Experience the most beautiful parts of the Catalan capital
It’s located in the north-east of Spain, directly by the beautiful Mediterranean, and is the second largest city in the country. We are, of course, talking about the enchanting Spanish city of Barcelona, which is often referred to as the ‘city of Gaudis’. Tourists are always attracted to this unique destination, as Barcelona has a lot to offer.
From history and culture, to beaches and cuisine, to shopping and partying – Barcelona is simply a city of endless possibilities. First-time visitors usually don’t know where to look, because a new, fascinating photo opportunity awaits you around every corner. If you’re also planning a trip to this wonderful city, then I have some fantastic tips for you. But truth be told, there’s so much to see in this city, that a single trip is simply not enough. Every time I visit this city, something new fascinates me. Each time I go, I discover a new hidden gem.
Tips for Barcelona – The city of many possibilities
Getting to Barcelona is very easy. Dublin & Cork fly direct for a very good price. Depending on the airline, as well as travel period, return flights are available from just €50. There are great hotels in Barcelona on every corner. If you’re looking for something special, I’d recommend a hotel with a rooftop pool. You can come here and relax after your tour of Barcelona and enjoy the magnificent view over the roofs of the city.
Guru-tip: In Barcelona, there is so much to see. But you can skip the queues if you book tickets for your excursions before your trip, from the comfort of your own home!
Attractions in Barcelona – highlights of the city
In Barcelona, historical buildings meet modern futuristic buildings. What at first sounds very contrasting, does, in fact, give this magical city a special flair. When you dart from one attraction to the next in the big cities, you should be fairly relaxed. If you stroll through the city, you’ll gather your first impressions, and simply enjoy it more. Because there are so many sights in this impulsive city with 1.6 million inhabitants, there are also many smaller, more relaxed places here.
The best place to start your tour is at the famous Placa de Catalunya. This is the link between the old town and the new town, right in the heart of Barcelona. And another super tip to discover as much of the city as possible in a short amount of time – if you get the Barcelona Card, you’ll receive numerous discounts and free entrance to various sights, as well as the use of public transport for free. So you’ll save a lot of time and money! I’ll now show you which sights are definitely not to be missed in the second largest city in Spain!
Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló and the colourful Parc Güell – we have to admit that most of us think of these three attractions when we think of Barcelona. They characterise the city like nothing else. So what’s so special about these particular attractions? All these sights originate from the famous Catalan architect and designer Antoni Gaudí, who is one of the most famous representatives of the 19th century ‘Modernisme’ art nouveau. These, as well as four other of Gaudí’s buildings, have been UNESCO world heritage sites for several years now.
First and foremost is, of course, the world-famous Sagrada Familia. This is the most famous landmark in the city, which is simply impossible to miss during your stay in Barcelona. This impressive architectural masterpiece is one of Gaudí’s most impressive buildings. It is, without doubt, one of the most visited sights in the city – despite the fact it was built more than 130 years ago. Not only does it have an enchanting front with elaborate detail, but it is also very impressive from the inside. Entrance is currently €15 per person (without a guide).
Also very popular is the Casa Batlló, which is one of the most famous and architecturally interesting buildings in Barcelona. It was reconstructed by Gaudí from 1904 to 1906, to adhere to the Modernisme style. His handwriting is clearly recognisable, particularly in the lower part of the house.
If you need a short break after visiting these two buildings, then there’s no place better than the wonderful Park Güell. This was also built by Gaudí. In this colourful park you’ll encounter other tourists, as well as many musicians and artists. Gaudí’s former residence, where he lived from 1906 to 1925, has now been transformed into a museum. Visitors can admire Gaudí’s furniture and drawings. Entrance to the park costs just €7 per person, and a trip to Gaudí’s house will cost you around €5.50. In addition to the impressive architecture with its colourful, imaginative ceramic mosaics, which you can admire in the park, you also have a great view over the rooftops of Barcelona. It’s now time to stroll, admire and enjoy. Marvellous!
Picasso & Co. – Museums in Barcelona
Not only will you find a multitude of world famous sights, but you’ll also find a lot of famous museums. One of these museums is, for example, the Museu Picasso, which mainly exhibits works from Pablo Picasso’s earlier days, as he spent several years of his youth in Barcelona. Another popular museum is the Museu de la Ciutat, which shows you the history of the city, on a total of three floors. Other popular museums which are worth seeing are the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya and the Museu del Futbol Club Barcelona.
The Magic Fountain at Placa Espanya
What is there to do in the evening in Barcelona? The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc of course! From 9 pm onwards, depending on the time of the year, you’ll be offered a breathtakingly beautiful show at this fountain, for absolutely free. Get off at Placa Espanya and walk towards the museum of Catalan art. There’s no way you can miss the fountain from here. When dusk begins to fall, a show of colours, music and water will cast a spell over you. Be there in good time, so that you can secure a good spot, because the show at the Magic Fountain is very popular with tourists!
Home of the Champions – Camp Nou tips
This club probably needs no introduction. Football fans among you, I probably don’t need to tell you, that a visit to the famous football stadium, the Camp Nou, is an absolute must, right? This doesn’t mean that you now have to spend goodness knows how much on a ticket for a game. Sure you can do that too, but a look behind the scenes of the biggest football stadium in Europe is definitely worthwhile. Not forgetting a trip to the museum, as previously mentioned. You can visit the players changing rooms, walk down the tunnel and look inside the pressroom, where press conferences for the managers and officials are held. To make this happen, simply book the ‘Camp Nou Stadium Tour‘ online. This ticket includes a museum visit as well as an audioguide. Tickets are €25 for adults and €20 for children aged between 6-13.
The Gothic Quarter
Returning to the topic of the city’s museums. Many of Barcelona’s most popular museums are located in Barri Gòtic, also known as Gothic Quarter. If you’re visiting one of these museums, such as the Museu Frederic Marès, you should definitely take the time to look at the oldest city district in Barcelona. Here you can stroll through many narrow, winding alleys, which characterise the cityscape of the Gothic Quarter. You can also admire the Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia and other historic buildings. Or in the evening, you could visit a few of the countless bars and pubs, which will lure you in for a drink or two.
Shopping in Barcelona – first shopping, then relaxation
Yes, the female readers among you are already probably getting excited. Of course, you can also shop until you drop in this crazy city. But fear not gents! You can go to the marvellous four-kilometre sandy beach after the shopping trip! Or alternatively, you can let your dear woman get her shopping done, and wait for her at the beach and enjoy the sunshine. There are also many beautiful bars to help pass the time. But back to the topic of ‘Shopping in Barcelona’. A shopping trip in Barcelona is very unique. Starting at the old port of Barcelona, Port Vell, you can walk along Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s most famous promenade, towards Placa de Catalunya.
But I’ll warn you in advance – this 1.3-kilometre stretch is simply amazing. This area of Barcelona has it all: from small and large boutiques to street artists to colourful and historical buildings. You’ll also pass the famous market, Mercat de la Boqueria, which offers all kinds of fresh food. It is a place where tourists clash with the everyday hustle and bustle of the locals. There is always something going on in this part of Barcelona. A small tip by the way: be very attentive with regard to your valuables! There can be a few pickpockets lurking around this area. But overall, Barcelona is one of the best shopping cities in Europe!
Relaxing at the beach
Well, after all that sightseeing and shopping – I hope it was a success – a little relaxation cannot hurt. As already mentioned, this ingenious city not only has a lot of breathtaking sights to offer, but also a 4-kilometre long sandy beach, which is divided into several sections. The beach section of Barceloneta is particularly popular. You can reach it from the end of the Ramblas on foot in around 25 minutes. Alternatively, you can also take the yellow L4 metro line, which albeit more comfortable, is not necessarily quicker.
My personal tip: a hop-on-hop-off tour of Barcelona is highly recommended. You can get on and off as often as you like, at any of the stops. So you can quickly get from A to B and explore the city’s top attractions. Alternatively, if the weather is good, I’d recommend a nice guided bike tour through Barcelona. You’ll be able to see the most important sights of the city, in a way which is beneficial to your health!
Breathtaking views from Montjuic and Tibidabo
For those of you who would like to admire the fascinating city from above, has the opportunity to do so, with Barcelona’s famous 173m-high hill, the Montjuic. In addition to the tremendous view of the city, you also have the opportunity to visit many exciting museums, and simply relax in one of the quiet parks. Once again, it’s time to stroll, admire and enjoy! If you do not want to climb on foot, you can also take the ‘Funicular de Montjuic’ or alternatively bus line 55.
You can get another sublime view of the city from the 520-metre high mountain, Tibidabo. It is the highest mountain in the Collserola mountain chain. In good weather, you can even see the famous Montserrat Monastery, which is located on the formidable 1236 metre high mountain of Montserrat. It is also a very popular excursion destination, which is just 75 minutes from the centre of Barcelona by car. You can reach Tibidabo via the L7 metro line, which takes you to Avinguda del Tibidabo. From here, you can take the 192 bus line or the cable car. From Playa de Catalunya, it takes about three-quarters of an hour, depending on the connection.
Barcelona in a day
I recently tested, whether it is possible to experience all of the attractions in Barcelona in one day. My conclusion: indeed it is possible, however you really should take your time to truly enjoy all of the sights. Two days are probably just about enough to get a good overview of this diverse city and its main attractions.
Simply indulge – the Catalan cuisine
There is so much to do in Barcelona: you’ll never run out of things to do. This city is unique and attracts tourists all year round, with its impressive buildings and great location by the beach. But if you really want to enjoy yourself here, you should definitely immerse yourself in the excellent cuisine of the Catalan capital. Always at the top of the menu is, unsurprisingly, Spanish tapas: small appetisers in the form of seafood, meat and vegetables. As accompaniments, there are usually delicious breads, dips and olive oil, as well as a delicious Spanish wine. Whether as a snack between meals or in larger quantity for dinner – you can’t go wrong with tapas. Popular tapas bars include La Txapela, a chain restaurant which can be found at several locations in Barcelona, Irati Taverna Basca and Quiemet & Quimet. Malamén-Bendita Bodega is also worth visiting. It is a small, inconspicuous tapas bar with a very friendly atmosphere, about a 20-minute walk south of Placa de Catalunya.
If you’d prefer a slightly larger and more hearty meal, then head to the Gothic Quarter! There are many restaurants here with traditional Catalan and Mediterranean cuisine. It is best to order from the specials board, or see what the locals are ordering, because then you’ll get to try some traditional Catalan food. For example, black rice with squid, grilled sausage with white beans, or even Catalan cannelloni stuffed with mincemeat and baked in béchamel sauce. My mouth is already beginning to water!
If you’re looking for a little entertainment during the evening, you should definitely visit one of the famous Flamenco shows in Barcelona. They can be booked from just €44, and also include dinner. If you want to go for a stroll after your meal, I’d recommend the popular Parc de la Ciutadella. It is a true haven for recreation seekers.
Nightlife in Barcelona – the best night of your life
We now come to the last, but for many, the most important aspect of Barcelona: the nightlife. If you have enough time, a night out in the colourful city of Barcelona is certainly not to be missed. For many, it is even the highlight of a trip to Barcelona. Important to know: most clubs in Barcelona don’t open until 12:00 am, but they are usually full by 2 am. This means that you should allow for plenty of time to spruce yourself up and enjoy a drink (or two).
Espit Chupitos is a very popular bar in the Gothic Quarter. It attracts a lot of party-goers due to its huge selection of shots and fire displays. Here you can try the craziest types of shots for just €2! If you prefer cocktails, the Negroni Cocktail Bar or the Bloody Mary Cocktail Lounge will be more to your taste. One thing’s for sure: it doesn’t matter where you go, as Barcelona has as many good bars, as it does impressive sights.
Guru Tip: If you plan to visit Barcelona in the summer, then combine your trip with a visit to the Festival Internacional de Benicàssim, or FIB for short. This will take place from the 13th to 16th July this year.Benicàssim is located on the coast between Barcelona and Valencia. This optimal location increases the
Benicàssim is located on the coast between Barcelona and Valencia. This optimal location increases the holiday factor of the indie, alternative and electro music festival. The line-up is also not bad, with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weeknd and Kasabian headlining.
So if you’re still in the mood to party after midnight and want to take to the dancefloor, head to the party hotspot of Port Olimpic. The trendy club, Pacha, with its popular DJ acts and Ibiza themed parties, is located here. It will make you feel as if you were in the middle of the Balearic Island! Sutton Club is somewhat more chic and extravagant. It is slightly more expensive, but has a unique atmosphere and music to suit all tastes. And if you don’t want to party far away from the centre, then Otto Zutz Club is recommended. Here you can expect good music on two floors, a stylish ambience and a friendly crowd. It is a club which is well suited for all music tastes, as well as all age groups.
As you can see, Barcelona is undoubtedly one of the most popular cities in the world. Whether cultural, historical or culinary – the capital of Catalonia is both fascinating and breathtaking in every sense. It is always worth a visit. Obviously, all of the city’s attractions cannot be summed up in just a few words. Nonetheless, I have tried to give you the best tips for Barcelona, so that you can become well acquainted with the colourful city! If you want to share any of your tips or experiences, then as always, get in touch!