Heading to Barcelona for the first time? Lucky you: You’re going to fall in love with this vibrant city known for its quirkily beautiful architecture and coastal culture. A good time is guaranteed, but an even better time can be had if you keep in mind a few important tips. So here’s what you’ll need to know to make your first trip to Barcelona epic.
In this guide, we’ve handpicked the very best of what makes the capital of Catalonia so special — both on and off the beaten path — so you can travel like an insider in Barcelona!
Museum fans typically flock to top Barcelona museums such as Museu Picasso or Fundacio Joan Miro, both home to works by some of the region’s most beloved artists. But among the city’s most intriguing museums is surely the Frederic Mares Museum, packed with sculptures galore and eccentric trinkets that will pique the curiosity of just about any visitor.
Arriving in Barcelona, you’ll probably feel pretty luxurious already — after all, what a privilege to be in such a spectacularly beautiful and energetic city. But there’s more that can be done to keep this glamorous vibe going. From wine tastings to sailing trips and high-end meals, here are ways to make your visit to Barcelona that much more luxurious.
As our tour bus steeply ascended toward Montserrat’s summit, the odd, otherwordly peaks of the mountain began to pierce the periwinkle horizon. Bizarre-looking rounded rock pillars — formed by thousands of years of wind, rain and frost — indicated our destination was imminent.
“Are we still in Spain or are we orbiting another planet?” I asked my travel companion.
While Barcelona holds more than its share of enticing sights, any trip to the Catalonia region of Spain would be incomplete without taking the Montserrat Royal Basilica Half-Day Trip to the ancient Benedictine monastery and grounds.
Given that it’s over 100 years in the making, it should come as no surprise that La Sagrada Familia is Barcelona’s most emblematic image and stands proud as a World Heritage Site. Designed by Barcelona’s most famous architectural son, Antoni Gaudi, the quirky, colorful and awe-inspiring cathedral remains a powerful symbol of Barcelona’s beauty, both culturally and aesthetically.
Tourists are often so busy exploring sight-filled neighborhoods that they likely overlook one of Barcelona’s most beloved barris, Poble Sec. Sandwiched between the city-slicing thoroughfare Paral·lel and sloping hillside of Montjuic, this part of town is where you’ll find eclectic culture, good eats and perhaps a calm getaway from Barcelona’s hustle and bustle.
Only have 12 hours in Barcelona? No problem. You can cover a lot of ground in that amount of time, so bring your camera, a pair of comfy shoes and a full stomach, because your day in Spain’s second-largest city begins now.
Most if not all neighborhoods in Barcelona (and cities across Catalonia and Spain) have at least a plaza or two where neighbors meet, hang out, celebrate, protest or simply enjoy a tapa and drinks. So when in the big seaside city, which ones should you stop at? From grand and expansive to attractive and tourist-filled to quiet and thought-provoking, here are a few of Barcelona’s most intriguing, storied and picturesque plazas.
Barcelona: it’s a city that is incomparably beautiful but positively packed with crowds. Indeed, experiencing the coastal metropolis generally goes hand in hand with seeing the sights shoulder to shoulder with other out-of-towners. But alas, there are ways to escape the crowds while in Barcelona. From semi-secret spots that most don’t know about, to experiencing the metropolis during a less people-filled adventure, and even visiting a top sight behind closed doors, here are seven ideas for seeing Spain’s second-largest city minus all the company.