Barcelona has both authentic history and the wildly bizarre. From the scenic trails at Park Güell to the romantic alleys of Barri Gòtic. From beach-side nightclubs to dozens of sacred churches and architectural marvels, this city attracts all types. You’ll find an overwhelming variety of things to do. Stay a few days, but you really need a whole week to explore.
In Barcelona, where the beaches are bustling, it’s the cosmopolitan city that gets all the attention. A lot of the activity happens in Las Ramblas, a series of narrow streets and alleys packed with restaurants, nightclubs and a pedestrian market. Make sure to take a tour of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces; sites like Casa Milà, Casa Batlló and La Sagrada Familia. You see why we suggest a week vacation here? Continue reading our Barcelona Spain Travel Guide and get busy planning your vacation to this wonderful destination.
Barcelona Weather – When to Visit
The best time to visit the Barcelona is from May to June when temperatures are in the low to mid-70s. Barcelona in the summertime is sticky with humidity. Locals leave in droves to catch a breeze somewhere else, then come back in the fall when the average highs drop back into the 70s. Winter is mild compared to other Spanish destinations, with highs in the high 50s. And while coming during the spring may seem like smart idea for avoiding crowds, Aprilhas showers, which may put a damper on your sightseeing plans as most of Barcelona’s top attractions are experienced outside. No matter what time of the year you visit, there will be crowds as Barcelona is the most-visited city in Spain.
Best Beaches in Barcelona
From drummers to sand-artists to singing donut salesmen, it may be Barcelona’s dirtiest, most crowded, and most touristy stretch of sand. But, that just makes it more entertaining. There’s always something going on at Barcelona’s most famous beach. It also has some great seafood restaurants along the shore.
Nova Icaria Beach
Located on Barcelona’s central coast near the Olympic marina and observatory, Nova Icària is popular with everyone. Nova Icària is one of Barcelona’s best beaches for water sports, with lessons available in English that you can book online. Once you get tired and are ready to call it a day, head to the nearby Icària shopping center with its English-language cinema.
Bogatell is about a 15-minute walk from Bogatell metro station, but worth the commute. The beach draws a more mature crowd, giving it a more tranquil vibe and making it a great place to chill. It’s also one of Barcelona’s safest beaches.
Mar Bella Beach
Mar Bella Beach is the perfect beach for those looking for a more cosmopolitan scene. It’s most famous for its nudist stretch, part of which is discreetly partitioned off by a big dune beside the windsurfing center. If you’re visiting on a Sunday in the summer, stick around after the sun goes down for the legendary late-night raves.
Ocata Beach is a half hour train ride north of the city, and a hidden gem. This quiet, pristine and flat spacious beach has fine golden sand and immaculately clean water. Join one of the pickup rugby or volleyball games, or head to one of the dozens of nearby beach bars to refuel on tasty tapas and fresh seafood.
Barcelona Tours & Activities
Priority Access: Best of Barcelona Tour Including Sagrada Familia
Delve into the architectural beauty and rich history of Barcelona on a comprehensive full- or half-day tour of the Catalonian capital. With an expert guide, visit some of the city’s most iconic sights and enjoy skip-the-line access to Gaudi’s modernist masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia. Ascend to Montjuïc Hill to enjoy sweeping vistas of Barcelona’s metropolitan sprawl and stroll the streets of the Gothic Quarter on a guided tour. Receive personalized attention from your guide on this small-group tour. Read more about Barcelona Best of Tour with Sagrada Familia Priority Access
Fast Track Sagrada Familia Guided Tour
Sail past long lines of tourists trying to gain entry to Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia with this priority access tour of the modernist masterpiece. Accompanied by a guide, head straight inside to get fascinating insight into the history of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed cathedral. Admire the opulent ceilings and stained-glass windows while learning about the building’s charismatic creator. Visit the museum to see exhibits on the cathedral’s history and observe original plaster models and design sketches. Read more about Barcelona Sagrada Familia and Museum Skip-the-Line Tour
Montserrat Tour from Barcelona Including Lunch and Wine Tasting in Oller del Mas
Venture into the Catalan countryside to visit Montserrat and go wine tasting on this full-day tour from Barcelona. Take a guided tour through the Basilica and Monastery on Montserrat, a beautiful, multi-peak mountain with dramatic rock formations, with free time to continue exploring the museum, farmer’s market, or views from the ridge of Cavall Bernat. Afterward, visit the winery of Oller de Mas for a cellar tour, wine tasting, and a multi-course, Catalan meal. Read more about Montserrat Tour from Barcelona with Lunch and Wine Tasting
City Sightseeing Barcelona Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Discover the best of Barcelona on this convenient City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off tour. Choose from a 1- or 2-day pass, relax on the open-top, double-decker bus, and enjoy your own sightseeing itinerary as you travel the three routes (two during the winter) and learn about the landmarks via the onboard commentary. Stay aboard to enjoy 360-degree views of the sights, and hop on and off at any of the 44 stops at leisure to explore top Barcelona attractions such as La Sagrada Familia, the medieval Gothic Quarter, the colorful Las Ramblas and more. Read more about Barcelona City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Montserrat and Oller del Mas Winery Tour from Barcelona
Explore one of the cornerstones of Catalan culture and history on this small-group tour to Montserrat. See the Montserrat Monastery, home to the famous Black Madonna, and then follow a guide through the vineyards of Oller del Mas, a winery housed in a 10th-century castle. Descend into the cellars to learn about the production methods, and sample three signature wines alongside a cold tapas lunch with dessert. Read more about Montserrat and Oller del Mas Winery Tour
Best Barcelona Restaurants
Bicnic $11 – 20
Bicnic is a trendy spot in Dreta de l’Eixample that is a neighborhood favorite. This food truck-turned-restaurant has a clean, modern design and is divided into two sections, “fast” and “slow.” If you have more time to kill, opt for the latter: The menu in the slow section, divided into appetizers, starters to share, and main courses, includes the super ravioli in shiitake broth, beef and eel tartare served on roasted bone marrow, and monkfish with grilled green onions and lemon broth. Telephone: 34 690 90 46 14 Web: Bicnic
Dos Palillos $31 – 60
Albert Raurich has earned a Michelin star for the masterful tasting menus at this small tapas restaurant in El Raval, which blend Japanese ingredients with Spanish panache. Dishes like Szechuan-style jellyfish, Iberian-Cantonese pork jowl, and chicken sashimi (served rare!) might well force you out of your comfort zone, but just go with it. Bring a date or a group of friends—the chummy, convivial vibe works equally well for both. Telephone: 34 933 04 05 13 Web: Dos Palillos
Hetta Cuisine $31 – 60
Dishes are cooked at a range of temperatures, from raw to oven-baked to flame-torched. Standouts on the small and seasonally shifting menu include salt-baked onion risotto (rich, decadent, and housed within the onion’s outer layers), marinated egg yolk with parmesan buttermilk, a salty cod served with sweet, thyme-infused tomatoes, and pork feather loin served rare with red wine. Telephone: 34 932 52 95 94 Web: Hetta Cuisine
Disfrutar $31 – 60
A meal at Disfrutar is like a performance: There’s fire, ice, smoke, and lots of flavor and color. Top dishes include the crispy egg yolk with mushrooms and the chocolate peppers with oil and salt, but at this two-Michelin-starred gem, it’s all good. There’s also an extensive wine list, or a wine pairing to go with your tasting menu. Telephone: 34 933 48 68 96 Web: Disfrutar
Hawker 45 $11 – 30
Foodies hear here for chef Laila Bazham’s innovative dishes, which are inspired by her life and travels throughout Southeast Asia and Latin America. (Can’t-miss ones include the Korean fried chicken wings, the Singaporean rice laksa with shrimp and squid, and the spicy fish sambal, also from Singapore.) The menu is designed for sharing, so bring a group of your hungriest pals and order one of everything. Telephone: 34 937 63 83 15 Web: Hawker 45
Barcelona’s Best Beach Bars
The Coconut Club
The Coconut Club is a trendy beach-side hang-out with an exotic feel. Located alongside the night-clubs and lounges which line the Port Olimpic, The Coconut Club has a relaxed atmosphere, and locals as well as tourists head here. On the menu you’ll find everything from grilled sandwiches and nachos to healthy salads – all with a Caribbean twist. Telephone: 34 609 84 66 43 Web: The Coconut Club
Salt Beach Club
Located in the W Hotel – one of Barcelona’s most exclusive hotels – the Salt Beach Club is a trendy, modern beach bar located on Barceloneta Beach. The bar offers a selection of specially designed cocktails which reflect the atmosphere, while the snacks list includes international favorites such as pizza, burgers and nachos. Telephone: 34 932 95 28 19 Web: Salt Beach Club
This great spot offers a variety of summer classics, providing a tranquil vibe by day, and turning into the place to be at night. With freshly made cocktails and good music, it’s one of the top outdoor party spots. It’s a bit further along the coast line, but trust us, well worth the travel. Telephone: 34 933 09 12 91 Web: Bambú
Reward yourself with a plunge in the sea and a cold beer – the perfect plan for a warm summer morning. Don’t limit yourself to the daylight hours, though. At night this xiringuito’s offerings are also quite the temptation, and you can kick back with a few drinks until three in the morning, along with a bit of live music or a quality DJ session. Telephone: 34 933 60 73 78 Web: El Maravillas
This favorite spot is on the beach in Barcelona’s Poblenou district, and is much more than a sandy spot where they just serve greasy pork sandwiches to silicone-stuffed bikinis and hairy-chested beefcake. Xiringuito Escribà is the classy joint that serves high-quality rice dishes, fresh fish and other seafood tapas (the grilled seafood platter is divine), along with other interesting items such as the delicious seafood ‘bombas’. Telepone: 34 932 210 729 Web: Xiringuito Escribà
Best Barcelona Hotels
Hotel Arts Barcelona
Pristine Hotel Arts Barcelona guides guests through relaxation through a myriad of luxurious accommodations. Surrounded by the picturesque backdrop of Barcelona, Spain, the landscape at and near our hotel in Barcelona will leave you in awe. Visit us and explore our unique setting, inside of our hotel and all around as you discover the seafront and exquisite design and art nearby.
Cotton House Hotel
The Cotton House is a 5-star hotel for curious travelers who want to discover the true essence of Barcelona. The hotel has 83 refined, comfortable rooms, seven of which are spacious suites. The decoration is inspired on cotton through a chromatic combination of the white, black and sepia of the cotton plant and everything it evokes: softness, comfort, delicacy and naturalness.
Mandarin Oriental Barcelona
Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona is an elegant, contemporary hotel in the heart of the avant-garde city’s celebrated Passeig de Gracia. Located in a renovated mid-20th century building, this 120-room hotel, offers exceptional services and facilities including an award-winning spa, innovative dining at BistrEau by Angel Leon and two Michelin-starred dining by Carme Ruscalleda, within an exquisite interior created by world renowned Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola.
Hotel Casa Fuster
Classified as a 5 * GL monument, the Hotel Casa Fuster is a result of an impeccable renovation an emblematic modernist building dated of 1908 and projected by the famous architect Lluis Domènech i Montaner. The hotel is located in the city center of Barcelona, with panoramic views to the avenue of Paseo de Gracia and to the city. In addition to the magnificent panoramic terrace and rooftop swimming pool, we dispose of 105 rooms and fine gastronomic offer including high-level Mediterranean cuisine in our Restaurant Galaxó and music sessions at the Jazz Club in the Café Vienés.
Mercer Hotel Barcelona
This architectural marvel is located in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic quarter on mythic Calle Lledó, just a short distance from the Plaza de Sant Jaume. It not only represents the splendor of the old Julia Augusta Flaventina Paterna Colony, in what was then the Roman city of Barcino, but is also an archaeological gem that combines past and present, the monumental and the latest design. Now travelers can enjoy the greatest hotel comforts in the heart of old Barcelona, with exclusive views of the dome of the church of Santa María del Mar, the basilica of San Just i Pastor, and the Cathedral.