How do I get to the hotel from the airport? How can I find my way in the city where most signs are in Catalan? Where can I try the local cuisine? Where can I find the nightlife? What sort of risks does a tourist here run on his or her trip? In our “Advice” section we try to resolve these and other doubts that you might have. Our aim is to put your mind at rest so you can relax and just enjoy the holidays and our tours.
MAPS OF BARCELONA
The official map of the City of Barcelona, handy and simple, can be found here:aquí:
On this plan of the city you can also find information about traffic flow (important for those traveling by car), services and facilities (markets, malls, pharmacies, hospitals, hotels, etc ... to the places of worship of your religion). The subway map you can see on the website of the Barcelona metro, which also has all the necessary information about the metro: each line plan, schedules, fares etc. You can enlarge and/or print the plane. Here is the link:
How to get to the city centre from the airport?
The largest and most famous airport in the city is called Barcelona El Prat. Most flights bound for Barcelona land at this airport. The airport is about 15 kilometers away from the city and consists of two terminals, Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, located at a considerable distance from each other. This is particularly important when traveling from Barcelona: do not forget to specify, from which terminal your flight departs, to avoid mistakes and not waste time. Both terminals are quite large, so when leaving Barcelona we recommend arriving to the airport in plenty of time. If you arrive at Terminal 2, you are lucky: in the airport you can already find two works of art by contemporary artists, famous in Barcelona. One of them is this funny horse:
It is a work by the sculptor Fernando Botero, whose works can be seen in other cities, such as Santiago de Chile, Medellin, and may be in yours, too ;)
And, of course, we will show more work of this sculptor in the heart of Barcelona during our tours.
The other work is by Joan Miró, an artist born in Barcelona.
This is a painting on a wall of the airport. Other works of this famous Catalan artist are also included in our tours.
There are several options to get from the airport to downtown.
Option 1. In our view, the easiest and most practical is to take the Aerobús: (from € 5.90 per person):
There are two almost identical routes: A1 and A2, leaving respectively from Terminal 1 or Terminal 2 and both heading to Plaza Catalunya in the heart of Barcelona; respectively both leave from the same stop at Plaza Catalunya to terminals 1 and 2. It is important to remember if you plan to go back to the airport by the Aerobús: make sure you are boarding a bus to go to the terminal you need.
Both buses pass through Gran Via and Plaça Espanya, so if your hotel is in this area it might be more convenient for you to get off before Plaça Catalunya (see our maps of Barcelona).
The bus costs € 5.90 per person with luggage included one way, and € 10.20 round trip; the return ticket is valid for 15 days. Tickets are sold by the driver or a person in charge of controlling passenger traffic, who usually stays next to the bus. It is important to know that notes larger than 20 euros are not accepted, nor debit and credit cards! There is also a possibility of buying tickets online on the website of Airbus (see below).
The buses are quite large, comfortable and circulate all day. A trip from the airport to Plaça Catalunya takes between 25 and 45 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. Buses leave every 5-10 minutes from the airport every 10-20 minutes from downtown.
All this and more information you can find on the website of Airbus:
Option 2. Metro. (from € 4,50/person)
Recently, in the spring of 2016 a new metro line between the Prat airport and downtown was opened, Líne 9 Sud Lines. Prices, schedules and other information are well described on the website of El Prat airport:
This metro line does not reach the centre, so to get to your hotel you may need to change lines. Navigating the subway tunnels and stairs with heavy and large suitcases can be uncomfortable, although many metro stations have elevators.
However, this may be the best option if your hotel is located somewhere along the route the Metro Line 9 Sud.
Option 3. Rodalies commuter train. From € 1 per person (if you buy the ticket T10).
This train departs from Terminal 2, so if you arrive at Terminal 1 you will have to get on the free shuttle bus (http://www.aeropuertobarcelona-elprat.com/cast//bus-transito-lanzadera-terminales-barcelona.htm) coming out of Terminal 1 to 2 every 4-7 minutes during the day and every 20 minutes from midnight to 5 am. It takes about 5-7 minutes, and then, once inside the Terminal 2 follow the signs for "Renfe" until they leave the airport through a glazed tunnel directly to the train station.
The disadvantages of this option are:
- the trains run only every half hour and the journey to the centre takes about half an hour;
- it can be a bit tricky to find the train station, especially from Terminal 1 if you are carrying many suitcases.
But nevertheless, this option suits many people because the train passes Sants Estació and Passeig de Gràcia station (in the heart of Barcelona) station, so if your hotel is located near these stops, the train can be a very convenient option and also the cheapest of all.
Tickets can be bought at the entrance to the station and are also valid on other public transport of Barcelona. They should be validated in the ticket barriers at the entrance.
Here you can find some more detailed information:
Option 4. Taxi (cab). Expensive.
Usually taxis are plentiful and waiting at the airport exit (follow the signs Taxi or book one inside the terminal). A ride from the airport to downtown costs about € 30. The price depends on the distance and time of travel (ie, jams), since all taxis have a taximeter. You can pay by cash or card.
How to move around Barcelona.
Option 1. Walk.
Possible in the downtown, and is in fact the best way to explore the neighbourhoods of the Gothic, Raval and the Born. Other places of interest are further from the centre and from each other. Also don`t forget that a large part of the city is on the hills, so that walking there may be more difficult.
Option 2. By metro.
Barcelona`s metro is comfortable and not so expensive. Tickets can be bought at one of the vending machines found at the entrance to each station, or at the box office, and validated in the ticket barrier that can be found at the entrance to every station. You can pay with cash or plastic card. You have to choose a type of ticket (ie, the number of trips) and the number of tickets of this type that you want to buy (if for example you need tickets for the whole family).
Here comes the planning. Most of those tickets are also valid for buses, and each trip can last up to 1 hour and 15 minutes, regardless of how many buses and subway lines are used during that time. The price also depends on the area, but to visit the sights in the city of Barcelona tickets for Zone 1 should be enough.
The prices of the tickets most convenient for the tourists are:
Single ticket: € 2.15 per person. One journey is of 1 hour and 15 minutes for a person. If you plan to make more than 4 trips, or are a group of more than 4 people who want to make a trip, it will be cheaper to buy the T10 ticket.
Ticket T-10: it is multipersonal and is valid for 10 trips by 1 hour 15 minutes. It costs € 9.95, so each trip will cost only € 1.
Zone 1 one day ticket costs € 7.60 euros and allows using any bus, tram or subway within Zone 1 for 1 day.
Ticket T-50/30 Zone 1 is individual, costs € 42 euros and allows a person to make 50 journeys on the metro, bus or tram for 30 days.
For more fares and information check the Web site of the Barcelona metro:
Monday to Thursday: 5:00 - 24:00 h
Friday: 5:00am to 2:00 am
Saturday: 05:00 am – without closure *
Sunday: without closure * - 24:00
*Continuous service all night until the closing time on the next day.
Dec. 24: 5:00 to 23:00 h
Eves of public holidays: 5:00 to 2:00 am
Public holidays: 5:00 - 24:00 h
Other nights with Continuous service:
- Night of Sant Joan, from 23 to 24 June.
- Fiestas de Gràcia, 15 to 16 August.
- Celebrations of Mercè (Virgin of Mercy), from 19 to 20 September.
- The Mercé (Virgin of Mercy), from 23 to 24 September.
- New Years Eve, December 31st to January 1.
*Continuous service all night until the closing time the next day.
Keep the previously validated ticket ready to hand all the way: ticket inspector can ask to show the validated ticket at any time.
Option 3. Bus or tram.
A one-trip ticket can be purchased from the driver when boarding the bus, or in metro (see the Metro option). Board the bus through the front door, validate the ticket (mandatory, if a ticket inspector asks you show a ticket and if it is not validated, the fine is € 100), and get off through the rear doors. If a group of people uses a group ticket (such as the Ticket T-10), they have to validate as many times as many people are traveling, if the ticket allows that (the T10 does).
There are day and night buses circulating in the city. To find out more about the lines, timetable and other conditions and even download some applications that facilitate using public transport visit the official website of public transport in Barcelona:
Option 4. Bicycle.
There are many companies that rent bikes in the downtown for a moderate price. Although it is almost impossible to get around by bicycle in the old town, to take a bike ride along the coast or in the park of the Citadel it is very nice. It is also convenient for exploring the Eixample (Eixample), as there are many bike lanes in the city. We also invite you to our bike tour.
Option 5. Taxi (cab).
It is quite expensive and not always suitable for moving in the old town, but it can serve to visit remote corners of the city or to get back to the hotel at night after a spree or late dinner. All taxis have meters or taximeters, and the price depends on the distance travelled and the length of time of a journey, plus a couple of euros to be added for night service. Barcelona taxis are safe and reliable. All oficial taxis in Barcelona look like this one:
They stop on request if they are empty, but you can also call a taxi company, and the car usually comes in about 5-15 minutes.
Here are some taxi companies of Barcelona:
Option 6. By your own car or motorbike.
If you choose to travel by car, note that it can be difficult to find parking in the city centre. Indeed, there are plenty of places to park a motorcycle. The municipality of Barcelona offers a good map of traffic and parking on their website:
Overall, Barcelona is a fairly safe city, unless you go to certain districts such as areas near the river Besos - Sant Adria del Besos, north of Barcelona, or the neighborhood of Barrio de Sant Cosme El Prat de Llobregat, or the Belvitge neighbourhood in Hospitalet de Llobregat, in the south of the city. At night, the downtown area (Ciutat Vella, Gothic, Born, Drassanes) and specifically the Raval area can be a bit rough and there may be pickpockets. You also should be careful in the area of Port Olympic clubs at night and watch your belongings while sunbathing on the beach. The greatest dangers to tourists in Barcelona are the pickpockets. Most of these are immigrants, and they are more active on public transport and in the touristic areas, in cafes and restaurants, in the markets. Therefore we advise NOT having much money and all your cards and documents on you - or if it is necessary, hide them as far as you can in different and the most secret pockets. Algunos barrios de Barcelona pueden ser algo peligroso en ciertos días, cuando por ejemplo ocurren algunos disturbios sociales. Para saber de estos, hay que seguir las noticias locales o simplemente evitar los sitios donde haya mucha gente agitada y mucha policía. Like anywhere else, some neighbourhoods of Barcelona can be dangerous when there are mass gathering which could become violent. Simply avoid places where you notice lots of people and police, or mentioned on the news in connection with some disorders. Another precaution is the heat and the sun in the summer; just don`t underestimate them and keep in mind that summer heat can cause heat stroke or sunburn.
Spain, and particularly Catalonia, has a varied and tasty cuisine, usually of good quality. In the numerous markets and supermarkets, greengrocers, fishmongers, butchers and bakeries one can purchase fresh and varied products for a reasonable price.
However, the guests of our city normally want to enjoy some prepared food served in the restaurants, bars and cafes of Barcelona and to try some typical local dishes.
The Spanish and Catalan cuisine are varied (once a Catalan named more than 70 dishes that they eat in her town and certainly there are more), so in this article we try to mention just some dishes that you might like and tell about customs regarding eating in Barcelona and then we will recommend some places to eat, frequented by the locals as well as by tourists. We have visited many of these with our guests, and we hope you like our choice! Yet there are thousands of places to eat in Barcelona, particularly in tourist and central neighborhoods, so it is very unlikely that you will go hungry.
Here there are some dishes popular in Spain and particularly in Barcelona.
It is a rice dish with seafood (the most typical), meat or vegetables, or all of these.
Do not be shocked to see absolutely black paella: this is because they add the squid ink, and such paella is very tasty and healthy. A warning: it will make your mouth and hands black, so be very careful eating it.
If you choose the seafood paella, we recommend you to ask for one with peeled seafood, because if not, you will have to take all the prawns and mussels and peel them with your hands, a job that can be both messy and tedious.
The variant of this dish, in which instead of rice vermicelli (noodles) is used, is very typical in Catalonia. Here they are called fideua.
In many places the downside of paella is in the sauce, especially in cheaper restaurants or tourist locations, where they use a ready-made sauce, which is often too salty. Paella with a sauce prepared on site restaurant is better.
Note that in many places, if not most of them, the paella is served in a big pan (paella pan) for at least 2 people or more, and these portions are large.
It's fun to see giant pans in the street from which paella is distributed during some popular festivals.
They are probably the most famous and varied entrees in Spain. They are served before lunch or dinner or just to accompany alcoholic beverages.
The most famous tapas are called patatas bravas: fried potato chunks with a sauce based on olive oil with pepper and garlic, and often served with ketchup.
The Spanish ham, known as jamón sometimes combines with melon. Catalan way of eating ham is with melon smoothie ("melon soup"). Other typical tapas are different sausages, cheese, seafood - calamari, squid, cuttlefish, steamed mussels (delicious) and others; mushrooms with garlic and parsley, eggplant with honey sauce, artichokes and asparagus, potato omelette (called tortilla de patatas) represent the vegetable tapas.
• Pan con tomate (bread with tomato)
Although the Catalans believe it is their national starter, it is similar to one of Italy and some other countries. It's simple but very tasty; it can be easily prepared at home. They are slices of a specific white bread (Pan de Payés) with a few drops of olive oil, rubbed with garlic and tomato (also, of a special kind).
• Fish and seafood
As you would expect for a city next to the sea, the seafood is common. Cuttlefish, squid, mussels (the best are the small ones, called "mejillones de roca"), shrimp, cod, salmon, hake and other varieties of seafood and fish, fried or grilled, or seafood based soups are consumed a lot in Barcelona, although most of these products no longer come from the Mediterranean sea, but imported from Galicia or abroad.
They are often cooked with fish or meat, served in restaurants and markets.
The ham, or jamón, in Catalonia is popular and is sold in butcher shops and markets, where it is called pernil. In the numerous butcheries in tourist areas of the city centre you can buy an assortment of pieces of ham and sausage. There are also a variety of sausages (chorizo).
The best-known vegetables dish is probably the roasted vegetables, called escalivada – a salad of roasted warm eggplant, onion, pepper, tomatoes and other ingredients; the other is calçot – a kind of onion, prepared on an open flame and served with a sauce (avaliable from noviembre to april)
• Typical desserts
It is curious that many desserts are "synchronized" with certain dates and festivals. For example, the famous turrón is, traditionally, considered to be a Christmas dainty, but today you can buy it at any time. There is a variety of turrón (in English sometimes referred to as "nougat") today, very different, but they fall into two main groups: soft and hard. The most authentic are made with almonds and honey, and may also be soft (in Catalonia they are calles turrón de Jijona) or hard, with whole almonds (known as turrón Alicante - a challenge for stronger teeth!). Yolk turrón of Catalonia tastes of Catalan cream (which is another delicious dessert) and resembles marzipan. In addition, there are chocolate flavour, white chocolate, yogurt, turrón, and ones with addition of coconut, lemon, orange and other varieties.
Sold in shops and markets, the best known brands are Vicens and handmade turrón, which are widely spread in Barcelona.
On Christmas day the locals also eat polvorones - a sort of fairly simple sweets, made from lard, flour and sugar. They are sold in bakeries, pastry shops and supermarkets. For the Magi day on 6 and 7 January, the Epiphany Cake – roscón de Reyes - is eaten.
For All Saints Day, on November 1, and close to this date they eat the panellets - a kind of marzipan, which is made from pine nuts; there are also varieties of almonds, coconut, chocolate and others. They are delicious and are sold in bakeries and pastry shops.
Quite popular are the so-called coca, which are different kinds of pastry; for example, "coca de vidrio" or "coca de San Juan", which is eaten for the day of San Juan in June, stand out.
But the most typical Catalan dessert is delicious crema catalana, a kind of custard topped with a thin crispy layer of caramelized sugar, similar to French crème brûlée. You can try it in almost any restaurant of Barcelona.
The orxata is a typical refreshment in Barcelona, that comes from Valencia and is of Arab origin; you can buy it in "Planelles Donat" shop of turróns, sweets and ice cream at street Cucurulla 9, (other shops of this chain are in Portal del'Àngel 25-27 and Portal del'Àngel, 7), as well as in some cafes.
The wines of Spain are generally good; in any supermarket wine costing more than 9 euros will probably be good. Some people prefer to buy wine in specialized cellars/shops, called bodegas, although it is more a matter of personal preference: there are good wines to be had from both bodega and large supermarkets. The wines made of various types of grape are fairly typical of the area. Some of these are not well known outside Spain and, apparently, not much of this wine is exported, but they are great, such as wines from the vineyards of Priorat or Montsant.
For the holidays, especially New Year's Eve, it is very typical to drink cava, a sparkling wine and an alternative to the French "champagne".
The typical beer is Estrella Damm Barcelona, which is exported to several countries, although its direct competitor is also Catalan beer Moritz, whose factory is open for visitors. Practical experience shows that Estrella Damm is consumed more, is a pretty good beer, average, not too soft nor too strong, good to share and chat with friends in a bar, beach or a disco. There are many types of Catalan beer, including craft beers, which compete with Spanish beers as Mahou, Cruzcampo, or the international San Miguel.
And of course, in summer the famous sangría of red or white wine is served. In restaurants today they add orange juice, a few types of liquor, sugar and fruit to the wine, but the real sangría was born as a cheap mix of the rests of the wines that were in a house that were mixed with water, sugar and fruits.
The custom that every tourist traveling to Barcelona has to consider is that the Spaniards dine quite late, so that many restaurants open in the evening after 8 to close the kitchen around midnight. Also many bars and restaurants that are not aimed at tourists are closed in the afternoon, from 2-4 pm till 7-8 pm.
The variety of restaurants, bars and cafes is also huge in Barcelona. There are many tourist sites, fast food and cafes open all day; but we suggest some restaurants frequented not only by tourists but also by locals.
★ "7 Puertas" €€€ http://7portes.com/es/ is a famous and expensive restaurant, which besides typical Catalan food and paellas offers a luxurious interior inside a Masonic building.
★ "La Paradeta" €€ http://www.laparadeta.com/ is a fish and seafood restaurant, where you can choose from living seafood, and have it prepared for you in a few minutes.
★ "Casa Alfonso" €€ http://casaalfonso.com/ in the heart of the city is appreciated by the locals despite of its rather simple interior. This restaurant with an over 80 years of history offers typical Spanish and Catalan cuisine.
★ "3 Focs" €€ http://www.3focs.com/ is not very well known by the tourists due to its location at a distance from the tourists routes. But at lunch time the place fills with the locals, who come to enjoy traditional Catalan and Spanish cuisine, a considerable variety of meat dishes, a cosy interior and a good service.
★ "El Vaso de Oro" http://vasodeoro.com/ is a brewery that has a good variety of tapas.
★ "Set Gotic" http://www.setbarcelona.es/En-set/bienvenida.html offers Catalan and Spanish food, the restaurant is located opposite the famous modernist brewery "Els 4 Gats", also recommended because of its historical value.
★ "Salamanca" €€€ http://restaurantesalamanca.es/ offers good paella, seafood, menus next to the beach.
★ "Santa Anna" €€ http://www.restaurantsantaanna.com/es/ conveniently located in the heart of the city, has a menu rich in delicious local and international dishes.
★ "N.A.P." € https://es-es.facebook.com/nap.bcn/ Avinguda Francesc Cambo, 30, Born. If you are suddenly bored of Catalan / Spanish food, it`s a wonderful option – an authentic Italian pizza cooked on an open fire.
★ "Rosa del Raval" € http://rosaraval.com/ offers Mexican food and good mojito in the Raval district.
★ "Txapela" € http://www.txapelarestaurant.es/ is a chain of Basque tapas in Barcelona - for a change.
★ "Caelum" €€ https://www.facebook.com/CaelumBarcelona/ Palla street, 8, a teashop with rather international desserts, but there is a surprise - after 4 pm, will let visitors go downstairs to the ancient Jewish baths, which also belong to the establishment.
★ "Las Delicias" € http://www.barrestaurantedelicias.com/es If you get lost in the area of the Parc Guell, go to this bar / restaurant loved by the local people as well as tourists. It offers dishes and a variety of tapas at moderate prices.
★ "Miramar" €€€ http://www.club-miramar.es/esp/index.php is a luxurious restaurant with great views.
★ "Torre Mar d'Alta" €€€€, http://www.torredealtamar.com/es/ offers expensive, but delicious food in a panoramic restaurant next to the sea.
… and there are many more! Tell us if your favorite Barcelona restaurant is not on the list, and we will add!
Barcelona, as a tourist city, has several accommodation options. In addition to hotels and hostels, you can find apartments and rental rooms which are very popular among tourists and can be very convenient because they are usually cheaper than a hotel and suitable for more "independence" and privacy during your stay. You can also save money on food because you can cook your breakfast or dinner instead of going out to eat three times a day at a restaurant. Apartments and rooms are widely offered on websites such as Airbnb.com and others.
For those who prefer to travel a bit more conservatively, Barcelona offers plenty of hotels, whose contact details you can easily find online. Prices depend on the season and clearly are more expensive in summer and cheaper in winter (except Christmas and New Year). Our only recommendation is to book a hotel in advance, especially in peak season (summer), because if not, it is possible that all the hotels will be fully booked and you will not be able find a suitable room for you and your companions.
Among the luxury hotels of Barcelona we can highlight, for example, the famous Hotel W (known as hotel "Vela"), located on the seafront offering wonderful views and a beach next to the hotel; Hotel Arts with a view of the sea, built for the Olympics; Hotel Casa Fuster, is a modernist building in Paseo de Gracia, a central area where one can observe a lot buildings of this style; Hotel Espanya – one of the oldest in the city, in a modernist building; Hotel Mercer with the rooms incorporated in the roman wall; Oriental Hotel Mandarin with its panoramic terrace, and many more.
The mid-priced hotels are also plentiful, but being the most popular, these and hostels are those which are booked first. So, if this is your choice, it is especially advisable to book your room at one of these in advance.
The hostels in Barcelona are very different, we have seen some disgusting ones with flies and food rotting in the common fridge, located in the middle of nowhere and whose staff did not speak Spanish or English; others which were modest, but clean, centrally located and with honest and professional staff. In general, lower prices (from 13-15 euros per night) might make you think that the hostel can be a bit tough for even the most experienced backpackers, since Barcelona is an expensive city. In addition, when choosing a hostel, we recommend you to look on the map and read other travelers' reviews, see photos, and consider the professionalism of the staff that responds your emails.
If you are looking to enjoy the nightlife in Barcelona then you will have lots of choices as it is a lively city with countless cultural and leisure activities.
Depending on what you're looking for, we can suggest the following:
There are areas where a number of bars are concentrated: in the old town for example, in the Born district, one of the areas with many bars is the Passeig Born. You can also find nice bars in the Raval district and in the middle of the Gothic Quarter and other neighborhoods outside the old town, such as Gracia. The bars in the neighbourhood of Poble Sec, and likewise the area of Balmes Street and Rambla de Catalunya to near Avenida Diagonal, are well known. There are lots of bars in many streets and squares of these areas; to help you through all that, and to guide you a little, we will offer you some options among the bars we know.
Bar Bodega Quimet, (Carrer de Vic, 23) is a famous bar in the Gracia neighborhood where you can taste from the classic vermouth to Catalan wines and craft beers.
Lata-Bern@ (Carrer Torrent de Les Flors, 53) is also located in Gracia offering more than 50 creative tapas, and alongside a welcoming bar upon entering the premises, it has a dining area for if you suddenly get hungry and a restaurant area for a quieter and a more intimate dinner.
Black Sheep is a chain of the most atmospheric bars and restaurants of which the Black Sheep itself is in Poble Nou (carrer Zamora, 78, corner with Pallars). It's a pretty lively bar where while enjoying a snack, tapas and drinking a cocktail, you can watch football matches on giant screens.
Bormuth Bar, in the Born, (Plaça Comercial 1), is frequented by local people to drink and chat, and is very lively and crowded especially at night. This bar serves tapas and some simple Spanish and Catalan dishes, although, frankly speaking, not as rich as they could be. However, this is a bar where you can experience the atmosphere of a typical bar of Barcelona.
For those looking for something different, very Barcelonan, we recommend you go to one of the many modernist Barcelona and old bars which are in abundance in the historic city centre. These are worth a visit rather for their historical and cultural value. Among them stands out, for example, Casa Almirall (carrer Joaquim Costa, 33), that already has over 150 years of history! However, there are plenty of modernists’ creations in Barcelona; on our Modernism tour we will take you the most famous and emblematic of these.
The choice of bars is so varied that you can find with or without music and all styles to suit your preference.
Time Out Barcelona newspaper gives a list of suggestions on its website: http://www.timeout.es/barcelona/es/bares
For dinner we recommend the hours between 20:00 and 23:00 – bear in mind that Spaniards tend to dine late. You will find many types of restaurants depending on the type of food you prefer, typical Spanish, Catalan and international cuisine (Italian, Argentina, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, etc ...) and even a variety of healthy food restaurants, vegetarians and vegans. All restaurants are scattered around the different districts of Barcelona. Please ask for restaurant recommendations according to your preferences. You can also find some suggestions on our website, by clicking the "traditional food" button.
The variety is huge. We recommend the most famous venues such as Razzmatazz (Carrer de Pamplona, 88), or those found in the Olympic Port area (Port Olimpic), the disco La Terrazza in the Poble Espanyol in Montjuïc, or the renowned Sala Apolo (Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 113), or the nightclub Opium beach Club, near the beach of Barceloneta.
Surprisingly and ironically, at the Plaça Reial, in the Gothic Quarter (Old Town) where in ancient times a monastery was, today the underground clubs are.
The famous TimeOut newspaper has published its list of the best albums of Barcelona with their descriptions, which also can serve when choosing one:
And also a list of places where you can hear live Jazz:
If you like singing karaoke, we recommend at least a couple of places in Barcelona, as the Weekend Karaoke Bar (carrer Diputació, 365), whose entrance is €6 with drink included, or an impressive Irish pub on two floors called George Payne (Plaça d'Urquinaona 5), where on Thursday and Sunday from 21 hours becomes karaoke.
A cosmopolitan city like Barcelona also has a casino, if you want to enjoy your time at gaming tables. The Casino is ideally located as it is just next to the two towers of Port Olimpic and next to the beach.
We have personally visited all the sites that we recommend in our nightlife tips; I hope you also enjoy them, or, if you choose others, let us know whether you like them! ;)
AWAY FROM BARCELONA
If you want to explore Catalonia and have time for this, we can offer you some day trips to the suburbs of Barcelona. Here is our list of suggestions with some short descriptions and recommendations.
It is 30 minutes by local train from Barcelona; the ticket price is about 13 euros return. Trains depart every half an hour from Barcelona Sants station.
Sitges is famous for its beaches (which are as crowded as those of Barcelona in the summer) and a small old town, being practically the “gays” capital, and for hosting the carnival of Sitges in February and film festival in October.
Located at about 85 kilometers, or about an hour by train or car from Barcelona, or half an hour from Sitges, this ancient city was once the Roman capital of this area, much larger and more important than Barcino, which has now became modern-day Barcelona. There are some remains of the impressive Roman city, of which the most beautiful are the Roman amphitheatre on the Mediterranean coast, and a grand aqueduct (can be a bit tricky to find, it is in a park outside the city). Also, Tarragona is the place where the tradition of "els castellers" was born - the human towers, and where a large monument to this tradition has been erected.
Trains to Tarragona leave from Barcelona Sants station. The train price is rather moderate.
It is a mountain near Barcelona known for its ancient monastery of Our Lady of Montserrat, the patron saint of Catalonia. Thousands of people go every day to admire the monastery and the statue of the Black Virgin, carved in wood, or hiking in the beautiful mountain about 1200 meters above sea level. To get there by public transport, take a train at Plaça Espanya (there are sign-arrows on the subway that help you reach the platform from where, and the tickets can be purchased at the metro station). However, at your request, we can arrange a tour to Montserrat.
It is known for its museum-theatre of Salvador Dalí. Unfortunately, it is a distance away from Barcelona: the trip on the regular train, which is the cheapest, will take about 4 hours one way. However, there is a way for those who really want to visit the museum: the high speed train AVE, which gets there in just 1 hour, but costs more (around € 25 one way). When arriving at the station in Figueres, you have to take the bus or a taxi to get to the museum. Both trains depart from Barcelona Sants station.
One of the biggest cities of Catalonia, where one can enjoy the remains of the medieval city, is also known for its numerous and unusually long flights of stairs.
From Barcelona Sants station there are several trains to Girona.
La Costa Brava
Along the Costa Brava there are several resorts, where you can enjoy the sun, the sea, numerous night clubs and nature. The best known of these are Blanes and Lloret del Mar, accessible by train or bus, or the wonderful Tossa del Mar - very nice, but rather more remote town.
The best season for a visit to Barcelona
1. For the beach and nightlife.
If the purpose of your trip is to enjoy a relaxing holiday on the beach and enjoy the nightlife, the best season for a visit to Barcelona will be the summer or early autumn because it`s usually hot and sunny in this season.
If you have chosen beach tourism, we recommend visiting some remote beaches in the center, as the famous Barceloneta is too crowded, and the water may be less clean. Later in our tips you will find our suggestions about the best beaches in Barcelona and its surroundings.
A trip to Barcelona in the summer will have its disadvantages.
Firstly, the high season is the most expensive. The flight and accommodation can be up to 2-3 times more expensive than in winter, and 1.5-2 times more expensive than in spring or autumn.
Secondly, you have to plan this trip in advance. 2-3 weeks before the trip can already be difficult to find a convenient flight or accommodation, or book a flight for a reasonable price.
Third, in summer Barcelona is full. Do not forget that Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in the world, on an equal footing with Paris, London and New York! Therefore it can be more difficult to get the tickets for museums, including landmarks such as the Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera, Casa Batllo, and others. Streets, public transport, the Boqueria market and shopping centers also will be full.
Summers are very hot and humid.
2. The sun and more culture.
We believe that the best seasons to visit our city are spring and autumn. In March or April the weather is nice, although it may be a bit cool and windy, especially at night. The trees already (or still) are green, and also in spring various flowers and trees bloom, giving off their aroma in city parks ... At the same time, there are fewer tourists, and it is easier to get to museums and appreciate the objects displayed in these, without the crowds; in bars and restaurants there will always be a table for your family or companions. Flights and hotel prices are generally lower than in summer (except some festive dates such as the Easter week).
The only disadvantage is that usually at this time it is not suitable for swimming and sunbathing.
3. For the lovers of culture and museums we recommend you visit Barcelona in the winter.
Few tourists flock to the city this season, and on weekends and holidays locals usually leave the city, so the usually crowded city seems almost abandoned It becomes very easy to get to any museum at any time and enjoy them quietly.
Several traditional festivals are celebrated in winter. Among them, of course, Christmas along with the day of the Holy Innocents, the New Year and the Reyes Magos, or the day of Santa Eulalia, the co-patron saint of Barcelona, when colourful parades of the giants and Christmas fairs are organized, the famous Christmas lottery and other cultural events typical of Catalonia are carried out... In December, the city is decorated with Christmas lights, and in January is the time of sales in shops and malls.
Although it can be cold in winter, the temperature rarely falls to zero degrees Celsius. The sun rises around 9 am and sets around 6 pm, so travelers have to get up a little earlier to take full advantage of the sun.
In winter many airlines offer discount deals. But beware: the flights and accommodation prices usually increase over Christmas and New Year holidays (December 20 - January 7).
4. Visas and other documents to visit Spain
Citizens of many countries require a passport and a Schengen visa to visit the country as tourists, without the right to work for a period of time up to 90 days within half a year. However, citizens of some countries need only a valid passport or an EU ID to visit the country. We recommend you to check about all the necessary documents for the citizens of your country on the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain, which contains the most accurate and updated information.