BARCELONA is one of the world´s most famous cities to travel to for everything from its Gaudi architecture to its world-class museums, Michelin starred restaurants and buzzing nightlife.
But whether it´s your first time in the city or you´re a frequent visitor, a travel guide to finding all those Barcelona hidden gems can always come in handy.
That´s why the Euro Weekly News has put together this easy-to-use Barcelona guide, giving you information on everything from Barcelona hotels to its restaurants, weather, and even its most famous sporting attraction, FC Barcelona.
The history of Barcelona
But first, a short history lesson. You may know that Barcelona is one of the most famous cities in the world, but do you know when it first attracted global attention?
Originally a Roman city named Barcino, in the Middle Ages Barcelona became one of the main residences of the court of the Crown of Aragon, making the city one of most important political and economic areas in Europe.
The city´s prosperity grew again in the 1800s when it developed a buzzing textile industry, before later achieving worldwide fame with its architectural works by Antoni Gaudi and Lluis Domenech i Montaner, which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The city is also famous for having two of the most prestigious universities in Spain, the University of Barcelona and Pompeu Fabra University, and for hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics.
Located on in the northeast of Spain in Catalonia on the Mediterranean, Barcelona is now the second most populated city in Spain (after Madrid), with 1.6 million residents and attracting 32 million tourists a year.
Geography of Barcelona
Barcelona sits 75 miles south of the border with France and the Pyrenees, and is bordered to the north and south by rivers and by the Collserola mountains.
The city measures around 39 square miles and has 10 districts, each with various neighbourhoods.
The´old city´ and Barcelona´s most central district, Ciutat Vella contains the famous La Barceloneta and Sant Pere neighbourhoods. It is famous for its cafes and restuarants and for containing Barcelona´s best known street, Las Ramblas.
Developed in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Eixample is popular with tourists as it is near to Ciutat Vella and has some of the best shopping in the city. It is also famous for its architecture, with Gaudi´s Sagrada Familia and Casa Mila there.
Located 15 minutes from the centre of Barcelona, Les Corts is the city´s business district
On the southwest of Barcelona, this district include the mountains of Montjuic.
This district is in the northwest of Barcelona with much of its sitting on top of the Sierra de Collserola.
The smallest geographical district in Barcelona, Gracia is popular with city residents
This area is the third largest district in Barcelona.
One of the cheapest areas of Barcelona to live in, Nou Barris is also known for its diverse ethnic cuisine.
This district is known for its historical church, San Andres.
One of Barcelona´s most popular districts to live in, Sant Marti sits on the Mediterranean.
Things to do in Barcelona
The city has some of the best architecture, museums and parks in the world, and we have put together this guide to some of the must-visit sights for travel to Barcelona, including one for all the sports fans out there, FC Barcelona.
The 10 best Barcelona architecture attractions
Barcelona is perhaps most famous for its stunning architecture and there are several must-visit attractions when you travel there.
1. Basilica de la Sagrada Familia
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is Barcelona´s most famous attraction. Commisioned in 1882, this Antoni Gaudi building was never finished in the architect´s lifetime and construction is still ongoing today.
Located in the Eixample district, its 18 famous spires will be a familiar sight to many but it´s the basilica´s ornate vaulted ceilings that also make this one of the world´s most loved architecturcal attractions.
Tickets are around €26 for adults, and discounts are available for students, children and pensioners.
2. Casa Batllo
Designed as a private residence for textile manufacturer Josep Batllo i Casanovas, this Gaudi built UNESCO World Heritage Site is located on number 43 on Paseo de Gracia, just down the road from Michelin starred Moments Restaurant.
Tickets cost from €35 for adults but various concessions are available.
3. Palace of Catalan Music
The Palau de la Musica Catalana was built between 1905 and 1908 as a concert hall. Designed by the architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner, this art nouveau building still functions as an auditorium, hosting concerts on everything from Vivaldi to Puccini.
Tickets to the Palau de la Muscia Catalana cost around €10.60 for a self-guided tour and discounts are available.
4. Casa Mila
Another Gaudi UNESCO World Heritage site, Casa Mila, known as La Pedrera, was built between 1906 and 1912 and was the last private residence the architect designed.
Tickets cost from €24 for an adult and discounts are available.
5. Palau Güell
Designed in 1886 by Gaudi for patron of the arts Eusebi Güell , this building contains a stunning great hall that was used by its owner for poetry readings and private concerts.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the building was the home of the Güell i Lopez family until they moved to Park Güell .
Tickets cost €5 but are free for teachers, journalists, and other groups.
6. Casa Amatller
This home was constructed between 1898 and 1900 as a house for Antoni Amatller.
Tickets cost from €12, while children under seven go free.
7. Reial Monestir de Santa Maria de Pedralbes
Founded by Queen Elisenda de Montcada in 1326 for the Order of Saint Clare, this convent is located on the slopes of the Sant Pere Martir.
This gothic monastery is now a museum housing art.
Tickets cost €5 for adults but discounts are available and there are also several free open days at the convent.
8. Gothic Quarter
Stretch from La Rambla to Via Leiatana in Ciutat Vella, the Gothic Quarter is one of the oldest parts of the city. Highlights include the Casa Padellas, built in the 1500s, and the Palau Reial Major.
Strolling around the quarter is free and well worth a visit.
9. Cathedral of Barcelona
Nestled in the Gothic Quarter, construction of the Cathedral of Barcelona commenced in 1298 on the site of a Romanesque temple. The work was carried out in three stages over 150 years and the gothic cathedral now receives three million visitors a year.
Tickets cost from €9.
10. Botanical Gardens
Built in 1999 by architects Carlos Ferrater and Josep Lluis Canosa, Barcelona´s botanical gardens follow a historical tradition in the city, with the first gardens being created in Barcelona in the 1500s.
Situated on the slopes of Montjuic Park, the Jardi Botanic de Barcelona offers visitors species of plants from five areas across the world as well as stunning modern architecture.
Tickets cost €5 and discounts are available.
The 10 best museums in Barcelona
Barcelona has some of the biggest museums in the world and if you are travel there, here are some of the best.
1. Picasso Museum
Containing 4,000 works by Pablo Picasso, this museum has an extensive collection of the artist´s early works.
Tickets cost €17 for adults and discounts are available, including for students, pensioners and children.
2. FC Barcelona Museum
Hosting some of the club´s trophies, the FC Barcelona museum is located in the Camp Nou stadium and attracts 1.2 million visitors a year.
Tickets costs from €26 for a stadium tour and museum visit.
3. Fundacio Joan Miro
Founded in 1968 by Joan Miro, this modern art museum hosts some of the most famous works by Spanish artist Joan Miro and Andre Masson.
Tickets cost €13 for adults and discounts are available.
4. Gaudi House Museum
Located in the Park Güell, this historic house museum contains objects designed by Antoni Gaudi, who stayed here between 1906 and 1925.
Tickets to the museum cost around €5.50.
5. Museu Nacional d´Art de Catalunya
This Italian-style palace museum houses Romanesque and Catalan art works from the 1100s to the 1900s.
Tickets cost from €12 for an adult.
6. MACBA: Museu d´Art Contemporani
Located in Barcelona´s Raval neighbourhood, MACBA offers art and exhibits from across the last century. It also offers a library, bar, and themed visits led by artists.
Tickets cost €11 for an adult and discounts are available
7. Fundacio Antoni Tapies
This museum and cultural centre located on Carrer d´Arago was created in 1984 by artist Antoni Tapies and mainly hosts a collection of his works.
It is housed in the building of the Montaner i Simon publishing house, designed by architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner.
Tickets cost €8 for adults, while discounts are available and children under 16 go free.
8. Museu de Xocolata
Everyone loves chocolate and Barcelona´s Museu de Xocolata offers visitors a look at the history of the sweet stuff, as well as activities and education services.
Created by the Barcelona Confectionery Guild and located in the former Sant Agusti monastery, the Chocolate Museum provides a journey through the history of chocolate.
Guided tours cost €7.50 for adults.
9. Virreina Centre de la Imatge
The headquarters of the Culture Institue and host to various exhibitions, the Virreina Centre de la Imatge is located on La Rambla, making it the perfect stop for anyone strolling along the famous street.
The building it is housed in, the Virreina Palace, was built between 1772 and 1778, for Manuel d’Amat i de Junyent by architect Carles Grau.
Entry to the museum is free.
10. Museu Can Framis. Fundacio Vila Casas
Offering around 300 modern works by Catalan sculptors, artists and photopgraphers, the Museu Can Framis opened in 2009.
Tickets cost €5 for an adult and discounts are available.
The 5 best parks in Barcelona
1. Park Güell
One of Barcelona´s most famous attractions, Park Güell is an Antoni Gaudi masterpiece.
Built between 1900 and 1914, Park Güell is 17 hectares and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.
Entrance to the gardens is free, but tickets to the park´s main attractions, including the Greek Theatre and Austria Gardens, cost €10 for adults.
2. Ciutadella Park
The biggest park in Barcelona, Ciutadella houses Barcelona´s zoo and even offers rowing boat rental on its lake.
Located in Ciutat Vella, it features a large fountain designed by Josep Fontsere.
3. Doctor Pla i Armengol Gardens
Located in Horta – Guinardo, the Doctor Pla i Armengol Gardens focus on biodiversity, with plants and pools designed to house insects, frogs, turtles, birds and bats.
4. Tamarita Gardens
Located on a former private estate housing an impressive mansion, the gardens were deigned by architect and landscape artist Nicolau M. Rubio i Tuduri.
Full of decorative elements, the Jardins de la Tamarita host fountains, small ponds and some rare tree species.
5. Palau de les Heures Gardens
Set in the Horta – Guinardo district, the gardens surround a French-style chateau, Palau de les Heures.
The house was built between 1894 and 1898 by the architect Augusto Font Carreras.
Sports fans will known Barcelona for being one of the world´s most famous cities for football.
Its team, FC Barcelona, is one of the most successful in the world, winning 75 national trophies since being founded in 1899.
Known as Barca, FC Barcelona competes in La Liga, the top level of Spanish football its stadium is Camp Nou.
Where to eat in Barcelona
The 10 best Barcelona restaurants
As one of the most famous cities in Europe, Barcelona has a stunning selection of restaurants and cafes offering everything from Michelin starred cuisine to local specialities. And because food is such an important part of travel, we have put together this guide to the 10 best restuarahts in Barcelona.
1. La Patsa Lab
Created by Espedito Brunetto, this pasta restaurant wins rave reviews and is known for its delicious Italian dishes.
The Michelin starred Enoteca Paco Perez offers up the best in modern Mediterranea cooking, using the highest quality ingredients and unique dishes.
3. Els Sortidors del Parlament
Located on the famous Carrer del Parlament in Sant Antoni, this bodega offers wine, vermouth, Catalan dishes and tapas.
One of Barcelona´s most famous restuarants, the Michelin starred Lasarte is headed up by chef Martin Berasategui and offers stunning dishes including foie gras and European eel.
5. Restaurante Martinez
For the best paella in Barcelona, try Restaurante Martinez, located on Montjuic with views over the city. It is also famous for its other seafood dishes, including lobster and an oyster bar.
6. Koy Shunka
For Japanese food lovers Koy Shunka is one of the best restaurants in Barcelona. With a Michelin star and created by chef Hideki Matsuhisa, Koy Shunka is most famous for its stunning nigiris.
7. El Xampanyet
Dating from the 1920s, El Xampanyet is famous for its authentic dishes, alongside its cava. Now a cider house too, El Xampanyet is one of Barcelona´s most famous (and busy) hangouts.
8. 4 Gats
One of the oldest restaurants in Barcelona, 4 Gats first opened in 1897 and has hosted artists including playwright Santiago Rusiño, Pablo Picasso and Antoni Gaudi.
Created by owner Pere Romeu, 4 Gats is located on Carrer de Montsio.
Serving up Italian dishes, owner Badr Bennis and head chef Nicola Valle are famous for their colourful food and twists on modern classics.
10. Via Veneto
Serving up some of Barcelona´s best food for more than 40 years, Via Veneto is most famous its fine dining experience and truffles.
Where to stay in Barcelona
The 7 best Barcelona areas to stay in
Barcelona is a huge city, but which of its districts and neighbourhoods are the best to stay in for tourists when you travel there?
Currently Barcelona´s hottest area, Gracia offers artisanal shops, unique cuisine and easy access to the city centre.
Built between the 1800s and 1900s, L´Eixample houses some of Gaudi´s most famous buildings, including La Pedrera, Casa Batllo, and La Sagrada Familia.
3. El Born
Perhaps Barcelona´s artiest area, El Born offers up some of the city´s most impressive landmarks, including the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar and the Palau de la Muscia.
Best for those who want to spend their vacation at the beach, Barceloneta offers sun, sea and surf, as well as a thriving nightlife.
5. El Raval
Offering some of Barcelona´s most famous bars, El Raval is the area for those who like a party.
6. Sant Antoni
Another one of Barcelona´s hottest areas, Sant Antoni is located in L´Eixample and is famous for its buzzing bars.
7. Gothic Quarter
The best location for those who love their architecture, the Gothic Quarter houses some of Barcelona´s oldest landmarks and also offers some of its best cafes and restaurants.
The 20 best hotels in Barcelona
The city has some of the best hotels in the world and here are some of the best places to stay when you travel to Barcelona.
1. Hotel Barcelona Apolo
Close to some of Barcelona’s most popular landmarks, such as Montjuic Castle (0.8 mi) and Passeig de Gracia (1.2 mi), Hotel Barcelona Apolo is a great destination for tourists.
The Barcelona Apolo Hotel features a 24 hour front desk, a concierge, and room service and is close to the Mossen Costa i Llobera Gardens, Jardin Botanico de Barcelona, and Jardins de Laribal.
2. Hotel Barcelona House
Well-known for its proximity to great restaurants and attractions, Hotel Barcelona House is a budget option close to Casa Batllo (1.0 mi), Las Ramblas (0.1 mi).
3. Hotel Amrey Sant Pau
Located near to the Sagrada Familia, Hotel Amrey Sant Pau is a budget hotel near to the restaurants, shops and museums of Barcelona.
4. Seventy Barcelona
Offering an ideal location near the Passeig de Gracia, Seventy Barcelona stunning hotel offers warm customer service, attention to detail, and great food.
5. Petite Palace Boqueria Garden
Located in the Boqueria quarter of Barcelona, the Petite Palace Boqueria Garden offers a garden and outdoor terrace to enjoy the city´s climate.
6. The Cotton House Hotel
This luxury hotel is housed in the former headquarters of the city’s cotton guild, a 19th-century property.
With a rooftop pool with a view looking out to the Sagrada Familia, the Cotton House Hotel also offers a terrace dining area and cocktail bar.
7. Hotel Barcelona 1882
Located in Gracia, 400 metres from Sagrada Familia, making it ideal to travel to some of the city´s most famous attractions, Hotel Barcelona 1882 has an outdoor pool, fitness centre, restaurant, and terrace.
8. Iberostar Selection Paseo de Gracia
Located on Plaça Catalunya Square in Eixample, Iberostar Selection Paseo de Gracia make it easy to travel to the biggest sights in Barcelona and also offers a terrace.
9. Yurbban Passage Hotel & Spa
Situated in Ciutat Vella 400 metres from Portal de l’Angel, Yurbban Passage Hotel offers an outdoor pool and spa centre and on-site restaurant.
10. Room Mate Gerard
Set in Eixample, 700 metres from Portal de l´Angel, Room Mate Gerard offers an outdoor pool, terrace and a fitness centre.
11. Catalonia Magdalenes
The Catalonia Magdalenes Hotel is set in Ciutat Vella, 200 metres from the Cathedral of Barcelona and offers a terrace with an outdoor pool with views of the Cathedral and a spa. Portal de l’Angel is 200 metres away.
12. Duquesa de Cardona
Located near Barcelona’s marina in the Gothic Quarter and 600 metres from the Ramblas, Duquesa de Cardona offers a rooftop terrace with panoramic city views and two plunge pools and a bar.
13. Hotel Bagues
Offering a rooftop pool and bar with stunning city views are offered, this 5-star boutique hotel is located on Las Ramblas and set in the restored El Regulador Palace.
14. Catalonia Ramblas
Located near Las Ramblas and Plaza Catalunya, Catalonia Ramblas features an outdoor pool with a terrace, as well as a spa with a sauna, a steam bath and a hot tub. Massage and beauty treatments are also available.
15. Hotel Royal Passeig de Gracia
Close to La Pedrera, Hotel Royal Passeig de Gracia offers a terrace bar with panoramic views of Barcelona, as well as an interior garden.
16. Hotel Plaza Olivia
Located on Plaza Catalunya in Ciutat Vella, the Hotel Olivia Plaza offers a terrace bar with views of Santa Ana Church.
17. Yurbban Ramblas Boutique Hotel
Juset 400 metres from Boqueria Market and 1.8 km from Passeig de Gracia, the Yurbban Ramblas Boutique Hotel is located in Ciutat Vella.
18. Hotel El Palace Barcelona
Offering a Mayan-style luxury spa, Hotel El Palace Barcelona is close to Las Ramblas in the Eixample district.
19. Ohla Hotel
The luxury Ohla Hotel is located on Via Laietana and offers an award-winning cocktail bar, the the Michelin-starred Saüc restaurant and a rooftop pool.
20. Hotel Claris Barcelona
Another luxury option, the Hotel Claris Barcelona was once the Palau Vedruna, and still offers a taste of sumptuous palace life.
If all that restaurant and museum info has inspired you to visit Barcelona, when is the best time to travel to get the best weather?
Barcelona has mild winters and warm summers with an average of 78 rainy days per year mainly in autumn and spring.
Its average annual temperature is 21.2 °C in the day and 15.1 °C at night.
In the warmest month, August, the typical temperature ranges from 27 to 31 °C in the day, and around 23 °C at night.
December, January and February are the coldest months, with average temperatures or around 15 °C in the day and 9 °C at night.
All this makes April to June the best time to visit Barcelona, when the temperatures are warm enough but not too hot, and before the major tourist season kicks in.
See our free seven-day weather forecast for Barcelona below for what the weather is like in the city now.
How to get to Barcelona
And now you know where to visit and when, how do you get there? Here are the best ways to travel to Barcelona.
Barcelona is one of Europe´s biggest transport hubs, with a trainline, metro, and an airport with 52.6 million passengers yearly making it easy to travel to the city.
Most international travellers fly into Barcelona via its airport, the Josep Tarradellas Barcelona El Prat Airport. Hosting flights from countries around the world, El Prat Airport is 9.3 miles from the centre of the city and is easily accessible by train and metro with its own stations.
Once in the city, the metro is one of the easiest ways to travel around Barcelona. With 183 stops taking in everything from the city centre to the suburbs, the metro is also one of the cheapest ways to see Barcelona, costing from €2.40.
For tickets and more information, click here.
Barcelona also has one of Europe´s busiest train stations Barcelona Sants, making it easily accessible from across Spain and other countries. Located in the Sant-Montjuic district, it connects to the metro as well as other major hubs, including Madrid and France.
For a full list of train times and more information, click here.
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