Barcelona travel guide

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Introduction to Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and Plaça de Catalunya have one thing in common - they're all three very good reasons to visit Barcelona, Spain. This capital of Catalonia, Spain is a travel destination everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. Boasting a variety of natural beauty and architecture, a unique historical background, and a culture as rich as its population of over 1.7 million people, the city of Barcelona is truly one of the main highlights of Spain.

Traveling to Barcelona is especially rewarding for anyone eager to connect with locals and learn more about their unique culture and traditions. Catalan, Spanish, and Occitan is the official language in Barcelona. Dive deeper into the heart of the city's heritage, traditions, and community events by exploring the official website of Barcelona.

Easily accessible from Barcelona?El Prat, and Barcelona–El Prat, Barcelona is the perfect base for a memorable and unique vacation in Spain any time of the year. Before booking a flight to Barcelona, it's helpful to know that the city observes the UTC+01:00 time zone.

History of Barcelona

Barcelona, nestled in the northeastern region of Spain, boasts a rich and diverse history dating back over 2,000 years. Its origins are believed to be Roman, with the establishment of the colony of Barcino in the 1st century BC.

This vibrant city has seen periods of Visigothic, Moorish, and Christian rule, each leaving an indelible mark on its culture and architecture. From the 13th to the 15th century, Barcelona flourished as a major economic and political center of the Mediterranean.

The 19th and 20th centuries brought significant changes, with industrialization and the Catalan Renaissance, which celebrated and revived Catalan culture and language. Modernisme architecture, characterized by Antoni Gaudi's iconic works, added a unique flavor to the city's skyline. The 1992 Summer Olympics marked a major transformation for Barcelona, catapulting it onto the global stage as a prime tourist destination.

Today, Barcelona continues to weave its rich historical tapestry, offering a compelling blend of the old and the new that captivates visitors from around the world.

Local culture and customs in Barcelona

Barcelona exudes a vibrant and rich culture heavily influenced by its Catalan roots. The locals, known as 'Barcelonins', are known for their love of art, with works of Gaudí and Picasso permeating the city. Traditional Catalan cuisine is a must-try, with dishes like 'pa amb tomàquet' (bread with tomato) and 'fideuà' (a noodle paella) central to food culture.

Barcelona operates on a 'late' schedule, with shops often closing for siesta in the afternoon and dinner usually starting around 9pm. It's common to see locals and tourists alike strolling Las Ramblas or enjoying a late-night meal in the city's many tapas bars. Also, remember to greet people with two kisses, one on each cheek, as it is a common practice.

Catalan is the co-official language alongside Spanish. While most locals are bilingual, making an effort to learn a few phrases in Catalan will be appreciated. Lastly, Barcelona is a city that thrives on festivities, from La Mercè, the annual city festival, to Sant Jordi's Day, when the city fills with roses and books. So, be sure to check the local calendar when planning your visit.

Currency information for travelers in Barcelona

The official currency in Barcelona, Spain, is the Euro (€). It's always beneficial to have some cash on hand for small purchases or places that don't accept cards. However, credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are generally accepted at most locations. Ensure to inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid any card suspension due to suspicious foreign transactions.

ATMs are widely available throughout the city, but be aware of potential foreign transaction fees. Though tipping is not obligatory in Barcelona, it's customary to leave small change at bars and cafes, so keep some coins handy. For budgeting, bear in mind that Barcelona is one of the more expensive Spanish cities. Prices for meals, entertainment, and accommodations are relatively high, so plan accordingly.

Language tips for travelers in Barcelona

In Barcelona, the two official languages are Catalan and Spanish. While most locals are bilingual, signs and menus may be predominantly in Catalan. Despite the language difference, English is widely understood especially in tourist areas.

Learning a few basic phrases in both Catalan and Spanish will be appreciated. Key phrases include 'Hola' (Hello), 'Gracias' (Thank you), 'Por favor' (Please), and '¿Dónde está...?' (Where is...?).

Remember to speak slowly and clearly, and don't be afraid to use gestures or visual aids to aid communication. A translation app could also prove useful for more complex interactions. Lastly, Spaniards appreciate politeness, so always start and end conversations with a greeting and farewell.

Best time to visit Barcelona

The best time to explore Barcelona is from May to June and September to October. These periods offer moderate temperatures ranging from 21°C to 25°C, ideal for strolling through the city's architectural marvels, picturesque parks, and vibrant beaches. Moreover, these months are less crowded compared to the high season in July and August, providing a more relaxed experience. The spring season, May and June, welcomes the Primavera Sound Festival, a popular music event that adds an extra flavor to your visit. Alternatively, visiting in September aligns with La Mercè Festival, Barcelona's largest street party filled with parades, concerts, and fireworks. However, if you're a football fan, you might prefer the football season from August to May, when you can witness the excitement of a FC Barcelona match firsthand. Regardless of when you choose to visit, remember to book your accommodations in advance to secure the best deals.

Local tip for visiting Barcelona

When visiting Barcelona, one insider tip that will significantly contribute to a positive experience is to explore the city's vibrant neighborhood markets. While most tourists flock to the famous La Boqueria Market, locals would recommend you to visit the less crowded and equally charming Mercat de la Llibertat in Gràcia or Mercat de Sant Antoni in the trendy Sant Antoni neighborhood. These markets offer a more authentic glimpse into the city’s daily life and are perfect places to sample local products, fresh produce, and traditional Catalan cuisine. Besides, as they are less targeted by tourists, prices tend to be more reasonable. This insider tip might not be commonly known to tourists, but it gives you a chance to mingle with locals and experience the true Barcelona.

Top services in Barcelona

On this page, you'll find all the top travel services in Barcelona, Spain. Enjoy the convenience of planning and booking every detail of your trip to Barcelona, including flights, accommodations, activities, and more, in one place.

Discover the cheapest and most popular flights offered by a variety of airlines that fly to Spain. Check out the best things to do in Barcelona by browsing over 2173 top-rated tours available to you in the city. Compare the rates and services of the 5 types of stays and 14 car rental companies offering CDW insurance coverage.

Experience the best of Barcelona with an expertly curated and fully customizable itinerary. Get answers to questions about the routes and services offered in Barcelona from our free 24/7 customer support. We make it easy for you to find and book every detail of your trip to Barcelona with this travel guide.

Continue reading this Barcelona travel guide to learn how you can enjoy a stress-free and memorable vacation in the city of Barcelona!

Learn more about Spain

With destinations such as Barcelona, a trip to Spain needs no further explanation. Spanning over 505,990 square kilometers, Spain is an expansive playground of discovery, offering a wealth of diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and captivating experiences awaiting exploration. From bustling metropolises to historic towns and modern urban hubs, Spain has something to enchant every traveler.

In Barcelona alone, travelers are spoiled for choice with an array of experiences and world-famous attractions such as La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and Plaça de Catalunya. Thus, a trip to Spain becomes essential. Whether you're drawn to historical sites, natural wonders, or vibrant cultural experiences, Spain offers an abundance of treasures waiting to be discovered.

There's so much to explore and uncover in Spain. Click or tap the link below to discover more about Spain and its offers.

What to see in Barcelona

Photo of national Museum in Barcelona,Placa De Espanya,Spain.

Expect an exhilarating journey through Barcelona, a haven brimming with attractions to suit every traveler’s taste. From historical landmarks to natural wonders, and delectable cuisine, Barcelona offers an abundance of experiences waiting to be discovered. Dive into this ultimate Barcelona travel guide to uncover must-visit spots and get the scoop on what makes the city so special.

Top attractions in Barcelona

With its blend of traditional and modern culture, Barcelona is more than just a wonderful city in Spain. It's a hub for diverse experiences, boasting top attractions that range from historical landmarks to modern marvels, offering a glimpse into Spain's rich heritage and innovative spirit.

One popular place to visit in Barcelona is the unforgettable La Sagrada Familia. Considered one of the most well-known attractions in the city, a visit to this spectacular travel destination is something you shouldn't miss on your trip to Barcelona.

For more information about what you can expect during a vacation in Barcelona, check out our list of top attractions below. Discover the best places to visit in Barcelona, including the fascinating La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Plaça de Catalunya, Mercado de La Boqueria, and Casa Batlló.

Map of attractions

Take a closer look at the city map below for the exact locations of all the top attractions in Barcelona.

Things to do in Barcelona

Photo of Sagrada Familia cathedral in spring, Barcelona, Spain.

You've explored Barcelona's top attractions and marked them on your map. So now, it's time to delve deeper and discover the top things to do in Barcelona. These activities not only offer excitement and adventure but also provide unique insights into the city's culture and heritage. Take your experience to the next level by checking out the best sights with a knowledgeable guide, embarking on fun adventures unique to Barcelona, or learning more about the city's rich history and traditions.

Discover the most popular tours and experiences in the city below.

Most popular experiences in Barcelona

A visit to Barcelona gets more exciting with memorable experiences. And the city is just perfect for that, with plenty of fun activities. Walking Tours, Historical Tours, Bus Tours, and more are just some of the options you could explore to fully immerse yourself and make the most of your time.

In this travel guide, we've included some of the best things to do in Barcelona, adding a special touch to your journey in this vibrant city. Explore bustling markets, embark on scenic hikes, sample local delicacies, or immerse yourself in the rich history and heritage of Barcelona. Browse this diverse array of unforgettable experiences Barcelona offers and let your adventures begin!

Top tours & tickets starting in Barcelona

In Barcelona, travelers are spoiled for choice with a dazzling array of 25 categories of top-rated tours and tickets. But among this sea of options, one category reigns supreme: Activities.

Activities offer an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the heart and soul of Barcelona. For example, the fantastic Private Photography Walking Tour with a Local.

Barcelona also offers plenty of budget-friendly tours and activities that promise travelers a unique experience. This experience costs around 2 EUR.

Elevate your upcoming Barcelona adventure with unforgettable experiences by booking top-rated tours in the city. Uncover the finest tours, activities, and tickets awaiting you in Barcelona right below.

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Discover the best things to do in Barcelona. Choose from 2173 fantastic tours and activities available in the city.

Select your dates and number of travelers in the search bar below to receive the best recommendations for your vacation in Barcelona. Click the green button to view your options and discover a variety of exciting things to do in Barcelona.

What to eat in Barcelona

Barcelona, the heart of Catalonia, offers a variety of culinary delights that cater to all tastes. From its bustling markets to high-end restaurants, this city provides an unforgettable gastronomic experience. One of the best places to eat in Barcelona is La Boqueria Market, where you can indulge in fresh fruits, tapas, and local seafood. The district of El Raval is famous for its trendy cafés and international cuisine, while the El Born district serves up traditional Catalan fare. Don't miss out on the city's traditional dishes such as Paella, Tapas, and Crema Catalana, all infused with fresh Mediterranean ingredients. For an exceptional dining experience, visit Michelin-starred restaurants like ABaC and Moments. The key to enjoying Barcelona's food scene is to be adventurous and not to shy away from trying new dishes. Whether it's a plate of Patatas Bravas in a street-side café or a gourmet meal at a top-tier restaurant, every meal in Barcelona promises a culinary journey that is as memorable as the city itself.

Best shopping in Barcelona

Barcelona, a city renowned for its unique fashion sense, local craftsmanship, and vibrant shopping districts, is a paradise for shoppers. Passeig de Gràcia is the best place to go shopping in Barcelona. This iconic street houses an array of high-end boutiques, including Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. For a more local experience, explore the narrow streets of El Born, where you'll find unique handicrafts and independent boutiques that reflect the city's artistic flair.

Don't miss La Boqueria, a bustling market located on La Rambla, offering a variety of local products, from fresh produce to artisanal cheeses and wines. Here, you can buy a unique culinary souvenir to remember your trip.

Barcelona is also home to various shopping malls like L'illa Diagonal and Diagonal Mar, where you can find a mix of international and local brands. Remember, shops in Barcelona typically open around 10 am and close around 8 pm, with a siesta break around 2 pm. However, most large stores and shopping centers stay open throughout the day. Happy shopping in Barcelona!

Best Free Things to Do in Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain's enchanting seaside city, is brimming with distinctive architecture, vibrant street life, and a rich history that can be enjoyed without spending a dime. One of the best free things to do in Barcelona is to explore the Gothic Quarter, a labyrinth of winding streets home to stunning medieval architecture, vibrant plazas, and charming boutiques. A visit to Parc de la Ciutadella is a must, where you can admire the park's beautiful fountains, sculptures, and the picturesque boating lake. Don’t miss the Magic Fountain of Montjuic, a dazzling display of color, light, motion, music, and water acrobatics that will leave you captivated. Delve into Barcelona's rich history by visiting the El Born Cultural and Memorial Centre. The glass floor provides a fascinating look into the preserved archaeological site of the 1700s Barcelona beneath. Finally, explore the bustling La Rambla street, packed with street performers, artists, and local markets. Remember to end your day by watching the sunset at Barceloneta Beach, a perfect free way to soak in the city's beauty.

How to get to Barcelona

International travelers can fly to Barcelona by booking flights with Vueling, Ryanair, Eurowings, Jet2, and Air Europa, offering flights to Barcelona?El Prat, and Barcelona–El Prat. From the arrival airport, travelers can choose from various public and private transfer options to Barcelona.

For those seeking the best flight ticket deals to Barcelona, knowing the cheapest travel times and which airlines offer the most affordable flights is helpful. Luckily, we provide this information to help you discover the cheapest and most popular flights to Barcelona. Go to this page to compare all flights to Barcelona.

Find cheap flights to Barcelona

Photo of woman visiting Barcelona city, Spain.

Booking budget-friendly flights to Barcelona is a crucial part of planning your trip to the city. This section will guide you through the process, helping you find the best deals for your journey.

Booking in advance is a smart move when traveling to Barcelona. Airlines release their best deals months ahead of departure, so early birds catch the lower fares. Consider flexible travel dates while planning your visit to the city. Mid-week and off-peak seasons often offer more wallet-friendly options.

To help you find cheap flights to Barcelona, you can use the powerful booking widget below. Enter your departure city, choose between round trip or one-way, pick your fare class, select travel dates, and specify the number of travelers. Click "Search" and the widget will do the rest. You'll see a list of flights matching your criteria, making your trip to Barcelona even more convenient.

Fine-tune your search with filters to sort by price, airline, layovers, and more. Once you've found your ideal flight, click "Book" and you'll be redirected to the booking page to complete your reservation. Enter your payment details and receive a confirmation – it's that simple!

Remember to book ahead, stay flexible, and utilize the widget's features to make your journey to Barcelona both affordable and unforgettable.

Popular flights to Barcelona

Travelers visiting Barcelona can easily access the city via Barcelona?El Prat, and Barcelona–El Prat, offering direct connection to 17 destinations worldwide. To streamline your travel planning process, explore the most popular flights to Barcelona below. Discover direct routes from major international hubs and convenient connections tailored to suit your travel preferences. Click to delve into the diverse array of flights available to Barcelona and embark on an unforgettable journey.

Where to stay in Barcelona

Photo of fantastic view on Barcelona city over Park Guell, famous and popular landmark and travel destination in Europe.

An essential factor to consider when traveling to a new place or country is accommodation. While visiting a city as fantastic as Barcelona is always exciting, any avid traveler knows that accommodations often make or break the vacation experience. The best place to stay in Barcelona usually depends on travelers' needs and preferences. However, booking accommodations in central Barcelona offers a ton of benefits.

Staying in the heart of the city allows you to easily walk to many of the top sights and dining areas in Barcelona and cut down on your travel expenses. Centrally located accommodations are also an excellent choice for travelers in Barcelona planning to go on a quick tour or drive to the neighboring regions.

In Barcelona, you'll find 5 different types of places to stay, catering to every taste, budget, and reason for travel. For example, honeymooners or travelers on a romantic getaway in Spain can experience the ultimate relaxation at one of the luxury hotels in Barcelona. Travelers whose purpose is sightseeing can also find plenty of mid-range and budget-friendly hotels in the city, allowing access to many of the top attractions in Barcelona.

Learn more about the most popular places to stay and the top-rated hotels in Barcelona in the following sections.

Popular types of accommodation in Barcelona

A trip to Barcelona means opportunities to relax at any of the 5 different types of places to stay in the city. While each type offers varying amenities and rates, there is no denying that Barcelona provides a great selection of lodging options ready to cater to every kind of guest.

Among all the choices available in the city, Barcelona Granvia Plaza España is one of the top picks of travelers in Barcelona. Barcelona Granvia Plaza España is a 4-star stay with an average rating of 8977 stars out of 5 from 4 guests. The hotel is located at Gran Via de las Corts Catalanes 322 and boasts many great utilities, including air conditioning, bar, and restaurant.

Budget accommodations are also incredibly popular among travelers in Barcelona. Cheaper alternatives allow travelers to save on accommodation costs and have more to spend on other experiences.

In Barcelona, travelers looking for an economical yet top-rated place to stay usually choose Leonardo Royal Hotel Barcelona Fira. For approximately 99 EUR, guests can book a comfortable Double Room at this popular hotel, which also offers 24-hour front desk, free wi-fi, and more.

Below is a list of all 5 different types of places to stay in Barcelona. Select the type you prefer to compare options under each category and find the best accommodation.

Top hotels in Barcelona

Hotels are travelers' go-to accommodations in Barcelona for the unique experience they provide. Besides offering basic amenities, many hotels in Barcelona provide meals and extras, such as shuttle services, spa facilities, tour desks, and other services. But because not all hotels in Barcelona are created equal, finding the best in the city often requires careful research. For your convenience, we've done all the research to make it easier for you to check out all the top hotels in Barcelona.

W Barcelona offers the most luxurious rooms and is perfect for travelers looking for the ultimate 5-star hotel experience in Barcelona. If comfort, convenience, and affordability are your non-negotiables, check out Barcelona Granvia Plaza España, the top 4-star hotel in the city.

Below is our hand-picked list of the best hotels in Barcelona. Travelers are encouraged to book early, as these hotels quickly reach capacity. Click the arrows or swipe the list to see each hotel's ratings, reviews, locations, rates, and more. You can read detailed descriptions of each hotel in Barcelona by clicking the cards.

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Search for accommodation in Barcelona

Finding the perfect stay for your visit to Barcelona is made easy with our search tool. With just a few clicks, explore a range of available hotels and accommodations, complete with prices and amenities for easy comparison. Simply input your check-in and check-out dates, along with the number of guests and rooms needed. Start planning your trip to Barcelona effortlessly now!

Car rentals in Barcelona

Photo of tourist woman on Montjuic hill. Populal sight in Barcelona, Spain.

To navigate Barcelona effortlessly, renting a car is an excellent choice. With your own wheels, you can explore every nook and cranny of the destination without relying on public transportation and even venture off the beaten path. On our website, you'll discover a selection of over 14 car rental companies in Barcelona, ready to provide you with the perfect vehicle for your travels.

Automatic cars for rent in Barcelona start at 15 EUR per day or 105 EUR per week. The cheapest automatic rental car is a Nissan Leaf. If you prefer driving a manual car, you'll find multiple options for rent in Barcelona, starting at 10 EUR per day or 69 EUR per week. The cheapest manual rental car is a Fiat 500.

Learn more about the different types of cars you can rent in Barcelona, Spain below.

Popular types of cars for rent in Barcelona

Renting a car in Barcelona is a popular choice among travelers who want to explore the city at their own pace. A wide variety of popular car rentals are available to choose from in Barcelona, ensuring you find the best car for your travel plans.

Check out all the options available and book your car rental in Barcelona for your upcoming adventures in Spain below. All car rentals come with CDW insurance for added protection throughout your trip.

Search for car rentals in Barcelona

Get ready to hit the road and explore the beautiful city of Barcelona. Find the best deals on a variety of popular car rentals in Barcelona, Spain, or any other destination in Europe by using the search tool below.

Enter your pick-up and drop-off location, driver's age, and dates. Click the green button to view your options.

Transportation in Barcelona

Navigating Barcelona is made easy by its extensive, efficient, and affordable public transportation system. The Barcelona Metro, with its eight lines and 150 stations, connects the city's key areas, making it the most popular mode of transportation. The city's bus network is comprehensive, with a special night bus service (NitBus) running after the metro closes.

Taxis are another reliable option, easily identifiable by their yellow and black color scheme. They are relatively inexpensive and conveniently available throughout the city. For those who prefer to drive, rental cars are readily available, though remember that parking can be tricky in Barcelona.

For a unique local experience, try the Funicular de Montjuïc, a cable car that offers stunning views of the city as it ascends Montjuïc Hill. The city's bike-sharing program, Bicing, is a popular choice for short trips and a fun way to explore Barcelona's many bike-friendly routes.

Popular destinations to visit after Barcelona

Photo of Barcelona beach on a summer day.

The city of Barcelona is just one of the many unique and scenic destinations you can visit in Spain. So if you're itching for another cultural adventure, a relaxing road trip, an action-filled city break, or a memorable weekend getaway, know that Spain has it all.

Each destination in Spain offers something unique to experience! Take the opportunity to visit other captivating places in Spain that are as magical as the city of Barcelona. The most popular travel destinations in Spain are listed below. Click on the name of the place you want to explore next to learn more about it.

All the best destinations in Spain

When unsure about where to go next, use the map below. This map shows the locations of all the best destinations in Spain. Use the map to plan your trip and find the best routes.

Domestic flights from Barcelona

Photo of scenic aerial view of Port Vell from the top of Columbus Monument, Barcelona.

Experience the authentic charm of Spain by expanding your travels beyond the boundaries of Barcelona. Explore other destinations around Spain with a domestic flight. A domestic flight is typically a short-haul flight, with the longest duration not exceeding two hours. To find the best flights from Barcelona to other amazing locations in Spain, add the required details below and select 'Search' to view the best domestic flights in Spain for your chosen dates. You can also jump to the last section of this travel guide to find the most popular domestic flights from Barcelona.

Popular domestic flights from Barcelona

Travelers in Spain can catch flights to domestic airports in Zaragoza, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Vigo, Valladolid, and Valencia. Domestic flights in Spain are operated by 16 airlines, including Vueling, Ryanair, Eurowings, Jet2, and Air Europa. There are around 46 scheduled flight routes operating to Barcelona on a weekly basis.

From Barcelona, travelers can book scheduled flights to 33 domestic destinations. The most popular flights from Barcelona depart to many top-rated destinations in Spain and are offered by Vueling, Ryanair, and Eurowings.

Search domestic flights from Barcelona

Traveling to another city or region in Spain? Use the flight search tool below to quickly find the cheapest one-way or round-trip flights from Barcelona to different local destinations.

Enter all the necessary information and click or tap on the Search button to see a list of the available domestic flights in Spain on the selected dates.

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