BRING THE WORLD HOME

A step-by-step guide

Barcelona

in your pocket!

Welcome to our Barcelona guide, where we have carefully selected the must-see places and added personal suggestions. It’s a quick and simple guide that you can consult at any time during your trip.

We have focused on providing useful and practical recommendations that will enhance your trip, including off-the-beaten-track locations. We consider this guide a compilation of our favorite spots in the city.

We have also included gastronomic suggestions that will delight your palate and immerse you in Barcelona’s delicious culinary culture.

We hope you enjoy our guide and it inspires you to explore all the treasures that this wonderful city has to offer!

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Barcelona

a little bit of history!

Barcelona is a city full of history and charm, which has left a profound mark on the culture and architecture of Spain. Located on the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula, Barcelona is the capital of the region of Catalonia and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Its history dates back to Roman times when it was founded as a Roman colony under the name “Barcino”. The Romans built a series of buildings and fortifications in the city, including an amphitheatre, an aqueduct, and a wall that surrounded the city’s perimeter.

In the 8th century, the city was conquered by the Moors but reconquered by the Franks later.

In the 12th century, following a dynastic union, the County of Barcelona became part of the Crown of Aragon, although its territories maintained their customs and even their own currency. During the 13th century, Barcelona became an independent republic and began to develop an economy based on trade and navigation.

Later, in the 15th century, the marriage between Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile in 1469 would unite the Crown of Aragon and the Crown of Castile, forming a true empire. This would be the beginning of what would later be called the Spanish Golden Age, following the reconquest of Granada and the conquest of America (1492). Despite this powerful union, which continued through their descendants, their territories maintained their autonomy, and during the 16th and 17th centuries, the city experienced significant economic and cultural growth thanks to trade and exploration, especially towards the Mediterranean. During this time, the city became an important center of art and culture, and many artists and writers settled in the city.

In the following centuries, Barcelona underwent various transformations and conflicts, including the Napoleonic occupation and the Spanish Civil War. A key factor, during this time, was the celebration of the 1888 Universal Exposition, which brought significant improvements to the city’s infrastructure and its expansion.

But it was during the 20th century that Barcelona became renowned worldwide, thanks to the modernist architect Antoni Gaudí. His masterpieces, such as the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and Casa Batlló, are recognized for their unique style and their impact on contemporary architecture. These structures have become iconic symbols of the city and attract millions of visitors each year.

Today, Barcelona is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city that combines its rich historical heritage with a modern and progressive mindset. Its streets are filled with life, bustling markets, elegant boutiques, and fashionable cafés.

Welcome to Barcelona! The city boasts a comprehensive public transportation system, including buses, the underground (metro), trams, trains, and funiculars, making getting around the city easy and affordable. If you’re looking for your nearest stop or station or need to find out how long it takes to travel between neighborhoods, there are several options available. The Barcelona Public Transport App (TMB) provides all the information you need about the metro and bus network, and it also calculates the fastest and simplest routes. If you prefer traveling by train, the Catalan FGC (or Catalan Railway) is perfect. You can check and download the free app here:

Here are our recommendations for transportation cards that are commonly used by visitors to the city, although the choice ultimately depends on each person’s needs:

  • T-Casual Card: This card allows you to travel on the metro, buses, trams, and funiculars for 10 trips without any time restrictions. You can purchase it from the ticket vending machines at metro stations or authorized sales points.

La Sagrada Familia

It’s one of Barcelona’s most iconic landmarks and a key tourist attraction in the city. It’s a basilica designed by the architect Antoni Gaudí and is now a symbol of Catalan modernist architecture. Although the construction began in 1882, it is still in progress and is expected to be completed by 2026.

Park Güell

Another project by Gaudí, it offers panoramic views of Barcelona. It’s a public park filled with extravagant architectural elements, lush gardens, and unique sculptures. The park was built between 1900 and 1914 and is currently a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Barceloneta Beach

This is a very popular beach located near the center of Barcelona. It’s a place where residents and visitors can enjoy the sun, sand, and sea. In addition to the beach, the area offers a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, making it a popular destination both during the day and at night.

La Rambla

This is an emblematic pedestrian promenade in the center of Barcelona. It’s known for its lively and bustling atmosphere and is filled with shops, restaurants, and street performers.

La Casa Batlló

One of Gaudí’s masterpieces located on Paseo de Gracia. It is a residential building with an extraordinarily decorated façade that showcases Gaudí’s distinctive and extravagant vision. It stands out for its organic forms, use of ceramic mosaic, and impressive roof.

The Ciutadella Park

A beautiful park situated in the heart of Barcelona. It features wide green areas, a lake where boats can be rented, an impressive fountain designed by Josep Fontserè, and several museums, such as the Museum of Zoology and the Museum of Geology. It is a popular spot for relaxation, picnics, and enjoying outdoor activities.

The Agbar Tower

Currently Glòries Tower. One of the most modern and impressive skyscrapers in the city. Located in Barcelona’s technological district and designed by architect Jean Nouvel, it stands out for its glass façade and nighttime illumination, giving it a futuristic appearance. The Agbar Tower has become an architectural symbol of the city and offers panoramic views from its viewpoint on the 38th floor.

Palau de la música catalana

It is one of the city’s most important architectural and cultural landmarks, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner. The building houses an impressive concert hall with exceptional acoustics, as well as exquisite decorative elements such as stained glass, mosaics, and sculptures.

The Cathedral of Barcelona

Also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, it is an impressive religious building located in the Gothic Quarter. Its construction began in the 13th century and extended over several centuries, resulting in a blend of architectural styles, predominantly Gothic but also with Renaissance and Neo-Gothic elements.

The Gracia Neighborhood: Located in the north of the city, Gracia is a bohemian district full of charm and character. Here you will find small squares with terraces and independent shops.

The Sant Sebastià Beach: Situated in the Barceloneta district, this beach is less touristy than the famous Barceloneta Beach, but equally beautiful. Here you can relax and enjoy the sun and the sea.

Plaça de Catalunya: Plaça de Catalunya is a central and emblematic square in Barcelona.

The Poble Sec Neighborhood: This neighborhood is known for its artistic and cultural atmosphere. Here you will find many authentic bars and restaurants with reasonable prices.

The Joan Miró Foundation: This museum is a must-visit for modern art lovers. Located on top of a hill, it offers stunning views of the city.

The Ciutadella Park: This park is an oasis in the city center. Here you can take a stroll, have a picnic, or even rent a boat to sail on the lake.

Funiculars: Barcelona has several funiculars that connect different areas of the city with the nearby mountains. They are a fun way to enjoy the views of the city and the surrounding landscape.

The Sants Neighborhood: This neighborhood is known for its street parties and relaxed atmosphere. Here you will find many local shops and authentic bars.

The Santa Maria del Mar Church: This church is an impressive example of Gothic architecture. Here you can admire its stunning interior and spectacular wooden ceiling.

The Laberint d’Horta Park: This park is a must-visit for garden lovers. Here you will find a labyrinth of bushes and an impressive waterfall.

The Sarrià Neighborhood: This neighborhood is known for its village atmosphere and cobblestone streets. Here you will find local shops and authentic restaurants with a wide variety of traditional dishes.

The Sant Antoni Neighborhood: This neighborhood is full of bars, restaurants, and designer shops, and is very popular among locals.

The Sagrada Familia Neighborhood: This neighborhood is located right next to the famous Gaudí church and is known for its charming streets and authentic atmosphere.

The Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens: One of the most exotic places in the city, as these gardens are home to plants brought from all over the world, and you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Barcelona.

Canaletes: A small fountain located on La Rambla. According to legend, anyone who drinks water from the Canaletes fountain will fall in love with Barcelona and always come back to the city. It’s a popular landmark and a symbol of the city’s welcoming spirit.

Museum of Chocolate: A museum full of artworks that can be created using chocolate as the raw material.

The Neighborhood of El Raval: This neighborhood is multicultural and vibrant, offering a wide variety of bars, restaurants, and independent shops.

Barcelona Botanical Garden: This garden is an oasis of tranquility in the city center and features a wide variety of plants and trees.

The Neighborhood of Les Corts: This neighborhood is very popular among locals and offers a great variety of authentic shops, bars, and restaurants.

Poblenou Cemetery: An impressive and historically significant cemetery, also offering a unique view of the city.

Casa Vicens: This house was designed by Gaudí and is a lesser-known but stunning architectural gem.

The Neighborhood of Sant Pere: This neighborhood is known for its narrow, cobblestone streets and its authentic and welcoming atmosphere.

Barcelona Design Museum: This museum houses a large collection of design and applied art, and is a must-visit for design and fashion lovers.

Montjuïc Mountain: This hill offers breathtaking views of the city and is home to several museums, gardens, and monuments.

Pueblo Español (Poble Espanyol in Catalan): This is a charming open-air museum. It was built for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition and is located in the Montjuïc area.

Montjuïc Fountain (La font màgica): A large and impressive fountain located at the base of Montjuïc hill. It features a water, light, and music show that takes place every Thursday to Sunday evening.

Montjuïc Olympic Stadium: A prominent location in Barcelona due to its history, architecture, and role as the venue for the 1992 Olympic Games.

Camp Nou: Inaugurated in 1957, with a capacity to hold over 99,000 spectators, it is the largest football stadium in Europe. The stadium also houses the FC Barcelona Museum, where you can explore the history of the club and see its trophies.

Barcelona Olympic Port: This was built as part of the preparations for the 1992 Olympic Games. It’s located in the La Barceloneta neighborhood and is known for its lively atmosphere and wide range of leisure and entertainment options.

Botero’s Cat (Raval): The sculpture is the work of renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero and has become one of the most recognizable symbols of the neighborhood.

Maritime Museum of Barcelona: The museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts and exhibitions related to navigation, fishing, underwater archaeology, and maritime history in general.

Casa Milá (La Pedrera): An iconic modernist building designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí.

Labyrinth Park of Horta: One of the oldest parks in the city. It stands out for its neoclassical and romantic design, combining architectural and natural elements. In the center of the labyrinth, you will find a statue of Eros, the Greek god of love.

The Bunkers of Carmel: The Turó de la Rovira is a set of old fortifications and bunkers built during the Spanish Civil War. Located on Carmel Hill, it offers a spectacular viewpoint.

Pedralbes Monastery: The monastery was founded in 1326 by Queen Elisenda de Montcada as a Cistercian nunnery. It is one of the most prominent monuments of Catalan Gothic architecture.

Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi: Built in the 15th century, it is a Gothic church located in the Raval district. One of the highlights of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi is its impressive Gothic-style rose window, which can be found on the main facade.

Tibidabo: This is a mountain but also the name of an amusement park located in the same place. Tibidabo Amusement Park is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, inaugurated in 1901.

The Neighborhood of El Born: It is known for its rich history, charming streets, and vibrant atmosphere. Santa Maria del Mar Basilica is also located here. It also houses the Picasso Museum.

Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau: The architecture of the Hospital de Sant Pau is characterized by its impressive modernist design, intricate details, colorful tiles, and innovative use of materials. It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Barcelona is all of this and more! We understand that the best way to get to know a city is by exploring its streets and discovering every secret they hold. We can’t think of a better way to show you the city than for you to visit with us on a Free Walking Tour.

Tours and Activities in Barcelona

Calçots with Romesco Sauce

Inspired by a grenade or ‘the bomb’, bombas are potato croquettes served wth both white garlic and spicy red sauces.

Patatas Bravas

It is a must to try Bravas in Barcelona! Fried and full of flavor, it’s always an ideal choice as an appetizer or snack.

Bombas

Inspired by a grenade or ‘the bomb’, bombas are potato croquettes served wth both white garlic and spicy red sauces.

Pa amb Tomaquet

A simple slice of bread with fresh tomato sauce seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Escalivada

This is a traditional Catalan dish that typically consists of roasted eggplants and peppers with olive oil, onion, tomato, minced garlic, and salt.

Arròs Negre

A Valencian and Catalan dish made with cuttlefish (or squid) and rice, somewhat similar to seafood paella but black due to the squid ink that is used in the recipe.

Escudella Catalana

This is the Catalan version of the Madrid Cocido: prepared with meats (pork ear, ham bones, beef…) and vegetables (leeks, carrots, celery, onion).

Fricandó

Made with a cut of beef hip, Fricandó features small mushrooms in a traditional sauce.

Botifarra

A Catalan sausage believed to have its origins in Ancient Rome. It is made using a combination of raw and spices.

Crema Catalana

Made with fluffy cream infused with the delicious aroma of lemon and cinnamon, “Catalan Cream” is perhaps the best way to finish a typical Catalan meal.

Mel i Mató

This traditional Catalan dessert combines fresh mató cheese (similar to cottage cheese) with honey. It is a light and refreshing option after a heavy meal.

Coca de San Juan

A typical sweet consumed during the festivities of San Juan in Barcelona. It is similar to a kind of brioche topped with candied fruits. Versions filled with cream or cabello de angel (pumpkin jam) can also be found.

Xuixo

Originally from the city of Girona but very popular in Barcelona, Xuixo is a tube-shaped pastry filled with cream. It is made of fried puff pastry and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Panellets

Although panellets are typical of the All Saints’ Day celebration, they can be found throughout the year in Barcelona. They are small sweet balls made from a mixture of almonds, sugar, and egg. They come in a variety of flavors such as pine nut, coconut, chocolate, or coffee. But there are also many other things to try, such as Carquinyolis or Tortells.

Sangria

Sangria is one of the most famous Spanish drinks and also very popular in Barcelona. It is refreshing and perfect to enjoy on hot summer days.

Cava

Cava is a sparkling wine produced in the region of Catalonia, where Barcelona is located. It is similar to French champagne and is mainly made from local grapes.

Vermouth

A wine-based beverage fortified with herbs and spices. It is common to have it before meals as an aperitif and is very popular in Barcelona. There are different varieties of vermouth, both red and white, and it is served with ice and a slice of orange or lemon.

Horchata

Although not exclusive to Barcelona, horchata is a refreshing and popular drink in the city, especially during the summer months. It is made from tiger nuts, water, and sugar, and served ice-cold. It is an ideal choice for those looking for a non-alcoholic and refreshing beverage.

Craft beer

Barcelona has experienced a boom in craft beer production in recent years. There are numerous breweries and specialized bars that offer a wide selection of local and international beers.

Mercado de La Boquería

If you’re looking for fresh produce like fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat, Mercado de La Boquería is the ideal place. You’ll also find some stalls selling artisanal products.

Paseo de Gracia

This avenue is renowned for being home to some of the most luxurious stores in the city.

La Rambla

This famous pedestrian street is a good place to shop for souvenirs but always be cautious with tourist traps. You will also find many fashion stores and jewelry shops in this location.

Portal de l'Angel

This pedestrian street is one of the most popular shopping destinations in Barcelona. Here, you’ll find fashion stores, jewelry shops, shoe stores, as well as plenty of options for restaurants and cafés.

Diagonal Mar

This modern shopping center features over 200 stores, cinemas, and restaurants. It is located in the Sant Martí district, close to the beach.

Curiosities of Barcelona

  • There are two legends about the origin of the city. One of them attributes its foundation to Hercules, who supposedly established it four centuries before the construction of Rome. The second legend claims that the founder was Hamilcar Barca, a Carthaginian and the father of Hannibal, who named the city Barcino. It is also said that this inspired the name of the local football team.
  • The Sagrada Familia, one of Barcelona’s most iconic monuments, is still not finished. Construction began in 1882 and it is expected to be completed in the year 2026.
  • In 2005, Barcelona and other Catalan towns became the natural and ideal setting for filming of the movie, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.
  • If you are vegetarian or vegan and it’s your first time in Barcelona, don’t worry, there are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options!
  • The Gothic Quarter of Barcelona was built on the remains of a Roman city from the 1st century BC. Some remnants from that era can still be seen underground.
  • In Barcelona, there are over 400 sculptures of dragons scattered around in honor of the legend of Saint George, who supposedly saved a princess from being devoured by a dragon.
  • In the old town of Barcelona, there used to be a very famous spell and magic shop on Picalquers Street. Not only did witches and wizards visit this shop, but also doctors and pharmacists. Their specialty was animal excrement, especially cat excrement, which was said to be very useful in the making of potions and balms.
  • The statue of Christopher Columbus at the port of Barcelona does not point towards America, but towards the Mediterranean. It is said that Columbus considered it easier to reach the Indies through that route than through the Atlantic.
  • In Barcelona, you can find the “smallest bar in the world,” called “El Quim de la Boqueria.” It is located in La Boqueria market and can only accommodate a few people.
  • Barcelona’s longest avenue, Avenida Diagonal, gets its name because it extends diagonally across the city.
  • On the Pont del Bisbe, one of the most beautiful corners of the Gothic Quarter, if one observes the bridge closely they will discover a mysterious skull under the bridge itself, which is said to be authentic and pierced by a dagger. Why it is there and the meaning behind it is still a mystery, which has given rise to inevitable urban legends. Some say that if the dagger is removed, Barcelona will crumble to its foundations.
  • In the Gracia neighborhood of Barcelona, there is a street called “Carrer de les Carolines” dedicated to a group of nuns who were killed during the Spanish Civil War.
  • Barcelona has over 60 public parks and gardens, making it one of the greenest cities in Europe.
  • The famous architect Antoni Gaudí designed a house called “Casa Vicens” in the Gracia neighborhood of Barcelona, which was the first major work of his career.
  • Barcelona, despite being located by the sea, did not have a beach until 1992, the year when the Olympic Games were held. Until that moment, the coastline was filled with industrial buildings.
  • There are two official languages in Barcelona. Any Catalan person will understand you when you speak in Spanish, but in Barcelona, as the capital of the Catalonia region, Catalan is more widely spoken.
  • Tibidabo Amusement Park, inaugurated in 1901, is considered one of the most beautiful and oldest parks in the world. Walt Disney was so enchanted when he visited that it inspired him to later build Disney World.
  • Park Güell was conceived as a luxury housing development. Nowadays, it is by far the most photographed place in Spain, with over one and a half million photos uploaded on Instagram each year.
  • For a long time, Barcelona has been associated with a vampire myth. Enriqueta Martí, also known as “the Vampire of Raval,” is the most famous of these legends and was accused of murdering several children.
  • In the Boquería Market Square, you can find a mosaic by the famous abstract Surrealist artist, Joan Miró.
  • The famous avenue of Barcelona, La Rambla, is actually composed of five different avenues that were joined together to form one.
  • Barcelona’s major celebration, Sant Jordi, is dedicated to a saint of Turkish origin rather than Catalan. The celebration takes place on April 23rd, the date believed to be the day of the saint’s death, and the inhabitants of Barcelona take the opportunity to exchange books and roses as gifts. UNESCO also drew inspiration from this festival to declare the date as World Book Day.
  • The Santa Maria del Mar church inspired Ildefonso Falcó to write his best-selling novel, “The Cathedral of the Sea.”
  • On Passeig de Sant Joan, inside the Arús Library, there is a replica of the Statue of Liberty.
  • Barcelona is filled with very original bars. Try Las Cuevas del Sorte, Bosc de les Fades, Gourmet A-320, La Garrafa dels Beatles, or Bharma.
  • The Museum of Funeral Carriages is the only exhibition of its kind in Europe and allows you to understand funeral traditions from a hundred years ago.
  • Initially, the French engineer Gustave Eiffel intended to place the Eiffel Tower, which is now in Paris, in Barcelona. His plan was to construct the most emblematic monument of Paris in the Spanish city; however, the Catalan authorities rejected the architect’s proposal.
  • At number 109 on Nou de la Rambla Street, you will find the “Refugio 307,” a tunnel built by the residents of Poble Sec during the Civil War as a protective measure against the bombings. This half-kilometer-long underground structure had amenities such as toilets, water fountains, and a first aid station. Currently, it can be visited as part of the Barcelona History Museum.
  • If you visit the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, make sure to look for the FC Barcelona shield. During the start of the Civil War in 1936, the basilica suffered a fire, and various entities collaborated in its restoration, including FC Barcelona.
  • Barcelona has an artificial beach called Nova Icaria, which was created for the 1992 Olympic Games. Prior to this, there were no beaches in Barcelona due to the industrial coastline.
  • Barcelona is known for its love of football, and FC Barcelona is one of the most successful and popular teams in the world. Their stadium, Camp Nou, is the largest football stadium in Europe and can accommodate over 99,000 spectators.
  • The “Caganer” is a traditional figure in Catalan nativity scenes at Christmas time. It depicts a man defecating and is believed to bring good luck and fertility. You can find Caganer figurines in many souvenir shops in Barcelona.
  • The Port of Barcelona is one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean and the largest cruise port in Europe. Every year, it welcomes millions of tourists arriving to the city by ship.

Gaudi-Inspired Wonders

Immerse yourself in the visionary world of architect Antoni Gaudi with a myriad of souvenirs that pay homage to his iconic designs. Choose from intricately designed tiles, charming figurines, and exquisite prints that mirror the whimsical beauty of his masterpieces, including the renowned Sagrada Familia and Park Güell.

Step into Comfortable Espadrilles

Embrace the Mediterranean breeze with authentic espadrilles – comfortable canvas shoes with rope soles that perfectly complement warm weather strolls along Barcelona’s picturesque streets.

Fans

Channel the elegance of Spanish tradition with ornate hand-held fans. These colorful accessories, often embellished with intricate designs, serve as a delightful reminder of the graceful charm that pervades every corner of this beautiful corner of the world.

Jamón Ibérico

Indulge in a quintessential Spanish delicacy – the exquisite jamón ibérico. Savor the distinct flavors of this high-quality cured ham, a culinary masterpiece that embodies the heart and soul of Spanish gastronomy.

Cava

Raise a glass of effervescent joy with cava, the sparkling wine synonymous with celebrations. Crafted in the Catalonia region, cava is a fitting tribute to the city’s spirit of revelry.

Catalan Wine

Immerse yourself in the world of Spanish oenology with an array of local wines, carefully selected from the bountiful vineyards of nearby regions like Penedès and Priorat.

Liquid Gold (Olive oil)

Elevate your culinary prowess with a bottle of premium Spanish olive oil. This liquid gold not only embodies the flavors of the Mediterranean but also adds a touch of authenticity to your dishes back home.

Turrón

Indulge your sweet tooth with delectable treats like turrón (nougat), very loved in the city and it is a sweet gift for the family or friends.

Fridge Magnets

Nowadays, a lot of people engage in collecting refrigerator magnets. Whether you’re a fellow collector or looking to buy one as a gift, there’s a wide variety of magnets featuring exquisite landscapes.

If you want to discover the complete and up-to-date list of the best souvenirs from Barcelona, check out our blog.

Are you looking for souvenirs?

General recommendations

Always carry cash with you! Small convenience stores or independent cafes may not accept cards, or only if the payment is an amount over €10 or €15.

Tipping is not expected or necessary, although it is always appreciated.

Beware of people asking for signatures in tourist areas, as well as the shell game (hiding a ball under three cups) and pickpockets in general, especially in highly crowded areas.

Avoid eating on Las Ramblas. Due to its incredible popularity, it hosts a large number of tourist traps and excessively expensive places to eat that may not necessarily offer the best quality. There are good places, but you have to be cautious!

Dinner is usually eaten late (and many restaurants open later than you might be used to). Similar to France and Italy, people in Spain tend to eat much later than in other European destinations like Germany or Sweden. Most restaurants don’t open until 7:30 PM, and people usually have dinner from 9 PM until 11 PM.

La Barceloneta is a great place to visit but it can get very crowded. We also recommend alternatives such as Nova Icaria Beach or Ocata Beach.

If you liked this guide and want to support us, visit our website and discover our exciting range of unique and personally designed souvenirs for Barcelona!

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