Barcelona Travel Guide
The name of this storied Catalan city, Barcelona, is almost as beautiful as the coastal metropolis itself. Nicknamed Ciudad Condol (once upon a time, the city was the seat of the Count of Barcelona) the destination sticks with anyone who wanders among the remarkable architecture and through the airy plaças. Nestled along the sparkling Medetearrean Sea in northeastern Spain, Barcelona is a colorful melting pot of culture, full of world-renowned cuisine, legendary art, music, and more. Book a trip to this sunny city and you'll spend your days exploring the dynamic barrios, wandering along the beach, strolling through verdant green spaces, and discovering gem after gem—some well known, like Park Güell or Camp Nou, and some hidden, like Santa Caterina.
The architecture alone is worth planning your trip around—from Gothic structures to Gaudí's modern wonders, design lovers could fill weeks exploring the stunning buildings, monuments, and sculptures throughout the city. Ultimately, Barcelona's unwavering energy and cultural elements result in a distinct immensity of spirit unlike any other destination. The temperate climate, too, makes the weather quite pleasant for most of the year.
When vacationing in a new place—especially an historic city—it's easy to get caught up in the I-must-see-everything-as-quickly-as-possible mentality. And while Barça has no shortage of things to see and do, the city imparts a distinct sense of relaxation on those who pass through. Be sure to reserve time to experience life like the locals do, enjoying leisurely lunches followed by siesta, vermuteria hopping on Sundays, and frequenting your neighborhood bar for tapas and wine with friends.
Central European Standard Time
Best Time to Go
Early summer or autumn are the best times to visit Barcelona, as late summer tends to get hot and humid. Book your trip in May, June, September, or October for the most idyllic weather—you'll encounter plenty of sun and nice temperatures for swimming and walking about the city's stunning streets, parks, and markets.
Things to Know
Barcelona is the capital and largest city of Catalonia, where both Spanish and Catalan are the predominant languages spoken. The city is a transportation hub and one of southwestern Europe's economic centers—also known as Spain's leading biotech city.
Meal times are all generally on the late side in Barcelona. Restaurants are typically open from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. for lunch, and from 8:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. for dinner. Many stores close for lunchtime siesta (2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.), as well as on Sundays and public holidays.
Europe's largest stadium is Camp Nou in Barcelona with a capacity of over 99,000 occupants, and is home to FC Barcelona (one of the most supported fútbol teams in the world).
How to Get Around
Metro: The Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) is the main transport system in Barcelona, operating both the metro line and select bus routes. Riders can purchase tickets at metro stations across the city. Single tickets cost €2.40 or you can buy a T-Casual ticket for multi-trip use.
Trains: The main railway station in Barcelona is the Barcelona Sants. The FGC is a network of trains in Barcelona and the surrounding suburbs which connects the city to other towns in Catalonia. The Renfe is an international high-speed railway line that connects Spain and France, allowing travelers to get to cities like Paris, Marseille, and Madrid quickly.
Taxis: Typically affordable, accessible, and all over the city day and night.
Car service: While Uber operates throughout Spain, it is not currently available in Barcelona. Cabify is a favored alternative for ride sharing.
Things to Do
Neighborhoods to Know
Eixample: Broad boulevards, courtyards, ample trees, and excellent shopping and dining options make Eixample a wonderful home base when visiting BCN. You'll find Gaudí's classics like Casa Battló, Casa Milà, and the Sagrada Familia in this neighborhood, alongside other great works of both traditional and modern architecture.
El Born: Like the neighboring Gothic Quarter, El Born is known for the narrow, meandering medieval streets, but it's slightly less busy. Here, travelers will discover especially good shopping (think stylish boutiques), artsy vibes, wonderful restaurants and bars, and close proximity to the beach.
El Raval: Located about a 10-minute walk from Plaça Catalunya, El Raval is a vibrant neighborhood known for its character, authentic restaurants and bars, and the impressive Museum of Contemporary Art. Two streets in particular, Carrer dels Tallers and Carrer de La Riera Baixa, are especially good for vintage and second-hand shopping. Those in search of an authentic taste of Barcelona life will enjoy exploring this barrio, but be mindful of your surroundings, as parts of Raval can be a bit shifty (avoid unlit alleys or walking alone at night).
Gothic Quarter: Known by locals as Barri Gòtic, this charming old town neighborhood is full of legendary Gothic architecture nestled along narrow, medieval-era streets. In addition to checking out the trendy restaurants, bars, and boutiques, see remains of the old Roman city at the Museu d'Història de Barcelona.
Gràcia: Vila de Gràcia is the epitome of authentic, leisurely life in Barcelona. The neighborhood is a bit quieter than its more centrally-located counterparts, and you'll find it's chock full of beautiful plaças, atmospheric restaurants and bars, eclectic galleries, and independent boutiques. You can easily spend all day in this uncrowded, village-like neighborhood.
La Barceloneta: Nestled right by the sea, La Barceloneta is an energetic and historic beachside neighborhood that offers more than a touristy stretch of sand if you know what to look for. Come for the seafood (ahem, paella) and stay for the hopping bar scene.
Poble Sec: Bordering scenic Montjuïc, Poble Sec is one of the most lively neighborhoods in Barcelona, adored by locals and thus slightly less touristy. Boasting dozens of small bars, restaurants, and boutiques, this upbeat area has wonderful dancing and theater options, too.
True to the Mediterranean, Barcelona sees mild temperatures for the majority of the year. August is the city's hottest and most humid month, with temperatures averaging 77 °F, and January is the coldest month, with averages around 49 °F. Precipitation hovers around 25 inches annually, with October being the wettest month.
The following are average Fahrenheit lows and highs by month.
January 41 - 57
February 42 - 58
March 46 - 51
April 50 - 65
May 57 - 71
June 63 - 77
July 69 - 83
August 69 - 84
September 64 - 79
October 58 - 72
November 48 - 64
December 43 - 58