Sightseeing in Barcelona is a possibility open to all types of tourists. The statistics make clear its position as one of the main tourist destinations in Spain. Since it offers numerous options that range from urban tourism to rural or gastronomic tourism. In this complete Barcelona tourist guide, we show you everything you need for your next visit: where to stay, what to visit, what to see for free, what to do with children and much more.
Barcelona is one of the most tourist cities in Spain, as well as one of the most populated cities after Madrid. One of its main advantages is that in it the national and international tourist can enjoy several types of tourism at the same time: urban, historical, sun and beach tourism, alternative
You can travel to Barcelona cheaply or, on the contrary, as a VIP tourist, depending on the budget you have planned for your visit. It is a city where the options are endless, so you can sleep in cheap hostels or eat something simple, fast and at a good price. In addition, there are numerous low-cost flights that arrive at Barcelona-El Prat Airport.
You should know that there is a tourist tax or tax on stays in tourist establishments that must be paid per person and night. It is a separate tax charged by the Government of Catalonia and ranges between € 0.5-2.5 per night, according to the category of the hotel where we stay. This rate does not apply to children under 16 years of age.
It is recommended that all tourists go to a tourist office to obtain information regarding the tourist attractions of Barcelona, public transport options, etc. There is a wide network of information points throughout the city
The history of Barcelona goes back to 4,000 years ago when it was born from the union of diverse peoples, among them the Iberians, Romans, Visigoths, Jews, Muslims, and Christians. From the 21st century, Barcelona becomes a prosperous and internationally recognized city. However, after the autonomic government of Artur Mas in 2010, there was the rise of the independence movement in Catalonia, which continues today in an extensive political debate. In October 2017, Catalonia government has declared Independence and falls into the political clash with the central government of Spain.
How to go there
If you are traveling from another city in Catalonia or nationally, the best option to visit Barcelona is the train. Renfe Company offers a wide network of long and medium distance trains Talgo, Euromed, R. Expres and Alaris, among others. There are special offers that can be a great saving if you buy your tickets in advance. The main station for arrivals in this means of transport is Barcelona-Sants.
On the other hand, traveling by car from another Spanish city is one of the most common options among domestic tourists. It is located about 620 km from Madrid, 350 from Valencia and about 300 from Zaragoza. You can easily organize the trip with a GPS thanks to the Google Maps or Google Earth application.
However, traveling by car can often be more expensive than if you do it in any other means of transport, due to the high number of tolls on the highway that arrives there, especially if departing from Valencia. To see the different highways and prices from several cities, we recommend you click on this link.
Frequently, low-cost airlines such as Ryanair or Vueling offer flights to Barcelona for very affordable prices (from € 30), which could be an alternative to the train or the car if your budget is limited. In addition, the Barcelona-El Prat Airport is one of the most important in Spain, with numerous connections by metro, bus, and taxi to the city center.
There is also the possibility of arriving by boat or bus, although they are the least requested options due to their long duration. However, the bus is the cheapest option to arrive, although, on the other hand, it is the option that will take you the most hours. On average, a trip from Madrid lasts about 8 hours, while from Santander it can take you 10 hours or more.
Where to do tourism
What to see and do is a part of your trip that depends on the duration of the trip. Therefore, our advice before traveling is to organize and plan what tourist sites you will see based on the average time that usually lasts the visit to each of them.
The extension of the metropolitan area of Barcelona makes it a city suitable for all types of tourism and for all types of public, from young people to retirees. It is also a very good option for alternative tourism, especially if you go through the Gothic Quarter, one of the oldest areas of the city.
If your trip is going to be just a weekend (2-3 days), it would be best to focus on the Ensanche district, which is the area where the neighborhoods and main points are located:
- Casa Milà
- Arc del Triomf (Arc de Triomphe)
- Parc de la Ciutadella
- Barcelona Zoo Park
The most important tourist places of Barcelona are concentrated at several points and are the result of combining several tourist options: from urban tourism to night tourism, going through other options such as LGBT tourism. In summary, the most outstanding monuments and areas are:
Also known as the Casa de la Ciutat, it is located in the Plaza Sant Jaume. It is worth visiting to enjoy its attractive architecture.
The place of Generalitat
In keeping with the characteristic Gothic-Renaissance style of the city, the palace of the Generalitat of Catalonia is one of its most visited points. It is located in the Ciutat Vella district, specifically in the Plaza de Sant Jaume.
It is one of the most central routes, where you will find innumerable street vendors where you can buy food from souvenirs in the city. If you walk from the beginning to the end, you will reach the famous Monument to Columbus, in the Plaza del Portal.
The mountain of Montjuïc is a tourist point of obligatory visit due to a large extent to the numerous museums that are there: Fundació Miró, Museu d’Arqueología, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), etc. The Estadi Lluís Companys and the telecommunications tower of Santiago Calatrava are located in the area known as the “Olympic Ring”.
If you travel in summer, you cannot leave without visiting the beaches of Barceloneta, Somorrostro, Sant Miquel, Sant Sebastià or Nova Icària, all of them of high popularity.
La Barceloneta is the first beach in Barcelona. It is a summer corner where you can enjoy many other activities apart from taking a swim: windsurfing and kite surfing is at your fingertips if you are passionate about this type of sports.
Barri el Born and the Raval
Barcelona also offers other possibilities if you do not want to move around the busiest areas. It is one of the most recommended cities for alternative tourism, with numerous shops, bookstores, restaurants and special places to do different things. The districts of Born or Raval are the most advisable to enjoy this type of establishment.
Where to stay
As we said above, Barcelona has an almost infinite hotel offer that has been consolidated since the beginning of the 1992 Olympic Games to the present day. Whatever your preferred type of accommodation, in Barcelona you will surely find it.
The best areas to sleep are those of the Example, the Gothic Quarter and the Plaza de Cataluña. The Paseo de Gracia (Passeig de Gràcia in Catalan) is also one of the best areas, although the prices you will find here will be somewhat higher because it is one of the most central points, with access to the main tourist spots.
On the other hand, the areas that should be avoided, especially at nightfall, are Las Ramblas and El Raval. Although in daytime hours they are the most touristic points of the city, the truth is that at night they are not the most recommended.
If you decide to stay in a hotel, the average price per night and person is around € 50 in a simple establishment without great luxury. The most valued hotels are those that, as we said before, are located in the area closest to the center, in which case the average price could reach € 100.
For stays of more than 2-3 days, a good option to save on meals and dinners could be to rent a tourist apartment. Although the cost per night may be somewhat higher, in the end, s an advantage for our pocket because we avoid having to eat out every day, which ends up making our trip cheaper.