Barcelona Travel Tips | The Ultimate Barcelona City Guide

The city of Barcelona is a tourist's paradise with captivating attractions including the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Picasso Museum, National Art Museum of Barcelona and numerous others. 

However, just like any other popular tourist destination around the world, Barcelona is also prone to many tourist traps laid out for unassuming travelers. To make sure your experience in stunning Barcelona remains positive and memorable, we have put together some essential Barcelona tips.

Best Ways to Get Around Barcelona

Taxi

The easiest and also the most expensive way of getting around in Barcelona is a taxi. The city is equipped with over 11,000 black and yellow taxis and around 260 taxi ranks from where you can hail one. The taxi fare system in Barcelona is divided into four categories; T1, T2, T3, and T4. To make travel seamless for the differently abled, Barcelona also has taxis for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility.

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Metro

Boasting a well-connected network of 12 lines and over 160 stations, the Barcelona Metro is a convenient way of getting around the city. The metro is operated by two companies, Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FCG) and Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB). Taking the metro is pocket-friendly and lets you avoid all the traffic.

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Suburban Railways

Locally known as the Rodalies, the suburban railways network has 17 lines in total with a massive 203 stations. You can purchase tickets for the Rodalies at any Rodalies station and the cost will be calculated based on the starting point and the destination.

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Bus
Bus

One of the most popular modes of public transport in Barcelona is the TMB bus. Serving 203 lines, these red and white buses travel across the length and width of the city. The reasonable cost, coupled with the widespread network, make buses one of the best ways to travel within Barcelona. A slight disadvantage might be the time you have to spend stuck in traffic if you take the bus during peak office hours.

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Airport
From the Airport

If you're taking a flight to the Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport, you can get to the city center through various modes of transport. The Aerobus, with two separate lines, is the fastest way to get to the city center. Both the terminals of the Barcelona airport are connected via the Barcelona underground metro network as well. You can also take the train from terminal 2 to the city center. If public transport is not your thing, there are taxis available outside both terminal 1 and 2.

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Guided Tours

If arranging for multiple bus, train or metro tickets doesn't sound like a vacation to you, there's an easy alternative. You can opt for a guided tour of Barcelona that will not only take you to all the important sites in the city but handle the transport as well.

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Best Time to Visit Barcelona

Given its proximity to the sea, Barcelona enjoys a temperate climate throughout the year. Since the temperature remains pretty decent throughout, your choice of when to visit the city depends on the number of tourists visiting in a month. On that basis, the months of April to July and September to November are considered ideal since these are the shoulder seasons and the city is generally more peaceful. 

To add to that, the city hosts a number of festivals and events during these months, making them the best time to visit Barcelona. Pack in summer clothes if you're visiting during the April to July period and add a jacket or fleece to your luggage if you're visiting in September to November.

Top Barcelona Travel Tips

Barcelona food
Food in Barcelona

A big part of visiting a city as culturally rich as Barcelona is all the local food you get to try. Barcelona is famous for its Spanish tapas. Tapas are small portions of food that are generally enjoyed with drinks.

During your tour of Barcelona, you can enjoy a wide variety of authentic Spanish tapas. These are some of the best restaurants in the area you can visit:

  • Casa Leopoldo: Try the prawn meatballs, pigs trotters with espardenyes, or arroz del senorito.
  • Casa Xica: Try the pad Thai omelette, smoked eel with kimchi or eggs and Pyrenees trout.
  • Direkte Boqueria: Try the oyster gyoza with capipota sauce or peas with squid and Iberian bacon.
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Budget

Depending on where you stay and your food expenses, transport cost, etc, you can expect to spend anywhere between $100 to $125 per day. Keep at least $150 with you at all times in case of an emergency.

If you're looking for ways to avoid overspending, you can follow a few easy steps:

  • Book your flight tickets in advance and avail cheaper rates. 
  • Opt for the Barcelona Pass that gives you unlimited access to the city's robust public transport network. 
  • Avoid restaurants and eateries located right in front of popular attractions since these are exorbitantly priced.
  • To avoid sunstroke, bring sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and an umbrella to keep yourself protected.
  • Renting a homestay or hostel is the better alternative over a hotel for those on a budget. Barcelona has accommodation available across all budget types but you'll need to indulge in a little bit of research to find the perfect option for yourself.
  • A standard tip of 10% is perfectly acceptable in Barcelona. Don't overspend on tips since 10% will work just fine.
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Around the City

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, an autonomous community located in the northeastern corner of Spain. While Catalonia is geographically a part of Spain, the cultural and financial discrepancy between the two has caused some tension between Catalonia and the Spanish government. When in Barcelona, refrain from commenting on the scenario and avoid any trouble.

  • Like any other city, Barcelona also has certain areas that are more prone to tourist traps than others. One such place is Las Ramblas. While beautiful and lively, Las Ramblas also has low-quality food and overpriced dance bars. If you do visit the locality, be mindful of how and where you're spending your money.
  • Barcelona is a charming city with beautiful street art around every corner. Experience the city's breathtaking architecture via a bike. You can rent a bike and explore the city without having to worry about transport and traffic.
  • There are many localities in Barcelona that are tailor-made for walking tours. Two such areas are the Gothic Quarter and Jewish Quarter. Both neighborhoods are replete with history, making them the perfect choice for an insightful walking tour.
  • If you enjoy hiking, climb to the top of Bunkers del Carmel. At the peak, you can enjoy stunning panoramic views of Barcelona city with the sea in the backdrop. A sunset or sunrise hike will elevate your experience even further.
  • On the first Sunday of every month, the entry fees of many museums are waived off. If you're in the city during this time, make use of this wonderful opportunity to discover the history and culture of Catalonia and Spain.
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Shopping in Barcelona
Shopping & Nightlife
  • If you're looking to shop for souvenirs, make your way to flea markets. Here, you'll find beautiful souvenirs that you can take home for a reasonable price. Specifically, the Els Encants Vells flea market sells cutlery, jewelry, paintings, and other articles at pocket friendly prices.
  • Planning on visiting Barcelona's famous nightclubs? Arrive as early as possible because the clubs start charging higher entry fees as the night rolls on. Since Barcelona sleeps late, you can still enter a nightclub at 11:30 PM for it to be considered early.