With the Pyrenees and Collserola mountain ranges cradling the city against the azure waters of the Mediterranean, the coastal city of Barcelona is truly a jewel in the Spanish crown. Known for its sophisticated nightlife, its mouthwatering cuisine, golden sand beaches and its UNESCO listed attractions, Barcelona pulls out all the stops to impress you, and you will be swept up in its effortless charm.
Things to do in Barcelona, Spain
It goes without saying that the first item on any itinerary for Barcelona will be a visit to the remarkable neo-Gothic Basilica de la Sagrada Familia. As Gaudi’s most ambitious project, this church was commissioned in 1883 and remains unfinished. However, it won’t feel that way when you step into this glorious building and witness its glittering interior.
From the cathedral, you must make your way to the historic Gothic Quarter. Considered to be the heart of the city for over 2000 years, wandering through the cramped, atmospheric streets of this neighbourhood will acquaint you with architecture from the Roman conquest, through to the Middle Ages, and onto the Gothic era from which the quarter secured its name. This is a fantastic part of the city, free of traffic and full of oddities; from small
This is a fantastic part of the city, free of traffic and full of oddities; from small courtyards, to squares, quaint cafes, dark bars, tapas restaurants and famous museums (such as the Picasso Museum), that you’ll find yourself wanting to spend more than a day investigating its narrow pathways.
When you do emerge from the Gothic Quarter, head to La Rambla, where Barcelona’s social life is centered. Shop for Spanish delicacies at the Boqueria Marketplace, or for chic clothes in the retail stores that line this avenue. Stop for a coffee and people watch, or book a table in one of the many excellent restaurants that are situated here.
Lastly, no trip to Barcelona would be complete without a tour of Gaudi’s second architectural wonder: Park Guell. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site this garden is a colourful, surreal tribute to the man who created it, and strolling through its grottos, up its staircases, through its hall, and little enclosed spaces will feel like a journey through a Lewis Carroll tale.
Best time to visit Barcelona, Spain
- For temperatures between 25-30°C, visit the city in the summer (June-August).
- The spring season is a bit milder than the summer, but it is lovely, particularly in May, as there are far less people. Expect the mercury to hover in the late teens.
- Winter is pretty temperate, with averages of 10-11°C, but it can dip to 4°C when the sun goes down.
Best time to book
- It is typically recommended that you organise your trip to Europe 15 weeks in advance for the most competitive prices.
Expect to pay
- Euro (EUR).
- 1.65EUR ($2.40) for a cup of coffee in the city.
Arriving to Barcelona, Spain by plane
- Barcelona Airport (BCN) is the main airline hub for the city. Airlines include Emirates, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, American Airlines and Delta.
- BCN is situated about 13km outside of central Barcelona. The airport is well facilitated and provides passengers with food and shopping outlets, as well as access to cash machines and free WiFi.
- Flights to Barcelona will include connections in either Southeast Asia or the Middle East. Typically Singapore (SIN) or Dubai (DXB).
- You do not need a visa for Spain if you have an Australian passport. Spain will issue you with a 90 day stay upon arrival, but please ensure you check the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for the latest information.
Transportation to city centre
- It will cost 30EUR for a taxicab into central Barcelona. You can also arrange an airport transfer with us in advance of your travel.
- Public services include the Aerobus, and the train, both of which are less than 6EUR ($8.75) for a one-way ticket.
- If you’d like to drive, search for a deal with our car hire tool, or organise a vehicle at BCN airport.
Where to stay on the Barcelona, Spain?
- For atmosphere and a central location, either Las Ramblas, Placa Catalunya, or a tourist favourite, the Gothic Quarter, are places you’ll want to be. There is a good range of hotels, from economy to luxury here, but as this is the centre of the city, you will be paying more than you would on the outskirts.
- For a bargain, Poblo Sec or Montjuic is where you will find accommodation that is on the whole, far cheaper than the city centre, and only 8 minutes away from Las Ramblas on the metro.
Useful tips before you go
- Though Spain is a very liberal country, when entering churches it is recommended that you wear more conservative clothing, or just throw on a shirt that will cover your shoulders.
- Tipping is common, but not necessarily expected in Spain.
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