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Plan Your Trip to Barcelona: Best of Barcelona Tourism

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Explore 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.

Travel Advice

Essential Barcelona

The perfect three days in Barcelona

From street markets to masterpieces
Read on

All about Gaudi

You can’t come to Barcelona without checking out architect Antoni Gaudi’s incredible works. The architect became one of the icons of modern art in the late 19th and early 20th century—and I fell in love with his surreal designs for churches, mansions, and even parks across the city. Here’s my hit list of my favorite spots to take in his genius.
Meena Thiruvengadam, Chicago, IL
  • Basílica de la Sagrada Familia
    167,098
    This elaborate Art Nouveau church—Gaudi’s most legendary landmark—is still unfinished more than a century after the work began. But it has come a long way in the decade since I first visited. On my latest trip, I joined an exclusive after-hours tour, which gave me the time and space to truly appreciate what makes this place so special.
  • Parc Guell
    77,507
    This city park is part urban green space, part architectural gem—it looks like something out of a Modernist fairy tale. My advice: Book a ticket online for one of the last available entry times. I spent about an hour wandering the grounds and taking in the city views. Don’t miss the Gaudi House Museum in the park, where he lived for nearly 20 years.
  • Casa Milà - La Pedrera
    23,910
    Also known as La Pedrera, this was the last private apartment building that Gaudi designed. I took a pre-opening tour that allowed me to beat the crowds. Walking through the space (plus a couple of restored apartments) felt like a stroll through the past and gave a taste of what it might have been like to call this Modernist building home.
  • Cascada Monumental
    516
    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, helping engineer its water tank and hydraulics. Look for the two stone medallions emblazoned with lizards near the top of the fountain—inspired by the Trevi Fountain in Rome.
  • Casa Vicens Gaudí
    2,463
    This Modernist building doesn’t get the same attention as Casa Batllo and Casa Mila, but it’s worth seeing. Built in the late 1800s, this was one of Gaudi’s first major projects, and his unique spin on this Orientalist structure caused a stir when it opened. You can buy tickets that can be used at any time on a specific day, making it ideal for spontaneous travelers like myself.
  • Casa Batlló
    58,623
    A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is one of Gaudi’s best-known residential projects. Gaudi was brought in to remodel the building in 1904. I bought tickets to visit on my own before opening. In my opinion, the interior doesn’t offer as much to see as Casa Mila, but it’s a treat to see the view from the other side of the building’s iconic stained-glass windows.

Barcelona Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips or experiencing Barcelona

sophieloumarren

Do not be afraid to get lost in the winding back streets! Ditch your tourist map!

BobKatUSA

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.

RenginKoOz

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.

Alice

Barcelona is a buzzing city that's so easy to fall in love with.

What is the best way to get there?

flying

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.

train

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

bus

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).

Get around

bicycle

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

train

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.

bus

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.

taxis

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.

rideshare

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?

Yes.

Are credit cards widely accepted?

Yes.

Is it easy to find a bank?

Yes.

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?

Drinking

The federal legal age for buying and drinking alcohol is 18 years old.

Greetings

Spaniards usually greet friends and strangers alike with a kiss on both cheeks, although two males rarely do this.

Dress

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.

Language

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 March and May.