Gaudi park overlooking the city.
Park Güell
Barcelona

Barcelona is a city of boundless energy, tasty tapas, gothic architecture, and sun-drenched beaches. As the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona’s rich and unique culture permeates the city. Gaudi’s masterpieces, the many museums and the Gothic quarters give visitors a small taste of Spain’s expansive history. Make the most of Barcelona’s enviable lifestyle with the help of our travel guide.

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Places to stay

Barcelona has a variety of accommodation options for all budgets. If you’re looking to stay in the heart of the city, drop your bags in the Gothic quarter. The nooks and crannies of El Raval are fun to wander through during the day or night. El Born, in the old part of the city, is a maze of charming hotels and cobblestone alleyways. For sweeping views of the city and the sea, situate yourself in Gràcia. You won’t find many tourists here, but you will find easy access to Park Güell.

El Poblenou is an industrial beachside neighbourhood that couples mural-lined streets with eclectic nightlife. It’s the place to be if you want a vibrant hub that’s close to the beach and full of cool Airbnbs.

Even with endless beachside options to choose from, splashing out on a place with a pool is always worth it. Grand Hotel Central’s rooftop pool puts it high on the list of the coolest places to stay in town. If you’re on a budget, there is no better city than Barcelona to find awesome accommodation at a steal. With fancy touches and incredible service, hostels like Casa Gracia are often mistaken for hotels.

Things to do

Barcelona is a city best explored on foot. Beat the heat, and the crowds, with an early morning visit to the bustling La Boqueria market or head up the hill to see Gaudi’s impressive sculptural garden, Park Güell. Can’t get enough of Gaudi? Make sure you visit Gaudi’s greatest (unfinished) work, the Sagrada Familia. Beautifully gothic on the outside, while the inside is scaled in rainbow stained glass. If soccer is your preferred form of entertainment, score tickets to one of FC Barcelona’s home games at Camp Nou stadium. If more into shopping than sport, Santa Eulalia is a fashion institution for trendy Barcelonians.

To sample some of the city’s best food, seek out traditional Catalan dishes. Keep an eye out for regional specialities like Botifarra Amb Mongetes, a delicious dish of Catalan sausage with white beans, and the seafood stew, Suquet De Peix. While the traditional tastes of the region are exceptional, throw at least one high-end dining experience into. Tickets is a theatrical tapas restaurant where each plate is a mind-boggling piece of art. Once you’re done with dinner, head out into the balmy evening and enjoy one of the many al frescos or rooftop bars like local favourite, Senyor Vermut. I

f you manage to make it past midnight, venture to one of the many clubs that line the city’s Mediterranean shores like Pacha. If you’d prefer a jazz club over a mega one, visit Jamboree. Whether you want to do everything or nothing at all, Barcelona is a surreal place to enjoy some time in the sun.

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Festivals

A city that’s always partying, Barcelona is the place to be if you want to boogie down. Famed music festivals, like Sónar and Primavera Sound, are a must for gig lovers. During June, the city lights up with the bonfires and firework displays of Sant Joan. In August, the hilltop barrio of Gracia is filled with colourful decorations, food stalls and street parties for the week-long La Fiesta de Gràcia.

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A locals guide to ordering tapas dishes

Food and drink

Ranging from tiny tapas bars to Michelin-starred fine dining, Barcelona will keep your stomach full. Join one of Devour Barcelona’s small food tours to sample the city’s traditional fare, served with a side of history. La Plata is unassuming tapas joint, well-loved for its flash-fried anchovies and butifarra sausage. At Disfrutar, three former El Bulli chefs whip up playful and creative tasting menus and rinse it down with some vermouth at Morro Fi.

A locals guide to ordering tapas dishes
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Getting around

From the airport: there are four transportation options to get from Barcelona Airport (BCN) to the city centre of Barcelona - Plaça de Catalunya including train, metro, taxi and bus. The fastest option, around 20-30 minutes is a taxi costing around 40€ on the taximeter. Bus, train and metro tickets are inexpensive taking around 30-40 minutes to reach the city centre. 

In and around the city: the best way to see Barcelona is on foot, where you can take in the majestic architecture and watch the locals. For longer distances or a break from walking opt for metro. With stations every few streets, the lines will link you to all the major tourist destinations. Buy a Hola BCN! travel card which gives you unlimited journeys over two to five days.

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