12 things to prepare before coming to Barcelona

12 Things to prepare BEFORE coming to Barcelona

Is it your first trip to Barcelona? Then you are in the right place! I am giving you the essential Barcelona travel 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:

In this article, you are finding the essential information.

Prepare your Barcelona trip

Planning a trip to Barcelona? Here are all those things many people wished they knew before going to Barcelona during their first trip.

Small (and smart) Barcelona tips that will make your trip easier. Cause the most important thing is that you have a blast in this cosmopolitan city. Unlock the secrets of Barcelona with our tips for traveling in Barcelona and turn your trip into a fiesta of unforgettable adventures!

1. Get your Park Güell Ticket

Park Güell is a UNESCO World Heritage site in Barcelona. It is beautiful, and the views from thereto the city center 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.

Buy Park Güell tickets here

Tip: We recommend to avoid midday hours in summer season, as it will be quite hot.

Get your Park Güell Ticket

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 long queue.

Buy your Sagrada Familia Tickets here

Compare prices and tickets: Get Your Guide | Take Walks

TIP: Get also the audio guide to get some insight knowledge.

Get your Sagrada Familia Ticket

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!

Where to Stay in Barcelona for a first time visit? An insider's guide 2018

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. Cook your own Paella

We found the best cooking class in Barcelona to eat homemade paella. In fact, you will learn how to cook paella on your own, as well as tapas dishes. You’ll cook while enjoying a homemade sangria. Sounds good, right?

The guys from Stoke Travel offer a paella cooking class and market visit right in the heart of the city.

Prices start from 55€. Bon profit and bon appetit!=)

Fully booked? Check out this cooking class + Boqueria market tour.

Check Stoke Travel Cooking here

Cooking Class in Barcelona

6. Check if Barca is playing

The football team in Barcelona is famous worldwide, and trust us, watching the players in person is a fantastic experience, even if you’re not a die-hard soccer fan.

To make the most of your trip, first, check if Barca is playing, and if they are, try to snag some tickets to the stadium – the atmosphere is absolutely electric!

But, if you can’t get your hands on tickets and still want to soak up the excitement, just head over to the Camp Nou Stadium area and catch the game at a lively bar nearby, surrounded by enthusiastic Barca fans. It’s a fun way to be part of the action and enjoy the city’s football vibes.

Visit the camp nou in Barcelona

7. Is there a special event? Go for it!

Barcelona is a city that hosts a wide array of events all year round, making it a vibrant and dynamic place to explore. Some of the events you can look forward to include:

  • Free concerts, where you can enjoy live music from local and international artists in various iconic venues or beautiful parks.
  • Open-air theater performances throughout the city, providing a chance to experience dramatic arts in unique and picturesque settings.
  • Lively neighborhood festivals showcase the rich cultural diversity of the city, with parades, music, and delicious food.
  • International congresses, which attract professionals from various industries, providing opportunities for networking and learning.
  • Unique alternative markets, perfect for discovering handcrafted goods, vintage treasures, and delicious local cuisine.

No matter when you visit, you’re bound to find something exciting to attend, adding a special touch to your Barcelona experience. Keep an eye on local event calendars to ensure you don’t miss any of these memorable happenings.

Vintage market Barcelona special event

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:

La Mercè

During the last week in September Barcelona celebrates its city party, and the full city offers plenty of free activities:

  • concerts
  • light shows
  • folk dances
  • expositions
  • human towers
  • fireworks

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

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!

Primavera Sound

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!

Party in Barcelona

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!

Barcelona tips for your first visit

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.

Ramblas Area

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:

  • train,
  • metro,
  • bus,
  • ferrocaril…

No worries, it is easy to move, get to know how to get around Barcelona in detail here. Also, we wrote a full review about the Barcelona Card.

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.

Getting Around Barcelona

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.

Drinks on Barceloneta beach

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.


Here we share with you the most asked questions:

Is it necessary to buy Park Güell tickets in advance?

Yes, it's highly recommended to buy Park Güell tickets online in advance. Access to the main area, including the famous Salamander, is restricted, and tickets often sell out during the summer season.

How can I avoid long queues at Sagrada Familia?

Purchase your tickets online before your visit to skip the long queues at Sagrada Familia. This allows you to save time and enjoy this iconic attraction without the hassle of waiting in line.

How can I protect myself from pickpocketing while exploring Barcelona?

Be vigilant and keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded places like the metro and Ramblas area. Don't leave your belongings unattended on the beach. Consider using anti-theft measures like money belts or neck pouches.

Where can I learn to cook traditional Paella in Barcelona?

To learn the art of cooking traditional Paella, consider taking a cooking class. Stoke Travel offers a Paella cooking class and market visit in the heart of the city, where you can enjoy a hands-on experience.

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 other helpful guides and tips for visiting Barcelona. Check out more Barcelona travel guides:

Travel Europe Smarter in 2024

Safety: Travel Insurance
Hey Mondo and Safetywing are the best travel insurances.

Find better Flight Deals
Famous Skyscanner is the #1 tool to find great deals for flying to Europe.

Need a Guide?
Take Walks run small walking tours all over Europe. They offer high-quality walking tours with exceptional guides.

Need internet in Europe?
Unleash your mobile freedom in Europe with Airalo.com eSIM card with instant activation, comprehensive coverage, cost savings, and unmatched convenience, all in one tiny chip! More info and discount code here.

Reliable Car Rental
Discover Cars.com is a top website for renting cars. Read our full review.

More Money-Saving Travel websites

Check out our guide to the best 16 Travel Websites for Europe.
Bookmark this site; it will easily save you money using these recommended websites.

best Travel Sites for Europe