It took us a while to write about Barcelona, eventhough the first time we visited it was 7 years ago… and this was because Barcelona is a city like no other!!! It is full of life, passion, art, gastronomy and so much more, than it makes it hard to write a blog post that is small enough for people to read!
Barcelona has a special place in Beca’s heart, not just because we went there together as a “second honeymoon” after Jack was born, but also because she worked in Barcelona for a year, so we really got to live the city like true Barcelonian’s!
The most common questions we get constantly from people about Barcelona are: What to do in Barcelona, Best Barcelona Tours, Best Barcelona Restaurants, Barcelona Weather, Barcelona Metro, Barcelona in 3 Days, and even Barcelona Gaudi. But, to be honest, Barcelona is such an easy city to travel in, that you will be fascinated by the easiness of it all!
Arriving at Barcelona Airport El Prat and How to Go to Barcelona City
We arrived to Barcelona Airport El Prat, which is beautiful! and filled with Spanish boutiques and the Futbol Club Barcelona soccer official shop. From there, it is very easy to go to Barcelona City by either taking a cab, ordering a cab by an App, or taking a bus.
We have done all of them, and we find that it depends on how you’re travelling. If you go with more people it’s best to order with an App called MyTaxi, as Uber is more expensive and MyTaxi has more cars available. The ride will be around €30 with the taxi supplement to Barcelona’s City Center. And if it is your first time using MyTaxi they will give you a discount code to reduce the fare of your first ride! But, if you don’t have access to those, then you can take a cab from there. Or, if you are travelling with just one other person or alone, it is best to just take the Aerobus. Barcelona Aerobus is just €5.90 one way, and it takes you to Plaça Catalunya just in 35 minutes! And if you buy the round trip ticket it is €10.20, so it is very convenient!
How to Get Around Barcelona
Well, so to be honest, there is no need to take any guided tours in Barcelona, as it is easy to move around without the need of Barcelona tours. And, to tell you the truth the first two times that we went to Barcelona we moved around with the Barcelona Hop on-Hop off Barcelona Bus Turistic, as it is the official one, and our experiences have been fantastic!
But, if you want to lower the costs of your trip, you can also purchase a T-10 or T-20 card that is valid for both the Barcelona metro and Barcelona buses. And it is quite simple to move around with public transportation, so we would definitely recommend you to take a look at this option! You can purchase the Barcelona metro ticket in any station or shop called Loterias y Apuestas del Estado.
Best Hotel in Barcelona
Well, about hotels in Barcelona, we have stayed at different ones: Hotel Arts Barcelona, Hotel Denit Barcelona and Evenia Rosello . But we would really recommend you to stay around L’Eixample. As this is a very centric location, not very touristic and you also get to experience some local living! The area is filled with caffes, resutarants, tapas bars and is really mainly filled with locals! You will love it! But if you are looking for something more touristic, then Plaça Catalunya is your best option! We would avoid staying at La Rambla, since it is very noisy.
The Hotel Denit Barcelona was just in the corner of Plaça Catalunya, one of the most emblematic places of Barcelona. And just in there you can catch the Aerobus, and the Bus Turistic. In there as well, there is an amazing department store, El Corte Ingles, Spain’s most beloved shop. We loved the department store, as it has many floors in which you can find designer clothing, toys, jewelry, and also gourmet food. This one even has a supermarket in the ground floor, where you can stock yourself in Turrón and Marsipan around Christmas time. And the best part is to go to their top floor, which has different kinds of food for you to choose from, and then you can enjoy it with a very nice view of Plaça Catalunya, this spot is not to be missed.
One of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Barcelona is definitely the Barrio Gotico, which is filled with rich history and gotic architecture. It is very nice to stroll around the area and see a different side of the Modernist Barcelona of Gaudi.
Our top choice attraction is the gorgeous La Sagrada Familia, which is an amazing monumental-church designed by Gaudi and which has been under construction since 1882! And yes, it is still in the process… But, don’t worry! although it hasn’t been finished yet, you can see the amazing structure and uniqueness of this glorious monumental Church, and you can even enter it. But, do buy tickets for la Sagrada Familia in advance since there is always a huge queue.
Paseo de Gracia
Paseo de Gracia is one of the main avenues in Barcelona, and one of our favorites! As even the light posts have a modernist touch, to honor Gaudi, the father of the Modernist movement. In Paseo de Gracia, not only you can find a wide variety of restaurants, but also the most expensive boutiques, and of course the remarkable archqitecture of Antoni Gaudi’s Casa Batllo and La Pedrera or Casa Milo.
Casa Batllo is gorgeous on the outside, but it is not really worth to go inside, as there is not much to see, so we would recommend visiting just the outside part, as that is what is impressive!
Casa Milo or La Pedrera
A couple of blocks away, you can find Casa Milo, or also known as La Pedrera as it was called by the people, because they said it looked like a rock. when it was just built… Of course, Gaudi was ahead of its time!
One of the most visited areas in Barcelona is La Rambla. Which begins close to Plaça Catalunya and ends all the way until the old city Port (Port Veil). In here there are always people, both during the day and also late at night!
There are hundreads of restaurants, shops and kiosks along the street. And it goes all the way down, until it reaches the statue of Cristobal Colón.
Our best advise is to stay away from La Rambla Restaurants if you want to avoid overpriced and touristic restaurants. But, do have a stroll there! Just skip the food ha ha
And there is also a fantastic market called Mercado de La Boqueria, which you surely don’t want to miss! As it is very interesting to see different kinds of typical Spanish foods: fresh fish, dried Bacalao (cod) and of course Spanish Ham and cheese, among much more!
This one is one of the must visit sights in Barcelona without a doubt! And eventhough is sort of far from all of the rest of the attractions, you shouldn’t miss it! And believe us, you will remember it, because the way is so steep that there is no way to forget about it ha ha, but the views are really worth seeing! You can also purchase the tickets in advance.
Parc Güell is one of the main creations of Gaudi. And it’s not just a beautiful park where locals go there to run, exercise and play, but also it has amazing pieces of Gaudi’s architecture for you to get lost in. Modernist architecture that is all over. Don’t miss it! And as it is really on a hill, you get fantastic views from Barcelona!
Camp Nou, the Barcelona Soccer Stadium
Fan of soccer? Don’t miss the Camp Nou, a MUST for fans! In here you can take the tour inside and learn about the history of the team, favorite players, cups and lots of pictures. If there is no match you can go to the changing rooms and press room! And you can even go out to the field! Awsome experience, Jack enjoyed it as no other! But, do buy your tickets beforehand online.
Another beautiful sight to visit and second most important square of the city, is the Plaça D’Espanya, it is decorated with two venetian towers and a huge fountain scultptre, as well as an impressive shopping mall called Las Arenas, which used to be a Plaza de Toros (bullring). This square is on your way to Montjuic.
Best View in Barcelona
The best view of the city is definetely when you take the Teleferic de Montjuic! It has several routes and is really worth the price! Great experience and fun crossing from the sky! Definetely a must if you want to see Barcelona from a different angle.
A nice spectacle in Montjuic are the Magic Fountains of Montjuic. It is very nice to see the water fountains with ilumination and dancing. This fun activity does not run on a daily basis, so do check beforehand its schedule.
Port Veil is the oldest port of the city and one of the most trendy places to visi in Barcelona. In here there is not only a huge port for cruises but also, there is a big Shopping Mall with lots of stores and places to eat called Maremagnum. There is also a very nice seaquarium, the Barcelona Seaquarium! And,
Close by the Port Veil there is the famous neighborhood of La Barceloneta, one of the liveliest during summer! Since there is a beautiful beach and many restaurants which offer fresh fish and seafood. One of the most notable restaurants in this area is La Mar Salada, so if you are around, do not miss it!
Best Restaurant in Barcelona
Best Tapas in Barcelona
One of the great things about Barcelona is that you get to find many Cerveserias which are small tapas places in which you can have a quick lunch or small bite, and you don’t even need to sit if you don’t have the time, as they usually also pack it to take away. We found a really nice Cerveseria next to Hotel Denit, and it had a magnificent Bocadillo de Tortilla, which is the Spanish Potato Omelette in a Baguette with tomato sauce, fantastic! But we have had this in a number of different places, and all of them have been equally good. So, do go to at least one of these to taste whatever please your sight the most 😉
One of our favorite places of all, is Ciudad Condal / Ciutat Comtal, a place where you can try all famous Spanish tapas,. It is truly fantastic, and the food is very fresh. They serve you very fast and is relatively inexpensive, however tourists have found this place and it tends to be quite full, so have this in mind when hungry as they don’t take reservations.
Another tapas place which is fantastic, and is located in Paseo de Gracia is El Nacional, where you will surely have a unique experience. As the tapas are Al Canto, meaning that the waiter will shout out the name of the dish and you will need to raise your hand if you feel like tasting what he has to offer! Apart from being delicious it is truly a fun way to experience Spanish tapas culture. But, don’t worry, you can also order from a regular menu.
Best Paella in Barcelona
Paella is a typical dish in Spain, so while in Barcelona don’t miss it. Our favorite place is a small restaurant called Elche, which is actually owned and run by a Valencian family, so you can be sure that the Paella will be very authentic! And if you’re not into Paella, they also have more options, but whatever you choose, do not skip the Crema Catalana, which is to die for! And one of the most typical desserts from Barcelona!
Another good place to eat paella, but really pricey is called 7 Ports, this is close to La Rambla and their flavors are also very nice!
Also, if you like seafood and are willing to splurge, you can try to get a reservation at Botafumeiro, which has one of the most plentiful Paellas that we have ever tasted!
Best Churros in Barcelona
And of course not to miss, hot chocolate with Churros at Xurreria La Granja, the most famous place in Barcelona. Make sure you go taste this delicious sweet temptation!