Barcelona Travel Guide
Go because Barcelona has the perfect mix of colourful architecture, city bustle, beach vibes, beautiful views and endless thing to do
Must see Gaudí’s famously colourful buildings, especially Casa Batlló
Get around by Metro - Barcelona’s metro is cheap, clean and easy
Spend little, with local beers at €3, Barcelona can be an affordable city
Eat Pinchos, choose tiny meat or veggie bite-size selections served on sticks
Visit during early spring or late autumn to avoid crowds and excessive heat
Hop on and off the metro to glimpse Barcelona's world famous sights, or climb the hills of Montjuïc for incredible skyline views against an ocean backdrop.
Start your night out at the pinchos bars with endless options of different meats, fish or veggie pinchos to accompany your local wine, and then take your pick of the rooftop bars, clubs and restaurants Barcelona has to offer.
Don’t leave Barcelona without wandering through one of the world’s best fresh food markets, La Boqueria, just behind Las Ramblas.
Reasons to love Barcelona
Good to know
Barcelona travel tips
Culture of Barcelona
For the culture vultures or those who like to dabble in a little history and architecture, the great Antoni Gaudí will not disappoint.
The famous architect has filled Barcelona’s streets with colourful unique designs that are a pleasure to admire.
Everyone should visit the infamous Sagrada Familia and witness the colourful light pouring in through the funky stained glass windows.
Gaudí’s Casa Batlló is full of stories and history with its remarkable design which can be viewed from Las Ramblas for those on a tight schedule or budget. Touring inside gives an insight into the genius of Gaudí’s design.
Those who make the journey to Park Güell will not be disappointed by its quirky design and iconic views over Barcelona.
Best places to visit in Barcelona
Visit the Sagrada Familia to experience the beautiful colours as the light streams in through the stained glass windows.
See the intricate workmanship of the thousands of Biblical carvings. Imagine the enormous vision of its genius creator Antoni Gaudí when the church began construction in 1882.
You can marvel at the building for free from the outside or book a ticket in advance to see the magnificence of the church and experience the effect of the stained glass within.
Gaudí's designs are often inspired by nature and as you look up at the roof of the church you can make out a forest of trees.
From the outside you can see the 18 towers, initially envisioned by Gaudi and carried on by future architects replicating his style after his death in 1926.
Take the Metro to “Sagrada Familia” on L2 or L5
For those interested in either art, culture, architecture, history or just ticking things off the bucket list, then a visit to Casa Batlló will not disappoint.
A visit to Casa Batlló is one of the best ways to truly get a sense of Gaudí's vision. The house itself is full of colour, clever designs and really lets the imagination run wild.
Enjoy learning about the story of the powerful and wealthy Batlló family who commissioned Gaudí to redesign their home in 1906. Take the highly interactive virtual tour and experience the magical art installations around the house for an experience you won't forget.
Take the Metro to “Passeig de Gracia” on L2, L3 or L4
If you want more Gaudí and iconic views over Barcelona extending right out to the horizon, visit Park Güell.
The park is filled with colourful Gaudí mosaics and statues as well as interesting architectural structures.
Get tickets in advance and avoid visiting at midday during summer months as it gets very hot.
Take the L3 metro to Vallcarca and walk 12 minutes uphill to the park or take the N4 bus.
Castell de Montjuïc
Have an adventure out of the city centre up to Castell de Montjuïc for beautiful views over the harbour.
The castle itself is an impressive structure which holds a few artifacts and has breathtaking views.
If you like to explore, there are also a few bars dotted around the hill with beautiful views over the city or sea like El Xalet de Montjuïc.
Visitors can enter the castle for free on the first Sunday of the month.
Take the Metro to “Paral-lel” and swap to the Funicular within the Metro station, then take the cable car to the top of Montjuïc.
La Boqueria Market
Wander through the Boqueria fresh food market to really get a feel for the culture and vibe of this bustling city.
Take time to stop at a food stall for a glass of wine and a light lunch.
From fried artichoke to cured Iberian ham, there’s something for everyone.
The fish here are so fresh that they sometimes hop off the counter!
See all the mix of local produce. Smell the fresh olives. Taste the tapas. Listen to the Catalonian chatter of locals and enjoy the cool shade. This is a great midday stop.
The nearest Metro stop is “Liceu” on the L3 line.
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya
Museu Historia de Barcelona
Stop in at the MUHBA Plaça del Rei, to get a feel for the history of Barcelona.
MUHBA has sites all over the city but its headquarters are in the old palace of the Gothic quarter.
The museum focuses on historic daily life in Roman houses and factories of Barcelona but has displays on relics found throughout history.
Great for history or culture seekers.
The nearest Metro stop is “Liceu” on the L3 line.
Best beaches in Barcelona
Barceloneta is one of Barcelona's classic city-adjacent beaches that you might imagine when thinking of Barcelona.
This sandy beach is located in the fishing district of Barcelona so expect wonderfully fresh tapas and seafood.
Barceloneta beach is busy and full of life. It has toilets, showers and life guards on duty.
Easy to reach with its own "Barceloneta" Metro stop.
For water sports and a family friendly beach try Bogatell.
Bogtell is a Blue Flag sandy beach created for the Olympic games in 1992.
This beach is often quieter than Barceloneta.
This beach has plenty of toilets, shower facilities and life guards.
You may want to take the Metro to "Vila Olympica" and stroll around the marina to the beach.
Alternatively you can take a short walk from either "Llacuna" or "Bogatell" Metro stops.
To escape the city, hop on a 20 minute train ride to Castelldefels beach.
This beach is loved by locals for its natural beauty and array of tasty restaurants nearby.
Castelldefels also has life guards on duty and basic facilities.
Get to "Av Granvia - Hospital de Bellvitge" train station in Barcelona, take the "L94" train to "Pg. de la Marina - carrer 14" and it’s a 7 minute walk to the sea.
Best food & drink in Barcelona
For beautiful up-market local dishes try RAO in the Gothic Quarter.
Here you will find high quality, authentic local dishes. Perfect for a romantic meal out. https://raobcn.com/
For affordable rustic Tapas try La Terraza. https://laterrazamirobcn.com/
To experience the fun of local finger food try Pinchos. These are tasty little bites, perfect for fussy eaters or those who like to try a bit of everything.
Try "Koska Taverna" found on Carrer de Blai, 8, 08004 Barcelona.
This area is host to plenty of Pinchos bars and is very lively in the evening.
The best Ice Cream in Barcelona can be found at Gocce di latte.
This may even be some of the best Gelato in the world.
Make sure you try the Crema Catalana flavour, a local favourite, and the Matcha which is my personal recommendation.
Be warned, there may be a queue, even late at night as this place is known by locals and savvy tourists alike.
Gocce di latte can be found at Pla de Palau, 4, bajo, 08003 Barcelona.
Best hotels and accommodation in Barcelona
Small rooms of four to six beds make this super clean and well-rated hostel an ideal option for groups.
Right in the centre of the city, it's just a 15 minute walk to the Sagrada Familia and not far from several metro stations.
This hostel offers great value and a chance to make new friends with great public spaces including a rooftop pool, free WiFi, a book swap and games, city tours and the staff are incredibly helpful too.
Featuring comfortable private ensuite rooms, sun-trap balconies and free WiFi, TV and air conditioning, the Hostalin Diptacio is one of the best budget options around.
It's within walking distance from some of the main attractions, with the Sagrada Familia only ten minutes away.
The knowledgeable staff here are more than happy to lend a helping hand with travel advice and maps.
Great central hotel with a metro stop right outside.
There's a modern rooftop bar and swimming pool, gym, free wifi, air conditioning, and comfortable bedrooms.
The Barcelona Universal is a comfortable and convenient base for exploring Barcelona by foot and metro.
Going all out? We recommend the Skyline Suites with a jacuzzi and private terrace.
Casa Fuster, built in 1908 at the end of Passeig De Gracia's designer shopping streets, provides a special opportunity to stay within some of Barcelona's famous luxury modernist architecture.
Relax at the rooftop terrace bar, taste works of art at the Michelin star Aleia restaurant, or chill out at the historic cafe and jazz club.
On the same street as Gaudí's famous Casa Batlló and Casa Mila.
Is Barcelona expensive?
Barcelona is not an expensive city by European standards but all those museum tickets can add up so be picky on which sights you visit.
You can save by eating at little bars and cafes as well as the food market stalls.
Avoid eating at busy main streets and convenient tourist restaurants like the ones on Las Ramblas.
Use the Metro instead of taxis to save your Euros and your feet.
Try mixing in some free activities like relaxing on the beach, exploring the smaller parks and wandering the tiny streets of the Gothic quarter.
Meal at budget restaurant
3 course mid-range meal for 2
Bottle of water
Bottle of mid-range wine
One-way transport ticket
Taxi per 1km
1 litre Petrol/Gas
With the biggest historical centre in Spain and settlements spanning back to 138BC there’s plenty to see and uncover in the beautiful city of Valencia.
Valencia is the home of Paella and is also known for Arròs negre, sometimes referred to as black rice.
You will also find plenty of Spanish favourites such as tapas and outstanding seafood.
Valencia is around 3 hours by train from Barcelona and a return trip can cost around €70.
See the picturesque views of the medieval city from Girona's Passeig de la Muralla old city walls and you may even catch a glimpse of some Game of Thrones filming locations.
There's plenty to do on a day trip from Barcelona including visiting the Banys Arabs Arab Baths from around €2 per ticket.
There's also an interactive cinema museum showing the history and old technology of cinema.
Girona is around 40 minutes by train from Barcelona and a return trip can cost around €30.
Getting to the city - how to get to Barcelona city centre from the Airport
The simplest way to get to Barcelona city centre from Barcelona BCN Airport is to take the R2 train from the station outside Terminal 2. The train goes all the way to the "Diagonal" train station and swap to the local metro which will cost around €5.
Alternatively you can take a taxi which will cost around €35.
Other public transport options include the L9 Metro link or the bus network including a night bus option.
Getting around by Metro
Barcelona's metro is super easy to use with plenty of stops by most of the main attractions and a colour coded system to help you understand where to go.
We recommend buying the T-Casual - a 10-trip ticket which costs around €12. Just scan in and out as you hop on and off the metro.
You can buy tickets from machines at the station using cash or card. Be aware that not all cards are accepted.
Getting around by taxi
The official cabs in Barcelona are black with yellow doors, with reasonable rates of around €1.30 per kilometer.
Taxi alternatives like Uber and bolt are also available, but check the apps before you go in case of any changes.
Map of Barcelona
See the most asked questions about Barcelona
Avoid long queues by ordering tickets online in advance.
Avoid spending too much time hanging around on Las Ramblas or outside big attractions as you will find over-prices low quality restaurants and pick pockets.
As always, be aware of your surrounding and avoid vulnerable situations like drinking and walking alone at night.
Avoid lots of walking in the midday sun in the summer and avoid the crowds by visiting outside of the peak season.
Don't let worrying ruin your trip, Barcelona is not a particularly dangerous city so have fun and enjoy.
Barcelona has plenty of fun and culture to offer all year round.
Peak season will be in July and August which means lots of crowds and potential heat waves with temperatures up to 40°C.
We think the best months to visit are April, May September and October as these months will be pleasantly warm but cool enough to go for walks and see the sights.
Even in winter temperatures reach 15°C and there are plenty of things to do.
The most visited place in Barcelona is the Sagrada Familia.
It passed a million annual visitors in 2021 - wow!
Don't miss the Sagrada Familia: See the sunlight pouring in through the colourful windows. See the towers disappearing into the clouds and the thousands of sculptures.
If you have a couple more hours, don't miss the Casa Batilo: Dreamed up by Gaudi and showing his genius designs.
We also love La Boqueria market: Pick up some food and souvenirs, sample a variety of local delicacies and mingle with the locals.
La Boqueria is Barcelona's famous market just off Las Ramblas.
This is a great place to pick up supplies or try some tapas and wine at the market stalls.
4 days or a long weekend is the perfect amount of time to spend in Barcelona.
But if you really love architecture, art, history, nightlife and beaches you could easily spend 10 days enjoying this big and well-connected city.
No. Barcelona is a big city with so many things to do.
However, you can get a good feel for Barcelona in one very busy day by visiting the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, La Boqueria market and stopping off at Barceloneta beach.
You will be missing out on beautiful views over the city from the hills or castle behind the city and plenty of other interesting sites.
While Las Ramblas has some big clubs and the Gothic Quarter has weird and wonderful bars and pubs, you might like to try the Eixample area for a good mix of bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants.
Here you can find both trendy and casual places to have a quick drink or to party until breakfast.
About the author
James and the team at Turtle Trip are seasoned travellers with experience in the travel industry. We've worked for major holiday booking sites, and have explored the world on foot for our own travels.
Our goal is to make travel accessible to everyone, by providing you with the most comprehensive and easy-to-digest guides about the destinations you’re traveling to.
We believe that planning a trip should be fun and exciting, not overwhelming, so, whether you’re a first-time traveler or a seasoned adventurer, we’ve got you covered.
We wrote this Turtle Trip guide to give you our best tips all in one place, so thanks for reading and have a great time!
James - Turtle Trip's founder