Barcelona Travel Blog: Table of Contents
Barcelona Travel Blog on C&C
Best Time To Visit Barcelona
Where to Sleep
Let’s Go For a Drink
What To See and Do
What to Do in Barcelona for 3 Days
Tipping in Barcelona
Common Scams & What to Avoid
C&C’s Google Map of the City
Barcelona Travel Blog: Where, How?
Barcelona. Spain. Southern Europe. Europe
Population: 1.604.555 (2015)
Currency: Euro (€)
Airport Notes: It is the second busiest airport in Spain, handling over 44 million passengers through 2 terminals. It is situated 12 km away from the city center and serves as a hub for Ryanair, Norwegian Air International, Air Nostrum and Vueling.
Transportation to-and-from the airport: The quickest way to reach the city center is to take Aerobús. Both terminals of the airport are connected to Barcelona’s subway network, and there is also a train station in Terminal 2.
Although Barcelona has bus and tram network, both locals and tourists prefer to take the subway instead. It is clean, punctual and provides a shelter from scorching heat during summer. If you don’t mind the temperature, go for a walk—the city center is much smaller than you think.
A Note on Taxis: Taxis and minibuses are available but expensive (about 30-40 euro to the center of the city). Airport transfers and taxis can be pre-booked online.
Just like anywhere, Uber is cheaper and safer. If you don’t already have an account, use this link and get 15 dollars off your first ride!
La Barceloneta is where you can find the beach closest to the city center. El Born is a place full of bars and nighttime attractions; it also hosts Picasso Museum and Ciutadella Park. Barri Gòtic is the oldest neighborhood in the city and retains some of the ‘true’ Barcelona’s atmosphere. Some of the best shops in Catalonia are located in Eixample. If you are looking for a quieter district, Vila de Gràcia, once a village that has been incorporated into the city, welcomes you—this is a place popular with artists and also where Gaudi’s Park Güell is.
Navigation tips: How to know where you are. (Is there a way at all?) Are streets built on a 90-degree angle? Exceptions? Is there a river, or mountain, to help know where you are?
More About Barcelona on C&C
- BARCELONA TAPAS BARS: SEVEN PLACES NOT TO MISS
- TOP 10 TRAVEL SCAMS TO WATCH OUT FOR
- FOR THESE HOTELS, ART IS MORE THAN DECORATION
- 9 CITIES TO VISIT FOR ARCHITECTURE LOVERS
Best Time To Visit Barcelona
Average Monthly Minimum And Maximum Temperatures
Average Monthly Hours Of Sunshine
Average Monthly Rainfall Or Snowfall
Barcelona Travel Blog: Personal Notes
What’s This Place About?
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia. It is a part of Spain, but it is also very much separated from the rest of Spain. It has its own culture, it has its own language, and it basically has a very different vibe from the rest of the country.
Most people will go there for the architecture, especially the Old Quarter and the Gothic Quarter. There are some absolutely wonderful, very old buildings there. Churches are one of the main attractions of this place, as is the food. The tapas of Barcelona, as well as a lot of its little quirks food-wise, make it a serious foodie destination.
Barcelona Travel Blog – What’s Great and Fun?
Art and architecture are probably the two most important tourist attractions. There are wonderful parks and different gaudy spots that are most sought-after by tourists. The La Sagrada Familia is still one of the number one tourist destinations in the world. There are a lot of diverse neighborhoods. Some of them are not as explored as others. That is why Barcelona is such a great place to discover. There are mandatory tourist destinations, but if you spend a month, two months, or a year there, you will still find new things to explore.
The last time that I was in Barcelona I was there to write an article for Air Transat’s blog, Experience Transat. That was a really, really good day for me and I will remember it for the rest of my life. I visited seven different restaurants in the same day and tasted so much fantastic food.
One of those places was Tickets, the tapas bar by the Adria brothers. There, I briefly met Albert Adria.
The food in this restaurant is whimsical and so is the theme of the place. I was very, very happy to have a taste of a few of the things they serve there.
One of the highlights for me was Estrella beer. At Tickets, they serve nitrogen-conditioned beer. It was the first time I ever tasted a nitrogen-conditioned blonde beer, and I must say that it was outstanding.
Barcelona Travel Blog: Where to Sleep
Barcelona is a large city and there are many different comfortable neighborhoods and hostels.
The most central and modern hostel is right on Plaça Reial and is called Kabul Party Hostel. Listen, if “party” is in the name, I suppose that you know what to expect. Its crowd is extremely young! But the location and modern amenities can’t be beat.
Of course there are many unique and spectacular hotels in Barcelona. Hotel Arts Barcelona is one of them. If you have the money for it… If not, go anyway, just to take a stroll around and see this stunning place!
The W Barcelona is probably the most expensive in the city. And it’s beautiful. Again, even if you don’t have the cash but love hotels – or want to see one of the most iconic architectural masterpieces ever – go check it out.
One more over-the-top überluxurious fancypants hotel? Ok. El Palace Hotel Barcelona. You wont believe it. It’s awesome and it’s a good thing to add to your What To Do In Barcelona For 3 Days itinerary!
Of course, there are dozens of beautiful places to visit… on the cheap. If you choose to use AirBnb, check out Barceloneta, a neighborhood where real people from Barcelona really live!
Barcelona Travel Blog: Let’s Eat!
Barcelona Travel Blog – Famous Foods and Specialties
- Tapas and/or pintxos – small dishes meant to be shared and had with a drink
- Crema Catalana – a dessert strikingly similar to crème brûlée
- Paella – a rice dish somewhat similar to risotto
- Patatas Bravas – fries
Barcelona Travel Blog – The Best Drunk Food – What To Do In Barcelona For 3 Days
- Deep-fried, whole sardines – eat them with the bones and all!
- Botifarra, the local pork sausage
Our Suggestions – Dishes and Restaurants
Barcelona is tapas town. Go on a tapas crawl! From one restaurant to the other, have a couple of dishes and a drink, then move on to the next. It’s the best way to experience Barcelona, and it’s the most fun you’ll ever have. Trust me.
I have written a complete guide to eating in Barcelona. Click here to read it!
In the above article, I detail many restaurants, yet if I were to chose one must-stop, it’d be Quimet i Quimet. This place serves superb wines. It is a little bit like a bodega. They have many, many different bottles everywhere on the walls.
Their specialty is tapas that come from cans. There is nothing specifically fresh in this restaurant. They will give you small bites and everything comes out of a can.
You will have the freshest possible seafood and caviar, the most delightful honey, and splendid quail eggs. Everything comes out of a can and it is surprisingly delectable. This is one of the “must-stop-bys” in the world.
Barcelona Travel Blog: Let’s Go For a Drink
What Do the Locals Drink?
Beer, gin & tonic, and vermut.
The locals are crazy about gin-tonics. They drink them out of gigantic stem glasses.
I am crazy about their red vermouth. I drink it on ice with olives stuffed with anchovies.
Drinking in Public
Drinking in public in Barcelona is prohibited.
Our Suggestions – Bars and Pubs
My very favourite bar in Barcelona – and top-5 in the world – is called Bar Marsella. It’s said to be the oldest, with an estimated opening year of 1820. It’s spectacular. The lighting, the decor, the whole ambiance… and, oh, yes, I forgot to mention that it’s an absinthe bar. Yes, there’s that, too.
Barcelona is famous for its numerous cocktail bars, attracting locals and tourists in large quantities.
Dry Martini (Carrer d’Aribau 162-166) is a legendary place, considered one of the best bars in the world and renowned for its dry martini. It is also quite expensive, obviously, though tipping in Spain is not as expensive as in other countries.
Psycho (Carrer de Piquer 27) is a rock ‘n’ roll themed bar, full of people of all ages just having fun and drinking. It is really close to Sala Apolo, where concerts are played, so you can plan your after party here!
Casa Almirall (Carrer de Joaquín Costa 33) was founded in 1860 and appears almost unchanged ever since! It is a really cozy venue with a bohemian feel to it, loved by tourists and locals alike.
El Vaso de Oro (Carrer de Balboa 6) provides no table for customers, making them swarm next to the counter, but it is all worth it! This place serves some of the best beer and tapas in the city.
As regular readers of this column know, I don’t know anything about clubs. Sorry!
Barcelona Travel Blog: What to See and Do
Barcelona is Gaudí’s playground. It features a great number of buildings designed by the famed architect, including the Sagrada Família, Park Güell and La Pedrera. Don’t forget the lesser known buildings by Gaudí like Palau Güell, Casa Batlló, Torre Bellesguard, and Casa Vicens.
Besides Gaudí’s work, there are other notable buildings designed by famous architects: Puig I Cadafalch’s Casa Amatller and the Palau de la Música, as well as Casa Lleó Morera by Domènech I Muntaner. Don’t miss out on them!
Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site is home to what used to be a hospital, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Architectural enthusiasts can admire the European Art Nouveau style design by Lluís Domènech I Montaner.
Parc de la Ciutadella and Parc de Joan Miró. Take a stroll around the city and through these parks
La Boquería is a well-known market in Barcelona, conveniently located on La Rambla, a bustling street filled with pickpockets – keep your belongings safe!
The Museu d’Historia de Barcelona gives you some insight on how the city looked like centuries ago. The Picasso Museum, dedicated to one of the greatest artists of all time, displays over 4.000 of his works, some of them gifted to the museum by Picasso himself!
Camp Nou is a must see, even if you are a Real Madrid fan. This is the biggest football stadium in Europe and one of the greatest clubs of all time – FC Barcelona – plays here.
Montjuïc is a hill located in the city center, serving as a nice viewpoint. It requires you to climb it, though, so if you aren’t in shape, the Barceló Raval Hotel‘s terrace offers you a great view in every direction. Castell de Montjuïc is at the top of the hill which was a former Military Museum, and is now turned into an International Peace Centre.
El Día de Sant Jordi, or Saint George’s Day, who happens to be patron saint of Catalonia, is celebrated on 23rd April. On that day, La Rambla becomes even more colorful as many flower stalls emerge – traditionally, guys buy flowers for the ladies they like.
Primavera Sound Festival is a very popular music festival for fans of alternative rock and dance, hosted in early summer. Big bands like Radiohead, Blur or The Pixies have played there before!
What To Do In Barcelona For 3 Days
There are so many things to do and places to visit in Barcelona that it can be overwhelming when planning a short trip. To help you, here is a guide for what to do in Barcelona for 3 days! Feel free to adjust this according to your preferences and time constraint.
Day One – What To Do In Barcelona For 3 Days
Visit the architectural monuments – Whether or not you are interested in architecture, Gaudí’s most famous designs are a must-visit while in Barcelona. Start the day by visiting the three major buildings: first Park Güell, then Sagrada Família, and finally La Pedrera. They are relatively close together and you can easily travel from one to another by subway.
Explore the city through Picasso’s eyes – After lunch, head to the Gothic Quarter and walk to 3 Carrer de la Mercè, where Picasso and his family lived. The building is no demolished but you can walk down the lanes that Picasso once frequented back in his time. From there you can walk 10 minutes to Museu Picasso to admire the various works of Picasso. If you fancy a rest afterwards, there is a cafe at Els Quatre Gats, where artists like Picasso and Salvador Dali used to get together. It’s also a great thing to add to your itinerary of What To Do In Barcelona For 3 Days!
End the day with tapas – Having tapas is Spanish people’s favorite form of socialising. Tapas bars often offer a free tapas with your first drink, so it is common for locals to jump from place to another to fill up on small places throughout the night. This is also a great way to try many different kinds of local delicacies at once.
Day Two – What To Do In Barcelona For 3 Days
Learn more about Barelona’s history and art – Barcelona is a city filled with culture and creativity. Other than admiring the architecture, visiting these museums and art galleries can help you expand your view of the city’s heritage. Visit Museu d’Historia de Barcelona and Museu Maritím for history; Fundació Joan Miró and Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya for art.
Climb up Montjuïc to watch the sunset – The climb up the hill takes roughly 30-40 minutes, but bear in mind that it is quite steep. If you are not up for walking, you can also take a scenic cable car up to the top, however this can be expensive. For a more affordable alternative, take the #150 bus up the hill then walk down on your way back. At the top, you can look around Castell de Montjuïc and enjoy the sunset from the viewpoint.
Day Three – What To Do In Barcelona For 3 Days
Tipping in Barcelona
Just like in most of Spain, whether or not to tip and how much to tip depends on the service. Around 7-10% of the total cost of the bill is a good amount if you do decide to tip.
Barcelona Travel Blog: Common Scams & What to Avoid
There are a lot of pickpockets and scammers on Las Ramblas. This is where they congregate because this is where tourists go. One of the most common scams is the “magician” or “trick” scam. A tourist will walk around, mostly on Las Ramblas, and stop in front of a street vendor or street amusement kiosk. There will be maybe a magic trick or one of those cup tricks where you need to find the marble under one of the cups. All of this is more-or-less legit. All of the tricks are actual tricks. The thing is that they use this as a diversion. You are focused on the hands of the person doing the slight-of-hand and then somebody comes behind you and grabs your wallet or whatever is in your pockets. Be very careful of that. Hold onto your bags at all times. Don’t get drunk because you become a target.
Be very careful on public transportation in Barcelona. Pickpockets are very active there and are looking to have physical contact with you. When they do, they or someone else will try to take whatever is in your bag or pocket.
Most crimes are non-violent. There are barely any muggings at all. It is a very safe place at night.
Not really. It’s a safe place.
For some reason, El Raval is a neighborhood with a bad reputation, but don’t give in to the paranoia. It’s perfectly safe.
READ MORE: Travel Canada Advisory for Spain.