’s most famous Catholic churches to mansions, magnificent apartment buildings, a fountain, a park, and even city lights, I just couldn’t get enough of his surreal designs on my recent visit. Here’s what I recommend you check out.
Meena Thiruvengadam, Chicago, IL
  • Basílica de la Sagrada Familia
    This unfinished church has come a long way in the decade since I first visited, but it’s still the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world. On my latest trip, I joined an exclusive after-hours tour with GetYourGuide. With the time and space to be mesmerized by the light filtering in through the church’s stained glass windows, I finally got what makes this place so special.
  • Parc Guell
    This city park is part urban green space, part architectural gem that looks like something out of a Modernist fairy tale. I booked a ticket online for one of the last available entry times. I spent about an hour wandering the grounds and taking in city views. I did miss the gift shop, which closes earlier than the park.
  • Casa Milà - La Pedrera
    Also known as La Pedrera, this was the last private apartment building Gaudi designed. I took another GetYourGuide tour here, but this time I visited before opening. Walking through the space and a couple of restored apartments felt like walking through the past and a taste of what it might have been like to call this Modernist building home. Best part: I learned a few people still live here.
  • Cascada Monumental
    This may be Gaudi’s only waterfall, and you’ll find it just beyond the Passeig de Pujades entrance to Parc de la Ciutadella, which was Barcelona’s only city park until the mid-19th century. Gaudi worked mostly behind the scenes on this project and was hired to work on its water tank and hydraulics. Look for the two stone medallions featuring lizards near the top of the fountain, intended to model the Trevi Fountain in Rome.
  • Casa Vicens
    This Modernist building doesn’t get the attention Casa Batllo and Casa Mila get, but it’s where Gaudi got his start. This is one of Gaudi’s first major projects and offered the chance for the architect to add his unique spin on this Orientalist structure. This is one of Gaudi’s more intricate residential interiors, and it sells tickets that can be used at any time on a specific day, making it ideal for more spontaneous travelers like myself.
  • Casa Batlló
    This is one of Gaudi’s best-known residential projects. Gaudi was brought in to remodel this building in 1904. I bought tickets to visit on my own before opening. The interior doesn’t offer as much to see as Casa Mila, but it was nice to see the view from the other side of the gorgeous windows I spent so long looking into from the street outside.

Explore Barcelona by interest

There’s art everywhere

Discover masterpieces on the city’s streets

Slow down and sip the sangria

All the best spots to grab a drink

Dip into the Mediterranean Sea

Boat tours, beaches, water sports, and more

If you're feeling fancy-ish

Luxury experiences that are totally worth it

Quick-trip museums

Smaller spots you can do in half the time

Make a day of it

Easy trips that take you beyond the city

Chill out in nature

Scenic places to unplug and recharge

Off-the-beaten-path Barcelona

Take a detour to discover some hidden gems

Go beyond Gaudi

Lesser-known landmarks to add to your list

For the history buff

Must-see museums, architecture, and more
Barcelona Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips for experiencing Barcelona

Do not be afraid to get lost in the winding back streets! Ditch your tourist map!
Barcelona is deeply proud of its Catalan heritage. I once went to the tourism office to ask for information about Spain and was roundly chastised as I was in Catalunya. I never made that mistake again!
Michael B
It is a good idea to learn a few basic Spanish words for politeness and you will garner more respect and pleasant service.

In the words of those who've been there before ...

Food, Art, Beach, Streets...Barcelona is all-inclusive.
Peter K
Barcelona is a city rich with history, beautiful architecture, a cool beach culture, friendly people and some great food.
Barcelona is a buzzing city that's so easy to fall in love with.

What is the best way to get there?


Barcelona is mainly served by the Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport International Airport, but can also be reached by transport links from other regional airports, including Girona, Reus, and Lleida-Alguaire.


Barcelona Sants Station is the city's main railway station for national and international destinations in France.


Estació d'autobusos Barcelona Nord is Barcelona's main bus station operating services to other Spanish cities and cities throughout Europe.

Do I need a visa?

Spain is part of the Schengen Area with many other European countries. This means tourists from certain countries don’t require a visa for trips less than 90 days — as long as your passport is valid for at least six months after your planned departure date. Find more information about the Schengen Visa and what countries are exempt here.

When is the best time to visit?

Summer (June to August) and fall (September to November): Summer is fiesta time in Barcelona, when the city hosts some of Europe’s biggest music festivals, including Sonar and Primavera Sound. Average temperatures in summer have a high of 82°F (28°C) and a low of 71°F (22°C).

While soaring temperatures send summer visitors to the beach, the cooler months of fall are ideal for exploring Barcelona’s colorful neighborhoods. In November, the scent of roasting chestnuts fills the air during the Catalan festival of La Castanyada. Average temperatures in fall have a high of 68°F (20°C) and a low of 60°F (16°C).


There are a number of companies in Barcelona that offer bike rental or bike tours including Barcelona Biking,AJO Bike, and Barcelona E-Bike.


The Barcelona Metro, run by TMB and FGC, operates 12 lines which run from about 5 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday, 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday, and 24 hours on Saturday.


TMB operates a fleet of more than 1,000 buses that operate more than 100 routes. Most services begin between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. and end between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Barcelona also operates a night-bus service (Nit Bus) which serves most of the city and its suburban area. Services begin after 11 p.m. and end between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.


Barcelona’s taxis are easily spotted with their black and yellow livery. They can be caught from one of many taxi stands, hailed on the street, or booked via telephone.


The ridesharing company Cabify is available in Barcelona on your smartphone.

On the ground
What is the timezone?
Central European Standard Time
What are the voltage/plug types?
The standard voltage in Spain is 230V and the standard frequency is 50Hz. Wall outlets typically accommodate plugs with two round pins.
What is the currency?
The Euro.
Are ATMs readily accessible?
Are credit cards widely accepted?
Is it easy to find a bank?
How much do I tip?
Tipping isn't obligatory, but people usually leave 5% if they are satisfied with the service.

Are there local customs I should know?

The federal legal age for buying and drinking alcohol is 18 years old.
Spaniards usually greet friends and strangers alike with a kiss on both cheeks, although two males rarely do this.
Spaniards take great pride in their appearance so dress elegantly, even for casual occasions.
Visiting churches
Visiting churches as a tourist during Mass and other worship services is considered disrespectful.
Personal space and eye contact
Spaniards are known to stand very close while talking and speak a lot with their hands — don’t mimic them and don’t step away. Eye contact in Spain is also very important.
Learning a few basic Spanish phrases will go a long way as a sign of respect.
Frequently Asked Questions about Barcelona

We recommend staying at one of the most popular hotels in Barcelona, which include:

Barcelona is known for some of its popular attractions, which include:

If you're a more budget-conscious traveler, then you may want to consider traveling to Barcelona between December and February, when hotel prices are generally the lowest. Peak hotel prices generally start between June and August.