Thinking about planning a trip to one of Europe’s BEST beach destinations? Sit back and relax and let these quick facts be your guide to surf, sun, food and drink throughout Barcelona!
Barcelona has open public wifi throughout the city. It is called ‘Barcelonawifi’ Once you select it on your phone you have to log in with your e-mail address. Here is a map of all the hubs: http://www.bcn.cat/barcelonawifi/en/ in case you need it when you get to the city.
If you have an unlocked phone and want to buy data for your phone I recommend doing it at the airport. A lot of the phone shops require a residency card to buy a sim card.
The best way to figure out how to get around in Barcelona is simply by using Google maps. It is now offline so you can download the Barcelona map before you come and use it without wifi.
For the metro/bus there is a T-10 card that you can purchase at any metro station kiosk that will allow you to have 10 rides on public transportation for the price of 5 with free transfers. If you want to take public transportation during your stay I highly recommend getting this.
I usually go everywhere in the city by bike. There are bike lanes all over the city and many places to rent a bike. Just make sure to LOCK your bike every time.
If you want to take a taxi from the airport it will cost you 25-35 euros depending where your hotel is located and how many bags you have. I usually use a private driver to avoid confrentations about how much I owe at the end of my journey. There is no Uber in Barcelona but there is an app called Mytaxi which is the same concept. I recommend downloading it before you go and using it instead of traditional taxi services.
There are several ways to get from the airport to the city center.
Bunkers Del Carmel
This is my favorite place in Barcelona! It gives you a 360 view of the city and is generally not very crowded. I highly recommend visiting here. It is close to Park Guell so you could visit both spots at the same time.
Mountjuic Cable Car
This gives you a view of the city from the coast looking up into the mountains. You can take it from Barcelonetta onto Mountjuic and then tour Mounjuic castle and the Olympic grounds.
Tibidabo is the highest point you can view Barcelona from. There is a monastery and amusement park here also.
There are 100’s of tours in Barcelona with themes that can match anyones interest. I recommend sticking to some of the traditional ones:
- Gothic Quarter Free Historic Tour
- I went on this tour when I first arrived to Barcelona and it is a great introduction to the Historic area of Barcelona. It is 2 hours long and free. The guide asks for a tip at the end.
- Hop on Hop off Bus
- If you prefer a tour there is the hop-on-hop-off bus that is a good way to see the city quickly in a day or two. I recommend this option for those with limited time.
- Self Guided Bike Tours
- I usually get around by bike. The city has a lot of bike lanes and companies that rent bikes for a day or two of touring.
Most Popular Tourist Attractions- Book Ahead to Skip the Line!
- Sagrada Familia: http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/tickets/
- Park Guell: http://www.parkguell.cat/en/buy-tickets/
- Park Guell is also free before 8:00am so if you feel like getting up early it is a beautiful place to go and watch the sunrise with much fewer tourists at that time
- Casa Batllo: https://www.casabatllo.es/en/
Passeig de Gracia
- Home to two of Gaudi’s most famous pieces of architecture: Casa Amatller (Casa Mila) and Casa Batallo, a great shopping street for picking up designer pieces of window gazing. If you follow it to the end you will come to Placa Catulunya and then to Las Ramblas.
- Boqueria- Barcelona’s most famous market. It is right off Las Ramblas and has many great restaurants surrounding it that are delicious.
- By District- Most districts have their own traditional markets. For a full guide check out this AWESOME article
- Very beautiful and a nice place for the family. Located here is Arc de Triomf, a huge roman fountain, rose gardens, swan boats and a small zoo.
- One of Barcelona’s biggest squares located at the foot of Mountjuic,
- Les Arenes Shopping Center
- The Venetian Towers
- The Magic Fountain https://w110.bcn.cat/portal/site/FontMagica/menuitem.52f5ed459b5a6d6e447a5702917409a0/?lang=en_GB (Really nice show but generally crowded with lots of pickpockets so be careful!)
- Houses Barcelona’s historic sites including Barcelona Cathedral, the Jewish quarter, the arch of Carrer del Bisbe, and city hall. This is where the Barcelona Free Tour is located.
- Historic Distric near the Gothic Quarter with great cafes and restaurants
- Barcelona’s most famous and central beach which houses many restaurants and shops. The beach is a bit crowded and has many people trying to sell things on it. It is the most convenient beach to downtown. I would recommend going to the beach closest to the W hotel if you are in the area. You can also rent paddle boards and sports equipment here.
- My favorite beach in Barcelona! Less crowds and very clean. Has a bar/restaurant, bathrooms and showers. All the beaches East of here are also nice. To the West there are many restaurants and clubs that are fun to go to.
Dinning times: Most people eat lunch around 2:00pm and dinner around 10:00pm. Most restaurants will be open earlier and if you go around 1:00 for lunch of before 9:00 for dinner you will avoid the crowds.
Menu Del Dia
Many of the restaurants offer a fixed lunch menu from 10-15 euros. If there is a restaurant that you want to try it is usually good to go during lunch time to take advantage of the set menus. The courses usually include a starter, main course desert and beverage of your choice. You will see these menus advertised throughout the city during lunchtime.
Pinchos Street: Carrer de Blai
- Pinchos are like tapas but an individual serving on bread. In Poble Sec there is a street that has a ton of Pinchos restaurants lined up. It is a fun place to experience some of the local food.
Tapas in Gràcia
- Gràcia is less touristic than downtown Barcelona and has a unique neighborhood feel. A fun way to experience this neighborhood is to check out one of its many squares and enjoy el fresco dining!
- La Pepita – This restaurant is a favorite by us and most of our friends in Barcelona. Highly recommended. http://www.lapepitabcn.com
- La Xula ttps://www.facebook.com/LaXulaTaperia/
- L’Estel http://esteldegracia.com
- Gasterea (usually standing room only) http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187497-d2520175-Reviews-Gasterea-Barcelona_Catalonia.html
- Onna Café- http://onnacoffee.com
- Pudding Café- Café with giant mushrooms, circus tents and other bazar motif similar to what is would feel like to step into Alice and Wonderland http://www.puddingbarcelona.com
- Brunch & Cup/ Brunch & Cake- Beautifully prepared organic brunch plates-http://www.cupcakesbarcelona.com
- Granja La Pallaresa- famous café for one of Spain’s signature foods- Chocolate con churros.http://www.facebook.com/pages/Granja-La-Pallaresa/17695476232362
- El Jardi- Beautiful Café/Restaurant in a quiet terrace in the Gothic Quarter http://www.eljardibarcelona.es/en/inicio
Day trips from Barcelona
Another great trip, outside the city, is Montserrat. It is an incredible Monastery with interesting rock formations and incredible views of Barcelona. http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/tour/montserrat-spain.html
Outside the city there are really nice Cava (the Catalonia Champaign) factories.
I recommend this one. It is the originator of Cava and their wine cellar is really beautiful. If you have a car it is easy to get to. They also have a direct bus from the city most days. There is a really charming town called Alella, which is nice to take a day trip to and also has many vineyards. It is a quaint place to bring the family to enjoy the countryside with good food and wine.
The above two locates are close and can be reached by public transportation. If you rent a car it is possible to visit both Montserrat and a few Cava Vineyards in one day
Beautiful and Historic Beach town an hour train rides from Barcelona
Quite possibly the most beautiful area of Spain. The roads along Coasta Brava link together many beautiful small coastal town with great food and beautiful sites. It is possible to visit one or two of the cities by train on a day trip but the best way to see this area is by renting a car for a day or two.
Barcelona with kids
Here is a great website and guide for activities and resources for traveling to Barcelona with kids