Barcelona has become one of our favorite cities to visit. After spending a week and a half in Spain, we quickly realized that is not enough time. The diversity, people, amount of “things to do” and places to see makes this city not only the capital of Spain but a paradise in many aspects. Although this region is known for its famous artists and architecture, past that you will find incredible food, scenic viewpoints, and many neighborhoods to explore. They say a city that has everything, but on top of that, some of the best climate in the world. Sure, the winters get cold, but the shoulder season is a cheap, less crowded way to see Barcelona. Summer months are hot (sometimes humid) but give you the chance to enjoy the warm Mediterranean water. The mountains for hiking, water to cool off, and some of the best cuisine for a nightcap. Barcelona is a must-do. Enjoy our guide to this beautiful city below!
Buying individual train tickets is expensive but buying the T10 pass from any ticket machine will get you ten one-way trips for $11.
Taxis are easy to find and cheap. They have both Lyft and Uber services. Subway closes around midnight during weekdays (excluding Friday) and Sunday, on Friday it works until around 2 a.m. and on Saturday works the whole night.
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
May to June is a popular time in Barcelona, with kick-off festivals for the start of summer and consistent weather. July and August offer the chance to swim in the warm Mediterranean water. Springtime is considered the least crowded, granted Barcelona is the most visited city in Spain. Most visited time is in Summer and can expect the high to mid-80s. Cheapest time to travel is between January to April but will have to skip the beach and bring along a coat.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Barceloneta is the most popular beach in Barcelona. Although this city isn’t known for its beaches, other, less touristy beaches include;
- Nova Icaria
- Mar Bella
- Day trip to Costa Brava beaches.
Tipping is not necessary in Barcelona, sure a nice 5-10% tip on the table for great service, but many sources say it is not required, we tipped.
Boqueria off Las Ramblas is one of the finest markets in Europe but can be overpriced and swarmed with tourists after morning hours. A must see-must do kind of thing, but for another market option, Santa Caterina is great for tapas and a beer. Or try Sant Andreu Market (more local).
ACTIVITIES IN BARCELONA
The day trip to Monserrat is a must-do. A quick one-hour train will bring you there. Known for the religious importance. The beauty around the monastery is worth every second. Don’t forget to visit “Stairway to Heaven” (past the main building and vendors).
Bunkers El Carmel – MUST DO
Bunkers is not only a one-stop-shop, but something you must see twice. A place to bring wine/beer and a late dinner, hands down the best view of Barcelona. Watch the sunset on one side and the city lights on the other.
Camp Nou – Barcelona FC Soccer
Watch some of the best soccer on one of the largest stages in the world. Fitting around 110,000 people, the Camp Nou experience is a bucket-list item.
La Boqueria – Market
Right off Las Ramblas is our favorite place to buy fresh produce and explore local cuisines. You can buy breakfast and lunch here or simply get lost in the assortment of candy and freshly squeezed juices. Must see kind of thing.
El Raval District
Explore the neighborhood of El Raval and submerge yourself in the quaint, authentic, and diverse area. Some say less “mainstream”, because of the variety of local restaurants, cafes, and bars.
Mount Tibidabo – if have time
Taking the ‘Tramvia Blau’ tram is an activity in itself, but also the easiest mode of transportation to the mountain/church overlooking Barcelona (one of the largest peaks). Not just one of the best views in the city.
OTHER THINGS TO DO
Las Ramblas – this boulevard runs through the heart of the city, although this is a melting pot of tourists you can find your newspaper stands, souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants, flower, and fruit vendors. Expensive sure, but worth the walk through the most iconic street. Once and done.
Sagrada Familia – Roman Catholic church as a continuation project started by the well-known architect Antonio Gaudi. Purchase your tickets online instead of waiting in line. A must-see.
Park Guell – This is a good spot to see more Gaudi architecture/art. If you like to walk the city, you can walk from this park all the way through some of the local neighborhoods and down to the touristy spots. A fun way to see a bunch of the city (my fav street is Carrer de Verdi, in the Gracia neighborhood. It’s a nice local area with good shops and restaurants).
Le Cyrano – DO IT
If you are down to tie one on before the clubs, this is a must-do. Show up around 11-12 and experience it for yourself. College/tourist/backpacker/degenerate scene
Wander around el Born and the Gothic neighborhoods…
PLACES TO STAY
- W Barcelona – Luxury Waterside
- Hotel Novotel – Mid-Range Value
- H10 Montcada – Budget
- Cotton House – Boutiqe 19th Century Luxury
- Generator Barcelona – Party Hostel
Brunch and Cake – more for your GF
A popular spot for brunch hence the name. Everything homemade, the boutique restaurant offers a unique menu that will make you want to try everything.
Bo de B – ATE HERE TOO MANY TIMES
Your grab N go lunch for those that want to keep the adventure going, yet a local inexpensive cuisine. Our favorite spot for lunch! Fresh meat and vegetables.
Wok Verdi – FAST
Grab N Go
With a few “WOK TO WOK” locations throughout the city, Wok Verdi is a go-to meal. Asian food that is cheap, convenient, and solid. Wok to Wok has multiple locations, but Wok “Verdi” is the best Asian fast-casual location in Barcelona.
Dinner – Best Paella (Nice Dinner)
Unique affordable dishes, the combination of the authentic and new-age menu. Requested by a local, intimate, and great experience. In the Raval neighborhood and one of my favorite spots for Paella. They have both seafood paella and duck cream paella and are both outrageously good in my experience. Not sure if you are up for Paella, but a local dish.
Traditional summer beverage (we were new to this too) Horchata is a side beverage or something to cap off your meal. The retro shop offers a slightly sweet homemade beverage that is a must TRY!
Fun Experience, write your name in the book. Gut rot hangover. Worth it. An interesting, yet fun and a new way to top off a night. Whether you are looking to have a laid-back night or something to spice it up, the box is an infused rum bar with of course hot dogs…don’t knock it till you try it. Fun for everyone.
If you are reading this – I will personally Venmo you $100 if you send me a photo of my name in their book.
Bodega La Puntual
Bar & Dinner
Inexpensive Catalan dishes, full, a menu of tapas, and a list of seasonal main courses.
Every product used in the kitchen is 100% natural produce from the fields of Sagas (a small mid-mountain village North of Barcelona). A modernized sandwich shop.
Nomad Coffee Lab & Shop
Local Coffee Shop
Tastings every Friday @ 4PM, this is considered the “new era” of speciality coffee.
Flax and Kale
Looking for a date night? A fairly priced intimate Wine Bar that starts to pick up around @9PM and into the evening.
This is a place to try paella (a Spanish dish of rice, saffron, chicken, seafood, etc.). Not our favorite but a great establishment with VIEWS.
While you think these styled venues are secrets, more people are catching on and this one is no exception. Although you may be looking for a quiet night, you must stop!