Many of our customers are always asking us about where to stay in Barcelona, how to get here, and everything else under the sun. So we’ve created this guide on HOW TO DO BARCELONA RIGHT!
Here are some tips regarding traveling to Barcelona, booking flights, hotels or an apartment stay, what to do, and everything else a traveler needs to know on how to make your trip more enjoyable. Check out the links to help you with planning your trip before visiting Barcelona.
First things first: planning when you want to come to Barcelona and how to get here.
When checking out prices for flights to Barcelona, one of our favorite resources is Google Flights. It seems to be the best overall flight search service for including all flights to Barcelona. It also tells you the best price based on the day, which is helpful if you’re not really sure when you want to travel but you’re looking for an affordable ticket.
Next is Cheapflights, another reliable travel metasearch engine for finding flights to Barcelona, as well as vacation package deals. You can also compare airline fares, car rentals, shuttles and transfers, and hotels. Skyscanner also does a similar job. What we like the most about it is that it has competitive car rental prices too. And renting a car is helpful if you’re planning to use Barcelona as a home base to explore the rest of Catalunya and other parts of Spain.
Where To Stay in Barcelona
Now that you have the flight all picked out, now you’ll need a place to stay while visiting Barcelona. There are a few options.
First, how many people will be traveling with you? And how long do you plan to visit?
When traveling with a group of four people, whether it’s with friends or family, an apartment might be the most economical way to go. You’ll get more value for your money, and you’ll have the opportunity to sample local supermarket food, as well to get some beverages and snacks for the kids as you venture through the city. You can also prepare your own breakfast in your pajamas before you start your busy day of sightseeing. And you can buy a bottle of wine to cap off the evenings too! For us, doing our own food shopping always makes us feel more like a local this way. Airbnb is a great option for Barcelona apartments and has some lovely places to stay.
The area most people like to start with is the oldest part of the city called Barrio Gotico. This is where it all started for Barcelona, the old Roman city called Barcino where so much history in this neighborhood took place.
Or, try El Born, a trendier area with some traditional and creative restaurants and bars.
If you’re more of a beach person, then Barceloneta is for you. It’s where you have beautiful beaches to soak up the Mediterranean sun while having a cold drink in your hand! You can also find some of the best paellas in this old fishing village of Barceloneta.
Another option for a home rental is VRBO. It’s helpful for those who are traveling solo and just want to rent a room. This is a great way to go if you plan on a lot of sightseeing and you just need a place to sleep and shower. You can use the savings on taking a fun food tour with Eye on Food Tours or taking a walking tour of the city.
Another great option for the budget traveler is to stay in a hostel. There are so many in every part of the city, you shouldn’t have any problem finding a place that will fit your needs.
Hostelworld is a comprehensive resource where you can find a great hostel for your visit. I’ve found rooms that go as low as 11 euros! The thing I love about staying in a hostel is the opportunity to meet new friends of all ages and all walks of life.
TripAdvisor is also a great way to find a place to stay. Plus, you get to read loads of reviews that past guests have left to help you make an informed decision.
If you want to kick back on your trip more and order room service, then Booking.com has plenty of options for hotels. They also offer tours and activities to help plan your trip.
Ok, now you are set with accommodations.
What would you like to do? Beach, some tours, museums or historical sites maybe a day trip? Keep reading, we have you covered!
How To Get Into the City
There are several ways to get into the heart of the city from the airport. Here are a few ideas for you to consider.
Our favorite way of getting to Barcelona’s city center is by taking the Aerobus. It’s cheap, about €5.90, and it will take you into the center of Barcelona and leave you at Plaza de Catalunya. Buses leave about every 10 minutes from the airport. They also have free wifi on the bus, so if you don’t have a phone service in Europe yet, this is a big plus.
You can also take the Metro from the airport for about the same price, but we find the Aerobus to be an easier ride into town. A taxi will be a bit on the pricey side, about €25 to €40. If you have large suitcases, this might be a good way to go. Door to door is always convenient after a long trip! If your party has more than four people, a private car/van is the way to go with a little better pricing as well. Welcome car service has drivers who meet you at the gate with a sign. They speak English as well, so if you have any questions about Barcelona, this would be a nice way to spend the 30-minute drive into the city. Suntransfer also provides the same service to the city.
Rental Car: This is another option if you are planning on heading out of the city for a few days and plan on traveling outside Barcelona. We found that Eurocar is a great option. There are others, but we feel is the best car rental service for Spain and Europe.
Barcelona has a great public transportation system whether you take a bus, metro/subway/light rail or a taxi. If you are going to stay for more than 24 to 48 hours, your best bet is to use a T-Casual ticket.
Metro: To use the metro, go to any metro station and walk to the ticket machine and buy a T-Casual ticket. This will give you 10 rides for the bus or metro. Unfortunately, you can’t share it with your travel partner. The price for a T- Casual is €11.35, which makes it over €1 per ride. Not a bad deal! Check out the TMB website for more information.
Walking: Barcelona is a very walkable city, so make sure to bring some comfy shoes to explore the city. Something amazing is around every corner!
Taxi: We are very lucky to have taxis everywhere and at all times, day or night. You can pick up a taxi at the taxi stand. Or, when you see a cab with a green light on top of the roof (meaning it’s available), stick your arm out to flag it down. Keep in mind that some taxis do not have a credit card machine, so make sure to carry some euros with you at all times. Rates for taxis start at €2.20. Uber got kicked out of Barcelona last year for bad dealing practices, so it’s not available. But, there is a taxi and ride-hailing app called Freenow. If your Spanish isn’t that great, this is a good option as many drivers speak English. Click on the link to download the app.
For those who only visit the city for a few hours or between hotel and cruise ships. You might prefer to leave your luggage stored in a safe facility so you don’t need to walk all over town with your bags, we recommend the following places:
Baggage store at the Barcelona Airport Excess Baggage company
Also if you need a specific location to leave your luggage you can check the storage network Radical Storage where you can customize when to check-in/pick-up your luggage based on your itinerary.
If you prefer a company that specializes in collecting and delivering your bags from the Port to the Airport or from any requested location we recommend Bag & Go.
One of the most important topics when traveling in Barcelona is phone service. If you use your own mobile phone provider, chances are prices are on the high side. I’ve heard of AT&T charging $10 per day for very little data and calls. GPS also consumes a huge amount of data, so do yourself a favor and get a local SIM card from one of our cell phone service providers in Spain. Save yourself from heartache, trust me! Plus you can make calls and stay in touch with loved ones back home.
Here is a little tip: everyone in Europe uses the texting app called Whatsapp. This is a lifesaver since the plan that you are going to get might not have that much talk time. This app only uses data when making a call so take a look at this option.
What To Do on Your Visit
The great thing about Barcelona is you don’t have to book any activities to enjoy the city. You can just relax on the beach while catching some rays and enjoying a cold tinto de verano (summer red wine). Yum! Or if you feel like you would like to do a little more, then here are a few ideas for you. As for myself, when visiting a new city we always like to start it with a tour.
We always recommend a food tour upon arrival because we love food. And let’s face it, who doesn’t love food? It’s a great way to start any visit if you only have a few days in the city because you get great insight from a local long after the tour is over. I have to say, we usually meet the most fascinating people from our tours. Eye on Food Tours has a food and history tour called Sips, Sites & Bites where you can visit three neighborhoods. You will get to taste some of the best food in Barcelona and also learn history about the city and its greatest attractions. Airbnb also offers some great experiences as well.
Another way is to take a free walking tour of the city with Runner Bean Tours. They’ve been around for years and offer some fun tours.
If you are not into walking that much, then a great way to see the city is with the Hop On Hop Off Bus. You can buy a ticket for one or two days. It’s convenient because the buses will take you to all the major attractions and will give you a great overview of Barcelona. If you are here on one of our many sunny days, make sure to find a place on the upper deck of the bus for top views. After your bus tour, you can always return to some of your favorite sights to view in more detail.
If you want to do everything on your own, then check out the Latitude 41 blog. It has a lot of information on things to do in Barcelona plus some great insight.
If you are here for more than just a few days, then a day trip is a must. Catalunya has many wonderful places to visit, just a short train ride away. Read our blog post on the best day trips that you shouldn’t miss. Get Your Guide and Viator/TripAdvisor also have some great activity ideas too. There is so much to do that a week won’t be enough. But, hey, it’s a start, and it will give you a reason to keep coming back to Barcelona!
Thanks for reading, if you have any comments please write to us. Enjoy your visit to Barcelona, Spain!
Words by eyeonfoodtours.com