Quick City Guides
Barcelona is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and another fun fact, it has eight trees per person. Eight trees per person making it the most tree-filled city in Europe.
Barcelona is one of my favorite cities in the world and you can get lost in the swirl of languages and hustle and bustle of the tourist spots, but I mention the trees because you can also get away and stay in some of the very charming neighborhoods. All the neighborhoods are well connected by train, bus, metro, and for short hops taxis.
If you are thinking of a home base to work digitally or travel in and around southern France, Mallorca, and western Italy, this is a wonderful city.
Airport to Central
Form the airport to the town center(Plaza Espana) it is about 25-35 minutes depending on the time of day. You have a few choices here are my favorites.
Aero Bus -Plenty of room for luggage- I think most people would choose a taxi or the metro, but my preference is the Aero Bus. it is frequent, and the stops convenient to the main plazas in Barcelona. From the plazas it is easy to catch a taxi to your lodgings.
Metro from airport to Central has two transfers. Metro from the airport with lots of luggage makes you look like a target. If you are like me I do carry on only and this option would be OK, but most first time tourists to Spain or Europe, in general, take too much stuff.
Pro tip-In any situation don’t try to lift your heavy luggage into the overhead bins, the metros and trains start quickly and could catch you out.
Once in town skip the buses and use taxis and the metro lines.
Look to buy a T10 card for a long weekend or week.
Where to stay
Casa Gracia… A hostel, but an incredible place for older guests, they have nice private rooms with attached bath. On the Passeig de Gracia.
Sant Gervais … A quiet neighborhood higher up in the hills away from the tourist center. The elevation is nice because the city streets are laid out in a radial pattern and you get a nice fresh breeze in the upper hills here. Good prices and the FGC at Ave. Tibidabo goes right to Placa de Catalunya.
There are two metro like trains in Barcelona, one is mostly urban, TMB(Barcelona), and the other is urban and more regional,
FGC( Catalan) .
Some videos to get you familiar with the system and the risks in a big city.
Where to eat
Tapas(small food plates) and canas(small glasses of beer) are typical at night here and midday (around 2 pm) most restaurants have a menu del dia.
For me now the most exciting area for foodies is in the Poble Sec district. Poble Sec, a quaint neighborhood at the foot of Montjuic and it has one of Barcelona’s biggest up-and-coming food scenes. Blai Street is where to start. There are an endless amount of hopping tapas and pintxos(more of a Basque reference to tapas) bars lining each side.
- Casa Xica Carrer de la Franca Xica, 20
- Xemei Passeig de l’Exposicio, 85
- Quimet i Quimet Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 25
- La Tasqueta de Blai Carrer Blai, 17
What to see
Sant Gervais …. Take the FCG from Plaza de Catalunya to Tibidabo to the Sant Gervais neighboorhood. Nice mercado in this area and you can get to the Funicular del Tibidabo to Parc D’Atraccions easily.
Barceloneta …Lovely ocean sidewalk with restaurants, bars, a great club for swimming with pools adjacent to the beach take the sky-ride to Montjuic.
Boqueria… On the list, but not my favorite…See the video above of pickpockets in Barcelona. Every neighborhood as a smaller version of this kind of market, so shop locally close to your lodging.
Las Ramblas…Ditto from above…There are so many great boulevards in Barcelona that I would casually go there for a photo and then move on.
Plaza Reial… Yes, touristy, but a must. Gaudi designed the first gaslights for night use here, and all the nuevo wealthy families had homes here. Do the free walking tour and discover the many hidden gems of this area.
Hotel Casa Fuster..Incredible rooftop deck for some great photos. Gaudi designed furniture in the lobby.
Gracia District..Heart of the Catalan culture go to the Plaza del Sol and check out the “Big Heads”.
Devour Food Tours … Any city always the first day, then you can go back to the spots you like the following days with some confidence of locations in the city. I love this service!!.. Book for the first day then go back and explore at your leisure.
The was a Renaissance after the1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. The city was revived and garnered worldwide attention. The attention brought a lot of tourism and changes, but the city and region are so very unique in the world as a melting pot of cultures that shaped the modern western world it will always attract me over and over again.
More of my favorite travel places check out my TripAdvisor page.