Barcelona Travel Guide
Barcelona contains both the authentically historic and the wildly bizarre. From the tree-lined Las Ramblas to the narrow alleys of Barri Gòtic; from the beachside nightclubs to the city's dozens of sacred churches and cathedrals, this city by the sea seems to attract all types: the family, the adventurer, the couple, the backpacker, the culture lover — and more — with an almost overwhelming variety of things to do. You could stay for a few ... continue»
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The best time to visit the Barcelona is from May to June when balmy temperatures in the low to mid 70s mesh with a flurry of festivals that trumpet the advent of summer. The actual summertime is sticky with humidity — locals leave their beloved city in droves to catch a breeze somewhere else. They come back for the fall when the average highs drop back into the 70s.Best Times to Visit Barcelona»
Barcelona has several distinct neighborhoods that illustrate its rich history and experimental, artistic reputation.
Accessible via Jaume 1 Metro stop.
A first stop for many travelers is the Barri Gòtic, or Gothic Quarter, located near the city center. One of the oldest parts of the city, Barri Gòtic contains many of Barcelona's most prized architectural landmarks, including La Seu Cathedral, the seat of the Archibishop of Barcelona, and the Plaça Sant Jaume, the neighborhood's central plaza. Barri Gòtic is also filled with small cafés, bars and narrow alleys that offer travelers an opportunity to explore the intricate architecture and quaint nostalgia of medieval-era Barcelona. You'll also find several street performers strewn throughout the quarter's alleys and squares, which provide an excellent soundtrack to a morning or evening stroll through the neighborhood.
Accessible via Catalunya and Drassanes Metro stops.
This pedestrian thoroughfare, La Rambla, is so popular and so highly frequented, it's more a neighborhood (known as Las Ramblas) than a single attraction. Composed of five sections, La Rambla runs parallel to the Barri Gòtic on its western side, and is one of Barcelona's most popular and crowded landmarks. La Rambla connects the large public square Plaça Catalunya and the Barcelona waterfront, where you can find the Christopher Columbus Monument. In between, a large tree-lined pedestrian walkway features street acts, newsstands, local crafters, an open-air market and an opera house. El Raval, the city's Chinatown, borders Las Ramblas to the west.
Accessible via Liceu Metro stop.
Bordering Las Ramblas to the west, El Raval is a mix of cultures — there are yoga studios, Pakistani fabric vendors, South American spice merchants, mosques and of course the Boqueria Market. The Rambla del Raval is the place to go for food — namely Asian eateries — which is why this neighborhood is also called Chinatown. Keep in mind that this neighborhood is classified as the inner city and that it is slowly being renovated. Use common sense: Women probably shouldn't tour this neighborhood at night and on their own, and everyone should keep an eye on their wallets.
Accessible via Barceloneta Metro stop.
Near the shore, southeast of Barri Gòtic is the La Ribera neighborhood, a series of narrow alleys, old buildings and churches and small monuments. The highlight of La Ribera is undoubtedly The Church of Santa Maria Del Mar (Saint Mary of the Sea), a vaulting stone tribute to the former sailors of Barcelona.
Accessible via Barceloneta, Paral-lel and Poble Sec Metro stops.
Just east of La Ribera is the Barcelona waterfront, with several beachfront resorts, hotels, bars and clubs. Southwest of the waterfront is the grand Parc de Montjuic, which divides Barcelona from the sea and contains the famous National Art Museum of Catalonia.
Accessible via Sagrada Familia Metro stop.
North of La Ribera and Barri Gòtic is the upscale Eixample district, filled with wide avenues, large blocks and buildings that all conform to a grid pattern. Eixample has a more contemporary feel than the neighborhoods to the south, but we still recommend the sightseeing in this part of town. One of the key attractions in the district — and in all of Barcelona — is Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia, the Expiatory Church of the Holy Family. Known simply as La Sagrada Familia, the massive Antoni Gaudí-designed church is considered one of the most iconic structures in all Spain. Eixample is also home to Gaudí's lesser known Casa Milà and Casa Batlló, two buildings designed or restored by Gaudí in his unique Art Nouveau style.
Accessible via Lesseps Metro stop.
Just west of Eixample is the Gracia District, which contains the famous Parc Güell, an expansive park designed by Gaudí (yes, he's everywhere in Barcelona). Be sure to relax and enjoy the city views from the park, a collection of colorful mosaics, benches and gardens.
Barcelona is a major tourism hotspot and pickpockets know it. Be mindful of your surroundings especially while touring Barcelona's major attractions. The city sees a moderate rate of conventional crime and principal tourist areas and metros are often the most targeted spots. Men should keep their wallets in their front pockets and carry backpacks in front when traveling on the metro and women should make sure their purses are zipped or secured as best as possible.
You should also lookout for your body. Rich cuisine and an abundance of wine can make some travelers sick, so be sure to moderate your eating habits. And be prepared to experience lots of sunshine and heat, especially when traveling in the summertime. Remember to apply sunscreen regularly and stay hydrated.
The best way to get around Barcelona is by Metro. A handful of numbered and color-coded lines weave throughout the city, making stops near many of the city's most popular attractions, but unfortunately not at the airport. To travel from Barcelona Airport (BCN), you'll need to catch a taxi, ride a bus or rent a car. Speaking of city buses, be aware that ever-present traffic jams make commuting via bus rather time-consuming. You could hail taxis on the street, but if you want to burn a few calories, conduct your tour on foot or by bike. Driving, however, is not recommended.Getting Around Barcelona»