Is it your first trip to Barcelona? Then you are in the right place! I am giving you the essential Barcelona tips and let you know all the things you must prepare for your trip to Barcelona city.
These are all the things I always tell my friends when visiting Barcelona, so they are not the nice things you can do, we have many articles article about it:
- epic day trips from Barcelona
- must do in Barcelona
- what to do in Barcelona (even if it rains)
- hidden gems in Barcelona – please do not tell anyone!
In this article, you are finding the essential information.
Prepare your Barcelona trip
Here are all those things many people wished they knew before going to Barcelona during their first trip.
Small (and smart) tips that will make your trip easier. Cause the most important thing is that you have a blast in this cosmopolitan city. Are you ready?
1. Get your Park Güell Ticket
Park Güell is beautiful, and the views from thereto the city are also stunning. It is one of the main attractions in Barcelona.
Since summer 2016, visitors on the main area (where the famous Salamander is) have been restricted. Therefore, make sure you get your tickets in advance.
It is not possible to buy the tickets in the counter, at least not for the same moment.
In summer season, they get also sold out. Be smart and get your tickets online.
Tip: We recommend to avoid midday hours in summer season, as it will be quite hot.
2. Get your Sagrada Familia Ticket
Sagrada Familia is such an amazing cathedral (yes, it is a cathedral) which receives hundred of visitors per day.
I have witnessed 3 hours queues just to buy the tickets during summer season.
So if you do not want to invest your time in waiting on a queue, just get your tickets online. You can invest that time in tapas, right? The process is easy and you will skip the
TIP: Get also the audio guide to get some insight knowledge.
3. Stay in a safe and convenient area to get around
Barcelona is a big city, and has many different areas and neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods are better to be avoid, as you will find many pickpockets in that area, or even people trying to scam you.
We created a full guide on where to stay in Barcelona so you can have a good experience and simply enjoy the city. I wouldn’t like that you hate my beloved Barcelona, because it is such an amazing place.
Don’t let a bad decision ruin your experience!
4. Plan your Airport Transfer
This is not mandatory, but can solve many headaches. If you know you wanna go to Barcelona city by taxi or car, it will be cheaper if you find your airport city transfer beforehand.
If you don’t book it, no problem! There will be always a taxi at the airport door to bring you to your accommodation.
Prefer to use public transport? It is also a convenient option if you land during day time. Here I collected the last departures with public transport:
- Train: last departure from Terminal 2 is at 23:52.
- Rental car: check with your rental car the office location or meeting point.
- Taxis: just step outside the terminal and you will find them.
- Metro: last departure from Terminal 1 during the week is at 24:00.
- Bus: there are many different lines. Check the bus schedule here.
Note: there is a free shuttle between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 each 10 minutes. It will take you around 10-15 minutes to go from T1 to T2.
Read: Barcelona card review
5. Book your Cooking class beforehand
Barcelona is known for its food all around the world, and there is no better way to get to known the cuisine that to learn how to cook it yourself.
After a cooking class, you will be able to cook also the Spanish dishes once you are at home!
As there are many different cooking class offering different menus and experiences, we do recommend to do your research in advance, as well as book as soon as you know the dates.
The cooking classes have a limited attendants so, the sooner the better.
We totally recommend Barcelona kitchen cooking classes.
It is fun and a delicious meal is included. I must admit, the quality ingredients were superb.
5% discount for BCN Kitchen
The coupon code is
How to apply? It is very simple:
- Visit www.bcnkitchen.com
- choose your date and class
- apply the discount
6. Check if Barca is playing
The football team in Barcelona is well known everywhere. And we must confess, seeing the players life, even if you are not a football fan, is an awesome experience.
Check if Barca is playing and get your tickets to the stadium.
If you do not get any tickets and still want to experience the vibes, just go to the Camp Nou Stadium area and watch the football match in a bar nearby surrounded by the Barca fans.
7. Is there a special event? Go for it!
Barcelona is a city which offers many different events through the year.
Some of them:
- free concerts,
- outdoor theater along the city
- neighborhood festivals
- world wide congresses
- alternative markets
It is a good idea if you check in advance if there is any event while your stay in Barcelona. Then you will be able to plan better the activities you may wanna do.
We mention here some of the most known:
During the last week in September Barcelona celebrates its city party, and the full city offers plenty of free activities:
- light shows
- folk dances
- human towers
Be aware, Barcelona citizens have a bank holiday on the 24th September, meaning you will have more people on the streets and some shops will be closed.
Sonar festival it is one of the most famous festivals in the city. It offers electronic music in two different points of the city with entrance fee.
Also, due to this event, many discos and bars host special Dj’s.
If you are interested in attending the Sonar Festival, be aware it happens always around the second weekend in June. Tickets are sold out almost one year in advance, so… decide early if you wanna join it!
End of May/beginning of June, Primavera sound happens in The Forum area.
This festival is a 3 days event where many bands and groups around the world came to play. Some bars around the city, offers also special concerts and events.
The city is filled with music and good vibes.
Fiestas de Gràcia
During mid august, Gràcia, the bohemian neighborhood in Barcelona, celebrate their party.
During one week, their streets get decorated by the locals (they work all year long for that), and there are many community dinners, concerts,… on their streets.
Definitely a great experience!
8. Know the local customs
Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city, with many expats, visitors, and locals living in it. Nevertheless, there are some rules around the city and customs you might know in advance:
1. No bikini on the streets
it is forbidden to walk around the city in bikini and you might get a penalty. Keep it for the beach and that area. Do not wear swimming clothing around the city: if you are just in swimming clothing around the city, you won’t be able to go in the shops, cafes, restaurants… and you might get a penalty, as it is forbidden to wear only bikini/ swimsuit. Please wear clothes around the city.
2. Catalan is the official language, not Spanish
The official language is Catalan. Worry not! Everybody in Barcelona also speaks Spanish (and mostly English)
3. Força Barça!
The term „Barca“ only refers to the football team. Locals call our city „Barna“. Join us!
9. Be aware of pick pocketing
Pick-pocketing is a problem in Barcelona. It happens every day and the victims are mostly tourists.
Therefore, pay attention all the time on your belongings.
Here I list the areas where you should be specially careful:
Metro and metro stops
When in the metro, please don’t stay close to the doors. One common trick is to get the wallet just when doors are closing.
Also, when the metro is packed, pickpockets take advantage of the situation.
While you are watching some street art or amazed about the tricks shows, there is an organized band pick pocketing around the area, so please have all your belongings under control.
Do not leave your belongings unattended. Sorry, that means one of you must be with the belongings while the others are on the water.
You could ask some other tourist to have a look at your belongings while you go on the water.
10. Know how to get around
There are many different public transport companies in the city:
For those having few time in Barcelona, consider to get the Bus Turistic. It is a hop on- hop off bus with stops on the main attractions.
11. Drinking alcohol in Public is forbidden
Many people do it anyway and usually the police does not interfere. There are also many street vendors selling „Agua, Cola, Mojito,Beer“ on the beach and all around the city.
Those are actually illegal to buy from. However, we never heard any penalty story.
Just avoid to do it in front of the police.
12. Bring the clothing you need – according to season
Barcelona has different seasons so you will need different clothing depending on when your are traveling.
Winters are not so cold, but a jacket will be necessary.
Not ready for the temperature you are finding? You will find cheap clothes at Zara, H&M, Stradivarius, Natura, Bershka… You will find all these shops are around Plaza Catalunya area.
Check out our post about what to bring to Barcelona.
Summary of what to prepare before traveling to Barcelona your first time
See, 12 simple tips that will make your time in Barcelona much more enjoyable, will remove hassle from your holiday days and will make your trip perfect!
Wanna plan your Barcelona trip? We have plenty of them. Check out:
- Where to stay in Barcelona + complete neigbourhood guide
- The best paella restaurants in Barcelona
- 23 places to eat in Barcelona