BarcelonaTravel Guide

Barcelona is a city rich in culture, with great nightlife, abundant sunshine and an incredible food scene. It can be busy in summer, but its architectural treasures by Gaudi are truly awe-inspiring. Don’t miss Park Guell or La Sagrada Familia – construction began in 1882 and the basilica is due for completion in 2026 (love to be in town for THAT party). Just wandering the streets of Barcelona is a delight, with tree-lined La Ramba a perfect place to start. Savour the tasty morsels you’ll find at the city’s many tapas bars and restaurants, or hit the beach and soak up the easygoing Barcelona vibe.If you’re planning a visit, explore our Barcelona travel guide. We’ve collected the best tips from our travel experts, and have top suggestions for things to do, the best time to travel, where to stay in Barcelona, getting around and more.

Barcelona quick facts

Language

National language

Spanish

Beverages

Bottle of Coke/Pepsi (330ml)

CAD $3.00

Local time

Sunday

2:30am

Currency

Euro

CAD $1.00 = EUR €0.68

Eating out

Restaurant meal (casual dining)

CAD $21.91

Electricity

Plug type: C

2 pins • 230V

Explore Barcelona

Where to stay in Barcelona?

Picking where to stay in Barcelona depends on your holiday style. While sightseeing is top of everyone’s list – you don’t want to miss architectural masterpieces like Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia, or visiting the iconic Picasso Museum – consider how you’d like to unwind afterwards. There are many places to stay in Barcelona and each has its own vibe. For a lively social scene, look for accommodation options along La Rambla and around Placa Catalunya. Quieter evenings can be found in the Gothic Quarter or Poble Sec. If five-star is the only way you travel, then Eixample is your home away from home.

The largest square in Barcelona, Placa Catalunya is considered the heart of the city – it's where many of Barcelona's main streets meet. Stay here and you'll be in the thick of the city, close to the buzzing social scene and popular attractions like La Rambla and the Gothic Quarter. The trade-off: the cost of rooms in nearby hotels tend to be a little bit higher.


Soak up the culture and architecture of Barcelona in one of the oldest parts of the city: the Gothic Quarter. Let the narrow, winding streets guide you to the many laidback bars, cafes and restaurants. Lodgings range from apartments to boutique hotels, so there's something to suit every style of holiday.


Enjoy an upbeat community feel when staying in Gracia. Until the 19th century, it was an independent town – a proud identity that many of Gracia's residents hold on to. The area attracts a bohemian and artsy crowd, so it offers a very different vibe to central Barcelona. Gracia is well serviced by the Metro and offers a range of guesthouses, apartments and comfortable hotels.


Connecting Placa Catalunya with the Christopher Columbus Monument, the tree-lined La Rambla is a thriving pedestrianised street. Enjoy your pick of shopping opportunities, take a trip to the La Boqueria food market, and make sure you stop to admire the Miro Mosaic, created by famous artist Joan Miro. There's a good selection of hotels along La Rambla, but do be prepared for some noise if staying here.


Poble Sec is nestled between Montjuic and Parallel Avenue (named so as it runs parallel to the equator). A 20-minute walk from La Rambla, book accommodation here and you'll enjoy peaceful, laidback evenings. Reflect on the day's sightseeing over some tapas in one of the many restaurants, or head to one of the nearby theatres, like the El Molino or Teatre Grec.


Translated, the word ‘Eixample' means ‘expansion' and that's what this area does – it joins Old Town Barcelona with surrounding areas, like Gracia. Make Eixample your base if you're interested in seeing Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia (the unfinished church) or indulging in designer retail therapy. Five-star accommodation is the order of the day when staying here.


Believe us when we say, this is just the start. Book your accommodation today!

  • Image of Park Güell with the sun mid peak
    • La Sagrada Familia at sunset
    • Side of a building with interesting patterns and stucture in Barcelona
  • Image of Park Güell with the sun mid peak
    Image of Park Güell with the sun mid peak
    Image of Park Güell with the sun mid peak
  • La Sagrada Familia at sunset
    La Sagrada Familia at sunset
    La Sagrada Familia at sunset
  • Side of a building with interesting patterns and stucture in Barcelona
    Side of a building with interesting patterns and stucture in Barcelona
    Side of a building with interesting patterns and stucture in Barcelona

Things to do in Barcelona

Finding things to do in Barcelona isn’t the problem. It’s finding enough time that’s tricky. Visiting modernist Gaudi architecture is a must, but there’s more to this city. Stroll the famous La Rambla and Gothic Quarter, or go off the track to trendy Poble Sec. Here you’ll find some of the best tapas the city has to offer. Need some downtime? Barcelona beaches are the best places to unwind.

La Sagrada Familia is the gem in Barcelona's crown. Famed for being ‘the unfinished cathedral', it was designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. The sheer size and intricacy of it means construction has moved slowly. Guided tours around La Sagrada are a must, but as it's such a popular tourist attraction, we highly recommend booking tickets in advance.


Take a stroll down the tree-lined La Rambla and expect all of your senses to be stimulated. Street performers vie for your attention, while restaurants, shops and cafes persuade you to part with your euros by providing tempting smells. Keep your camera handy. Iconic buildings like the Gran Teatre del Liceu, government building Virreina Palace and the Boqueria Market are all along La Rambla.


From ancient Roman ruins in the Gothic Quarter to Gaudi's forward-thinking design for Casa Mila, the old and modern sit comfortably together in Barcelona. The city's modernist architecture goes beyond Gaudi, though. Richard Meier's Museum of Contemporary Art, Herzog and de Meuron's Forum Building, and Lluis Domenech i Montaner's Hospital de Sant Pau are three strikingly different examples of modern architects influencing the city's look and feel.


Home to the most extensive collection of Pablo Picasso artworks, the Picasso Museum documents the Spanish artist's formative years. A permanent display of 4,251 artworks paints a picture of the famous impressionist's development, from traditional fine art to the beginnings of his iconic Cubist style. It also reveals Picasso's deep relationship with Barcelona and how the city influenced his work.


The Fundacio Joan Miro was set up by the artist himself. The aim was to create a space that celebrated modern art and encouraged younger artists to experiment with contemporary styles. Within the gallery you'll find permanent canvases and sculptures created by Miro, sitting alongside temporary exhibitions from international artists. Check the foundation's website before travelling to see what's on.


Experimental, attention-grabbing and exciting: just three ways you can sum up a trip to Gaudi's Casa Batllo. Bright mosaics and colours on the outside of the building won't fail to catch your eye, but buy a ticket to explore the interior and you'll continue to be surprised and in awe of Gaudi's flair for design and architecture.


Among the Gothic Quarter's warren of narrow streets, you'll find some of the city's oldest buildings sitting comfortably next to more modern 19th and 20th century architecture. It's this fusion that gives the Gothic Quarter its unique feel. This is also where you'll find the stunning Barcelona Cathedral. Spend time exploring this beautiful building and take the elevator up to the roof. The views are not to be missed.


Take a Barcelona day trip to Montserrat – a serrated rocky range that's known for the Santa Maria Montserrat Benedictine Abbey. Accessed by funicular (cable car), once at the top enjoy far-reaching panoramic views into Catalonia. Maintained paths take you to the Museum of Montserrat monastery, which is full of beautiful artworks and home to the Black Madonna.


When Antoni Gaudi turned his hand to landscape gardening, Park Guell was the result. Far from your average green space, fairy-tale gatehouses mark the entranceway while colourful mosaics adorn the walls and an arboretum of stone pillars mark the top of the park. Tickets to Park Guell are limited, so we highly recommend booking in advance.


Dedicated to the excavation, preservation and exhibition of key historical buildings and artefacts uncovered in Barcelona, the Museu d'Historia de Barcelona captures the development of the city. From festivals and traditions to everyday life in Barcelona, the museum's collection of displays represent how life in this Spanish city has evolved.


Located in Eixample, Casa Mila is one of the architectural wonders created by Gaudi. Its twisted wrought-iron balconies and rough stone façade were inspired by the look and feel of an open quarry, hence its more popular name: ‘La Pedrera', meaning ‘the quarry'. Today, Casa Mila is a cultural centre with spaces for exhibitions and activities for locals and Barcelona's visitors to enjoy.


Looking for an immersive experience? Then a tour is the way to go.

Barcelona travel tips

Amid the holiday excitement, it’s easy to forget about arming yourself with a few key Barcelona travel tips. The good news: Spain’s a well-developed country. Tap water is safe to drink and there’s not usually any need for vaccinations. However, it’s advisable to check you’re up to date with jabs and always get travel insurance. An extra piece of advice: keep your receipts. As a non-EU citizen, you’re eligible to claim VAT back on goods, providing the outlet offers this service. Check at time of purchase and hold onto your receipts. You’ll be able to put in a VAT claim at a designated airport kiosk before your return flight.

Australian passport holders don't need to worry about arranging Spain visas for holidays that are 90 days or less. Spain is part of the Schengen Convention – a collection of European countries that allow Australians to enter without a visa for tourism purposes. Make sure you get the correct entry stamp in your passport on arrival. Failure to do so could lead to difficulties when it's time to go home.


Eat like a local and indulge in Barcelona food specialties. Pintxos and tapas – small plates of food, often served on bread in the case of pintxos – are extremely popular. Plates vary from small salads to meat, cheese and seafood dishes. Paella and cannelloni are also common in the region. Expect plenty of other European influences too – Italian, French and fusion cuisine are commonplace.


Pack an adapter, because while the voltage in Spain and Australia are the same (230V) the shape of the electrical plugs are not. Australian plugs have two or three flat pins. In Spain, the plugs and sockets have two round pins, the generic European plug. Pick up a plug adapter at a travel shop or supermarket, or even at the airport.


Touch down for your holidays at El Prat Barcelona Airport. There are two terminals, with T1 being the busiest. Here you'll find desks for international, domestic and popular European airlines. T1 was only opened in 2009, so it provides many modern shopping opportunities and restaurants. El Prat is located around 12km from the city centre but is well-serviced by local taxi companies, public buses, trains, and the Metro.


The Spanish currency is the euro (€). Change Australian dollars at a currency exchange outlet like Travel Money Oz before you travel, or once you arrive in Spain. Look for Bureau de Change kiosks. You'll find some at the airport, but it's worth shopping around to get a better rate. The city has many ATMs, and shops, restaurants and hotels widely accept card. Just check with your bank about any overseas charges beforehand.


The wages in Spain are generally pretty good, so tipping in Barcelona is reserved for great service. If you've had an especially excellent dining experience, or been on a brilliant tour where the guide really made it special, you may wish to show your appreciation by leaving a tip. Between five and 10 per cent of the bill is acceptable.


There are two official languages in Barcelona: Spanish and Catalan. You'll hear a good mix of both. Before leaving, brush up on a few basic Spanish phrases. Por favor (please), gracias (thank you), and dos cervezas, por favour (two beers please!) are ones you shouldn't do without. Having said this, Barcelona is hugely popular with English-speaking travellers. Airport staff, hotel employees and tour guides usually speak good English.


Flights to Barcelona

Barcelona food and drink

There’s a number of delicious options when deciding where to eat in Barcelona. For cool cosmopolitan restaurants and bars head to Eixample or El Born. Here you’ll find upmarket Michelin-starred restaurants alongside pop-up eateries. Don’t miss out on trying authentic Spanish dishes and tapas. The best are in the quieter Poble Sec area. During the day, grab a bite to eat at one of the many food markets. La Boqueria is the most famous, but stop by Mercat de Santa Caterina too for quick food on the go. After a tough day of sightseeing, enjoy a sundowner in bars around the trendy Gracia or El Raval neighbourhoods.

The most famous Barcelona food market is La Boqueria. Stalls stocked to the brim with brightly coloured fresh produce sit next to cool counters filled with cured Spanish meats. Located on La Rambla, avoid the crowds by getting to La Boqueria early. Equally mouthwatering markets can be found in Gracia and El Born. For a modern food market experience, head to Mercat del Ninot.


Unwind with a quiet drink in Poble Sec. Still largely undiscovered, it's a great place to enjoy a sundowner before dinner. El Raval also has many hidden gems. Bars here often have a more local vibe – the perfect place to test out your Spanish! Explore the arty Gracia neighbourhood for vibrant wine bars, while El Born and Eixample are the places for cocktails and rooftop bars.


Kick off or round up your holiday with an extra special meal in upmarket Eixample. For more relaxed tapas dining, veer towards Poble Sec, Blai Street and the Gothic Quarter. El Born also offers exciting foodie opportunities. Pop-up eateries and cool restaurants ranging from Michelin-starred fare to fusion dining can be found here. Love fresh seafood? Look no further than the Barceloneta neighbourhood.


Recharge your batteries with a caffeine hit by heading into one of Barcelona's cafes. Some of the best artisan cafes can be found in the Gothic Quarter and Eixample. If you've got time, pull up a seat to fully appreciate your surrounds. Alternatively, small coffee trucks can be found close to popular destinations like La Rambla. These are perfect for grabbing a coffee between sightseeing.


Get a real taste for the local cuisine by booking a tour.

Barcelona through your eyes

Where to shop in Barcelona?

You may have to exercise some restraint during your Barcelona shopping trips. There are several key neighbourhoods that will help you spend your holiday money. Each has its own feel and shopping style. If you love big brands and labels, head to Passeig de Gracia. Here you’ll find the latest catwalk fashions and iconic designers. There’s even an app to download to help you plan your route along Barcelona’s longest shopping precinct. Head to El Raval and Gracia if you’re on the hunt for one-off souvenirs. Among these trendy streets you’ll find numerous boutiques selling vintage fashions, handmade goods and gifts.

Love shopping? Then a trip to Passeig de Gracia is a must. Located in fashionable Eixample, Barcelona's longest shopping street is full of high-end designer brands, luxurious spas, and upmarket dining experiences. There's even a Passeig de Gracia app. Download before your trip and you can easily make reservations and check the services offered in each store. The perfect way to plan your day of indulgence!


Visit El Raval and indulge in a shopping spree full of trendy, one-off buys. The neighbourhood has undergone a massive transformation in recent years. Once considered a dangerous part of Barcelona, El Ravel is now a hidden gem. Discover vintage clothing shops, boutiques, bookstores, independent beauty retailers, food markets, and a plethora of original art studios.


Portal de l'Angel is a charming mix of familiar international high-street brands and smaller independent boutiques. Put your holiday budgeting skills to the test as you explore the many department stores and souvenir shops. Its close proximity to the popular Gothic Quarter means you can expect it to be busy, especially on weekends.


If there's one word to sum up Gracia, it's cool. This hip neighbourhood is all about independent fashions. Explore the winding streets and you'll uncover boutique clothing stores and jewellery makers selling original pieces. It's the perfect place to splash some cash when looking for unique fashions or special gifts to take back for friends and family.


Looking for a safe and simple way to bring your money when you travel? Our Travel Money Card has you covered!

When is the best time to travel to Barcelona?

When it comes to picking the best time to travel to Barcelona, you really do have an open playing field. The city has two main seasons (summer and winter) with only a few transitional months. Summers are hot and humid. Temperatures reach 30°C and above. If you wish to explore the beaches, now’s the time to go. In contrast, winters get as low as 14°C. However, Barcelona isn’t an especially wet or windy city, so getting out and about is still very much on the agenda. Barcelona also gets a consistent amount of daylight throughout the year. No need to worry about the sun setting on you before you’re done exploring.

Barcelona enjoys around six months of summer, from May to early October. July and August are the hottest, with temperatures easily reaching 30°C or higher during the day. It's also the city's busiest time. Much of Europe is on their summer holidays from July to September, so expect the attractions and beaches to be buzzing. Appropriate clothing: Shorts, t-shirts, dresses and skirts, beach-wear. Don't forget: Sunscreen and a hat for protection from the summer sun.


The winters in Barcelona are pleasant and mild. From November through to January, temperatures range between 14°C and 16°C during the day and only get as low as 10°C in the evenings. Generally, it's a dry, fresh winter so you shouldn't need to worry about getting caught in a rain shower. Outer urban areas like Montjuic or Montserrat may experience early morning frosts. Appropriate clothing: Trousers, jeans, and jumpers. Don't forget: A jacket for cooler evenings or for heading up to mountainous areas.


Typically, autumn doesn't occur in Barcelona. However, the summer temperatures start to drop off from mid-October. Expect the mercury to average around 21°C. There will also be fewer sunshine days, with cloud and rain showers taking its place. While the cooler temperatures are welcome when sightseeing, it doesn't always make for ideal beach weather. Appropriate clothing: Shorts, dresses, and t-shirts for during the day, but warmer evening alternatives. Don't forget: A hat – there may still be clear days where the sun is strong.


From February through to June, the mercury slowly starts to rise. April and May are considered to be a great time to visit Barcelona. Temperatures range from 17°C up to 24°C and it's not too humid, so it's the perfect climate for walking and cycling tours. Head out to coastal Barceloneta or mountainous Monserrat and there may still be a cooler chill in the air, but nothing a jumper wouldn't fix. Appropriate clothing: Shorts, t-shirts, and long-sleeved shirts for the day, and trousers for the evening. Don't forget: Sunscreen and sunglasses.


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How to get around Barcelona

The Barcelona transport system is modern and reliable. The result: more time for exploring. Many of the main attractions are close together. The famous Gaudi architecture is largely found in Eixample, which is close to shopping on Passeig de Gracia and La Rambla. A little way from there and you hit the Gothic Quarter and Placa Catalunya. Walking Barcelona is certainly an option. However, if you prefer to get the underground, the Metro system is efficient and air-conditioned. The Metro stops at all the main attractions and you’ll rarely be waiting more than five minutes for the next train.

Black and yellow Barcelona taxis are plentiful. Flag them on the street if their green light is on. Alternatively, head to one of the many taxi ranks at train and bus stations, or by the main plazas. All licenced taxis are metered, but you may find the tariffs change depending on city zone and time of day. Fares and additional costs are displayed inside the cab's window.


There are Barcelona bike hire companies that allow you to rent a bike for a couple of hours – perfect for speeding up commute time between attractions. There's a number of bicycle tour operators within the city, too. These are a great alternative to walking tours. Helmet laws are pretty flexible, but all hire bikes come with the option of having one and we highly recommend utilising this service.


Getting around the city is simple thanks to the good Barcelona public transport system. The Metro and public buses (known locally as the TMB or FCG) make it easy to get out to places like Barceloneta, Gracia, and Poble Sec. You'll find that stops tie in nicely with the most popular attractions. Single, return and multi-trip tickets can be bought at stations.


The city centre isn't as huge as you may think. Bring a comfy pair of shoes and walking Barcelona is certainly possible. In fact, areas like La Rambla and the Gothic Quarter are pedestrian-only. Walking these streets is the best way to soak up the culture and enjoy the architecture. Attractions are generally close together, but use public transport for getting to the beaches or areas like Poble Sec.


Let us help you organize your own wheels for exploring. Hire a car today.

What are the best beaches in Barcelona?

Work on your holiday tan by heading to one of the nearby Barcelona beaches. The main district is Barceloneta. This neighbourhood is known for its roots in the fishing industry, but it’s also where you’ll find the longest stretch of golden sand. Locals have sun loungers and beach umbrellas for hire at popular spots like Sant Sebastia and Sant Miquel.While Barcelona’s beaches are mainly famed for their proximity to the city, they’re also renowned for their liberalism towards nudists. Today, this practice is largely confined to La Mar Bella Beach, but it’s worth checking a beach’s nudist policy in advance if you want to avoid unplanned sightseeing.

Soak up some sun on Barcelona's longest stretch of sand by heading to Sant Sebastia Beach. Just over a kilometre long, Sant Sebastia is also one of the city's oldest beaches. Originally, its golden sands were reserved for Barcelona's upper classes. Today, it welcomes all locals and visitors. Get there by heading to the La Barceloneta neighbourhood using the Metro's Yellow Line.


Just 10 minutes' drive from the city centre and located in the fishing quarter of the same name, you'll find Barceloneta Beach. This is one of the region's most loved beaches, so it gets quite busy during the height of summer. Escape the sun by heading to one of the nearby beach bars.


Banys Forum isn't a beach as such (there's no sand here) but it is an enclosed seawater swimming area. Often a lot quieter than many of the nearby city beaches, a trip here is the perfect way to enjoy a relaxing ocean swim without the worry of waves or boats. Get here by taking the Metro to Maresme-Forum Station.


Sant Miquel Beach may be small, but its proximity to the heart of the city means it's one of the most popular. It's also Barcelona's oldest beach, having been established in 1755. Pull up a sun lounger and enjoy a spot of people-watching before cooling off in the sea. The beach has changing facilities and lifeguard watch, so there's no reason not to enjoy a dip.


If you're looking for an exotic beach experience then head to La Mar Bella. Here you'll find plenty of trendy young beachgoers enjoying sports and sun lounging, as well as the city's nudist beach. Go to La Mar Bella with an open mind to make the most of it. From here you can take sailing trips along the coastline and hop on catamaran excursions.


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