I’m so excited to be bringing all of you a new country guide. Spain is one of those classic destinations. In the post-pandemic world, travel entry requirements are constantly changing so this will act as an overall guide. Let’s get to my Spain Travel Guide for Barcelona!
How to Get There/Transportation Options
- The best way to arrive in Barcelona is by plane to Aeroport de Barcelona-El Prat (BCN).
- If you are already in mainland Spain, take the train. The train system is called Alta Velocidad Española and book tickets here.
- Once you arrive you can either hire a car service, rent a car, grab a taxi or take the train. We utilized Kiwi Taxi and it was nice having someone waiting with a sign for us.
- When you are in Barcelona, the best way to get around is by walking, taxi, or Uber. The prices between taxis and Uber were about the same. If you are looking for a taxi, you will need to go to a taxi stand. They are not allowed to pick up outside of a stand. You can find one on Google Maps or just by asking a store owner.
Barcelona Area Overview
- Barcelona is known for its beautiful architecture, namely all of the the pieces from Anthony Gaudi.
- The biggest thing you need to consider in Barcelona is where to call home base. You need to figure out what attractions and goals are of your trip and pick lodging near there. The city is very widespread.
- We enjoyed being very close to the Gothic Quarter. I wanted to see all of the beautiful buildings and try some great local markets.
- There are so many amazing attractions to see in Barcelona. I recommend buying your tickets ahead of time with a tour operator with “skip the line” access. Make sure you book your ticket times for early admission. Viator is a great place to purchase these.
- Barcelona is a destination where you can just walk out of your hotel front door and be amazed.
Dining Recommendations and Tips
- Each region of Spain has its own spin on Spanish food. Barcelona is uniquely situated on the Mediterranean so you will see a lot of fusion from other countries.
- Mercado de La Boqueria is an absolute must. There are a variety of take-and-go vendors as well as a great sit down restaurant called El Quim which I highly recommend!
- My absolutely favorite sit down restaurant was at Arcano. This is a Mediterranean-style restaurant where you can order a multi-course dinner for a great price. My husband and I loved it. A close runner up was Casa Mari i Rufo for seafood.
- The best cocktails in Barcelona can be found at The Roof at the Edition Hotel, Mamaine Mojitos, Edition Hotel Speakeasy (Punchbowl), and Dux Gin Bar.
- For the best quick eats go to Blau Cuchina e Caffe for late-night (the pizza is amazing and the tiramisu), Churrería Laietana for the best churros and hot chocolate, and Muchacho for sandwiches.
Currency and Money Tips
- Spain uses the Euro. You can purchase some ahead of time through your bank. Make sure you purchase at least 2 weeks prior to departure.
- ATMs are going to be your best exchange rate to pull out cash.
- Always have cash on you in Barcelona. Some of the little shops do not take cards. It is honestly easier to leave a few coins on the counter for your morning coffee versus waiting for your credit card to be run.
- Visa and Mastercard are the primary credit cards that are accepted. American Express was hit or miss here.
- Take a credit card that does not have foreign transaction fees. Not sure if your card has fees? Give them a call before you travel! A great starter travel credit card is the Chase Sapphire. It only has a $95 annual fee and includes TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credits & more. They sometimes run welcome points offers for around 100,000 points which you can transfer to airlines like United or even hotels like Marriott, IHG, and Hyatt!
Hotels & Rentals
- My favorite hotel in Barcelona is the Edition. This is a premium luxury boutique brand with Marriott Bonvoy. It is right in the heart of the Born/Gothic quarter neighborhoods.
- Remember bed sizing in European hotels are typically smaller and more unique than in US-based hotels.
My Personal Recommendations:
- Consider going on the shoulder season which is Mid-April/May or September/October. The weather is still beautiful and there are fewer tourists. We went in late February and still had beautiful weather in the 60s F. If that is warm for you, I’d recommend going then as well.
- Get in moderate cardio shape prior to arriving. It is easy to do a lot of walking here.
- If you cannot decide which attractions to do, try a hop on/hop off bus to get your bearings of the land. This is also a great option if you have people in your party who struggle physically.
- Learn some Spanish before you go. I recommend Rosetta Stone since they have a great Travel oriented program. It is Italy so be respectful and learn a few phrases.
- Barcelona is a great stop for 2-3 days. If I get back to this area it would be a day visit or two for me with a stay somewhere else down the coast. It was beautiful and I loved the history/art.
- For attractions you cannot miss La Sagrada Familia and the Barcelona Cathedral (you can go up on the roof)!
Barcelona is one of those places that are very touristy that you are almost obligated to visit. Overall it wasn’t my favorite place in Europe. It was worth the stop but it will be a while before I go back to Barcelona specifically.
Heading to Italy? Check out my Rome guide here.