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Barcelona

What's Popular In Barcelona

  • Currency: Euro(EUR)
  • Language: Spanish (Castilian)

Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, is known for its art and architecture. The fantastical Sagrada Família church and other modernist landmarks designed by Antoni Gaudí dot the city. Museu Picasso and Fundació Joan Miró feature modern art by their namesakes. City history museum MUHBA, includes several Roman archaeological sites.

Best Time to Travel

Best Time to Go to Barcelona for Sightseeing: 

The lines to enter the city’s most popular sights and attractions, like the Basilica de la Sagrada Família in central Barcelona, are at their longest in the summer and on Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter. As the weather is fairly comfortable year round, it’s best to avoid the summer months and any period around a major holiday. The first half of March, the month of May and mid-September through October, are arguably the best times of the year for sightseeing, with thinner crowds, shorter lines and warmer, but not too hot, weather. 

Best Time for Shopping: 

There are two periods each year that offer big sales, with the chance to find huge bargains that include discounts of as much as 70 percent off. The winter sales begin the week after the Festival of the Kings, or the second week of January, and typically run until the end of February, although there are no official sale dates. It kicks off with the first rebajas, or discounts, followed by bigger markdowns for the second rebajas, and finally remate, which marks the final clearance sales. The summer sales, which follows the same pattern, start during the first week of July and run through the end of August. In either period, the first rebajas is known for being quite frantic, particularly at El Corte Ingles (a major department store), which means you’ll need to be prepared to elbow your way through the crowds in order to get to the best bargains. 

Best Time for Beaches: 

Barcelona summers tend to be hot and humid, making it a perfect time for the beach, though not the best time to be wandering around the city. Of course, this also means practically everyone else is handing to the beaches too, so they can be very crowded – and, while the water is clear and the sand is clean in the morning, by the end of the day, both can get a bit littered. As the water temperature is most comfortable from swimming from around the end of May through mid- to late-September, your best bet for fewer crowds and optimal conditions can usually be found by going early or late in the season, in May or September.

Best Time for Festivals: 

If you’re hoping to attend one of the city’s big festivals, you’ll need to arrive sometime between late spring and early autumn, with the majority of Barcelona’s larger festivals taking place then, including the world’s biggest indie and alternative music festival, Primavera Sound, held in late May or early June. The nine-day Festa Mayor de Gracia is hosted in August, while the grandest fiesta of the year is the four-day Festes de la Merce in September, which honors the city’s patron with a run, harbor swimming race and all sorts of concerts, parades, Catalan dances and feasts. Of course, when major festivals are held, expect the crowds to be thick, though many feel that just makes it even more fun and exciting.

Transportation

Barcelona is huge, but it has a modern and well-developed public transport to get quickly anywhere in the city. The metro, bus and tram all run at a very tight pace and until late into the night. In addition, there are several cable cars, funicular railways, railways, sightseeing buses, taxis, local trains, night buses and many other means of transport.

The Metro and Tram in Barcelona

The metro network of Barcelona is very good and the trains go in a very fast pace. So you do not have to worry about timetables. Almost all attractions are within walking distance of a metro or tram station. Where there are no subways, the gap was filled by tram.

Operating hours of the metro and tram

Mondays-Thursdays: 05:00-24:00
Fridays: 05:00-02:00
Saturdays to Sundays continuous operation.
Sunday and holidays: 05:00- 24:00
December 24th: 05:00-23:00
Continuous operation even on 1st of January, 24th of June, 15th of August, and 24th of September. On December 24, the operating time ends at 23:00 clock.
In the evenings, only one entrance to a metro station is often open. Outside metro times there are night buses (see below).
The L9s line (to the airport) operates daily from 5am to 12pm.

Night bus (NitBus)

Both the metro and the buses do not run all night. In Barcelona, ​​there is a fairly dense network of night buses to get you back to your hotel all night long. Except for the line N0 all lines stop at Plaça Catalunya and can change there. The N0 line is a circular line that allows you to circle around the city center and change to the other NitBus. The night buses are operated by the private operator AMB. That is why the Barcelona Card and Hola BCN Ticket are not valid.

The operating hours of the NitBus are also different for each line, but they run from about 22:00 to 05:00 clock.

Taxis in Barcelona

Taxis in Barcelona are painted black and yellow, free taxis are recognizable by the green light on the roof. There are more than 4,000 taxis and 260 taxi ranks in Barcelona. But you can just wave a taxi to yourself, the taxi drivers have a trained eye for it. However, within 50 meters of a taxi rank, a driver may not stop to take you. At taxi stands you theoretically have the free choice of the vehicle, but the drivers will refer to the first vehicle in the queue and you have to take this then. In special circumstances, however, you can also take another taxi, for example because you need a taxi cab, credit card payment, etc.

Taxi Fares

T-1: this tariff is valid on weekdays between 20:00 and 8:00 and 24 hours on public holidays, Saturdays and Sundays. Entry fee: 2,10 €, from the airport: plus 4,20 € 
Fee per km: 1,13 €
T-4: at times like tariff T-1, but for trips outside of Barcelona. Entry fee: 6,05€, Fee per kilometer: 0.70 €
T-2 is valid on weekdays from 8: 00-20: 00. Entry fee: 2,10 €, from the airport: plus 4,10 €,  Fee per km: 1.34 €
T-3: like the tariff T-2, but for trips outside the urban area. Minimum fee: 6,70€, Fee per km: 1,40 €

Attractions

Santa Maria del Mar

To gain some perspective on the antiquity of Santa María del Mar—and the resilience of Barcelona’s architectonic tradition— consider that each boulder used in the church’s construction was hauled one at a time from surrounding mountainsides and shoreline by ordinary civilians. When the project was finally complete in 1383, 54 years after the first stone was laid, the citizens marveled at what they’d created: a soaring Gothic temple accented with vivid stained-glass panels, illuminated by natural light, and buttressed by sparse, improbably slender columns. Much of the original structure remains today, despite damages to the interior from an 11-day fire that broke out during the Spanish Civil War in 1936.

Gape at La Sagrada Familia

Like many of Barcelona’s architectural feats, La Sagrada Família was, and continues to be, controversial. For years scholars have debated whether engineers strayed too far from architect Antoni Gaudí’s original vision (he died when just a quarter of the project had been realized). And while many citizens deem La Sagrada Família the greatest achievement of Catalan building, others view the structure as a glaring, expensive parody of it. Academic bickering aside, it’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of this place, which, pending completion in 2026 after 150 years of construction, will be the tallest religious building in Europe. Fusing Gothic and Art Nouveau styles in unprecedented ways, the basilica also draws on nature as a central inspiration. 

El Palau de la Musica Catalana

Gaudí may be the most recognizable face of Catalan Moderniste, but many of his contemporaries left their mark on Barcelona as well. One of them was Lluís Domènech i Monater, the Barcelona-born architect behind the Palau de la Música Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music), built in 1908. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, the auditorium’s interior bursts with color, pattern, and texture, all of which culminate in a skylight so vast that during daylight hours, performances take place without the flick of a single light switch. Choral, orchestral, and opera music reign supreme here, but that’s not to say the Palau’s program hasn’t featured its share of mainstream artists: Ella Fitzgerald, Norah Jones, and Paco de Lucía have all walked across its stage.

 Las Ramblas

No visit to Barcelona would be complete without a stroll through Las Ramblas, the wide, shady boulevard that runs through the heart of the city from Plaça de Catalunya down to Port Vell. Whether you’re taking in a street performance, ambling beneath the trees, or people-watching from a terrace, there’s never a dull moment here. To get a bird’s-eye view of all the action, finish your Ramblas route at the 18th-story mirador at Columbus Monument for panoramic views of the city and sea. 

Fundacio Joan Miro

Perched on Montjuïc, the hard-to-pronounce hill that rises behind the city center, Fundació Joan Miró was founded in 1968 by the Catalan artist himself with the aim to make his art more accessible to the public. 

Park Güell

Park Güell is Gaudí’s greatest triumph in urban planning and shows the sculptor at his most organic. Using the Collserola foothills as his canvas, Gaudí designed an architectural park whose structures (houses, fountains, pillars, walkways) often appear to be extensions of nature. Columns shoot up like tree trunks, arches are jagged like cave openings, and fountains are guarded by giant lizards with scales fashioned out of mosaic tiles. As you leave the monumental area and follow the steep, uphill path, let the sweeping views awaiting you at the top be your motivation. As with many Barcelona attractions, it’s wise to buy tickets ahead, since the park allows just 400 visitors per half hour.

Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya

Sure, there are plenty of Baroque and Renaissance masterpieces on display at the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya (National Museum of Catalan Art). It’s even home to one of Diego Velázquez’s most famous portraits, San Pablo. But what sets this museum apart is the scope of its Romanesque collection, which is one of the most exhaustive in the world and chronicles the pre-Gothic beginnings of religious art in Catalonia. Be sure to seek out the biblical fresco titled Apse of Sant Climent de Taüll, the crown jewel of the collection.

Museu Picasso

Pablo Picasso may have hailed from Málaga in the south of Spain, but he chose Barcelona, the city where he apprenticed as a young artist, as the location for his namesake museum. Housing 4,251 of Picasso’s early works in sculpture, paint, and engraving, it’s a virtually complete representation of his portfolio all the way up to the Blue Period. Picasso’s art isn’t the only draw at Museu Picasso, though; the five adjoining 13th- and 14th-century residences that comprise the museum are precious in their own right.

Parc de la Ciutadella

Crisscrossing Barcelona on foot can be tiring. To rest your legs, scout out a shady corner of Parc de la Ciutadella, a lush 19th-century park built over the previous site of a military citadel. After a promenade under the trees or a relaxing rowboat ride in the lake, take a moment to admire the handiwork of the central fountain, a Neoclassical work designed by Josep Fontserè.


What to Do

Capital of Catalonia and Spain’s second city, Barcelona is utterly incomparable. It’s one of a few must-see cities with its own identity. This is partly down to a generation of early-20th-century artists and architects, like Antoni Gaudí, whose unforgettable buildings are like nothing you’ll see anywhere else.

There’s something to delight everyone in Barcelona. If you’re a food lover then the city has a total of 20 Michelin stars, and if you want culture you’ve got an inexhaustible choice of beautiful buildings and events. Add to this clean urban beaches, world-class nightlife and so much great shopping you won’t know where to begin.

Taste Everything at La Boqueria

Barcelona’s mercats are no longer just places to buy groceries—in the last decade, they’ve become dining hotspots as integral to the social fabric as the city’s restaurants. And they’re a major tourist attraction: La Boqueria welcomes more than 45,000 visitors a day with its abundant and artful displays of the region’s finest cheeses, charcuterie, seafood, and produce. For a market experience free of La Boqueria’s bulldozing crowds, wander the aisles of Mercat de Santa Caterina, a true-blue neighborhood institution.

Barcelona City Beach

Barcelona’s beachfront boardwalk stretches for miles. It will take a good hour to get from Barceloneta to Diagonal Mar on foot, but it’s a walk that really helps you understand the city. The westernmost beaches like Sant Sebastià are busier and more touristy, but are backed by Barceloneta’s tight lattice of trendy shops and bars with terraces and outdoor seating. As you move along the waterfront after the Olympic Port you’ll find a bit more room and more Barcelona locals.

Camp Nou

In the western Les Corts neighbourhood is the 99,000-seater stadium that has been the home ground of FC Barcelona since 1957. It’s one of Europe’s football cathedrals and even if you have no affinity for the team you have to visit Camp Nou to appreciate the dizzying scale of the arena. And if you are a fan you’ll be in heaven, touring the stadium and browsing the memorabilia of one of the world’s most prestigious teams at the museum.

Climb Tibidabo

Towering above Barcelona’s northern rim, the 1,700-foot peak of Tibidabo is the best vantage point to take in panoramic views of the variegated cityscape against the cobalt-blue backdrop of the Mediterranean. There are countless ways to make the most of the mountain including hikes through the 31-square-mile Parc de Collserola, tours of the fairytale-like Sagrat Cor basilica, and day passes to Tibidabo’s retro theme park (unanimously loved by kids) complete with a ferris wheel and old-timey carousel.

La Barceloneta

Barcelona’s famed seaside district may not have the city’s prettiest beaches, but what it lacks in natural beauty, it makes up for in liveliness. Kites fly, vendors call, music hums, waves crash— La Barceloneta is all about the action. After lounging on the beach for a few hours, you’ll probably be peckish. For fine maritime dining, head to Restaurante Barceloneta, whose kitsch nautical décor gets you in the mood for some of the city’s most pristine Catalan seafood.