Catalonia's capital is both an old and modern, colourful and friendly architectural and entertainment paradise in Mediterrenean Europe.
If you haven't seen Barcelona yet, that's a shame! It's time to discover the hidden beauties of this unique city and hopefully our little guide here will open your eyes to it!
The colossal attractiveness of this city needs time for exploration and experimentation.
Spending a several days will be awe-inspiring, but Barcelona requires at least a week for seeing the most important hotspots and enjoying local delicacies.
At last minute, you might be in for lower hotel rates in Barcelona and flights to the El Prat Airport (the other nearby airports are rather low cost airline airports and don't offer that many late booking possibilities).
This guide is for those who'd like to deeply enjoy visiting Barcelona by booking later and sparing on expenses.
Population: 1,61 million (in 2010) in City; 3,21 million (in 2010) in metropolitan area
Local language(s): Catalan, Spanish
Other widely spoken or understood languages: -
Country, State: Spain, Catalonia
Voltage info: 230 V, 50 Hz - Plug type: C, F
Time zine: CET (UTC+1)
Getting There & Away
Fly in to the El Prat International Airport which is the primary airport, a major international one with lots of intercontinental flights as well.
The Reus and Girona airports are nearby (but much further than El Prat) and receive primarily low cost and small regional airline flights.
Arrive in from Perpignan direction (located in France), from the Pyrenees Mountains in the north, if you are coming from France or Andorra or northeasternmost Spain.
AP-7 and C-32 are the motorways on which you can drive.
E9 is the European highway leading to Zaragoza, roughly westwards.
E90 European highway is linked to by the AP-2 motorway leading to Madrid. This is located southwest of Barcelona.
AP-7 is found south and leads towards Valencia.
Renfe links Barcelona with the most important cities in the area and also with the capital, Madrid.
Regional trains connect Barcelona with nearby small towns. For those trains, you should check the Passeig de GrÓcia station, which is actually an under-city train station, below ground. Trains literally run under the subway lines!
Especially cruise ships link with Barcelona, as it's one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean Sea.
From Barcelona you can embark ferries to Corsica, Sardinia, the Balearic Islands as well.
See & Do
It's a northern district of the city of Barcelona, which used to be a separate town until the early 1900s.
Friendly old streets, beautiful and well-maintained residential areas and some of GaudÝ's architectural creations can be seen here. Good, cheaper hotels close to subway stations are also located in GrÓcia.
The Art Nouveau Attractions
Antoni GaudÝ, Josep Maria Jujol and LluÝs DomŔnech i Montaner are the top architects of Barcelona. They designed some of the most unique buildings in the city. World-renowned Casa MilÓ, Casa Vicens, Casa Batllˇ and the Catalan Cultural Palace are only 4 of their most beautiful creations, quite peculiar designs, indeed...
You should definitely see all 4 of them! Only Casa Vicens is closed for entry, otherwise the other 3 might require some queueing, waiting in line at the entrance.
The Catalan Cultural Palace is only partly open to the public. You will only get to see the spectacular auditorium during performances on the stage.
The Sagrada FamÝlia
Antoni GaudÝ's most impressive work! The most unique cathedral you will ever see in Europe at least...
It bears a unique combination of gothic feel and organic architecture.
Fantastic, it's a dream place! Don't miss it, it's the top attraction, the number one place in the whole of Barcelona!
Small residential quarter of the city, not far from the port area, near the beach.
The Rambla Street
The old street with lots of small souvenir shops, restaurants and unfortunately... pickpockets, but lately police presence has increased and it's much safer.
There's a plethora of shops selling souvenirs, antiques, tiny cafÚs, restaurants selling almost an infinite variety of specialties.
The Gothic Quarter (Barri G˛tic)
This is where the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia is located. Fantastic huge gothic church. Ancient construction, completed at about 1450, before the discovery of America!
You musn't miss seeing its interior and going to the top of the building. From there you'll catch a glimpse at the city's beautiful panorama!
Otherwise, the buildings tops here are very beautiful and there are plenty of attractive small shops and places to eat and drink.
The GŘell Park
Beautiful park designed by Antoni GaudÝ as well. Not the plants, but rather the buildings are why you should come here. There is even a fairy tale-like pink house, which was GaudÝ's home!
This park is a bit hard to find for those who travel there by subway. It's located in the GrÓcia area, by the way.
Museums to Visit
It's just below Ramblas, it's where the Mare Magnum shopping center is located. This is the location where the large cruise ships lay anchor and embark or disembark passengers.
Beautiful luxury yachts are parked at the marina, a must visit place!
Eat & Drink
From paella-selling restaurants to pizzerias, seafood-selling and various other sorts of restaurants, you will find endless places to eat at in Barcelona. Tiny eateries selling tapas and salads, sea foods are almost everywhere in the gothic quarter and the Rambla Street area.
Don't miss the tapas, which are the local speciality. They look like tiny sandwitches with a wide variety of toppings.
Eat and drink as you desire, the selection is vast!
Use subway and walk on foot, it's the best way for getting around!
Otherwise, you will find driving in Barcelona unnecessary. A rental car would come in handy only if you'd like to travel to the towns, cities in the area.
When to Visit Barcelona at Last Minute?
March, April prices are low, so are the ones during September, October. Hunt for last minute offers, discounts on Barcelona travel services within this period. You will generally see 30-40 % price drops on hotels, when compared to rates during the high season (May - August).
But, the high season is when the city is most dynamical. Though, the hordes of travelers will slow you down you in visiting the biggest attractions, as they flock like sardines everywhere at gates.
Bag snatching, pickpocketing and occasional violent assault occur. Please note that bag snatching and pickpocketing occur very frequently in crowded areas and around tourist hotspots.
Barcelona is overall quite safe, but don't walk in the Raval area, don't wander to the ouskirts, avoid the slumish parts around the Rambla area. Even parts of the Gothic Quarter can be dangerous. Don't walk late at night where shady creeps roam and avoid walking alone.
Areas where your should be extremely cateful: Ramblas, the Gothic Quarter, Barceloneta, the port area, Plaša d'Espanya area, places in and around train and metro stations.
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