Barcelona Tourism: Plan Your Trip to Barcelona
What to do
Where to stay
Where to eat
All about Gaudi
- Basílica de la Sagrada Familia166,876This 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 Guell77,317This 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 Pedrera23,833Also 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 Monumental515This 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 Vicens2,377This 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 Batlló58,435A 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.
Explore Barcelona by interest
There’s art everywhere
Slow down and sip the sangria
Dip into the Mediterranean Sea
If you're feeling fancy-ish
Make a day of it
Chill out in nature
Go beyond Gaudi
For the history buff
Travelers' pro tips for experiencing Barcelona
In the words of those who've been there before ...
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).
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.
Are there local customs I should know?
- We recommend checking out these popular tours when looking for something to do in Barcelona:
- Skip the Line: Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia Guided Tour
- Barcelona in One Day: Sagrada Familia, Park Guell & Old Town with Hotel Pick-up
- Montserrat Half-Day Tour with Tapas and Gourmet Wines
- Girona and Costa Brava Small-Group Tour with Hotel Pickup from Barcelona
- Fast Track Sagrada Familia Guided Tour
- 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 September and November.