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City guide - Barcelona, Spain

Situated between the mountains and the sea, Barcelona is one of Europe’s most striking cities. Its history and cultural legacy come together with unforgettable beaches to make it the perfect spot for your next vacation.

Tipping: Tipping is optional. Leaving a few Euros at a restaurant is usually sufficient, though it is customary to leave a 10 to 15% tip at upscale restaurants if you’re satisfied with the service.

  • Language:

    Spanish and Catalan

  • Currency:

    Euro

  • Airports:

    Barcelona-El Prat Airport

  • Time Zone:

    CEST

Popular Accommodations

Train
RENFE

The national train line departs from Terminal 1 in the airport for travel to the city center, and the airport’s internal shuttle will bring you from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1. To reach the railroad platform, you will need to walk about five minutes inside the airport. An electric conveyor covers a large portion of the walk, making it easier to carry luggage. A few train stations allow for quick transfer to the Metro, including Sants (Barcelona’s main station), Passeig de Gracia and Clot.

Cost €4.50 per person
Trip Duration approximately 30 minutes
Hours departs every 30 minutes between from 6:00 am to 10:30 pm
Website www.renfe.com
Metro

The Orange Line L9 SUD will take you from Terminals 1 and 2 to Zona Universitària station. Once you arrive, you can take either the Red L1 or Green L3 line directly to the city center.

Cost €4.50 per person
Trip Duration approximately 40 minutes
Hours departs every 7 minutes from 5:00 am to 12:00 am Monday through Thursday and from 5:00 am to 2:00 am on Fridays and holidays
Bus
Express Bus—Aerobus

The Aerobus offers express service between the airport and the city center, departing from both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. The bus stops at Catalunya Square and Espanya Square within the city, allowing you to then easily transfer to the Metro. Cost: €6 for a single ride or €11 for a round-trip ticket valid for two weeks (If you choose to purchase a round-trip ticket, please be sure to take the correct line to your terminal on your return trip to the airport: The A1 goes to Terminal 1, and the A2 goes to Terminal 2.)

Cost $16
Trip Duration 25-35 minutes, depending on traffic
Hours departs every 5-10 minutes, depending on the hour, between 6:00 am and 12:00 am.
The 46 Line (TMB)

This line brings you from the airport to Espanya Square. It departs from the lower level of Terminal 2 before passing through Terminal 1.

Cost €2
Trip Duration approximately 40 minutes, depending on traffic
Hours departs every 20 minutes from 4:50 am to 11:50 pm
The N17 Line (MOHN) for night arrivals

This bus travels between the airport and the city center, passing through both terminals.

Cost €2
Trip Duration approximately 40 minutes, depending on traffic
Hours departs every 20 minutes from 10:00 pm to 4:55 am
Taxi

As the most convenient option, a taxi from the airport to the city is highly recommended, especially for individuals traveling together and for those carrying heavy suitcases. The airport’s taxi stand is located on the left side of the terminal exit. Barcelona taxis are painted black and yellow.

Cost €25-€30, with an additional small fee for suitcases
Trip Duration 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic
Transportation Companies

Shared or private transportation services provide the convenience of being able to book your transport online in advance. This efficient service saves you time at the airport, and prices run similar to those of taxis. Your driver will meet you at a designated spot within the airport, waiting for you with a sign, and can transport you to any destination within or around Barcelona.

Website: www.partner.viator.com/en/19164/Barcelona-tours/Transfers-and-Ground-Transport/d562-g15

Park Guell

As one of Barcelona’s most iconic sites, Park Guell’s unique architectural elements and surreal sculptures and buildings by Antoni Gaudí lend themselves to an exceptional atmosphere. Stroll through the park to enjoy the amazing colors and music, taking in the stunning ocean views the higher you climb. Bring a bottle of wine, and seek out the perfect spot to watch the sunset. We recommend pre-booking your ticket, which saves you money and allows you to choose your entrance time without the long lines. Try to arrive in the early hours when the park is less crowded or in the afternoon once the temperatures cool. Be sure to bring your walking shoes, as there is plenty of ground to cover and stairs to climb. There are no entrance fees from 6:00 to 8:00 am, after which point it costs €8 to enter specific areas. Other areas of the park are free all day. The park is accessible via both the Metro and the bus, which stop nearby.

The Montjuic Cable Car (Teleferic de Montjuic)

The cable car offers spectacular views of the entire city on a clear day, from the Serra de Collserola to the sea, and links the city to the top of Montjuic. The ride is a great break from walking the most popular tourist attractions and is enjoyed by adults and children alike. There are three stations along the way: Parc de Montjuïc, Miramar and Castell de Montjuic. Don't miss a visit to the castle, which costs an extra €5 at the entrance. Round-trip tickets cost €12 and allow you access to all stations. We recommend booking in advance, as the lines can get long.

La Boqueria Food Market (Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria)

La Boqueria is the place to experience the real tastes and culture of Spain. In this vibrant, open air food market, choice abounds: Think fresh fruits and juices, tacos, seafood, paellas, crepes, chocolate, candy, meat, fish, pizza, sandwiches, vegetables, herbs, spices and more! The smells and colors are a feast for the senses, the food is fantastic quality, and the prices are reasonable. Simply stroll through the market to enjoy the endless options, but we suggest exploring it all to get inspiration before choosing your meal. Venture toward back to find better prices, and once you’ve had your fill, step outside to shop the famous stretch known as La Rambla. Note that the market can get very crowded and noisy, so plan to arrive early in the day (when you’ll also be able to taste the best seafood). La Boqueria is open every day but Sunday.

Magic Fountain (Font Magica)

The Magic Fountain is a spectacular display of colors, lights, motion, music and water acrobatics. Combining these elements in just the right way results in pure magic! Around the plaza you’ll find artists at work and performances by musicians, dancers and spoken word poets. Be sure to visit at night to experience the show, with the first beginning at 9:30 pm. Get to the fountain early to stake out a prime spot among the crowds, and consider a visit to the hilltop Museum of National Art of Catalonia, an interesting place to visit in its own right and a great vantage point for watching the show.

Church of the Holy Family (Basilica of the Sagrada Familia)

As Gaudi's crowning achievement, the beautiful Sagrada Familia is still being built and is due to be completed in 2026 on the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death. That’s144 years of construction! This masterpiece is a mix of color and light, breathtaking both inside and out and different from anything you’ve seen before. It is recommended to book your tickets in advance to avoid long lines. We also recommend the informative guided tour, but give yourself an hour or so to explore the church on your own before meeting your group. On the tour, you’ll receive a headset that connects to the guide's microphone so you won’t miss a thing. There is also an audio tour available for those who wish to go at their own pace without a guide. Don't miss the museum below to learn about the basilica’s construction and to view site photos and models of Gaudi's plans.

Gràcia Barrio

The neighborhood of Gràcia is just one stop up from the top of Passeig de Gràcia, but it feels like a whole other world. Popular with artists and bohemians, the area is home to many of Barcelona’s ethnic communities and has the highest concentration of foreign restaurants in the city. But despite Gràcia becoming a hot spot of late, it remains a traditional barrio with a large elderly population, making for some of the most entertaining and people watching around.

Barri Gòtic

As Barcelona’s oldest section, the Gothic Quarter includes the ruins of an ancient Roman wall, as well as the medieval Jewish quarter. Here you’ll find the famed gothic cathedral, Plaça Sant Jaume, City Hall and Plaça Reial.

El Born/La Ribera/Sant Pere

These confusingly overlapping areas take many names, but we’re referring to the neighborhood on the other side of Via Laietana from the Barri Gòtic. El Born (more or less the lower part of the neighborhood) has become a trendy area filled with restaurants, bars, and boutiques, while the upper part of the neighborhood is a bit more traditional and less touristy. Here you’ll find the Picasso Museum, which is close to the Arc de Triomf and the lovely Parc de la Ciutadella. The neighborhood is home to more hotels than is the Barri Gòtic, but space restrictions still limit their number.

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