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Barcelona

Transportation and Accommodations

Getting There

Barcelona is most easily accessed by plane. Its airport is the second largest in Spain, falling behind Madrid with a lot of flights from most European countries. Vueling is a budget Spanish airline that is often used when traveling to Barcelona.

Getting Around

Barcelona is a large city with many of the main sights quite spread out. The metro is the best way to get between locations. It is fairly easy to use, but stops running at midnight. The rest of the city stays alive until early hours in the morning so to go out, you will have to depend on taxis. Fortunately these are reasonably priced. Within the city, you can still walk around to explore after traveling by metro to the destination area. If planning to use the metro for more than just a few trips, consider buying a 10 ride pass. If traveling with a group, the same 10 ride pass can be used by multiple people so this can also be a more affordable way to travel.

Accommodations

In Barcelona, the key areas to be are Old City, Harbor/Barceloneta, Eixample, and Montjuic. Other nice neighborhoods to explore are Gracia, the Gothic Quarter, and Raval. Try to stay find accommodations in one of these areas to ensure a good home base location to enable you to visit the city and all it has to offer.

Things to do and see

La Sagrada Familia

Famous church architected by Gaudi where construction began around 1882 and the entire church is supposed to be completed around 2026. Tickets need to be reserved in advance to visit inside. Tickets to go into the church and climb the tower cost around 17.50. If the tower is closed when you visit due to wet conditions, you will get reimbursed for the cost of the tower visit.

Parc Guell

Gaudi’s famous mosaic benches can be found in Parc Guell along with the salamander and other tile structures. Tickets must be reserved in advance and cost 7 euros to enter the observation area, which includes the section with the benches. Ticket reservations are for a specific time slot so be sure to show up during your specified time.

Gaudi’s Houses

Antoni Gaudi is Barcelona’s famous architect and he created three houses in the city. These cities can be visited with a combination ticket or can be visited separately.

Casa Battlo

The exterior of this house is covered in colorful tiles and includes unique balconies at most of the windows

Casa Mila

The roof of this house is often photographed with its unique structures and accessible rooftop

Casa Vicens

The first house built by Gaudi with a green and white tiled exterior

La Boqueria Market

This is a large market on Las Ramblas, with little shops selling fruit, meats, candy, nuts and more. Most walk through and get some snacks.

Las Ramblas

This is one of Barcelona’s busiest streets so make sure to just stroll along it

Passeig de Gracias

Another one of Barcelona’s busy streets, this one is filled with lots of shops and there are great places to eat near this street

Magic Fountains show

Occurs near Plaza Mayor and there is a light and music show put on with the fountain at night. Make sure to look up the time and day when this occurs based on the season.

Montjuic

Area in Barcelona. We took the metro to a cable car and took the cable car up the mountain. We went inside the fort up there and had a great view over Barcelona.

Picasso museum

Located in the gothic district. It’s not very big but worth a quick stop inside. It is free for students

Beach

If it’s nice, definitely hit it up, just be extra careful with your stuff, pickpocketers are everywhere. Even if it’s not warm enough for a beach day, consider just checking it out and walking along it.

Cathedral of Barcelona

This is in the gothic district. We didn’t go inside but the outside is very nice!

Gothic district

Nice area to just wander through

FC Barcelona soccer game
Montestrast

Mountain just outside the city that you can hike for a view or go to the amusement park at the top

Food and Drink Recommendations

FOOD

Make sure to go out for an authentic tapas meal! If you’re with a group, have a few people order a 2-3 dishes that look goods and share them all. Then just order more of the ones that were good! Also try out some Churros con Chocolate

Brunch
Marmalade
Milk
Granja Petibo
Dinner
Taller de Tapas

In Passeig de Gracias area

Las Mananitas

Mexican food if you need a change

Cerveceria Catalana

In Passeig de Gracias area

Nightlife

Experience the nightlife: be ready for a long night. Barcelona just starts everything later. They sleep later, eat later (normal to have dinner at 10:30/11) and then go out later. You will likely not go to a bar until 12 and a club until 2 or 2:30, and from there, the time you leave is completely on you.

Opium

This is the big beach bar everyone talks about. It’s not as big inside as you’d expect, but it’s very cool and fun. I loved that it was on the beach. Be careful here, you can very easily get pickpocketed and the crowd can get sketchy. We found that it felt more like people visiting or studying there though.

Eclipse

A club on the top of the W hotel. This was more upscale and the crowd was older. But there is an awesome view of the beach and Barcelona

Shoko

Another beach club, right next to opium but smaller

Dow Jones

This is a really cool bar. It was run like the stock market so if a certain type of drink was bought a lot (demand for it was high), then the price went up. At some points the stock market would crash and everyone would race to the bar for cheap drinks.

Chiputos (aka shots)

This is a shot bar. The shots are 2.50 and definitely don’t have much alcohol but the shots are fun and cool. I did one called the Boy Scout where you roast a marshmallow, then stick it in your shot and then take the shot. I also did one where you light your finger on fire and eat the fire and the take the shot!

Other Notes

Be careful of pickpocketers. If you’re going to Barcelona, you probably already know that it is the pickpocketing capital of the world, but they’re not kidding. You have to have your guard up all the time, especially when in very touristy areas and out at night. I got my phone stolen, over 100 euros and my license and I like to think I’m fairly cautious.

Luggage storage: if you’re in a situation where you need to store your luggage somewhere during the day, we used the luggage lockers near Plaza Catalunya at a place called LockerBarcelona. It was very easy, cheap and worth it.