Welcome to our Barcelona Guide
Immerse yourself in sizzling Catalan culture and absorb the relaxing Mediterranean beach life on your short break to Barcelona. Enjoy a beach break and a city break rolled into one and discover medieval romance in its gothic quarter, the golden sands of Barceloneta, the amazing art nouveau architecture of Gaudi in the Sagrada Famillia and don’t miss the stunning views from Parc Guell and Castel Monjuic. Indulge in delicious Catalan cuisine, including fresh seafood paella on the Barceloneta beach front, creative fine-dining in the area of L’Eixample and tasty tapas in trendy El Born district.
Barcelona is a shopper’s paradise! With everything from independent boutiques to exclusive designer stores it’s impossible to leave without a few souvenirs. Whether you’re after high-fashion shoes, Mediterranean home wares or the new Barcelona FC strip, you’ll be shopping til you drop.
You’ll be surprised to hear how easy it is to get to and around the city. Wander round on foot along the many picturesque pedestrianised squares and avenues and hop from place to place on the simple Metro system. There’s always something going on in the city, from fiestas to football, so check out our Barcelona events listings to see what’s on during your visit. Our Barcelona Guide is bursting with inside knowledge, recommendations and travel tips to ensure your trip to Barcelona is unforgettable.
Must do's by day
Marvel at Sagrada Familia's architecture.
Tour the awesome Nou Camp Football Stadium.
See 3,000 works of art at the Picasso Museum.
Must do's by night
Eat out in a traditional Spanish Tapas Bar.
The Magic Fountain of Montjuic is a must see.
Dance the night away at a Flamenco show.
Travelling to Barcelona
With a flight time of around 2 hours from the UK, by far the quickest and easiest way to reach Barcelona is by air. Barcelona El Prat International Airport is located just 7 miles south-west of the city.
Barcelona is serviced by two railway stations, the main Barcelona train station is Estació Sants which is the city’s main rail hub providing access across Spain via the AVE high-speed train. Barcelona also has a second train station the Estació França which is next to the Parc de la Ciutadella. Both stations have excellent links to the city’s metro system.
If you are planning to drive to Barcelona, you can drive from the South of France on the main road down the coast on the E-15 to Barcelona. From the North you can drive from Valencia on the E-15. If you are driving from Madrid the E-90 will take you to and from Barcelona.
Easyjet, Jet2, Ryan Air and FlyMonarch all fly into Barcelona from UK regional airports on a daily basis. Once at the airport there are numerous ways to get to your hotel including the Aerobus which runs regularly to and from the city centre.
Getting Around in Barcelona
Barcelona centre is not as big as you may think, so pick up a street map and try getting around on foot for a while. You'll be surprised how quick and easy it is. Once you are tired of all the walking there are 3 main ways you can explore the city.
There is a clean and efficient bus service that serves Barcelona centre. With 100 different bus routes, buses in Barcelona cover a distance of over 900km around the city and ten surrounding cities.
An affordable 15 minute taxi journey will cost you around 10€. Official Barcelona Taxis are yellow and black and a green illuminated light on the top indicates it's available for hire. But remember that most of the city centre is pedestrianised.
Barcelona has a clean, punctual, air-conditioned metro system that will take you to most of the major sites. It is especially useful in the summer when it can be too hot to walk. This is the most economical way to travel in the city.
Getting to Barcelona
Situated on the beautiful North-Eastern tip of Spain, the city of Barcelona is on the coast and close to the French border meaning you can experience both a vibrant city and sparkling sandy beaches in one fantastic destination.
The easiest, fastest and most popular way to travel to Barcelona is by air, with an average UK flight time of just 2 hours. The Barcelona El Prat International Airport is located just 7 miles South-West of the city and has various transport options to bring you to the centre of Barcelona.
Barcelona is also accessible by road from the UK across routes across Europe.
Top 3 Travel Tips
- Both T1 and T2 offer an Aerobus Express bus service to Barcelona city centre. It is a cheap and reliable option costing only €9.75 for a return
- Don’t get ripped off: the average cost of a taxi from the airport to the city centre is about €25.00. Use this price as a benchmark for negotiation
- Going by car? Why not leave your car at the long stay car park at Barcelona airport for €10.95 per day and then hop on the Aerobus Express?
There’s never been a better time to visit Barcelona by rail as a new high speed link between Perpignan and Figueres takes a considerable 1.5hrs off the journey time. The train link goes from London St Pancras to Barcelona’s Estacio de Franca station via one change in Paris. The average journey time is around 15 hours, but if you’ve got the time to spare, it could cost you considerably less than flying.
The main train station in Barcelona is Estacio Sants which provides further access across Spain via the AVE high speed train.
Driving to Barcelona from the UK requires taking a ferry from Dover to Calais, driving down the length of central France until you reach the South coast. Located on the northern tip of Spain, Barcelona is just a short drive away from the South of France down the coast on the E-15. The average journey time from London is 14 hours (but be sure to calculate the ferry crossing, breaks and over night stops into your journey time)
If you are driving from Madrid the E-90 will take you to and from Barcelona.
You can reach Barcelona from nearly all UK regional airports, as well as London’s Heathrow, Gatwick and Stanstead, meaning it is within easy reach for all UK travellers in just 2 hours. Multiple flights leave each airport on a daily basis, giving you a flexible choice of arrival and departure times.
Flights to Barcelona can often be snapped up at bargain prices, especially with airline carriers such as EasyJet, Jet2, Ryanair and Fly Monarch. British Airways also fly to Barcelona Airport from most UK regional airports.
Getting Around Barcelona
With cheap, efficient and reliable public transport methods, you can get around the city with ease. The underground Metro system is the city’s most popular form of public transport as it offers high speed and frequent links between all the major attractions and central areas. Alternative methods also include buses and taxis, which provide handy alternatives depending on your destination.
Barcelona is also home to Go Cars, a novel and fun attraction where tourists can explore the city in an open top mini car.
Top 3 Travel Tips
- For multiple journeys on the Metro a T10 travel pass allows you to take 10 single journeys for just €9.25 and are sold at every Metro ticket machine around the city.
- When getting a taxi, tipping is welcome but not obligatory. If you wish to tip your driver, tip something between 5-10% or simply round up your fare.
- Some taxi drivers don’t speak any English, so make sure you know your destination name in Catalan to avoid any miscommunication.
With 100 different bus routes, buses in Barcelona cover a distance of over 900km around the city and ten surrounding cities. Covering such a wide spread area means you can get just about anywhere via bus and depending on your destination, it can often be the most direct way of getting there. Open top tourist buses also circulate a route around the main sights and attractions providing a more leisurely experience. Tickets for these buses are valid on a hop-on-hop-off basis, so you can make multiple journeys with one ticket.
Many popular streets in Barcelona such as Las Ramblas are pedestrian only areas and the surrounding streets are narrow and often highly congested, so using a taxi for short central trips may not be the best method of transport. However, you will find a taxi around every corner in Barcelona as well as endless taxi ranks based around popular tourist and central areas.
Official Barcelona Taxis are yellow and black and a green illuminated light on the top of the Taxi indicates that they’re available for hire. All taxis in Barcelona are operated by a meter system and are cheaper than you might expect.
The Metro is extremely tourist friendly with clearly sign posted and colour coded wall maps at every entrance, ticket booth attendants, free maps and ticket machines that translate into English. All trains are air conditioned so also provide a welcome cool break from the hot Barcelona sun!
Trains run til 12pm on weeknights, 2am on Friday nights and run continuously through the night during the weekend. Prices start from €2.00 per journey but there are various money saving ticket options for multiple use.
By Go Car
These little two-seater open-top yellow cars are a fun way to explore Barcelona that takes you on a tour around the city following loudspeaker directions. The advanced GPS system delivers an informative audio tour, highlighting different sights as you drive through the streets of Barcelona.
You can choose between a variety of routes depending on which sights you want to see. The Go Cars can be parked in scooter spaces, meaning you can hop out and view the sights as you go.
For larger groups of more than two people, multiple cars can be hired for an adventure in convoy.
Shopping in Barcelona
With over 35,000 shops, Barcelona is a shopaholics paradise! The city boasts an endless selection of independent boutiques, designer stores, international brands and quaint traditional shops, offering a shopping experience that caters for every taste and budget.
Shopping in Barcelona is famous for its 5km shopping strip, which stretches all the way from the top of Las Ramblas, through Plaça de Catalunya along Passeig de Gràcia and up Avenue Diagonal. With much of the shopping strip and surrounding streets being pedestrianised, shoppers can wander by the shops with ease. The area has a buzzing atmosphere with plenty going on and is the perfect place to spend an afternoon shopping for souvenirs and watching the world go by.
La Manual Alpargatera - C. Avinyó, 7 - 08002 Barcelona
This unique little establishment is an Espadrille museum, active workshop and shop wrapped into one. Discover the history of the famous Catalan footwear that dates back to the 14th century and purchase a personalised pair as a souvenir.
Top 5 Spanish Shops in Barcelona
Bershka, Metro: Catalunya
Spain’s answer to H&M, popular with teens and twenty something’s filled with all the latest fashion at very reasonable prices
Sephora, Metro: Catalunya
The famous beauty emporium is a treasure trove of high end perfume, beauty products and immaculately presented sales assistants!
Zara, Metro: Catalunya
Shopping in Barcelona is not complete without a visit to one of the many ‘high-street-chic’ Zara stores.
Custo, Metro; Catalunya
A well known Spanish designer, popular for his use of colour and wacky designs. Prices are steep but the clothing is fabulous darling!
Pull & Bear, Metro: Catalunya
Pick up some Spanish style at trendy new Spanish clothing and accessories retailer for men, women and children.
Top 5 Gourmet Food Shops in Barcelona
Boqueria Market, Metro: Catalunya
Experience a colourful variety of Mediterranean cuisine including seafood and tapas at this unmissable Barcelona food market.
Bubo Bar, Metro: Jaume I
Famous for its mouth-wateringly delicious chocolate cake, don't miss this fantastic chocolatier and restaurant.
Vom FASS, Metro: Fontana
With an extraordinary array of speciality vinegars, this store is well worth a visit; be sure to bring home a bottle of balsamic.
Vila Viniteca, Metro: L4 Jaume
Browse amongst the collection of 4,500 traditional Spanish wines and pick out your favourite bottle to take home - all reasonably priced.
La Botifarrería de Santa María, Metro: L4 Jaume I
Check this place out for some delicious ‘Butifarras’ Catalan sausages, Jabugo ham and Spanish cheeses.
Top 5 Shopping Areas in Barcelona
Passieg de Gracia
One of the most famous streets in Barcelona home to famous luxury and high street brands alike. Get ready to spend!
One of the newest shopping centres in Barcelona, it has over 150 stores, cinemas and a food court. A Great choice for families.
A shopping neighborhood specialising in vintage clothing and unique international products from all over the world.
La Roca Village
An out-of-city-centre shopping outlet specialising in high-end brands at 60% off. Bus trips operate from Fabra I Puig station.
One of the trendiest neighbourhoods in Barcelona bursting with jewellery, clothing and footwear boutiques.
Eating out in Barcelona
Being a culinary infusion of French, Spanish and Mediterranean cuisines, it’s no wonder Catalan specialities are amazingly tasty. From gourmet dining to backstreet bars, Barcelona is a gastro-hub with endless dishes to try. If you enjoy al fresco dining, buzzing atmosphere, fresh ingredients and food cooked with TLC, Barcelona dining is for you.
Many Restaurants in Barcelona serve authentic Catalan tapas dishes, which are hot and cold small plates designed to be shared. Tapas dishes feature seafood, meats, cheeses, salads and more. Be sure to try ‘Alioli’, the Catalan equivalent of garlic mayonnaise, and the ‘Pan y Tomates’, fresh bread infused with olive oil and fresh tomatoes.
Euskal Etxea Taberna, Placeta Montcada, 1 08003 Barcelona
This trendy eatery is a massive hit with the locals and serves Northern Spain’s version of tapas; Pinxto. The cuisine has become a bit of a trend in Barcelona and offers a fun twist on the traditional tapas plates.
Top 5 Romantic Restaurants in Barcelona
Arenal, Playa de la Barceloneta, 08003 Barcelona
An al fresco candlelit restaurant serving delicious seafood and wine right on the beach. It doesn’t get more romantic than this!
Da Greco, Passeig de Gracia 116, Barcelona
Dine in an elegant and formal atmosphere with luxurious decor in this authentic Italian restaurant
Casa Delfin, Passeig del Born 36, 08003 Barcelona
Good, honest home cooked Catalan cuisine located in a quaint square in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona.
Cal Pep, Placa de les Olles 8, 08003 Barcelona
If you’re willing to queue, you’ll be in for some seriously good seafood. It’s worth the wait we promise!
Fonda Espanya, Sant Pau 9, 08001 Barcelona
Indulge in sumptuous Spanish cuisine in the decadent dining room of Fonda Espanya. Absorb the atmosphere with a bottle of wine and good company.
Top 5 Family Restaurants in Barcelona
El Jardi Terrace and Tapas Bar, Carrer de l'Hospital 56, Barcelona
A small outdoor terrace restaurant hidden away in an interior garden in the Boqueria market of the Gothic area. Great for peace of mind with kids.
Hard Rock Café, Barcelona; Pl. Catalunya, 21, Barcelona
Kids will love a visit to this world-famous restaurant chain, serving American and tex-mex dishes along with some Rock and Roll! Kids menus available.
Poble Espanyol, Av. Marques de Comillas, 13, Barcelona
Enjoy this courtyard restaurant serving pizzas, crepes and tapas in Montjuic, a safe car free zone. Family activities organised every Sunday.
Happy Bar & Grill, Rbla. de Catalunya, 13, Barcelona
Spacious restaurant near Plaza Catalunya serving a menu of salads, pizzas, nachos, pastas and ice creams. High chairs available.
La Paradeta, Sagrada Familia
A family-friendly seafood chain with lots of tasty fresh fish - their huge platters are perfect after a long day of sightseeing.
Top 5 Tapas Restaurants in Barcelona
Cerveceria Catalana, C/ Mallorca, 236, 08008 Barcelona
A real tapas education! Choose from a wide range of creative and delicious tapas dishes featuring seafood, meats, cheeses and more.
Ciudad Condal, Rambla de Catalunya, 18, Barcelona
This bustling restaurant is a Barcelona highlight for any foodie, serving some of the best Tapas in the city.
Bar Canete, Calle de la Unio 17, | 08001, Barcelona
Don’t be put off by its back street location close to La Ramblas, this Catalan tapas bar is hidden gem which many tourists don’t know about.
Petit Jet Lag, Carrer de la Dagueria, 12 Barrio: Barri Gòtic, Barcelona
Quirky and friendly little tapas bar decorated with an aviation theme. Excellent value at just €3-4 per plate.
Las Empas; Francisco Giner 6, 08012 Barcelona
This place is famous for its Empanadas, a Latin deep fried pastry crammed with delicious savory fillings. Excellent value and lovely atmosphere.
Barcelona is a city that never sleeps. The Spaniards eat late, drink late and go out very late and come nightfall the city becomes a hub of buzzing activity that cannot be missed. Young adults, old couples and large families all emerge for their evening fiesta and you feel a real sense of community on the streets. It wouldn’t look out of place to have the youngsters still up at 1am, so do as the Catalans do and make the most of the afternoon siestas!
Top 10 Barcelona Nightlife
Sit back and be dazzled by the firey Catalan flamenco dancers at one of the many dance shows around the city such as El Tablao de Carmen or Los Tarantos.
Las Ramblas By Night
By night, Barcelona’s famous boulevard turns into a buzzing hive of street entertainment including dancers, live music and artists and is fun for all ages.
Take a stroll along the long beach promenade to the Port Olympic, where you can enjoy a chic cocktail by the sea and simply absorb the vibrant atmosphere til the early hours.
Jazz S' Club/Cafe
An excellent place to see live music and authentic flamenco, this club in the Ciutat Vella district is well worth the trip.
Located right on Port Vell, the IMAX cinema is a fun night out for all the family featuring aqua-themed 3D films.
The Grand Theatre of the Lyceum
Go high-brow with a night at Barcelona’s famous Opera venue right on Las Ramblas, showcasing Opera, Ballet and classical music. Tickets are surprisingly affordable.
The Magical Fountains of Montjuic
From 9.30pm- 11pm on weekends throughout October – May enjoy a beautiful show of lights, water and music. Best of all, it’s completely free!
Sala Montjuic Open Air Cinema
Between July and August head up to Montjuic hill and enjoy the city’s open air cinema in-between the old castle walls. Who cares if the films in Spanish, it’s all about the experience!
The El Born District
Take an evening stroll through the El Born district and discover the winding side streets, trendy shops and fantastic character. This place is bursting with atmosphere and shouldn’t be missed!
Gourmet Walking Tours
If you fancy meeting new people and exploring the city whilst sampling delicious tapas, get involved one of the various gourmet walking tours available around the city.
As you can probably imagine, there are no shortage of bars in Barcelona. Known for its vibrant nightlife, Barcelona’s watering holes include feature chic wine bars, buzzing cocktail bars, traditional public houses and everything inbetween. The Catalans savour and enjoy their drinks slowly and love nothing more to socialise in a trendy bar til the early hours of the morning.
Whether you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy a margherita on the beach as the sun goes down or you’re in search of Barcelona’s finest cava, you won’t have to look to far to find the perfect Bar in Barcelona.
Top 10 Barcelona Bars
El Xampanyet, Carrer Montcada 22, 08003 Barcelona
Serving speciality sparkling Catalan wine (cava), El Xampanyet is one of the coolest champagne bars in the city and is decorated with an eclectic range of antiques and artefacts.
El Quatre Gats, Carrer Montsió 3, 08002 Barcelona
This place is a famous artist’s hangout spot decked out with antique paintings, iron-wrought chandeliers and teak wood frames. Sip your favourite tipple at the vintage bar and enjoy live music.
Rubi Bar, Banys Vells, 6, 08003 Barcelona
Visitors flock to this bar for the delicious - and cheap - mojitos, but stay for the chilled-out, trendy ambience.
Caribbean Club, Sitges 5, Barcelona
Something of a hidden gem, this bar has some of the best cocktails in Barcelona and is popular with the locals and tourists alike.
Andu Wine Bar, Calle Correu Vell, 3, 08002 Barcelona
The perfect place to find a quiet corner and enjoy a good bottle of wine, Andu offers flickering candles, brick walls, low archways and a relaxing ambience.
Zahara, Passieg Joan de Borbo, Barcelona
The perfect spot for a sun downer, situated just off the beach this bar has an outdoor terrace and well priced cocktails. Look out for the novelty phones to order your drinks!
Miramelindo, Passeig de Born, 15 Barcelona
This classy bar is situated in the trendy El Borne area and is known around the city for its amazing moijitos.
Schilling Bar, Calle Ferran, 23, Barcelona
Located just off Las Ramblas, this vibrant bar comes alive at night welcoming a trendy and gay-friendly crowd. Watch out for the cocktail juggling waiters!
Ommsession, Carrer Rosselló, 265 08008 Barcelona
Chic design dominates this sophisticated lounge bar which is attached to the stylish Hotel Omm. Popular with locals and the fashion conscious.
London Bar, Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 34 08001 Barcelona
This historic bar was famously frequented by artist Picasso and writer Hemingway in their heydays and offers live music every night of the week.
Barcelona is brimming with cultural attractions and historical sites around every corner. Culture vultures will love getting lost in Gaudi’s wacky architecture and soaking up the lively atmosphere in Barcelona’s most popular areas. Visit Park Guell, Barcelona’s most colourful and crazy landscaped park designed by Gaudi and the Barcelona FC Nou Camp is a must for any sports fans. Go a little further afield and you will find Port Aventura and Illa Fantasita Water Park, great for families and the young at heart!
Attractions in Barcelona are spread around the whole city, meaning you will explore new areas with every sight you see.
Top 10 Barcelona Attractions
If you only have time to see one thing during your time in Barcelona, make sure it's this; prepare to be wowed by Gaudi's most famous piece of architectural magic.
One of the most stunning public parks in the world on a hill North of Gracia, where Gaudi turns his genius talent into colourful and wacky landscape gardening. A must see!
If the Sagrada Familia was Gaudi’s main course, this is his dessert. Step inside this magically distorted town house, completely renovated by Gaudi himself. Look out for the immense detailing and vivid colours.
Barcelona FC Nou Camp
Whether you’re a football fan or not, nobody can fail to admire the incredible atmosphere and unrivalled passion held within the Nou Camp, home to the most successful team in the world.
Barcelona’s most famous street is an attraction in itself, filled with street entertainers, busy outdoor cafes, artists, shops and bursting with European charm.
Situated 1.5 hours outside of Barcelona, PortAventura is home to the only 8-looped rollercoaster in the world and six fantasy worlds.
Based centrally within the grounds of the beautiful Parc Ciutadella, Barcelona Zoo is a haven of exotic animals, birds and reptiles just waiting to be discovered.
Sant Antoni Market
For a true taste of Barcelona, head to this popular food market and mingle with the locals. Peruse the colourful stalls and pick up a few local delicacies.
Montjuic and Castell de Montjuic
Hop on the cable car up to the beautiful mountain of Montjuic. Explore the village and visit the 18th century fortress for amazing views of the city and coastline.
Illa Fantasia Water Park
Splash out with a trip to one of Europe’s largest water parks. Just a 30 minute train ride outside of Barcelona, kids and adults alike will love this day out.