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Things to do in Barcelona: sights, accommodation, restaurants and many other tips

7 September 2012 Spain, Things to do in 2 comments

Things to do in Barcelona: visit Colombus statue

As of today, I start a new series of articles that will help you find the best solutions for longer or shorter escapades throughout Europe. And the first city I’ve chosen is one of the nicest in Europe… so let’s see which are the things to do in Barcelona !

I don’t think I have to “sell” Barcelona too much. It certainly is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. After the black Franco period when Barcelona was punished because it sided with the socialists, Barcelona was reborn like the Phoenix bird after the 1992 Olympics – the great boulevards, but also the small charming alleys were redone and put at their value and soon afterwards Barcelona became the cool-town of not only Spain, but the whole Europe. Adding up the extraterrestrial football team FC Barcelona the proud capital of Catalonia is a city that cannot be missed…even if the Spanish authorities raised the airport taxes, annoying lots of airway companies.

When to visit Barcelona

During the summer it is very hot, although the Mediterranean wind sometimes eases the extreme temperatures. Winter can be very rainy so a spring’s end or a beginning of autumn is perfect! In August, you can find hotels with lowered prices because lots of the Barcelona people leave for holidays and there aren’t so many business trips.

How to get to Barcelona

By plane: There are plenty of airlines who connect Barcelona with the whole world. Although the choice of trans-continental flights is rather limited (only from Buenos Aires, Miami, New York, Tel Aviv, Bogota, Cairo, Dubai, Doha, Amman, Casablanca, Tunis) – they choose Madrid as main base, there is virtually no European country not connected directly with Barcelona, so the prices can be competitive.

The main low-cost carriers which can bring you to Barcelona from different corners of Europe for a couple of euros are: Norwegian (from Scandinavian destinations), Air Berlin (from Germany), Monarch Airlines (from UK), Jet2 (from UK), WizzAir (from different cities of Central Europe – Romania, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Lithuania), easyJet and Ryanair (from all over Europe), Blue Air (from Romania), Transavia (from Holland) and Germanwings (from Germany).

By train:

High speed trains were late to reach Barcelona. The Spanish version – AVE reached Barcelona only in 2008 (for perspective, Madrid – Seville route was opened in 1992 !) and the connection with France is in final stages. This will resolve a big problem of the Barcelona’s connection with Europe – it was pretty slow, also due to the difference in the rails gauge – Spain has a larger one vs. rest of Europe, probably, legacy of Franco period.

By bus

Countless buses connect Europe and Spain with Barcelona, however they can be handy only for short distances and places which are not reached by train. For example, it is the only public transport choice for Andorra. As you might expect, Barcelona is on the Eurolines map, connections being available for Spain, France and even more far away countries.

How to get from the airport to Barcelona downtown

There are train connections between the airport and the center of Barcelona (one reaches the Sants train station in 18 minutes), the ticket costs 3,15 Euros. The bus (line 46) goes all the way to Plaça Espanya, but there is also an Aerobus that goes to the Plaça Catalunya (more expensive). During the summer you can freeze in the Aerobus, so take some warm clothes with you.

How to travel within Barcelona

Although it is a metropolis with over 2 million inhabitants, you can visit Barcelona by foot. Still, if you feel the need for the public means of transportation the subway can be of huge help. A ticket costs 2 Euros, but you would better take a 10 tickets card at 9,25 Euros for area 1 where the bigger part of the tourist objectives lie. Obviously there are more companies that offer “hop on, hop off” tours at prices of 25 Euros or higher daily.

For some really memorable tours you can rent a Vespa with GPS or even cooler, a Segway (in this case it is a guided tour).

Top 5 things to do in Barcelona

From my point of view, Barcelona has tens of monuments that are worth visiting, so it is quite difficult to choose only 5… but I am trying .

  1. Sagrada Familia – the huge Cathedral designed by Gaudi, but unfinished after almost 100 years from the start of works (they were stopped some decades by the Civil War and the Franco regime) is the undeniable symbol of the city, that you must not miss.
  2. Gaudi circuit – Gaudi didn’t create only the Sagrada Familia, there are other places in the city where he left his unmistakable seal of his genius …Go down the Passeig del Gracia, the major boulevard in Barcelona and you’ll find the Batlló House and Milà House (or La Pedrera). Somewhere more towards the north, do not miss out on Park Guell, also a Gaudi work of art.
  3. Ride the cable car from the harbor to Montjuïc. Yes, there is a cable car in Barcelona. It leaves from near the Barceloneta beach, has a station at the end of Ramblas (where you can climb) and then it carries you on the hill that dominates Barcelona on the sea side…The view is truly incredible!
  4. Take a walk on Ramblas – unfortunately it isn’t a commercial street, the cars squeeze themselves next to the sidewalk, but c’est la vie … next to the really expensive cafes, you’ll enjoy all the clowns, “living statues” and other attractions of the area. Around it you’ll find also Tablao’s where you can enjoy a flamenco show (Tablao Flamenco is expensive, but you can find some others on the nearby streets)
  5. Barri Gotic – the ancient gothic district located two steps away from Ramblas. Don’t miss out on the Cathedral, the major gothic building of this region.

Where to sleep in Barcelona

The prices of the hotels and guests houses have risen a lot in Barcelona, so a lot of the tourists (especially if they come with a bigger crowd) find that the apartments are the best choice.

As hostels go, one of the best one is Barcelona Garden House Hostel  that offers double rooms at around 50 Euros or places in rooms with 6-8 beds at around 15-20 Euros. A bit more expensive is No Worries, but nice as well.

Another option is to use the Airbnb site in order to rent directly from people, lots of times living with them in the house. However, you get your own room and possibly your own bathroom.

If you are a bigger crowd, the best is to stay in an apartment. There are tens and hundreds of sites that offer apartments, I do not have any site to recommend, instead look closely at the location – it would be better to be located close to the central area or very close to a subway station!

Combine those amenities with Airbnb discount codes, and you can get a great place to stay at a great price.

Where to eat in Barcelona

Even if it is a bit more expensive, do not miss out on going one evening through the sea food restaurants area in Barceloneta. There are tens of restaurants offering paella, clams, crabs and other sea produces. Don’t be shy and ask for a discount because you can quickly receive – either a free mug of sangria, or a cheap clam . Otherwise, you can find restaurants on the Avenida del Parallel where the menu of the day costs around 9-10 Euros. Obviously, you’ll also find Turks or Moroccans that sell cheap Kebab or Greek Gyros. The tapas bars from the Eixample district can have some tapas (snacks) at reasonable prices. And let’s add also La Vaca Paca, an “all you can eat” restaurant for 10 – 15 euros smack on Passeig del Gracia !


Barcelona is known as the European capital of the pickpockets. Violent attacks are rare, but anyhow, avoid dark and empty area at night and be very careful with the things that you own, especially in very crowded tourist areas (like Ramblas). Personally, I never had any problem, but it is better to pay more attention than you would normally do.

Columbus’ Statue at the end of Ramblas, next to the sea. You can climb at the top for a nice panorama.

But the best panorama you will get from the cable car

Pictures of Barcelona:

Things to do in Barcelona: The statue of Columbus from Barcelona

Things to do in Barcelona: ride the Barcelona cable car from Barceloneta to Mont Juic

Things to do in Barcelona: walk Ramblas

Things to do in Barcelona: visit RamblasRamblas… a green bay in a sea of buildings

Sights of Barcelona: A flower shop on RamblasA flower shop on Ramblas

Things to do in Barcelona: Relax in the Royal SquareThe Royal Square

Things to do in Barcelona: visit Gaudi's Milla HouseMilla House

Things to do in Barcelona: see Praca EspanyaPraca Espanya

Things to do in Barcelona: visit the famous Sagrada FamiliaSagrada Familia as seen from up the hill

Things to do in Barcelona: Relax in Park Guell

Park Guell, Gaudi’s work of art


Până acum există "2 comentarii" la acest articol:

  1. Barcelona is such ana awesome place. Ive been there a couple of time and i have to say it very awesome :)

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