Maybe Paella. Or Gaudi. For some FC Barcelona. For others nightlife and fiesta. Playa (beach). Catalonia. “Vicky Christina Barcelona” by Woody Allen. Seafood. Sagrada Familia. Whatever are your associations with Barcelona – there is so much more! Come with me for a great adventure hanging around this amazing city.

Barcelona is a city full of everything. On the one hand, we have a gothic district, with narrow streets and churches and cathedrals, on the other hand – a bustling modern metropolis. A city that never sleeps, at least at night, to rest during the day while siesta on the playa. Definitely – to feel its charm you have to spend here at least a few days – first visit the most important corners, and then just get bored into the atmosphere.


What to visit?

Listing ALL places worth visiting would require writing a good (long) guide, so I will limit myself to a few of the most important and the most interesting, in my subjective opinion, places worth your time. You can add your own in comments!

Gothic Quarter (also known as Spanish*, Barri Gothic) – many cities of Western Europe have their parts from the Middle Ages, but the specificity of Barcelona is in the life that goes on in it. Wandering around one can find also Roman city walls! Yes, Barcelona is THAT old.

St. Eulalia

I strongly encourage you not only to look during the day, among others, the Cathedral with the tomb of Saint Eulalia or Plaça de Sant Jaume, and MUHBA (city museum), but also at night, where the street is teeming with artistic performances, and people are sitting at tables for dinner or wine.

* Yes, in Barcelona almost everything is called Spanish or Catalonian – squares, palaces, food. In case you forget where you are. Or just because they had no idea how to name it differently 😉


The Cemetery of Forgotten Book

by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

Park Guell
Casa Batillo

Hanging further around you can pass the Palace of Catalan* Music (in this topic I also recommend the Opera & Gran Teatre del Liceu), Catalan* Square or  Reial Square with Gaudi’s street lamps.

For Gaudi’s enthusiasts, we find many examples of his XX century works from Park Guell, through Guell Palace, Casa Mila and Casa Batillo (and many more!). But Barcelona isn’t just a Gaudi city – we can also look at the Picasso museum or National Museum (with many other artists).
A separate trip deserves beaches from the famous La Barceloneta to the newer ones – Bogatell and Nova Icaria (here are some chances of fewer sunbathers).


Catalonian Square

In the area of these beaches, you will find a large metal fish in Villa Olimpia.

There are also several food markets in the city, but the easiest way leads to La Boqateria because it is located on the famous Las Ramblas.

Football fans have to look at Camp Nou – “Barca” stadium. Shopaholics need to visit Passeg de Gracia with the shops of all fashion designers and famous top-shelf brands (that came to my mind).
If you like to commune with nature – Barcelona, for such a big city, has a lot of parks. From the mentioned above Park Guell, through the park at the Citadel (with the ZOO), to the huge Montjuic hill (where apart from picnic areas you will also find Fort and beautiful fountains).


If we are speaking about the fountains – a visit to the Spanish Square* will give us an unforgettable experience in the evening, because just there is the Font Magica (the magic fountain).

A huge building, the famous unfinished Sagrada Familia cathedral by Gaudi (and the staff of other architects) deserves a separate mention.

Sagrada Familia (July 2018)

Not sure what to see in Barcelona, where to go or what is what? Buy Rick Steves Pocket Barcelona (paper or Kindle).

Includes the following walks and tours:

• Ramblas Ramble
• Barri Gotic and Cathedral Tour
• Picasso Museum Tour
• Eixample Walk
• Sagrada Familia Tour

Yes, in Barcelona almost everything is called Spanish or Catalonian – squares, palaces, food. In case you forget where you are. Or just because they had no idea how to name it differently.


What to eat?

Churros, tapas, Paella – sound like some Harry Potter spells? Don’t worry! We have a special blog post about Catalan cuisine and what to eat when you are in Barcelona!

How to travel to Barcelona?

As in every big city – Barcelona is no exception – street traffic is quite large, and there are not many parking spaces, although of course, we will find city car parks.
Public transport – buses and metro – is a much better solution.
During the week of our stay in Barcelona, we travelled on foot, by metro and sometimes by taxis.
If you plan a lot of travel – day card (type 48 or 96 hours) will provide cheap travel and include various additional stuff (no queues or discounts). If you prefer to extend your travels in time (or many people), the most optimal solution will probably be a t-10 card (on the pic), that is 10 trips. You can use it without time limits, you can validate as many people as you want. Valid for one trip (in an example in the subway, not counting other zones, from the moment of validating to the exit through the gates, that is also with interchanges).
The metro network is also increased by the network of terrestrial trains with the symbol R (eg. the R-2 commutes to the airport).
When it comes to taxis – there are many corporations, Uber (currently few drivers and long waiting times) and mytaxi (fast, convenient, payment by the application, easy contact with the driver and route check).
The price list is standardized. From the airport, the minimum cost of travel is 20 euros (if we come out less we have to pay the difference), for larger suitcases, it costs extra EUR 1, and for a kilometre, we pay 1.13 euros, trip start – a little over 2 euros. The current price list and rate calculator can be found here.

We lived in hotel Salles Pere IV and had Bogatell metro around the corner, with 10-15 minutes to almost every important spot in the city. And 15 minutes to Playa Nova Icaria.


How to get to Barcelona?

Casa Mila

If you do not come by ship (which I do not suspect), it is either by land (bus/car) – Barcelona is located in the south of Spain, near the border with France (see the map below). There is also a plane to the El Prat airport, which is located south of the city. From the airport, we reach the centre with the R-2 railway (a “special ticket” for additional zones required), a rented car (there are several well-known rental companies) or a taxi. We will pay about 20-30 euros to the centre (the Gothic district).
Coming to Barcelona just don’t end up like Vicky and Christina in Woodys Allen movie 😉



Back to you!

That’s all that I managed to fit in a small pill to taste Barcelona a little. Definitely a topic worth further dredging, but this is not for today’s reading 😉
Let me know in the comments if you have ever been to Barcelona (when?), would you like to come back, what you saw/ate and what you liked the best. I will gladly get to know your impressions from your trip to Barcelona!


Sources/bibliography & further read



Where to look?


Travel soundtrack

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