Hardly any other city in Europe is as high on the “travel wish list” as Barcelona. Rightly, we think, one should visit the capital of Catalonia and if it is feasible, stay a little longer.
In 1888 and 1929, the big city hosted the world exhibition. In 1992 the Olympic Games were held here. To this day you can still find places in the cityscape that look back on these major events and have had a lasting effect on the cityscape.
Well-known architects and urban planners such as Antoni Gaudí and Lluis Doménech i Montaner have contributed to shaping the cityscape with their buildings. The 66 museums, 86 parks and green spaces and the beach are also popular with tourists and locals alike.
There is something to discover on almost every corner, you just need a lot of time!
Barcelona city trip – our tips
Our tips for a varied and interesting stay in Barcelona
Travelling can be costly. So finding things to do for free at our destinations always makes me happy. I tested some of the free things to do in Barcelona and would like to share them with you.
After almost three weeks in Barcelona, I returned with so many memories that it was quite hard to pick a top five. One thing before we start: None of our excursions left me heavily disappointed. I was able to find something interesting, informative or beautiful at every single spot that we visited.
People who travel Barcelona do not need a car. Everything here can be reached on foot or via public transport. Barcelona’s public transportation system is varied and one should take the time to take a different route every now and again.
An oasis in the big city – a place to experience relaxation and history – the Parc de la Ciutadella in the middle of Barcelona. We explored this 17.4-hectare park on a walk and breathed in its richness.
What I thought a monastery would look like! As I returned from our trip to Montserrat a little disappointed by the atmosphere I was a tad sceptical what to expect from our visit to the Reial Monestir De Santa Maria De Pedralbes.
The Summer Olympic Games 1992 took place in Barcelona. It was a special event as for the first time in 20 years athletes from all nations that had an Olympic Committee took part in the games.
Gaudi… the Park Güell… I was really looking forward to our visit. I looked at countless videos and pictures that different bloggers have made of this park and I was always intrigued. How would it feel to really be there?
For Berlin it’s the BER airport, for Barcelona, it’s the Sagrada Familia. A never-ending, massive construction project! There is a difference between the two though: Construction in Barcelona has been going on for much longer and there are no construction plans.
Drawn in by the oriental looking towers we suddenly found ourselves in the bullfighting arena La Monumental, right in the middle of a residential area of Barcelona.
Right beneath the Montjuïc mountain lies the Poble Espanyol. This “Spanish Village” was built for the 1929 World Exhibition in Barcelona.
The Hospital de Sant Pau is within walking distance of our apartment. The number of visitors is still low, but it is only a matter of time until this impressive hospital complex will receive the same cult status that the famous Gaudí buildings hold.
Cheap food and drink in Barcelona
Tapas, Paella, Sangria …. Eating and drinking in Barcelona can be simply enjoyed.
There is nothing worse than having different preferences for eating times than the locals at your destination. Whenever we became hungry, most restaurants were closed.
Paying one of the countless markets of Barcelona a visit is essential for every trip to this city. Markets, big and small, offering all sorts of goods, can be found in all of Barcelona's districts. Locals buy their fresh produce, sweets, spices and second-hand goodies right there.
Tips for excursions in the surroundings
It is worth discovering the surroundings from Barcelona.
For a good long while Formula One car races were an integral part of our weekends. We were thrilled while we were watching countless races on TV.
Since we had quite a long stay in Barcelona, we soon decided to also visit Montserrat. Picking a day to go was also easy: Sunday – a day when usually none of our phones ring. I had booked our all-inclusive package in advance online.
Accommodation in Barcelona
Barcelona offers hotels in all price ranges as well as holiday flats where you can spend a wonderful time.
We started looking for a flat in Barcelona early on, right after we had decided to spend about three weeks there.
Travel information for Barcelona
One of the hubs of Spanish air traffic is the Aeropuerto Internacional el Prat de Barcelona. The airport is located about 12 kilometers southwest of the city and is served by many international airlines.
The airport consists of two fairly large terminals, which are connected by a free bus service.
From the airport you can take the aerobus line A1 and A2 for example to Placa de Catalunya. Tickets are available at the ticket machines and from the driver.
There is also the city bus TMB line 46 from Placa d’Espanya to the airport. The tickets are cheaper than using the aerobus, but the journey also takes longer because the bus stops almost at every corner.
Both bus lines do not run during the night hours, there are special night lines.
Another possibility to travel from the airport to the city is the S-Bahn line R2. The station is located in Terminal 2 and takes about 20 minutes to the main train station. Tickets are available from vending machines or tobacconists in the terminal.
The metro line L9 Sud goes to Terminal 1 and 2.
There are two other airports near Barcelona that are served by budget airlines. Both are located a good 70 kilometers from the city. From there you can only get to the city by bus.
Estació de Barcelona-Sants is the main train station of Barcelona. Almost all trains arrive here. The city is connected to the high-speed network of the Spanish and French railroads. From Paris, for example, the TGV takes about 6.5 hours to Barcelona. Those who travel to Barcelona by train from Germany usually arrive via Paris.
Bus travel from Austria, Germany and Switzerland to Barcelona is offered. These take a very long time and are not very cheap.
It is possible to reach Barcelona by car via the well-developed freeway network. Most routes are subject to toll. In front of the city there are Park & Ride places, if you don’t want to drive into the city.
There are some regular ferry connections between Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona, Genoa and Barcelona and also trips to Morocco and France are offered.
There are several cruise lines that serve Barcelona. Most of the time the ocean liners are located in the container port, which is a little bit outside.
With your own ship you can moor in the marina in the Olympia port.
On the way in …
The city center of Barcelona is built like a chessboard. There are quite a few one-way streets. The traffic volume is quite high, the driving style of the Spanish is sporty, impatient but fair.
Parking spaces in the city center are scarce. There are many quite expensive underground parking lots for cars.
Barcelona is not a city of short distances. The footpaths are good, but the distances are often much longer than a glance at the map would suggest.
by bus, metro, funiculare or S-Bahn
The public transport system is very well developed. From almost every metro station there are signposts pointing the way to the nearby sights.
The tickets are quite cheap. We have written more detailed information in a blog post based on our experience.
Barcelona has very well developed bicycle paths. On large main roads, they are often separated from car traffic by green strips.
There are rental stations, which are mainly used by locals. The system is impractical for visitors. After the registration you will receive your access data only after a few days.
There are some hotels that rent bikes.
There are quite a few taxis in the city. You can see from the taxi sign if the car is free (Lliure) and in which zone it is driving.
The prices are ok.
Barcelona has a typical Mediterranean climate – dry and hot summers, mild winters
Barcelona is considered the “capital of pickpockets”, who strike especially in the peak travel season in the crowded streets and in the means of transport. Often it is not only adults, but increasingly children are integrated into the raids.
If you want to report a theft to the police, you have to expect that the officers do not speak English. However, the forms are also available in German and English.