Barcelona, Dubai and Berlin are cities that have broken the monopoly major capitals held on being the world's most visited destinations. This is no accident – and even less so in the city where Picasso, Dalí and Miró created most of their work. Year after year, European professionals select Barcelona as the city they most prefer to work in. And the thing is, what makes Barcelona one of the most desirable cities in the world for living is also what seduces the thousands of visitors that choose it as a weekend destination. What most surprises these visitors are not the houses of the brilliant Gaudí, closer to paintings or sculptures than mere buildings, but rather the discovery that it is hundreds of buildings that make Barcelona the global epicentre of art nouveau architecture. Heir to a design culture that permeates everything, Barcelona is constantly reinventing itself, from the celebration of the 1992 Olympic Games to the recovery of its Gothic Quarter, not to mention the city's opening-up to the sea and its miles of beaches. Even its football team has broken with tradition as the only club in the world whose fans prefer jogo bonito, or playing beautifully, a style whose current standard-bearer is best player in the world Leo Messi, to winning titles. Barcelona's agreeable climate throughout the year is ideal for exploring its streets and dining outdoors in restaurants where you can enjoy some of the best food in the world. From very traditional dishes to the most extraordinary flavours, it isn't for nothing that Catalan cuisine has become a global reference, with Ferran Adriá leading the way.
On your right, you will find all practical information to make the most out of your time in Barcelona.
- Going to see a Football Club Barcelona match at Camp Nou. Beyond a doubt, the number one passion of people from Barcelona.
- Relaxing on Barcelona’s beaches: 2.5 miles of beach stretching from Barceloneta to the Barcelona Forum.
- Admiring views of the city from one of Barcelona’s two mountains: Montjuic and TibidaboStrolling through the city’s green spaces: Park Güell and Ciutadella Park
- The famous Ramblas of Barcelona, a pedestrian street that separates the Gothic Quarter from the colourful Raval neighbourhood, unites the centre of the city with the sea. A pleasant walk from Plaça Catalunya to the statue of Christopher Columbus. From the Ramblas, you can enter La Boquería market, the Teatro Liceo opera house and Plaça Real.
- Sagrada Familia: an UNESCO World Heritage site, the Sagrada Familia is Antoni Gaudí’s largest work. Inspired by forms in nature, the art nouveau cathedral is noteworthy for architectural solutions that are still startling today. After more than 120 years of construction, its 8 current towers are a far cry from the 18 that appeared in the original blueprints.
- Gothic Quarter: the origin of the city of Barcelona. An endless network of intertwining alleys and small squares. The Cathedral of Barcelona and the small palaces that house city hall and the Generalitat (government of Catalonia) are located here.
- El Borne: another medieval neighbourhood which recently has become one of the trendiest areas in the city. The Picasso Museum and the breathtaking Santa María del Mar church, with its thousands of stained glass windows, are located here.
- Paseo de Gracia: the most glamorous street in Barcelona boasting the best stores. Among its buildings, Casa Milá (also known as La Pedrera) and Casa Batlló, both by art nouveau architect Antoni Gaudí, are particularly impressive.
Best time to visit Barcelona is from April to June and September to November. July and August can be brutally hot not to mention teeming with tourists. From December to March, the weather can be rather chilly.
Barcelona's climate is Mediterranean. Spring and autumn are mild and somewhat rainy (it's a good idea to pack a raincoat). Winter is also mild while the summers are sunny and hot, with temperatures above 30º C at times. Light clothes and a head cover are advisable.
Citizens of the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland are not required to have a visa but must present a current National Identity Document or passport.
Citizens of countries included in this list must request a visit. For all others, a current passport will do.
Citizens from the remaining nationalities that intend to stay less than 3 months must present a current passport.
If you have any doubts, consult the Spanish embassy or consulate in your country.
While in restaurants the service charge is included, you can leave an extra 1 to 4 euros on the table if the service was good.
Tips are not expected in bars except for table or outdoor seating service.
Tipping taxi drivers is not customary but sometimes people round off.
Euro. See exchange rate with other currencies.
Most places take credit cards, although American Express is not widely accepted. We recommend bringing euros from your country. Calculate 5-10€ a day per person (approx. 4-8£) for minor purchases, public transportation, snacks…
2 round male plugs.
Bilingual city (Spanish and Catalan). English is not widespread but with a little patience you'll make yourself understood. Speaking in Catalan to locals is a sign of a respect for their language, and they will be surelly welcomed. Most frequent words:
Bon dia (good morning)
Adéu (good bye)
El compte si us plau (the bill, please)
Here are some typical dishes that you shouldn't leave Barcelona without trying first:
- Pa amb tomaquet: bread with tomato
- Patatas Bravas: fried potatoes cut in squares with a mayonnaise and tomato sauce. Slightly spicy.
- Paella: rice with fish and seafood (though it sometimes comes with meat and vegetables)
- Fideuá: same as paella but with fideos, or thin noodles, instead of rice. Eaten with all-i-oli (garlic mayonnaise).
Classic Catalan wines are white wines from Penedés. Most popular brands: Viña Esmeralda (dry and fruity) and Viña Sol (dry). Both are very good in terms of quality and price. We also recommend our favourite Catalan white wine: Marqués de Alella (dry and fruity).
The most famous Catalan red wines are from Priorat, though they tend to be pricey. For quality at an affordable price, we recommend Raimat Abadía.
Typical Barcelona beers are Estrella Damn and Moritz. Estrella is light while Moritz is a bit stronger.