Barcelona is a Mediterranean gem that continues to fascinate travellers.
Thanks to its rich history, the many must-see landmarks and countless activities for travellers, there are plenty of different ways to explore Barcelona.
A well-known gathering place for food lovers and cultural explorers, Barcelona offers a thriving modern city experience that has ensured its place as a European go-to destination and a mainstay of bucket lists.
While you hone in on the best way to do Barcelona, here’s a cheat sheet that will have you on your way to making the most out of a trip to the heart of Catalonia.
Whether you’re architecturally minded or not, you’ll have a hard time avoiding the work of Antoni Gaudi, the famous 19th Century architect whose unique style and bold masterworks are peppered throughout the city.
Of his many iconic works, Güell Park is a natural starting point to a Barcelona trip thanks to its terrific views of the city and an inspiring infusion of colour and classical Catalan staples. Outside of Güell Park, Gaudi buildings like La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, Casa Milà tend to draw plenty of visitors. Although, the architectural wonders certainly don’t end with Gaudi either. Less trafficked buildings like La Casa Comalat and Torre Agbar have also gained a reputation for being worth a stop, offering a break from some of the heaviest crowds while viewers gawk at more modern Catalan architecture.
In addition to the eye-popping buildings you might encounter throughout Barcelona, the city is also widely known for being a haven for art enthusiasts. While the popular Picasso Museum pays homage to the world-famous artist, Fundació Suñol is just off the beaten path and offers a glimpse into the bustling contemporary art scene of Barcelona.
Of course, Barcelona also has no shortage of places to unwind after a long day of sightseeing, including the wide, inviting shores of Sant Sebastia Beach and the more relaxed atmosphere of Llevant Beach, where visitors rub shoulders with more locals than tourists. For the castle lovers out there, a jaunt over to Montjuic Castle will offer some more sensational photo ops as well as a trip deep into Barcelonan history.
Other activities and sites: Catch an F.C. Barcelona match at Camp Nou; check out street performances and outdoor cafes at Las Ramblas; or enjoy a fine-dining experience at the famous ABaC.
Finding the right place to stay:
Although making the rounds to various neighbourhoods is essential, you can’t go wrong with staying in El Born, where visitors experience an exciting combination of the old and the new while being in a perfect position to move around the city’s major attractions. Including plenty of shopping, street art and culinary hot spots, El Born is also within walking distance to Picasso Museum and Sant Sebastia Beach while nearly everything else is a quick metro trip away. Although the lower part of El Born has become a hub for tourists, the upper portion offers many great local bar and restaurant hangouts, including the widely known Mercat Santa Caterina.
Another exciting launch point for Barcelona exploration is El Ravel, an eclectic collaboration of cultures from around the world that is known for being the one-time hangout of both Picasso and Ernest Hemingway. Particularly great for those looking to delve into Barcelonan night life, El Ravel offers a range of restaurants featuring authentic Catalan cuisine to go with a thriving bar scene that can be the perfect place to end a day of sightseeing.
For food aficionados, the Poble Sec area offers more dining choices than you could explore in a week and is a short trip down the road from Montjuic Castle.
Meanwhile, the Barceloneta neighbourhood is a must-see for those looking for a more local experience and showcases a bevy of terrific family-run restaurants and shops.
Tipping and safety:
Like many popular destinations in Europe, there tends to be some confusion about whether to tip in Barcelona.
In general, tipping is not expected throughout the city, yet an attentive waiter or hotel staff member will certainly appreciate a tip for exceptional service.
Barcelona is also known for being a relatively safe city for travellers, but there are a few popular scams to be aware of beforehand. Visitors should be wary of irregular taxi fees and a scam involving street vendors selling flowers as well as the presence of pickpockets in the most populous of areas. As with every popular destination, keeping an eye on your valuables is essential and you might want to ask taxi drivers for estimates in advance.
When to go:
Thanks to the Mediterranean climate, Barcelona can be enjoyed at any time of the year, although the early portion of summer and autumn tend to offer the perfect conditions for sightseeing.
While the mid-summer months of July and August are still popular times of the year for visitors, many Barcelonans also head out for holiday, which can lead to a slimmer selection of bars and restaurants staying open.
The waters of the Mediterranean are also swimmable all the way through October, making September an ideal month to make a journey to Barcelona.
If there is a month that is generally avoided, it tends to be April, mostly thanks to heavy rainfall that can hamper travel plans. Tourist season doesn’t slow down too much in the winter, as visitors are often greeted with sunny skies to go along with cooler temperatures, making winter another perfect time to experience the many enchantments of Barcelona.
Barcelona is a great destination with so much to see, do and experience. Now you’ve got some great ideas for your trip to Barcelona, don’t forget to arrange travel insurance as soon as you’ve made a booking. Get a quote today or call one of our friendly team on 1300 819 888 to discuss your requirements.
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