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.
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.
In Barcelona, the key areas to be are Old Town, Barceloneta, Eixample, and Montjuic. Other nice neighborhoods to explore are Gracia and the Gothic Quarter. Try to 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.
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. A church and tower climb ticket costs 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. The interior of the church is very different from most, filled with unique architecture and rainbow colored stained glass.
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.
Antoni Gaudi is Barcelona’s famous architect and he created three houses in the city. These houses can be visited with a combination ticket or can be visited separately.
The exterior of this house is covered in colorful tiles and includes unique balconies at most of the windows
The roof of this house is often photographed with its unique structures and accessible rooftop
The first house built by Gaudi with a green and white tiled exterior
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 as there are over 200 stands throughout the market.
This is one of Barcelona’s busiest streets so make sure to take a stroll down Las Ramblas. It is lined with bars, restaurants, shops and street artists and is always lively with people.
Another one of Barcelona’s busy streets, this one is filled with lots of shops and there are great places to eat nearby
Occurs near Plaza Mayor and hosts a light and music show with the fountain at night. Make sure to look up the time and day when this occurs based on the season.
Area in Barcelona where there is a cable car taking visitors up the mountain. The top provides a great view over Barcelona.
This museum holds many of Picasso’s pieces and is located in the Gothic district. The museum is not very big, making it an easy and quick stop. Visiting the museum is free for students.
If it’s nice, definitely check out the beach. Keep in mind that the beach area has some of the most frequent issues with pickpocketers.
Cathedral in the Gothic district
Nice area to just wander around in
Check out the home stadium for FC Barcelona. If you are lucky enough to be in town for a game, get out in the stands and watch one of the best soccer teams battle their opponents in their home stadium.
Mountain just outside the city that you can hike for a view or go to the amusement park at the top
Barcelona’s largest park
Great recovery brunch spot after a long night out with excellent food options and overall good restaurant vibes.
Part of the same family of restaurants as Milk, Marmalade is larger with brunch earlier in the day and then transforms into a bar and cocktail spot.
Great ambiance and brunch food options
For a quick bite or smoothie, stop in La Boqueria Market to find your food craving
While in Barcelona, make sure to go out for an authentic tapas meal. If you’re with a group, each person can pick 2 to 3 tapas that look tasty and then you’ll have a table full of options to share. If you’re still hungry, order more of the dishes your group liked the most or venture out and try something different. Be sure to also try Churros con Chocolate!
Tapas restaurant located in Passeig de Gracias area
Mexican food if you need a change from Spanish food
Spanish restaurant in Passeig de Gracias area
To fully experience the Barcelona nightlife, be ready for a night that does not stop until the early hours of the morning. Everything starts later in Barcelona, from dinner to bars to clubs. It is normal to have dinner around 10:30. After dinner, head straight to a bar and then around 2 or 3 am, venture out to the clubs.
This is the big beach bar everyone talks about. There is an inside area with music and a dance floor and some space outside since the club sits right on the beach. Be careful here, you can very easily get pickpocketed and the crowd can get sketchy. The club draws a lot of students and tourists, which draws in pickpocketers.
A club on the top of the W hotel with a great view of the beach and Barcelona. This was more upscale and the crowd was older.
Another beach club, right next to Opium but smaller
Fun bar that runs likes 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.
This is a shot bar and each shot is 2.50. The shots do not have much alcohol but are unique themes and fun for something different. There is one called the Boy Scout where you roast a marshmallow, then stick the roasted marshmallow in your shot and then take the shot. There is another where you light your finger on fire, eat the fire, and then take the shot!
Be very 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. Speaking from experience on this one as I got my phone, money and wallet stolen and tend to be a fairly cautious person.
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.
Transportation and Accommodations
Things to do and see
Food and Drinks