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!