Excited? You should be, there’s a lot to explore.
We are keen to share here our best insider tips to spend One Week or simply a weekend in Barcelona.
Our full guide covers:
- Basic Introduction
- Where to stay in Barcelona
- How to get around
- What to see in Barcelona
- Things to do in Barcelona
- Tickets you have to buy before – must read
- Food and Restaurants
- Day Trips from Barcelona
- Itinerary for Barcelona
- Packing List
- City Map
Barcelona, home of Gaudi and our home.
It is one of the most popular travel destinations worldwide. And it offers almost everything.
From rich cuisine to luxury experiences like sailing with a city view – unique and memorable travel experiences are ensured for everyone coming over.
We love Barcelona for its variety, flair, culture, food, but most of all: The fantastic and unique mixture of having a beach, and an artsy world-city in one place!
Walk with us through the narrowed streets of El Born until we find our most favorite coffee in town.
So you can plan and spend a perfect vacation week!
Reading the following 3 articles is the perfect starting point:
1. Basic Introduction
We want to start with a simple intro to the things you need to know before coming to Barcelona.
Currency: EUR (€)
Language Spoken: Catalan and Spanish are the official languages. Many shop owners and bartenders speak as well as English, especially in downtown Barcelona. The younger generation of Barcelonins usually speaks solid English too.
Population: 1.7 million
Known for: Modernism Architecture by Antoine Gaudi and other masterminds. Food and Wine. Catalan Culture. Football Club FC Barcelona.
Accommodation: The city is loaded with great luxury hotels to middle-ranging hotels, beach hotels, and budget hostels. You can also find very good apartments.
Find more details in our where to stay in Barcelona section below.
Public Transport: The best way to get around is the Metro, bus and bikes. The city center around El Born and Gothic Quarter is great to walk. The bus and metro are very well connected. More under how to get around. The Barcelona Card is also a great option; it is basically an all-you-can-ride ticket for public transport.
Read my review of Barcelona Card here.
Safety: Barcelona is a very safe city except for pick-pocketing. There is little to no violence when stealing, but pick-pocketing is a big problem.
Especially the area around Las Ramblas, Beaches and the metro are hot spots where you have to pay extra attention. Some thieves are really well experienced, and can easily steal your purse by “bumping into you by accident”. As long as you pay attention, you will be ok.
City name: The city’s name is Barcelona, Barcino or Barna for short. The nickname “Barca” actually refers to the football club FC Barcelona.
Electricity: 230V/50Hz (European plug). Remember to pack your travel plug adapter.
2. Where to stay in Barcelona
Barcelona is a big city with many distinctive districts.
The old quarter is the downtown city center as well as the touristic highlight, while Gracia is the bohemian neighborhood, popular among artists, students, and expats.
It can be very confusing, we knew that. This is why we wrote a detailed yet simple guide with the best places to stay in Barcelona. We created handy maps for you as well.
Read: our overview on where to stay in Barcelona.
We describe all districts in detail and give a handpicked recommendation for all type of visitors.
In a nutshell, our recommendations are:
- Families: Durlet Beach Apartments
- Couples: Hotel Mercer Barcelona
- Luxury Traveler: Hotel 1898
- Design lovers: Casa Bonay
- Gorgeous Airbnb: cute Airbnb in the city center
- Groups: Aspasios Las Ramblas Apartments
- Solo-Traveller – Casa Gracia
- Nightlife Traveller: H10 Marina Hotel
- On a low budget: Barcelona Central Garden
Here we cover all neighborhoods, and for which type of traveler we recommend the areas and hotels.
Our detailed guide overview on where to stay in Barcelona covers everything you need to know!
Interested in boutique hotels? Read this guide of comparing the 29 best boutique hotels in Barcelona compared.
More on a budget or solo-traveler? Then simply compare all cool hostels in Barcelona; from cheap to absolute fun and luxury hostels.
3. How to get around
So, we have your accommodation set, now let us get out and explore. We wrote a full, detailed guide on how to get around Barcelona.
Here is the transport options in a nutshell. For details info, please check the full guide.
Best for sightseeing: The easiest way to get around and see the main sights is the popular Hop on – Hop off Bus.
The bus has 3 different routes that take you anywhere between Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, City Center and the beach.
Check more in for Hop on – Hop off Bus here.
Barcelona Card: The Barcelona Card is also a great option. It includes transport for 48 hours or more, and offers discounts to attractions and alternative Museums.
Read my review of Barcelona Card here.
Public transport: Public transport in Barcelona is very well organized! You have plenty of buses to get around as well as the metro.
There is a metro every 3-4 minutes; making it a super efficient and fast way to get around Barcelona. You can check Omio.com for rates and train schedules.
Bikes: Another great way I love to get around Paris is by bike. There are public bikes you can use. Here’s more info about the bikes.
Scooter: My personal favorite is the scooter, very common and convenient. Scooter rentals start from 20€/ 2 hours or 40€ for the whole day.
Read my full guide on scooter rental in Barcelona.
Walking: The city center around El Born and Gothic Quarter is very walk-able and does not require any transport.
Taxi: Taxis are everywhere, all around the city. UBER is not very common and partially even illegal. Since taxis are more expensive than the well connected public transport, we do not really recommend it. However, at night taxis are a solid option. The taxi drivers are really well drivers here, and I never had a single bad experience. Many taxi drivers even speak English.
Boat: It seems to be a myth, but getting around Barcelona by boat is not possible. Due to obvious reasons. You can take however a boat and sailing trip; I highly recommend that. Check our guide to luxury things to do in Barcelona.
4. What to see in Barcelona – The Must-Do’s
What to see in Barcelona? A very good question!
There is a lot of things that you should consider adding your list. Yet, there is a few absolute MUST-VISITs you cannot miss at all.
Some of them require a previous booking to either skip the huge line or to enter at all.
The Must Do’s are:
- Enter Sagrada Familia (get your SKIP the LINE ticket here)
- Get your ticket to Park Güell beforehand (otherwise, you cannot enter the main area)
- Walk Las Ramblas
- Get lost in the Gothic Quarter
- Walk the famous Passeig de Gracia
- Enter Casa Batllo or Casa Mila
More great sights to see in Barcelona are:
- La Catedral
- Barceloneta Neighborhood
- Gracia Neighborhood
- El Born Neighborhood
- Plaza Espanya and the Magic Fountain Show
- Montjuic Castle
- Camp Nou Stadium and Musem of FC Barcelona
- Picasso Museum
- Parc de la Ciutadella
- Arc de Triomf
- Boqueria Market
- La Palau de la Música
5. Things to do in Barcelona
When Barcelonins say their city has it all, well, there is no way to disagree.
From the beach to the mountain, from surfing to snowboarding, from Mediterranean food to one of the best football clubs in the world.
We collected for you a great list of cool Things To Do in Barcelona:
- 54 romantic things to do in Barcelona for couples and 1st dates
- 59 FREE Things to do in Barcelona including live concerts, museums, and sunsets.
- 18 LUXURY Things to do in Barcelona like Champagne Sunset Sailing
- 23 Fun things to do in Barcelona at Night
Here are more ideas:
- Sunbath at the Barceloneta beach
- Wander through La Boqueria Market
- Eat Tapas
- Join a cooking class
- Join a bike tour
- Watch a football match of Barca in the stadium
6. Tickets you have to buy before (Must Read)
I sincerely hope you are reading this section carefully! It will make a difference.
This is important so you actually can enter the places you would love to see from the inside.
There are exactly 2 tickets you have to buy beforehand:
- Sagrada Familia
- Park Güell
- Optional: Football Match of FC Barcelona
- Optional: Book a Private Sailing Boat
My best recommendation: You can also join the Complete Gaudi Tour by Take Walks. You will enter Park Güell, Casa Batllo and even Sagrada Familia with a tower access.
The tour takes around 5 hours and is a group of max 15 people (usually less!). This is the best option for experiencing the genius work of the architect Antoni Gaudi.
The tour guides around Alessia know so many fun facts and history around the buildings and Gaudi! 100% recommended!
I recommend buying your tickets directly at Get Your Guide.com, it is a great, reliable website for buying entrances to sights and museums. Here’s my guide and review of Get Your Guide.
6.1 Sagrada Familia Tickets
The Sagrada Familia usually has long queues, and in summer you can wait up to 2 hours in the sun. Not very pleasant.
Even if you want to challenge your luck to see if there is no queue, keep in mind the towers.
You can actually enter the towers of Sagrada Familia as well.
But, only when you bought a special ticket for them! The towers cost extra and are limited to a certain amount of visitors per day – for obvious reasons.
The towers are sold out easily. Therefore, check your days as soon as you have your travel dates fix.
My preferred way to book is Get Your Guide.
Good question: Is it actually worth it to enter Sagrada Familia? Yes, 100%. The inside is magnificent and the details put into the inside are exceptional.
Again, my best recommendation: You can also join the Complete Gaudi Tour by Take Walks. You will enter Park Güell, Casa Batllo and even Sagrada Familia with a tower access.
When booking the complete Gaudi Tour, Take Walks takes care about your tickets! So you only need to book directly with them, show up at the meeting point and join the guided tour!
Important: Always check which type of ticket you are about to purchase. There is different types such as:
- Skip The Line Ticket to enter Sagrada Familia
- Skip The Line Ticket to enter Sagrada Familia + Climbing a Tower
- Guided Tour for Sagrada Familia only
- Tour for Sagrada Famila + Climbing a Tower
- Guided Tour for Sagrada Familia + Park Güell
Please pay attention! My recommendation still is Complete Gaudi Tour by Take Walks.
6.2 Park Güell Tickets
The main area of the beautiful Park Güell requires a ticket, while 80% of the huge park is still free.
However, you want to see the beautiful salamander (the “dragon”), the columns and the beautiful, colorful broken-tiles design by Gaudi (called Trencadis).
Every 30 minutes there is a new time slot for visitors to enter. You cannot show up and ask for a ticket.
I mean, you could. I did this once. The answer was “tomorrow there’s a free ticket at 9 am“.
Therefore, get a ticket as soon as you have your dates fixed.
Is it worth it to enter Park Güell? Yes, it absolutely is worth it!
Good question: Can you enter Park Güell for free?
Right before the whole park closes, the main area of Park Güell is “open for public”. You have here around 20 minutes to see the area, and many many people come here. I would not recommend doing this at all. It is not very enjoyable as there are way too many people.
Best is to get your ticket in advance and actually enjoy it. For only around $10 it is definitely worth it!
Yet again, my top tip: Join the Complete Gaudi Tour by Take Walks. You will enter Park Güell, Casa Batllo and even Sagrada Familia with tower access.
6.3 Optional: FC Barcelona Football Match
When you are in town and interested in watching a football match live in the stadium, you need to check the official website of fcbarcelona.com.
The fan shops around the city also sell tickets to the matches. It is worth it to have a look at least if you are into football.
Tickets to FC Barcelona can start from as little as 15€ for a Copa del Rey Match (League cup) up to 1.000€ for a Clasico Match against Real Madrid.
Here’s a guide about El Clasico with its history and how to get tickets.
If you are interested, but there is no match taking place, you can always enter the Camp Nou Museum.
I have been there too, it was super interesting and impressive. All the trophies, the stadium, the history. I loved it!
You can buy your ticket online or at the desk in front; I have never heard the Museum was sold out.
My personal Experience: I went to endless games of Barca – it is always awesome! I invited my brother to see Museum and Stadium Tour since no match took place. It was fun and very impressive!
My recommendation: If you or your children are into football, the Museum is an absolute must-visit!
6.4 Optional: Book a Private Sailing Boat
Personally, I LOVE sailing. And since Barcelona has this beautiful Mediterranean coast line, you can charter your own private sailing boat all year around.
Barcelonasailboats.com offers such custom and private tours.
Enjoy an amazing private boat trip with your partner, family and friends. Appreciate the full skyline of Barcelona from the sea, jump in the water and enjoy snacks, your own music and drinks.
What I like most about Barcelona Sail Boats is the flexibility. You can pretty much ask anything you’d like to do and Joan, the owner, will adapt to it. Do you prefer swimming in a specific area, enjoy the views with your own music and a drink in your hand?
How to book? Contact Barcelonasailboats.com to prices and available dates. You can send them an email too, they reply super fast.
Prices start from 240€ per group.
7. Food & Restaurants
Okay, we admit it: we love cafés!
No wonder we needed to set up our favorite cafés and hipster bars in a blog post about Barcelona.
Find all 13 best coffee shops in Barcelona here.
Brunch, lunch, dinner? We collected our favorite 11 best restaurants in Barcelona. There is an authentic cuisine to enjoy.
Find here the 23 best places to eat in Barcelona.
Food Guide: our 9 favorite places to get the best Paella in Barcelona (handpicked and visited in person!).
Would you like to take a Paella Cooking Class? I can only recommend it; it is pure fun!
Here is my recommendations:
- Get a 5% discount for BCN Kitchen, a local cooking class
It is the class I joined back in 2017! It is usually a small group of 8 people max, and quite cosy!
8. Day Trips from Barcelona
We love Barcelona as well as we love day tours to get out of the city!
We did so many day trips!
Here are all of our favorites. Whether you want to do some canyoning, chill at some hidden beaches, old villages, or even snowboarding.
Here is our full list of epic 33 day trips from Barcelona.
How to do the day trips? There is 3 options:
Our detailed articles on special day trips from Barcelona:
- Montserrat Monastery and how to get there
- Waikiki Beach a paradise beach near Barcelona
- Dali Museum, Girona and Medieval Besalu – Day Trip to explore Catalonia
9. Itinerary for 7 days
Yes, we know Barcelona as we are living here since 2011.
That is why we know what are the must do Barcelona experiences that you have to check from your bucket list.
Here is a quick summary:
1 Day in Barcelona
You will be booking both sights for a specific time slot, so do not be late.
My best recommendation still is: Take the Complete Gaudi Tour by Take Walks. They book all tickets for you and you have a fantastic guide!
On your way from Sagrada Familia to Park Güell, you will walk by many local tapas bars and other restaurants. I recommend walking up from Sagrada Familia to Park Güell.
Take the route to cross the district of Gracia and get inspired by the many tiny art and boutique shops. Here I would stop for lunch. There is many great restaurants around Plaza del Sol and Plaza del Diamant.
2 Day in Barcelona
On our second day, we visit Arc de Triomf and Park de la Ciutadella. Wander around the park, maybe even have a picnic here. There is also a small lake in the park, you can rent a boat here too.
Next, we will head to the El Born neighborhood for wandering through the district of El Born all the way to the Gothic Quarter. Make sure you walk through Passeig del Born; my absolute favorite street here.
Save enough space for the Tapas bar you will run into along the walk.
A very special tapas place I enjoy is the “La Luna Restaurant” in El Born.
Nearby you have as well the famous Picasso Museum. Is it worth it to visit the Picasso Museum? Oh yes, it really is.
Plan about 2-3 hours here. But you can also do it in around 60-90 minutes.
3 Day in Barcelona
Let us get out of the city for a half day trip to Montserrat Mountain for hiking and visiting the famous Monastery with its black Madonna. Bring adequate shoes with you and be ready to take one of the steepest cable cars in Spain all the way up to the mountain.
Here’s our guide on how to get to Montserrat Monastery and tours available.
Come back from Montserrat and go straight to the Boqueria Market for tapas and a fresh smoothie or fruit salad.
4 Day in Barcelona
After a day of hiking, I would say we deserve a beach day! It is your vacation after all so you definitely have to plan at least one entire day to just sit at the beach and do nothing.
Well, nothing would mean swimming, having a cocktail at the beach bar, and even have a Paella there. After all, we need to save energy for the next days trip.
You can even try to Stand Up Paddle Surf too. It is fun!
5 Day in Barcelona
Starting in the early morning, we head for a day trip to the Museum of Dali in Figueras and then hit the beaches at Costa Brava.
My best recommendation would be to actually join a Kayak Tour along the Costa Brava. The easiest way to get to Costa Brava is by car or an organized tour.
Another perfect day trip is visiting the Dali Museum in Figueras and the two medieval towns of Girona and Besalu. The tour is organized by Take Walks.
6 Day in Barcelona
Optional, since you are 7 days in Barcelona, I would extend my Costa Brava stay to 2 days.
This way you will stay overnight. When you are on your own with a car, I recommend sleeping in the medieval town of Pals; it is gorgeous! For the next morning, there are several beaches nearby.
For car rental, I recommend Discover Car Hire.
If you want to head back to the city already, then I would spend another half day on the beach, but this time Bogatell Beach.
This is the beach where the locals enjoy the sun and sea, play volleyball and mingle.
7 Day in Barcelona
For our last day, I would soak in the vibes of Gracia district, walk all the way down of Passeig de Gracia to El Raval and Gothic Quarter.
This walk takes you along Casa Mila, Casa Batllo, and other beautiful Modernism buildings.
For our last night we take a bus all the way up to Tibidabo mountain, the tiny version of the Jesus Christ figure in Rio de Janeiro (it is super tiny compared…). From here you have a beautiful panoramic view of the city and the sunset over the mountains.
Make sure you check the bus schedule to go back.
10. Packing List
There is a few things we recommend for your packing list Barcelona.
- Travel plug adapter
- Beach Towel
- Money Belt
- Sun Cream
- Conversation guide in Spanish and/or Catalan
- Portable Charger
Optional but always useful:
11. Printed Guides & Map
These guides are best for the ones looking for a printed version.
Once you come to Barna, you will also receive a paper map of the city.
- Lonely Planet Guide for Barcelona
- Rick Steves Pocket Guide for Barcelona
- A Scavenger Hunt Adventure – Travel Guide for Kids for Barcelona
Here is again our map of Barcelona with the recommended hotels and neighborhoods.
Last but not least, please find below all our articles about the Catalan capital.
We are keen to share here our best insider tips for Barcelona. We introduce you to the different neighborhoods, unique experiences, and restaurants and coffee shops to enjoy your day.<