Travel Guide – Barcelona, Spain

Author: | Last Updated: 28 Mar 2018

City Guide to Barcelona Spain - Barri Gòtic

Barcelona is undoubtedly one of Spains hottest and most tourist-friendly cities. Packed to the brim with plenty of culture, dining, shopping and leisure options, there’s no wonder why it’s such a popular tourist hub over cold and bustling northern Europe. It’s amazing architecture, cultural history and perfect weather all come together to create one of the continents most popular tourist hubs.

The city is a perfect stop for those who love to marvel at the manmade beauty like the countless architectural styles across contrasting each other across Barcelona’s skyline. Once you’ve had your fill of the city’s gothic and modernist buildings, you’ll then have the pleasure of choosing between some of the country’s best bars and restaurants for dinner. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a bad meal in Barcelona, and the city’s 24 Michelin-starred restaurants will make sure of that.

Barri Gotic

Directly east of La Rambla’s hustle and bustle, you’ll find the city’s gothic quarter or Barri Gotic. Dotted with some of Spains oldest buildings and churches including The Cathedral dating back to the 12th century, the gothic quarter is a hive of history and provides an almost untouched look at Barcelona’s gothic culture.

Barri Gotic is also home to hundreds of small shops, bars and restaurants that sit beside the cobblestone lanes, so spending your day, or a few hours here, won’t leave you pining for a snack or a meal, you’ll have plenty of options.

Las Ramblas

City Guide to Barcelona Spain - Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas

Easily Barcelona’s most popular tourist attraction, the street of La Rambla is spread across 1.2km and is packed to the gills with culture, stores, theatres and amazing architecture. The laneway is perfect for those looking to immerse themselves in Barcelona’s best and the countless dining options, luxury stores and coffee shops will top off your trip to the city like nothing else can.

Architectural stars in the area include Gran Teatre del Liceu and Palau de la Virreina as well as the Boqueria Market. Travellers looking to spend their first or last day in Spain will be more than pleased if they chose to spend it at La Rambla. The streets countless store offering and friendly atmosphere is the perfect environment to kickstart your Spanish holiday or cap it off.

Mercat de la Boqueria

City Guide to Barcelona Spain - entrance to Mercat de la Boqueria

Mercat de la Boqueria

If the centre of Barcelona’s touristy La Rambla district isn’t exactly what you consider a relaxing holiday spot, then pop down to the Boqueria Market just off the busy La Rambla street. The marker is the city’s oldest and offers some of the most amazing food you’ll find across the city. Choosing to head on down to the Boqueria Market should push you to hold off eating during the entire day, as you’ll definitely want to indulge yourself on some of the most decadent and quality foods that all of Spain has to offer.

The prices of the food and drink in the world-renowned market aren’t as high as you’d think either, you’ll easily be able to get away with a few large snacks and pressed juice for less than $30. Lovers of cheese, salami, bread and chocolate will be right at home at the Boqueria Market, where some of the worlds best cheeses, meats and chocolates are sold. You’ll want to make sure you arrive as early as you can though, with more than 40,000 visitors a day the market might just sell out of some of your favourite foods before you get there. This was one of the more interesting places that we loved about Barcelona, mainly due to the sheer number of different stalls and vendors on display.

Nova Icaria beach

City Guide to Barcelona Spain - Nova Icaria beach

Nova Icaria beach

If getting out in the sun is a bit more your style, then Barcelona is certainly not going to disappoint. The city’s coastline is literally covered with beaches, all with different surrounds and amenities to make your day in the sun as fun and featured filled as possible. Whether you’re looking for a parkland backed beach, or a beach within the central business district closely stores, Barcelona has you covered.

The city’s most popular beach, Barceloneta Beach is located just off the fishing district and is a favourite for all locals and tourists alike. Just a moments walk from the city and La Rambla means you’ll be able to quickly go back into town to shop or grab a snack after you’ve had your relaxing day at the beach. On the far east side of the city, Llevant Beach is another favourite for locals and tourists, sitting just off the Parc de Diagonal Mar means you’ll be able to retreat back to the park and it’s water fountains and pizzerias for a snack.

Catedral de Barcelona

Catedral de Barcelona

Catedral de Barcelona

Standing proudly above the city’s gothic district is La Catedral, or The Cathedral, built from 1298 to 1460, the architectural marvel is the central point of Barcelona’s religious population. Dotted with awe-inspiring sculptures, like the famous gargoyles, The Cathedral has to be put on the top of any travellers itinerary, and a look inside is definitely recommended. Just outside the cathedral, you’ll find countless stores, from chocolatiers to cafes and even clothing.

If you’re travelling to Barcelona for the city’s rich history rather than modern day shopping or beachfront relaxation, then The Cathedral is an essential piece of the city’s history you can’t afford to miss. Avid historic travellers will even be able to notice the area’s architectural ties to Roman rule as well the dramatic shift to more modern Catalan design.

Plaça Reial

City Guide to Barcelona Spain - Plaça Reial

Plaça Reial

Placa Reial square, or The Royal Plaza, was built in the mid-1800s as a direct result of the ban on religious buildings in the city, which left a large empty space where The Royal Plaza now sits. As one of the most modern and beautiful spaces in Barcelona, you’ll not be disappointed spending a few hours here soaking up the flawlessness of the plaza. Dotted with desert palms and water fountains, you’ll truly feel like you’re inside a movie.

A hidden gem of sorts, the Royal Plaza is located just off La Rambla through a large alleyway and is packed with dining and bar options. It’s near-perfect secluded appearance also provides one of the most photogenic spaces in the city, perfect for that Instagram or Snapchat post.

El Raval

In the past, El Raval was avoided by travellers for being a shady and typically unsafe area in the city, though in the last few years the area has been a major focus on rejuvenation and major tourist-focused development. You’ll find some of the city’s most modern museums here, along with countless dining options and even unparalleled nightlife.

The bohemian style in the area makes it a great place for a photo-op, too. Be sure to stop by Palau Güell, one of the areas most intricately designed mansions, and home to renowned Spanish architect, Antoine Gaudí.

Free museum entry on Sunday’s

Aside from Barcelona’s rich history of architecture, the city also has some of the best museums in the country and typically every Sunday afternoon tourists and city dwellers can access the museums for free. Each Sunday from 3 pm to 8 pm you can find yourself given free access, so definitely keep this part of your itinerary open.

The top museums in the Barcelona for tourists are the government-run museums of Museu Picasso and MUHBA. Both of which offer some of the deepest looks into the city and country’s history. Museu Picasso gives tourists a deeper look into Picasso’s life and his earlier less popular works, giving an insight into what steps his art took to make him the household name he became.

If you happen to land in Barcelona on a day that is not a Sunday, there are still options (that whilst not free), can save you some money on admission prices. Museuly is a great resource website where you can purchase discounted entrance tickets to just about any museum or attraction.

Wrap Up …

Immersing yourself in some of Barcelona’s best modern and historic tourist offerings doesn’t have to dig into your travel budget either. The majority of the city’s best attractions don’t cost a cent, and they’re more than likely to please even the most avid travellers and provide countless Instagram and other photo opportunities. From the city’s older gothic neighbourhood of Barri Gotic to the more modern and hectic La Rambla, Barcelona offers a diverse and captivating array of options that you simply can’t find anywhere else.

If you like this little taste of Barcelona, I recommend that you check out another recent post on interesting things to see and do in Barcelona from our good friends over at xoxosierra.

Whether you have a liking for historical buildings or modern-day shopping, the city caters to everyone, and when you get tired of shopping and engaging yourself in some of the country’s oldest buildings, you can retire to the countless cafes, restaurants and chocolate shops that dot the city streets.

Categories: Travel Guides