Barcelona is one of the world’s major cities, a busy metropolis and a commercial, economic and cultural center as well as a center for modern and classic arts. It has a history dating back to the 3rd century BC and offers cozy streets and the opportunity to explore fantastic Spanish cuisine all while becoming familiar with the extraordinary lifestyle of the locals. You can choose to discover the city on foot or you can take a tourist bus or the metro – whichever you choose, you will be in for the holiday of a lifetime.
Where to Stay?
If you are a first time visitor to Barcelona, the best way to make the most of you stay is by choosing accommodation right in the middle of all the attraction. Central locations have excellent connections to means of public transport and allow you to explore the heart of the city on foot as well and they also offer you the comfort and the price you are looking for.
One of the best places to stay in Barcelona is Placa Catalunya, the city’s central square, an extraordinary meeting place of the old and the modern. You can find 5-star hotels in the square just as much as budget-priced, 2-star facilities and it is also one of the central hubs of public transport in the city.
Choosing a hotel in Las Ramblas is another excellent choice – the beautiful, busy district is located in the center of Barcelona as well and it makes the perfect choice for those who are looking for a way to explore not only tourist attractions, but also a way to tap into the energy of the city and sample its nightlife.
If you are looking for a quiet place to stay and you prefer to relax and enjoy the unique atmosphere of old buildings, choose the Gothic Quarter. Full of winding, narrow streets, the Gothic Quarter is best explored on foot, but public transport is excellent in the city, so you can easily get anywhere from this neighborhoods as well.
Where to Eat?
Barcelona is famous not only as a center for the culture and the arts, but also for its cuisine. Whether it is fish and seafood, Mediterranean cuisine, tapas or fine dining that you are looking for, Barcelona has it all.
If you want to know what traditional Spanish food is really like, you should not miss a visit to La Boqueria, Barcelona’s best and most famous marketplace – you will be first of all astonished to see the richness of the produce offered by merchants and you will be in for an extraordinary, authentic meal as well.
Placa Reial in the Gothic Quarter is another great place to eat – full of restaurants, cafes and bars, including, of course, tapas bars. Fine dining is more at home in the Eixample, a district with special architecture located between Ciutat Vella, the old city and the districts that used to be smaller towns and villages surrounding the city center, but have been attached to the city.
Whichever you choose, don’t forget that most places serve lunch between 2pm and 4pm and dinner is available between 9pm and 11pm. Many restaurants are closed on Sunday evenings.
What to Do?
Whether you can afford to spend on getting around or you are a budget, Barcelona has a lot to offer. Simply walking around costs you no money, but gives you an idea of how extraordinary life in Spain is. You can also go on a hop-on hop-off tour of the city – there are plenty of tourist buses to choose from.
Visitors interested in arts and architecture will not be disappointment either – you can visit the extraordinary Sagrada Familia Cathedral, you can visit other masterpieces by Gaudi, Joan Miro and Picasso.
Barcelona is surrounded by natural splendors waiting for you – you can go for a swim in the crystal water by visiting one of the city’s beaches or you can go on a cable car tour to explore the city panorama from above.
City Explorers Tip
The Barceloneta beach is famous not only for its soft, golden sand and clear blue waters – it is also a place where you can see bands play and listen to live music, so if you like Catalan music, the Barceloneta is the best place to catch a concert for free.
A Day Off the Beaten Path
Barcelona offers so much to see and do that you can create a different itinerary for each day during your stay and never go to the same place twice, so here is just one sample of a possible plan.
To be able to do a lot and see a lot, you first of all need a copious breakfast. Pop into the Brunch & Cake in the Eixample and have some eggs or a salad to fill up with energy. When you finished your breakfast and your coffee, it is time to buckle up. Get yourself a T10 ticket and take bus nr. 24 from Passeig de Garcia to Parc Guell, a large park where you can see Antonio Gaudi’s most amazing work.
If you are in the heart of the Old City, you can continue to La Boqueria market and grab a pound of the world’s most extraordinary ham or pick an exquisite bottle of wine. As you go straight on, you will have the chance to see some of the most popular attractions of the city – Placa de Catalunya and La Rambla will lay out all their beauties for you and at the end of the road you can explore the beauties of Gaudi’s greatest creation, the Sagrada Familia Cathedral.
If you are tired after all this walking and you are ready for another culinary adventure, look around for a tapas bar around you. Restaurante Tossa is famous for its varied and delicious croquettes and tapas that suit Spanish and international tastes as well.
After your meal, it is time for a siesta. When you feel sufficiently rested, you can head to the beach. Go on foot if you think you can do with a little bit of exercise or choose public transport – be prepared for a longish walk or catch the yellow line metro and get to the beach in half an hour. All beach areas are full of restaurants and bars, so you can choose to chill out on a sun bed, watching the waves, then you can have dinner, maybe even grab a cerveza (beer).
If you stay in the city center, the city will show you a completely different face as you are approaching your hotel or hostel – Barcelona is well-known for its nightlife, so if you want to end your day dancing, you will have plenty of opportunities.