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There’s an undeniable ease to life in Barcelona. Its glorious climate and lively beach culture dare you to live your life in the sun. For an adventure, head to the Gothic Quarter to find intriguing alleys and artist haunts from days gone by.
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L’Eixample’s large, grid-like avenues (modeled after New York) are easy to navigate. Passeig de Gràcia (in the center) is a tourist hot-spot, with Gaudí's Casa Batlló and La Pedrera, as well as Puig i Cadafalch's Casa Amatller within easy reach. Carrer Balmes is a safe and tolerant area for all kinds of travelers.Accommodations in Eixample
Barcelona's city center effortlessly melds the present with the past. Head to the Gothic Quarter to explore the city's Roman foundations, or to the cosmopolitan Rambla del Raval for the best Barcelona vibes. Gaudi's playfully curvy houses decorate Passeig de Gràcia, which is also home to fantastic brand-name and luxury shopping.Accommodations in Downtown Barcelona
Ciutat Vella ("Old City") is comprised of several neighborhoods: Barri Gòtic, Raval, El Born and Barceloneta (all in more detail in separate descriptions). As a whole, the district’s characteristic features include narrow, winding streets that reach from Las Ramblas to the coast.Accommodations in Ciutat Vella
The enormous Roman Catholic church designed by Gaudi dominates the skyline. Construction on the UNESCO World Heritage building began in 1882 and continues to this day. Visit the neo-Mudéjar Monumental bullring, which once hosted a concert by The Beatles, as well as bullfights until 2012 (when the practice was banned in Catalonia).Accommodations in Sagrada Familia
This district retains a lot of its traditional character. Tourist hot-spots surround Montjuïc Hill, next to Plaça Espanya. Visit the Joan Miró Foundation and Catalonia National Art Museum (MNAC) in the Palau Nacional. The 17th-century Montjuïc Castle stands on the hill, and there are also the colors of the Magic Fountain to enjoy below.Accommodations in Sants-Montjuïc
There’s a youthful energy in this dynamic area. Plaça de la Virreina, Plaça del Sol and Plaça de Rius i Taulet are charming squares to relax in and people-watch. Take a stroll through Gaudí’s Park Güell, with its unique architectural spaces that offer wonderful views of the city.Accommodations in Gràcia
The city walls are remnants of the Roman Empire, while Placa de Sant Felip Neri is riddled with bullet holes from the Civil War. Portal de l’Àngel and Carrer Avinyó have an array of brand-name and vintage boutiques. Dance the night away at the trendy clubs on Plaça Reial.Accommodations in Gothic Quarter
Rambla del Raval is a cosmopolitan area with a wide tree-lined pedestrian avenue, home to Gaudí’s Palau Güell mansion, the Liceu Opera House and La Boquería Market on La Rambla. MACBA, the city’s modern art museum, doubles as an informal skate park and meeting point for the city’s younger inhabitants.Accommodations in Raval
Accessible only by train or bus, this primarily residential district has a range of local restaurants. For families traveling with younger children, the CosmoCaixa science museum showcases a range of exhibitions. Les Planes, an outdoor picnic area, is nestled on the farthest edge of the district.Accommodations in Sarrià-St. Gervasi
This trendy neighborhood features designer boutiques, quirky cafes and a variety of restaurants to explore off Passeig del Born. Cultural activities include the Picasso Museum, Santa Maria del Mar Cathedral and Born Centre Cultural. The sprawling Ciutadella Park borders the neighborhood, home to the Barcelona Zoo and Zoology Museum.Accommodations in El Born
Running from Olympic Port to Torre Sant Sebastia, Barceloneta was completely revitalized for the 1992 Olympics. For a beautiful full-scale city panorama, take a trip on the cable car from Torre Sant Sebastia to Montjuïc Hill, or explore the popular seafood restaurants on Passeig de Joan de Borbó.Accommodations in Barceloneta
Javi was born and raised in Barcelona and is crazy about sports, especially FC Barcelona.
Carretera de les Aigües is a flat mountain path in the Collserola Hills that spans the width of the city. It's a great place to go for a run, cycle or walk – it's a joy to exercise in the fresh mountain air, with amazing views over the city.Accommodations nearby
Ric moved to Barcelona for its vibrant skateboarding scene, street culture and creative vibe.
Skateboarders around the world revere the square around the MACBA. You’ll find a mix of skaters, tourists and locals in the area. It’s a gathering place for young people and watching the world go by – just make sure you watch your stuff!Accommodations nearby
Carla is super positive and loves seeing new places and spaces with her loved ones.
This is Barcelona’s best-kept secret: a show-cooking market set in a restored 15th-century palace. There are all sorts of stalls with gastronomic delights: eggs cooked in a hundred different ways, Japanese, Spanish, Italian food – it's a charming place to grab a bite to eat!Accommodations nearby
Travel-crazy Alba loves to return home to Barcelona, which always welcomes her with open arms.
I really recommend visiting Carrer de Blai for the tapas route. One of the central streets in the Poble Sec district, beer or wine plus tapas or pintxo are two euros on Thursdays. The quality far outstrips the price, which is much cheaper than the regular tourist spots!Accommodations nearby
Noemi is crazy about reading and jigsaw puzzles, especially of cities she has visited.
Torre Rosa is a unique bar set in an old colonial house with a peaceful terrace outside, isolated from the hustle and bustle of the city. I used to go out with my friends to places around Marina or in the Old Town, but nowadays I prefer to go to quieter places with a bit of background music where my friends and I can sit and chat.Accommodations nearby
Arlette is passionate about discovering unique places that are original, historical and beautiful.
If you are a beer lover, La Fábrica Moritz (Moritz Brewery) is the perfect place to discover more about this Catalan beer brand and its history, while enjoying the beautiful rustic architecture that’s on offer.Accommodations nearby
Photographer Alfonso has lived in Dublin and Madrid but always returns home to Barcelona.
If you love taking photos as much as I do, you must visit Pati Museu del Marés, the courtyard of the Marés Sculpture Museum. It’s a perfectly relaxing spot in which to read a book, grab a coffee, look at the water or simply enjoy contemplating life among the orange blossoms.Accommodations nearby
Laura moved back home to Barcelona from Amsterdam to be closer to nature.
My favorite place near Barcelona is Sant Miquel del Fai. It is an amazing Romanesque church set in the cliffs, next to a waterfall. It is about 50 km (31 mi) from Barcelona and there are some really beautiful walking routes in that area.Accommodations nearby
French-born Virginia loves green spaces and has called Barcelona home for 25 years.
I love green spaces so the gardens around Teatre Grec (Greek Theater) are some of my favorite in Barcelona. Enjoy the sun and wander among the ash trees, cypresses, rose bushes and bougainvillea or come here later in the day to enjoy the sunset over Barcelona.Accommodations nearby
Music and sports lover Jordi has lived most of his life in Barcelona.
Granjas are cafés that serve breakfasts and brunches. The experience of eating in one of these traditional cafes has hardly changed in 140 years. It's also special to me because the family who run it are from Cardedeu, a town where my family is originally from. I recommend the suizo (hot chocolate with cream on top).Accommodations nearby
Booking.com asked travelers...Why do you recommend Barcelona for food?
Food, as with the whole of Spain, is a way of life. Whether enjoying sangria and olives outside a quiet cafe on ramble del poblenou or eating tapas at one of the many bars in La boquieria, you're pretty much surrounded by excellent fresh food. If you're a sea food lover, then you're in for a real treat. La boquieria market just off las ramblas is the place to be. You can't help but be inspired by the wonderful ingredients. You can either buy from the market and take away to cook yourself or as previously mentioned, eat from one of the many tapas bars, such as El quim or Barcentral, they're all amazing. Good food is everywhere in Barcelona. I recommend also you try Bar Mut. I could go on forever. Just go and eat!See all 133 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What's the best way to make the most of Barcelona by foot?
The best way to explore Barcelona is to buy ticket for double-decker (bus with 2 floors). You can see them everywhere in the city. One day ticket is 27 euro, 2 days ticket 38 euro. They have 2 routs (1 route for 1 day, but if you wish and have energy, you can make 2 routs on 1 day). So, you can drop off on every stop, walk as long as you want there, and then get on the bus again. This bus goes to every attraction place in Barcelona, so by this way you can see ALL Barcelona. It is very convenient.See all 56 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you enjoy the sights in Barcelona while avoiding the crowds?
Taking the open top bus tours is best way to see so much. They were frequent and had running documentary to listen to. Hop on hop off stops but feel going whole way round on first bus then stay on and get off where you like. Probably 2 day pass best value as so much to see and visit Trains efficient but miss sights from under ground and beware as had purse taken while on train from castle to RamblasSee all 182 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you get the most authentic cultural experience in Barcelona?
Do eat anywhere that isn't a mom and pop shop or where tourists go. Eat fancy one day or so but visit all the little restaurants and ask them to give you some authentically Spain. Get different tapas, bocadillas, eat patatas bravas but don't order food that "your used to" otherwise why go on vacation. You will love what the Spainards eat, its healthy, portioned right and different.See all 86 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...The beach means different things to different people. What did the beach in Barcelona mean to you?
Cleanest city beach ever seen, impressed with maintenance. Rare that a major metropolitan modern city has such nice beaches and a very clean sea with good underwater visibility. Yes, there are crowds, but there is mostly a respectful and peaceful atmosphere. Also a choice of beachwear, topless is optional and beaches to the north are optionally nudist.See all 129 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Describe what other people like you would like about shopping in Barcelona.
A fantastic choice of shops to suit all ages and so reasonable. For gifts I recommend going up the cobbled side streets around the Gothic Quarter for bargains eg tourist gifts etc ( never pay the price as marked on the item, barter for the best price. Great for clothing and some great shoe shops etc.See all 71 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Is there more to shopping in Barcelona than just brand-name stores?
There are shops everywhere in Barcelona, you just need to move away from the areas around Passeig de Gracia/Placa de Catalunya/Rambla de Catalunya (though they also have good shops).See all 49 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Where should people go if they don't want to eat in a tourist trap?
Visit somewhere off las rambles. Food is cheaper and also quite tasty. We love to eat locally.See all 46 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What makes the people from Barcelona so friendly? Tell us your story.
Willing to help always and most people can speak English so did not have problem with languageSee all 37 answers
El Prat is Barcelona’s main airport. A 7-mile train ride gets you to Passeig de Gràcia and takes approximately 26 minutes (operating from 6 am to 11:30 pm every day). Taxis take approx. 20 minutes and it’s not necessary to book in advance. Another convenient option is the Aerobus, running every 15 minutes from 5:30 am to 1 am, 7 days a week. The Aerobus stops at Carrer Sepúlveda and Plaça Catalunya.
Budget airlines usually fly to Girona Airport near the Costa Brava, about 54 miles from central Barcelona. Rental cars and taxis are available. The bus to Estació del Nord takes 70 minutes – departure times depend on incoming flights, but they usually run every 3 hours. Advance bookings are not essential. If you want to catch the train, you’ll need a taxi to Riudellots station 2.5 miles away.
Barcelona's relatively modest size and reliable Metro network make it an easy place to travel around. You can buy single, monthly or ten-journey tickets for the Metro. The ten-journey option costs around EUR 10 and can be used by several people, so you don't necessarily have to buy one each. These tickets can also be used on the bus. There are plenty of well-marked stations scattered throughout the city.
There are two main stations for train travel within Barcelona – Barcelona Sants (the main transportation hub) and Passeig de Gràcia (the most central). Both stations have shops and restaurants nearby and offer easy and quick connections to local trains and the metro. If you’re traveling to destinations outside of Barcelona, you’ll probably depart from Barcelona Sants; tickets can be booked online in advance or purchased from a service desk.
Taxis are well marked and readily available throughout the city. Official taxis are black with yellow stripes. Simply go to a taxi stand or hail one from the street – taxis that are available will have a green light on top. If you have special requirements (for instance, facilities for wheelchairs, larger vehicles) it’s best to book in advance.
If you rent a car at El Prat Airport, getting to the city is simple. Follow the signs to Centre Ciutat on the C-31 highway. There are very few turns involved. If you’re looking for a rental, there are plenty of options available at the airport and most international chains (Hertz, Budget, etc.) are represented. On-street parking can be difficult, but there are plenty of "Saba" brand garages around the city.
Bus travel within the city is not recommended – the metro is extremely efficient and easier to understand for non-locals. If you do need to catch a bus, bus numbers are listed on the signs and stops are clearly marked throughout the city. Unfortunately, there are no maps displayed at the bus stops, so you might need to ask a local for help. Single-journey tickets are available on board.
Barcelona’s relatively compact size and growing number of bike lanes make it a great place to explore on two wheels. There are many bike rental places in the center of town, such as Green Bikes in the Gothic Quarter and Bornbike in Born. Both of these operators offer bike tours of the city where you can take in some of the most popular sites.
Open since the late 19th century, this traditional and lovingly preserved restaurant was once a haunt of Picasso and Rusiñol. Their extensive lunch menu features mainly local Catalan cuisine. Enjoy live jazz on Tuesday evenings.
This chain restaurant is great for budget-conscious travellers looking for a friendly place to eat. It has a very informal but lively atmosphere that occasionally gets quite busy. They also serve a variety of tapas-style dishes, as well as a selection of beers.
Vegetarians definitely need to steer clear of this restaurant, which features a huge range of meat options. Their menu is mainly traditional Castilian fare, including a delicious roast lamb. There are a few other branches around the city. Traditionally decorated, it's great for group meals and attracts a mixed clientele.
For something a little bit different, Julivert Meu serves do-it-yourself style Catalan cuisine. Pa amb tomàquet (a traditional Catalan dish of bread, salt, garlic, oil and tomato) - is served in a DIY sort of kit that you prepare yourself. With its very rustic vibe and traditional accents on the wall, it's unusual to find a place this authentic next to the tourist-heavy Las Ramblas.
Enjoy traditional Mediterranean food in an Art Nouveau-inspired restaurant. It's spacious and suitable for larger groups of people or travellers with children. They offer a set menu with mainly seafood that varies between the week and weekend.
A one Michelin star restaurant with Asian-Fusion style tapas, Dos Palillos's head chef is Albert Raurich, formerly of El Bulli. Located in the stylish Casa Camper hotel, it's pricey but not totally out of the question. Make sure that you book well in advance.
Bilbao Berria is known for being somewhat of a tourist trap, but its central location is a huge draw. There are cheap pintxos and a modern ambience that attracts an international crowd.
Locals and tourists alike flock to La Rosa Negra for some of the best Mexican in town. They serve cheap mojitos and make nice ceviche (cold citrus and coriander soup with seafood.) It's always buzzing and often hard to get a table - so try and book early!
This Vietnamese restaurant has cute and colourful modern décor and features an outdoor eating area. Drawing a mixed crowd, it's great for younger travellers who want to relax in an informal environment. They also stock a range of Asian beers.
Traditionally inspired Thai décor adorns this most lovely of restaurants, with cushioned seats and low tables. The menu features standard Thai cuisine served on flamboyantly decorated plates. Great for groups or an intimate evening, the spacious restaurant has quiet corners surrounded by greenery that are good for a bit of privacy.
Tapas 24 is a fairly upmarket tapas restaurant. They serve classic tapas staples such as patatas bravas, croquettes and bombas, as well as more innovative dishes. It tends to attract a younger crowd and can get very busy, due to its small size.
Caravelle is a gastropub that tends to draw people in for its extensive brunch menu. Also a good coffee spot with ethically grown beans, it has an expatriate feel given their majority English and Australian staff. The interior is quite minimalist and charming.
This Italian restaurant chain is fairly cheap and cheerful - their menu consists of pasta, pizza and risotto-based dishes. La Tagliatella has traditional décor with maroon walls and accents, as well as a large mezzanine to accommodate groups.
La Rosa del Raval serves very affordable Mexican food in a bustling, often extremely busy environment. Attracts a younger crowd of locals and is also popular with tourists. They serve delicious soups and cocktails, like raspberry mojitos. It's often hard to get a table, so get in early!
With a smorgasbord of options for the vegetarian, Veggie Garden is great for big portions on a budget. It has an Eastern vibe that attracts a more alternative crowd, particularly for their thalis (an Indian and Nepalese style set menu with various dishes).
Bacaro is a small Venetian tavern that serves tapas-style dishes and great gnocchi. Suitable for small groups and couples, it attracts a mixed crowd of locals and tourists.
For a tapas restaurant slightly off the tourist map, this restaurant serves high quality, fresh tapas - especially 'flautas' - small baguettes with a range of fillings. It's good for a relaxing evening and more informal dining occasions.
Fresh and healthy Japanese fusion, which blends Japanese food with Mediterranean and Latin American influences. The slick and modern décor combines wood with accents of exposed wood. It's popular with young people and has a relatively informal atmosphere.
Tasca i Vins is perfect for lunch on a low budget. They have an extensive lunch menu serving Mediterranean food, as well as hearty roast lunches. The interior is like a traditional tavern, with lots of beams and rustic accents. Attracts a mainly young crowd.
A traditional restaurant that serves Galician food, including baby octopus and many other fresh seafood specialities. It's more of a local place, but great for groups because dishes are served with sharing in mind. Gets quite busy on the weekend, so get in early to avoid disappointment.
On a sunny day, pull up a chair at this café located in a quiet square. With mainly Argentinian fare, it features free Wi-Fi and a separate lounge area with sofas. The cafe generally attracts a young and modern crowd. They do nice cakes, including Argentinian alfajores - and cheap cocktails!
This cheap and cheerful chain restaurant is popular with vegetarians. It has multiple locations throughout the city and has limited space to sit down. The cuisine is typically pita bread filled with salad of your choice.
For a touch of authentic tradition, this restaurant has been in operation since 1786. It has a traditional environment to match its cuisine, which is made up of various seafood options and home-made desserts. Tends to attract a more mature crowd.
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