0.4 miles from city centre
Ciutat Vella (‘old city’) is comprised of several neighbourhoods - El Barri Gòtic, El Raval, El Born and Barceloneta (all detailed here in separate descriptions). As a whole, the district’s characteristic features are narrow, winding streets that reach from Las Ramblas to the coastline.
Places to stay from £11 per night
0.4 miles from city centre
L’Eixample’s large, grid-like avenues (modelled after New York) are easy to navigate. Passeig de Gràcia (at the centre) is a tourist hot-spot, with Gaudí's Casa Batlló and La Pedrera, and Puig i Cadafalch's Casa Amatller in easy reach. Carrer Balmes is a safe and tolerant area for travellers of all persuasions.
Places to stay from £7 per night
1.3 miles from city centre
There’s a youthful energy in this dynamic area. Plaça de la Virreina, Plaça del Sol and Plaça de Rius i Taulet, are charming squares to relax and people-watch. Take a stroll through Gaudí’s Park Güell, with its unusual architectural spaces that offer wonderful views of the city.
Places to stay from £10 per night
1.4 miles from city centre
This district retains a lot of its traditional character. Tourist hot-spots surround Montjuïc Hill, next to Plaça Espanya. Visit the Joan Miró Foundation and Catalonia National Art Museum (MNAC) in the Palau Nacional. The 17th-century Montjuïc Castle stands on the hill, or enjoy the colours of the Magic Fountain below.
Places to stay from £7 per night
1.7 miles from city centre
Accessible only via train or bus, this primarily residential district has a range of local restaurants. For families travelling with younger children, the CosmoCaixa science museum offers a range of exhibitions. At the furthest edge of the district is Les Planes, an outdoor picnic area.
Places to stay from £8 per night
Cultures melt together in Barcelona, a lively metropolis of mesmerising architecture, medieval streets and top museums on the coast of Catalonia. Its most celebrated figure, Antoni Gaudí, takes all the credit for the city’s most outstanding monuments. From the twisting facade of stone-hewn Casa Milà to the monumental Sagrada Familia, the work of this world-famous architect can be found all over the city.
In the Gothic Quarter, you’ll find centuries-old tapas bars set among old haunts and a gargoyle-adorned cathedral. Fill up on staples like ground-beef stuffed croquettes and salt-cod fritters under this dramatic backdrop, and wash it all down with a glass of fruity Rioja. Nearby, an amble along the lively, tree-lined promenade of La Rambla will bring you to the coast, where the crowds start to thin out.
Find a slice of beach in Barceloneta or a shady patch of grass in Parc de la Ciutadella, and soak up the year-round sunshine. Alternatively, take a stadium tour of Camp Nou, or climb Carmel Hill for sweeping views and the iconic mosaics of Park Güell – another of Gaudí’s fantastical creations.
From £16 per night
From £47 per night
|Most popular time to visit||January–March|
|Cheapest time to visit||September–November|
|Local currency||€ 10 = £8.90|
|Average weekend price||£69 per night|
|Average weekday price||£66 per night|
|Typical stay||2 nights|
Best thing about our trip was a Spanish Trails trip to Montserrat - Montserrat was beautiful and fascinating. On the way back we had lunch with our guide who explained much of the history of Barcelona which just enhanced the rest of our holiday as we understood more of how and why Barcelona is unique. Also enjoyed another half day walking tour of the gothic quarter - Sagrada Familia is a must see! Make sure you book tickets well in advance and allow time to view the museum underneath. Minimum 1.5 hours. We also enjoyed just driving around looking at the architecture. Walking around is great too, just have to be more alert as Barcelona is popular, with lots of people everywhere. Ate at a restaurant called Llamber which was divine - menu clearly indicated vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options and was available in Spanish and English. Without alcohol, cost was 50 euros per person but highlight of our gastronomic Spanish trip. Reservations recommended. For those with a disability, many hotels in the gothic quarter were not easy to access via taxi - something to check when booking. Overall, loved Barcelona and definitely recommend as a place to experience!
The Barri Gotic, the Cathedral Geese, Parc Guell, Gaudi's buildings, the Joan Miro Foundation ... lunch in the Boqueria ... there are simply too many wonderful things to experience in Barcelona to be satisfied with just one trip... Go! And go again! Also, i don't often do things in groups, but the Picasso walk organized by the tourist information place in Placa Catalunya was really worthwhile. I'd also recommend getting off the beaten track in the city and going to places like Sarria - which has a village feel (probably because before it was subsumed within the city, it was a village of sorts...) and also taking a trip on the train along the coast to places like Casteldefells and Sitges. It is hard to eat badly in Barcelona (though of course it is possible!) but I would always recommend trying a menu del dia and having a late lunch - they are usually great value if you are hungry ... then in the evening you can head to bars and just snack on tapas ... until you are really hungry again (can that be possible?) at about 11pm and fancy eating at one of the city's great restaurants. Don't even think of going out for dinner before 10 or 11pm though ... noone seems to eat dinner earlier than that in Barcelona...
Want a quiet, relaxing, vacation by the beach or on the mountainside? Visit Barcelona. Want an exciting trip surrounded by city lights and people? Visit Barcelona. This city has something for everyone, and you could spend months exploring the winding side streets for rare finds or just stick to the high spots. The weather is beautiful 90% of the time, and the people were very friendly and helpful. Some of my favorites were: - tapas at Ciudad Condal - Catch a Barca match (even in the nosebleed seats) The energy is electric! - chocolate and churros at Petritxol-Xocoa - tour Sagrada Familia (afternoon sun makes magic with the stained glass) - people watch from a cafe on La Rambla - grab a drink on the terrace at Ocana in Placa Reial - Walk the beaches in Barcelonetta (any time of year) - Spend an afternoon (at least) discovering Parc Guell - if you have a full day to spare or are on a short time frame, get a ticket for Barcelona Bus Touristic. Great audio tour of the city and you can jump on and off anywhere. They run every 10-15 minutes.
A weekend is nowhere near enough time to see all that Barcelona offers. I think a good week should be your minimum. It is one of the most multicultural cities I have been to and has a happy vibe. We are a family of 4 with young teenage children, at no time did I even think their safety was an issue - we did lots of walking in the day and late into the evening. There is a great Chinese grocery store near the Arc de Trimof, we spent ages in there. We eventually had to limit what we wanted to buy. (If you stand facing the Arc looking down the walkway the store will be on the road behind you on your left.) Make sure you visit La Boqueria at lunchtime, you will not be disappointed in the choices. We tried a little bit of everything. Try find a guide for the Sagrada Familia, it has some very interesting facts. Take walking shoes and forget about the metro, there are loads of things going on in the back streets. We found a bar that had music playing and people swing dancing in the road outside. We will definitely go back!
Public transport is excellent - great value, easy to use, a bus or Metro is only a short wait. Our favorite restaurant was Le Quinze Nits in the Placa Reial, just off the Ramblas. Excellent food and reasonable prices. Be sure to visit the Catalan Art Museum - we have never seen such a variety of art, frescoes, furniture, videos, statues - treasures inside a beautiful building. Don't miss going up on the roof terrace for a fabulous city view. Try to see as many of the Gaudi buildings you can, but book ahead to avoid lineups for tickets. Be sure to see the Palace of Catalan Music, the best Modernista interior in Barcelona - worth a tour or attendance at a performance. Just wandering through the Barri Gotic and the markets is an adventure in itself. Montserrat is worth a day's visit - you will never see a location for a monastery like this one. Rick Steve's Barcelona guidebook is a wealth of information, Read about the Catalan struggle for independence throughout the centuries as a bit of background will enhance your visit immeasurably.
WE ESPECIALLY LOVED THE OLD CITY AND THE ANCIENT CATHEDRAL. THE CHAIR LIFT RIDE UP MONTJUIC WAS FUN! PARK GUELL WAS AN AMAZING PARK AND WELL WORTH A VISIT. THE METRO MADE IT VERY EASY TO GET AROUND THE CITY, AND THE T10 TICKETS MEANT IT WAS CHEAP TOO. PLUS THEY CAN BE USED ON TRAMS AND BUSES. TRAIN FARES TO OTHER PLACES IN THE AREA ARE VERY CHEAP. WE WENT TO GIRONA, TARRAGONA, SITGES AND EVEN ALL THE WAY OUT TO PUIGCERDA IN THE MOUNTAINS - NEXT TO THE FRENCH BORDER. WE HIRED BIKES IN BARCONELETA AND CYCLED UP THE COAST FOR MILES; IT WAS GREAT FUN! WE TRIED OUT MOST OF THE VEGAN RESTAURANTS AND ENJOYED ALL THE FOOD. I EVEN WENT TO A MATCH TO WATCH BARCELONA PLAY! BARCELONA AND ENVIRONS HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE AND IS WELL WORTH A VISIT!
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