Truly a diverse European city, Barcelona is a dynamic, energetic metropolis with imaginative treasures and traditional values. This Mediterranean city is alive with a bustling seaport, busy beaches and an even more active cultural population. A city moving into the future, Barcelona also retains a firm grasp on its past, with medieval treasures, gourmet foods, trendy bars and clubs, and traditional designs. Navigating the city is easy, as it is based on an easy to follow grid system.
Barcelona has so many venues for art and architecture; it's easy to spend an entire visit meandering the streets, museums, and landmarks and not even scratch the surface. Works by Picasso, Miró, and Dali can be found in the city, but most remarkable are the works by Antoni Gaudí. His Sagrada Família (Church of the Holy Family) is the most recognizable symbol of this vibrant city, and perhaps all of Spain.Package includes:
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Frequently Asked Questions
Who should go?
Works by great artists Picasso, Dalí, and Gaudí are just a few of the notables to see in this veritable cornucopia of art and architecture. The city is bursting with ornate enclaves of architecture, including classic churches, temples, fountains, and castles. There are also myriad museums to explore, the perfect places to take in the fine works of art and National treasures.
The people of Barcelona are serious about their food. A special mixture of sea and mountain dishes will temp the most discriminating taste buds with a delectable sachet of seafood, meat, and aromatic mountain herbs, spices, and other foods. It's important to take note, in Barcelona, people eat late, with lunches served around 2 or 3 in the afternoon and dinners not until 9 or 11 at night.
With beaches, carnivals, shopping, and festivals galore, Barcelona is the perfect destination for a European vacation with the family. Colorful street performers, fantastic food, eye-popping murals and striking edifices are sure to bring joy to the young and old alike.
What's the climate like?
How do I get around town?
Transfers from airport to your hotel are available for purchase with your hotel package.
A good way to get to know the city is to take a tourist bus, which passes all the main sights, where riders are at liberty to hop on and off at the different stops.
Barcelona has a highly efficient metro (subway) system that easily accesses all parts of the city. Metro, rail, and bus tickets are all paid for using the same tickets, which are fairly inexpensive, especially when purchased in blocks of 10.
What kinds of dining and nightlife are available?
Barcelonans are serious about their food, and the menagerie of delectable eateries found throughout the city is solid proof of this. Because lunch and dinners are usually eaten later in the afternoon and dinners not until late evening, a bevy of tapas restaurants can be found to help satiate between-meal hunger strikes.
- Cal Pep
Perhaps one of the best-known tapas restaurants in the city, Cal Pep dishes up everything fresh, from the mouth wateringly delightful seafood, the fun atmosphere, and the friendly service.
Tucked away behind the Sagrada Familia, Alkimia (Alchemy) serves up a potion of imaginative and colorful foods, blending old world dishes with a flash of modernity, resulting in something truly special.
- Can Majo
Located on the seafront in the Barceloneta area, this restaurant is one of the best fish restaurants in Barcelona. An outdoor terrace makes summertime dining unforgettable with succulent views complementing the freshly caught seafood.
- Cuines Santa-Caterina
From the word 'kitchens' in Catalan, Cuines seamlessly blends Asian, Mediterranean, Italian, and vegetarian foods into a mouth-watering palate of fusion delight. The Scandinavian-inspired architecture alone is worth the trip.
Gaig was founded some 130 years ago by the great grandmother of present owner Carlos Gaig. The restaurant is praised for the freshness of its ingredients. Eggs come from chickens seen wandering on the patio, just off its sleek, luxurious interior.
- Espai Sucre
Perhaps the world's only restaurant that offers a menu made up entirely of luscious desserts. It has a reputation of serving some of the best desserts anywhere.
- La Paradeta
Fresh seafood laid out on bed of ice greets visitors to this fish and chip-style restaurant as they walk in the door. Patrons make their selection then and there, and it arrives a few minutes later, hot, and served in a cardboard box. This restaurant is perfect for families.
Where should I go shopping?
As with most cosmopolitan areas, Barcelona has its fair share of shopping experiences, from high-end couture to quaint boutiques and markets where shoppers are sure to find something to suit any tastes or styles.
One of the most famous locations in Barcelona is Las Ramblas, a mile-long pedestrian avenue running out to the sea at Port Vell. Framing the tree-lined promenade, lanes and alleys meet Las Ramblas with various shops, restaurants, and attractions to visit. A busy communications hub, and commercial area, Las Ramblas comes alive with colorful characters, animated street performers; it is the perfect place to people watch in Barcelona.
When are the local events?
Dia de Sant Jordi
April 23. Sant Jordi (Saint George) is the patron saint of Barcelona. Las Ramblas becomes a huge flower market and bookstall. Men give women a rose and women give men a book in tribute to Cervantes, who died on this day in 1616.
Festival de Sonar
Mid-June. Barcelona hosts the annual Sonar festival of "advanced music and multimedia art." The popular event consists of technology fairs during the day and music events by night.
Festival de Sant Joan
Festes de la Merce
June. In the weeks leading up to June 23, there is a rise in the number of fireworks being let off around the city then on the 23rd it's pyromaniac heaven as everyone heads down to the beach to celebrate the start of summer with an explosion of fireworks and bonfires burning on the beaches and all night revelry.
September. This is Barcelona's main annual festival with plenty of events taking place beginning Sept. 22, including competitions where 'castellers' compete to form the highest human tower, and processions involving wooden giants. There are lots of live music events, unbelievable firework displays and consumption of Cava, the national drink of Catalonia.
Las Ramblas is the best place to watch people go by, to stroll or simply relax. Here, you will find flower stands, book kiosks, and small market stalls where birds and small animals are sold. You'll also find an endlessly fascinating flowing receptacle of pageant-jugglers, singers, dancers, puppeteers, sidewalk artists, living statues, and assorted oddballs on parade. Touring Las Ramblas is a Barcelona activity that is well deserving of a top spot in any Barcelona travel guide.
Barcelona is alive with the distinctive architecture of Antoni Gaudí, considered by many a genius of modernist architecture. Stroll through Güell Park, where the imaginative integration of architectural elements in a natural setting holds in store many visual surprises for visitors. Gaudí's masterwork, La Sagrada Familia's towers pierce the sky as its amazing facade captivates onlookers.
Located in breathtaking Montjuïc Park, the Magic Fountain is a stunning spectacle. The water in the fountain performs by dancing through various routines, accompanied by music and color.
Museu Picasso is located in a medieval palace in the Gothic area. Once inside you will discover a magnificent compilation of early Picasso paintings. Both oils and drawings displayed here are permanent.
Fundació Miró is located in a modern building from famed architect Josep Sert, where several of Joan Miró's works are on display. The gallery houses a large collection of Miró's work, including his trademark primary color sculptures, out on the roof. Concerts are also regularly held here.
Good to Know
|Barcelona El Prat International Airport
|May - July
|November - February
|Spanish and Catalan - both come from Latin but are different from one another. Everybody can speak Spanish although Catalan is more commonly spoken.
|Barcelona is 7 hours ahead of Central Standard Time.
|Government legislation requires all people traveling via air to and from the United States and Canada to have a valid passport. For details on passports, visas, and health requirements, see Entry Requirements.
|At a fine dining restaurant with outstanding service, a 10% tip would be correct, but 5% is more customary in less posh surroundings. For a lunch or light meal in a modest place, rounding up the check by 50 cents is polite. The same 5% rule is true for taxi drivers, too.
|The "dress code" in Barcelona is casual. Jeans and t-shirts are normal attire and you will be able to enter practically all but the very exclusive restaurants with casual wear. The only exception is sleeveless t-shirts, which you will have a few problems getting into bars and clubs. Some of the more expensive nightclubs insist on shoes and will also not allow sleeveless t-shirts.