Barcelona

Barcelona-Spain-Skyline_art

  Transportation     Districts & Accommodation       Restaurants         Tourism    Off The Beaten Path     Nightlife       Shopping    Tips

 

Barcelona (in Spain) is the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean sea with a population just over 1.6 million. It’s the fourth most visited city in Europe after London, Paris, and Rome. Originally founded as a Roman city in the middle ages having undergone many changes. These changes are evident in the cities walls, where you can find some of the most inspiring architecture. The best time to visit the city would be during September/October where the weather is perfect not too dry, not too wet the temperature is perfect to walk around in your summers best and enjoy the many sights the city has to offer.

Airport -> City Centre

Barcelona Airport taxi’s 

Black and yellow taxi’s in Barcelona are the most convenient option if you have a big family ,have a lot of luggage or if you just prefer the privacy. Taxi’s can be found located outside any of the main terminals, just look for the sign that points you in the direction of the taxi terminal where tons of taxi’s operate all night. It takes around 20-30 minutes to get from the airport to the city center costing between  €30-35 plus any additional surcharges for example it’s late, to/ from airport, public holidays ect…

Contact: +34 93 303 3033

Aero-bus express service

The express bus service runs every 5-10 minutes apart here you can find all the information about hours of operation, where to catch T1 and T2 and their routes. Tickets for a one way is €5.90 and with return it’s €10.20. Note that the return ticket is only valid for 15 days.

Contact: +34 90 210 0104

Bus number 46

Bus number 46 is the day bus that operates between 4:50am – 23:50pm from both airport terminals. The bus has more stops than the Aero-bus as a result it does take longer to reach your destination, however you do have the added benefit of buying a T10 metro ticket  which gives you some extra perks and of course the opportunity to stretch your money if you plan be using public transport during your stay.

Night bus: N17 & N16

The night buses operates from 9:55pm (from terminal 1) – 4:45am (from terminal 2), the cost for a single ticket is €2.15 or the T10 ticket mentioned above would work on this bus too. Here is more information on the night bus routes and their timetables.

RENFE train 

The RENFE trains run every 30 minutes, if you are arriving at Terminal 1 there is a shuttle that will stop outside the terminal to the train station entrance and it takes approximately 25 minutes to get to the city centre costing around €4 making this the fastest and most affordable option for those watching their wallets and who still want to save time. The T10 ticket also works for the RENFE train so it’s a great option if you want to travel freely on a budget.

 

Transportation:

Walking : The city is smaller than you may think and the sights in the city are within walking distance of one another. walking is also the best way to soak in all the magnificent architecture that this city has to offer, pick up a map of the city and spend the day taking it all in.

Metro (underground trains) : The Metro underground train is the best and most efficient way to see Barcelona. The train are punctual, clean and air conditioned and takes you to most of the sights. It’s especially great during the summer when it’s too hot to walk around. T-10 Tickets are especially useful if you intend on using any form of public transport during your stay.  

Apps: Uber is not allowed in Barcelona unfortunately. There is a taxi app that allows you to pay by cash, card, or mobile called MyTaxi . I haven’t had any experience using the app yet but will be doing so on my current trip and will be sure to update this section once I have 🙂

Black and yellow Taxi’s : Taxi’s are quite affordable if you just want to get around within the city centre. According to Numbeo.com taxi’s in Barcelona are about 29% cheaper than taxi rates in New York City. Taxi’s that are available will have a green light on the roof indicating this and their rates are displayed inside the cab according to what the meter says. Tipping taxi drivers is not expected, most people round up to the nearest euro or may tip 2-3 euro if it was exceptional service. Most taxi’s are only licensed to carry up to 4 passengers and there are bigger cars that can carry up to 6 passengers but I would highly recommend calling the taxi company and ordering the taxi if you have 5 or 6 passengers.

Contact: +34 93 225 0000
+34 93 433 1020
+34 93 357 7755

Buses: Here you’ll find a schedule for the buses that run within the city centre, they are clean and efficient they also accept T-10 tickets.

Bike Hire: A really fun way to explore the city if you don’t really want to take the Metro or any of the crowded buses is by bike. You may see bikes all over the city, those are for residents as a way to lessen the traffic but there are places that you can rent a bike from by the hour or for the day. Find the cheapest option, from the beach on Passeig Marítim Barceloneta offering tours and for highway and mountain bikes. As you spend time in the city you’ll see plenty of bike lines indicating Barcelona is definitely a bike friendly city.

 

 

Districts & Accommodation:

These are the most central areas for people who are traveling to Barcelona for the first time. Here is a list of all of the other areas that you may want to check out as well.

map

Plaça Catalunya

Considered to be both the city centre and where the old town and 19th century Eixample  meets. Plaza de Cataluña is where some of the city’s most important streets meet, so if you want easy access to everything this is probably the best place to stay. Famous for their fountains, statues and how close it is to all the main attractions this square has almost everything you could want conveniently located inside it or near it.

La Rambla

This is the most Popular district amongst tourists an locals alike ,where days can easily dissolve in the vastness of things you get absorbed in. La Rambla is a pedestrian street in the heart of Barcelona that stretches 1.2 kilometers (0.75 miles) that has trees on either side of the street and an overflow of street artists, souvenir shops, hawkers, living statues and so much more. Unfortunately La Rambla’s popularity has draw in an unsavory crowd making pickpocketing quite common and prostitutes can be found working on the southern end of the street.

Barri Gòtic

The Gothic Quarter is known as the old city of Barcelona and is part of the Ciutat Vella district. It’s gone through so many changes in both the 19th and 20th century leaving some incredible architecture that dates as far back to when the city had Roman influence from settlers to Medieval times. Get lost in the labyrinth street plan of this historic district where both old and new can be found side by side and be spoilt for choice with the abundance of restaurants and bars and if you’re looking for a lively neighborhood this is where you want to stay.

 

Restaurants:

Great Eats

Carrer de Blai

Address: Carrer de Blai, 08004 Barcelona, Spain
Type: Tapas
Attire : Casual
Price: €

carrer de blaicarrer 1This pedestrianized street is also known as, “the tapas street” and can be found within the La Poble Sec district. This is one of the best places to restaurant hop and try some of the best tapas you may possibly ever have, after all Spain is known for their tapas and Barcelona is it’s heart. The variety is vast, the prices are low (most places charge around €1 per tapas) and the quality of the food is high. This place is also totally off the tourist path but at the same time you cannot say that you’ve truly experienced Barcelona unless you’ve been here. This is where the locals go.

Agut

Address: Gignas 16, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Type: Traditional Catalan
Attire: Casual
Price: €€

agutagut1Hidden in the Barrio Gotico, you can find authentic Catalan cuisine. If you really want to eat like the locals do this is where they eat. Note to non Spanish speaking people that they do not speak english very well so if you can read a bit of Spanish this is the time to let your somewhat adequate vocabulary shine. This is also the perfect place for the more adventurous eaters as they offer up some boneless pigs trotters, wild boar, veal brains and aubergine flan with goats cheese just to name a few examples but there is something for all meat eaters. The portions here are quite large but they do offer half portions for those who like to try a variety of things, perfect for family style dining.

 

Divan

Address: Carrer del Bonsuccess, 4 (off of Rambla Catalunya)
Type: Turkish , Mediterranean
Attire : Casual
Price: €

IMG_0224 IMG_0223Europe is known for their Turkish food and kebobs shops. Divan has the feel of a hole in the wall even though its right off one of the main tourist areas near la rambla. This looked like a family run joint and the food was absolutely incredible. If you are in the mood for some kebabs or mediterranean food and aren’t looking for any particularly special restaurant  ambiance, then id highly recommend stopping by Divan for some amazing food. You can easily eat for about €8-12 per person here. They do have a full bar here as well and drinks are about €2.50-3.50.

Guzzo restaurant

Address: Plaça Comercial, 10, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Type: Mediterainian, Spanish, European fusion and Vegan friendly
Attire:Casual
Price: €€

guzzo-club-conciertosGuzzoIf you’re into restaurant clubs with a museum of urban art on display, whilst having the sweet sounds of live jazz play in the background, then look no further. Guzzo can be found in La ribera and has exceptional ambience and for the quality of service and delicious food and cocktails it’s very pocket friendly. Be sure to get there well before 10pm to make sure you get seated because it’s quite a busy place after 10pm. This is a great place to start or end your night.

 

Wok to Wok

Address: Click here for Barcelona locations
Type: Asian, Fast Food, Wok
Attire: Casual
Price: €

IMG_0268 Main menu A3 5 jaar

If you’re from Europe you may find it strange that i’m recommending a well known fast food joint to travelers. With that said Wok to Wok is a pretty unfamiliar name to those outside of Europe. For Americans it would be the equivalent of me telling a foreigner they have to try Chipotle (with more flavors and toppings) while they are in the US.  When you need a break from restaurants and just need something quick, well priced, with some healthy options, then Wok to Wok is your go to. I was pretty excited the first time i ran into this place in Amsterdam a couple years back.  You basically make a custom wok by choosing your base, meat, veggies, sauce, and toppings. It’s served to you in a high quality American-Chinese takeout container thats made to easily eat on the go. I love grabbing one of these and sitting on the benches on la Rambla watching foot traffic go by. My favorite mix is the Stir fried vegetable base (to substitute noodles), mixed with chicken, shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, broccoli, peanuts, coriander, fried onions, and topped with the Bankok coconut curry sauce.

Fine Dining:

Koy Shunka

Address: Carrer d’en Copons, 7, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Type: Japanese
Attire: Smart Casual
Price: €€€

Koy Shunka 007KoyFresh ingredients make up the authentic Japanese food found in Koy Shunka in the Barrio Gotico district. If you ever get that incessant craving for Japanese food like I do,  this is where you go to tame the beast. They offer a tasting menu which is perfect if you want to taste the very best of what they have to serve up. The whole experience is perfect, it is a small place so I would reserve a table just in case.

 

La Paradeta

Address: Passatge Simo 18, 08025 Barcelona, Spain
Type: Mediterranean, Seafood, Spanish
Attire: Smart casual
Price: €€

la_paradeta_seafood_restaurant_place-fullparadeta-sFor some of the freshest seafood options you definitely need to go to La Paradeta. The place is styled like a fish counter in a supermarket where you choose your fish, tell them how you’d like it prepared add sides and 20 minutes later you have a delicious meal in front of you. I love the simplicity of this place and although it doesn’t sound like much, it happens to be one of the best seafood restaurants in Barcelona. Located in the tourist area it’s the perfect place to relax and satisfy your appetite at an affordable price before you continue to explore.

 

UMA

Address: Carrer de Rossend Arus, 12, 08014 Barcelona, Spain
Type: Traditional local and modern fusion, tasting menu
Attire: Smart Casual
Price: €€€€

umauma1You’ll be needing a reservation as there are only 5 tables in UMA, book far in advance if possible. You really don’t want to miss this experience! Prepare your taste buds for this fourteen course tasting menu of absolute perfection. Anna and Iker set the tone for the evening with a warm and inviting atmosphere that is quiet intimate, you feel as though you’re having an elegant diner party with friends, who happen to be the perfect hosts. They are also very accommodating to any dietary needs you may have so be sure to let them know when booking.

 

More restaurants:

*Quimet & Quimet – Tapas

*7 Portes – Paella, Seafood

 

 

Tourism:

Antoni Gaudi a Spanish catalan architect has gifted Barcelona with a master piece in the form of  La Sagrada Familiar, a magnificently designed church but his work can be seen all over the city. His Unique style of creating detail by using ceramics, stained glass, metal and carpentry is unmistakable. His

1) Sagrada Familia

Sagrada-Familia-at-night1SG inside 

This elaborate Roman catholic church remains unfinished to this day. Combining gothic and art nouveau into this masterpiece, Gaudi spent his last years on the project. It is a world heritage site and is estimated to be completed by 2026, exactly a century after Gaudi’s death. Their are parts of the church that have been through the Spanish civil war and as a result are withered and worn and the newly built sections are clean and untouched adding more character to this unique work of art. It was very important to Gaudi that his work included all of his passions in life; architecture of course, nature and religion, his last work being the epitome of all that he loved.

 

2) Park Güell

park g park g1Another feature of Barcelona that is considered a world heritage site takes the shape of a public park that showcases gardens and architecture, designed and built by none other than Antoni Guadi. The park took fourteen years to build from 1900-1914 and can be found on Carmel hill in the Gràcia district. During the creation of the park Gaudi perfected his personal style through natural shapes and put into practice new structures that played with the geometry of spaces. Regardless of what the project was, his ability to create imaginative and original ornamentations through geometrical design is what gave him his organic style and this park perfectly displays his carefully crafted skills.

 

3) Casa Batlló

llegar-casa-batllo interior casaA renowned building in the center of Barcelona displays another Antoni Gaudi masterpiece. Built in 1877 this house that locals refer to as  Case dels ossos  (House of bones) because of the skulls that are balconies and the bones are the supporting pillars. It’s typical of Gaudi’s modernist signature style. The building will transport you into what feels like another reality where the illusion of  a tranquil sea glistens on the surface of the building inviting you inside just so that your curiosity can be satisfied by seeing what’s hidden behind those walls.

 

More Tourism:

*Casa Milà – Another Gaudi worth seeing

*Els Encants Vells– Biggest and oldest flea market in Barcelona

*Palau Macaya– Free cinema sessions and art exhibitions take place regularly here.

 

Off the beaten path:

 

1) Sala Hiroshima

hiro hiroshima-5Hiroshima is where you go to have a truly unique experience, this is where international and local performers are chosen to put together experimental theatre pieces from contemporary dance to physical theatre and multimedia performances. The performances you’ll see at this theatre are unlike anything you’ll see anywhere else. Here you can find info about upcoming performances and tickets.

 

2) Palo Alto market

palo-alto-uno Palo-Alto-2ª-edició-96The Palo Alto street market has taken the traditional street market idea and added a unique twist with Barcelona’s creative flare. Taking place in Poble Nou just once a month, here is there website where you can find more info. From street foods to art to antiques and everything in between, Palo Alto is more than just another street market.

 

3) Parc del Laberint d’Horta

labrynthlab1Horta-Guinardó is a district in Barcelona, located in an old estate that is made up of both 18th century neoclassic style and 19th century romance. This 9.1 hectares of garden is filled with sculptures, pavilions, fountains, springs and pools. The most appealing feature in my opinion is the labyrinth that’s made up of 750 meters of trimmed cypress trees but each tear of the garden is marvelous. Be sure to pack a picnic to enjoy a full day of relaxation in this tranquil park. Entrance is €2.80 be sure to bring change as they do not accept card, free entrance on Sundays.

 

Nightlife:

Barcelona is a city that knows how to party . You can find a wild night anywhere around La Rambla. If you want to go out dancing or just have some nice options for places to sit and have a drink, I have a few ideas of where you can go.

 

Jamboree (Jazz & Dance Club)

Address: Plaça Reial, 17, 08002 Barcelona, Spain

jambjamb2

 

 

 

 

Absolutely love this place! I stumbled into Jamboree via a suggestion from a bartender at another venue. The venue was medium sized, had two floors, and charged a €5 cover. I arrived around 1am and the place was half packed which was plenty. The downstairs area felt like I was in an underground cave and played mostly hip hop from 2000 to current. Most of the area was an open dance floor with pillars and walls creating a couple different areas along with a fog machine and a killer DJ to create a pretty fun atmosphere. The upstairs was less hip hop and a mix of top 40 dance music, Indie Rock, and occasional alternative. Keep in mind this was a Wednesday night so if the music is important to you, you may want to confirm  these are the genres they play on other nights as well. By the time we left at 3:30am the place was packed and people were still pouring in. We also heard the line started to get a bit long around 1:30am so probably ideal to head here by 1am. There was no dress code and crowd was a bit touristic international. Didn’t see many local Spanish folks here but it was still pretty fun having a mix of tourist form all over Europe and Asia. This place also doubles as a Jazz club earlier in the night from 8pm-10pm. I havent been there for the Jazz shows yet but you can see who’s playing and buy tickets here . Most of the reviews seem to say the atmosphere and music are awesome but drink selection and service are limited which makes sense considering its quite a divey atmosphere.

 

Razzmatazz

Address: Carrer de Pamplona, 88, 08018 Barcelona, Spain

razz es-razzmatazz-cOne of the oldest night clubs in Barcelona has stood the test of time through the years and has managed to keep it’s prime position and stand out amongst all the rest. Razzmatazz is like five clubs rolled into one massive warehouse styled building (prepare to get lost) each floor represents a different genre of music: Razz club, Lolita, pop and lounge. When they host, “big name” artists be sure to buy your tickets online and get there early because the line can go right around the block. On a normal night it’s €17 with a drink included.

 

Sky Bar

Address: Via Laietana, 30, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

sky 1 SkyLocated on the roof top of Grand central hotel in the El Born district. Sky bar is a great place where you can either sip on something delicious while you chill pool side or have diner while looking out at the best view of the city. The doors open to the public in the late afternoon and this is the perfect place to meet with friends and catch up of diner and drinks or if you just want to get your night started in style. This is a great place to bring a date or a group of people but not the easiest place to meet new people as you are a bit isolated.

 

Carpe Diem Lounge Club

Address: Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, 32, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

CDLCCDLC 1
By day you can find a variety of cuisines offered to you from Thai to Moroccan to Indian and it’s all very tasty. They have an excellent wine list and having a late diner that translates into the lounge and club vibe later is perfect. A great way to spend the evening especially because it’s a more relaxed chilled atmosphere that still allows you to get up, dance and be social. The beach front location does make the drinks a bit more expensive but you also get to enjoy the fantastic atmosphere that’s created.

 

“Shoko” & “Opium”

Address: Passeig Marítim, 36, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

IMG_0274 shoko

 

 

 

 

 

 

These two clubs sit side by side each other just along the Beach near Casino Barcelona. They are both two of the hottest spots in the tourist area along the beach. I recently visited Shoko which was a great time and can get pretty packed as well. They played a mixed of dance, pop, hip-hop, and  other top 40 hits mixed into dance music. People were dressed fairly nice at these venues but as its on the beach they do allow people in just fine with slightly more casual attire too (nice shorts and a V-neck with tennis shoes worked just fine). The thing i liked the most about these places is that outback they both have outdoor terraces where the bar continues. From the terrace you can walk off directly onto the beach where they will make you pour your drink into a plastic cup and give you a stamp so that you can return. On the beach you will see hundreds of people hanging out until 6am (when the the clubs close) People bring their own sound systems and you’ll see people walking around the crowds of party-goers selling mojitos, beers, and sandwiches. Its basically a huge open party on the beach thats not part of the club and open to the public. Another thing that makes these spots great is that there are also several other popular hot spots just next door (Pasha, Cat-Walk, Carpe Diem)  making it a good area to settle in and hop around if you feel the need to switch venues. Cover at Shoko was €15 and I assume similar at the surrounding clubs.

Shopping:

El born

el-bornKnown as the Soho of Barcelona! This trendy neighborhood is where your search for those special one of a kind pieces can be found. Flassaders street is one of the lesser known streets in El Born that encompasses the atmosphere of the district perfectly. Retreat into this quaint street that is lined with boutiques and speciality stores on either side. I think this is what you would call a little but not so hidden gem. Born is also where you can find some of the best vintage shopping.

 

Passeig de Gràcia

paseo-de-gracia-majestic-hotel-gran-lujo-centro-barcelonaThis passage is jam packed with shopping options to suit any budget. Take a stroll down this street weather you intend on shopping or not it’s a nice walk and you may stumble upon a few of Gaudi’s buildings to break up your walk or shopping spree. Either way a walk down Passeig de Gràcia can lead you to treasures of every sort or where new and exciting adventure potentially lurks behind every corner.

 

Other Tips:

* Barcelona is not a tipping culture, however if you had great service it will be appreciated. At nice restaurants you can tip 10-15% but it’s not usual to tip anywhere else.

*If you’re living with food allergies here is your guide to dining in an allergy free Barcelona

*Like many big cities that are walking friendly, Barcelona has a lot of street festivals and events especially when the weather is good. You can find a list of them here: