What to know before you visit Barcelona?
Before deciding what to do in Barcelona, where to stay and how many days to spend, here’s what I am convinced you need to know. This will be super useful if you plan to visit Barcelona and you wish to enjoy it like a local!
Plan your trip to Barcelona!
IS BARCELONA SAFE TO VISIT?
Super safe! But just like every big city, there are always pickpockets. In crowded places, such us train & metro stations or touristic attractions, they may be waiting for you to be distracted to get your mobile phones or wallets. So keep always your bag in front of you, not even on the floor! Don’t put your mobile or wallet in your back pockets and that’s it, you are ready to visit Barcelona!
DO I NEED A GUIDE OR A TOUR TO VISIT BARCELONA?
Barcelona is a very walkable city, you can do almost everything by foot. But if you wish to understand more in detail what this amazing city has to offer, if you want to know important facts about culture, I would definitely recommend you to book a tour during your visit to Barcelona. Going on your own to some attractions, will make you miss half of the magic.
Tip: Don’t miss our photoshoot tours around the old city of Barcelona, Sagrada Familia & Park Güell! Check here
HOW LONG SHOULD I SPEND IN BARCELONA
In the post FIRST TIME IN BARCELONA. 10 THINGS TO DO, I recommend you to visit Barcelona and spend not less than 3 days. You can have an idea of what to see and depending on your likes, you can adjust the numbers of days.
HOW TO GET TO THE CITY CENTRE OF BARCELONA FROM THE AIRPORT.
We only have one airport in town, so it’s pretty simple to buy a ticket to Barcelona. It’s also very easy to get to your hotel. There are only two terminals, 1 and 2 (free shuttle buses from terminal 1 to 2 and viceversa) and there are 4 ways to get to the city:
- Taxi, the easiest and most expensive way, 30 minutes (between 30-40€).
- Train, only departure from terminal 2, 1 hour (2,5€ single ticket).
- Metro, just inside the airport, usually 1 hour (4,9€).
- And the one that I like the most, the Aerobus, which is in both terminals and you get the chance to have a quick look to the city as you get to Plaza Catalunya which is the last stop. Depending on traffic, a 25-40 minutes trip (€5,90).
Tip: transport starts running at 5am and finishes at around 11pm-1am. Make sure your hotel or Airbnb will be able to check you in at that time.
WHAT TO WEAR IN BARCELONA
Comfy walking shoes definitely! But I think it depends on the time of the year you plan to visit Barcelona. Imagine summer with more or less 30 degrees (90 Fahrenheit) and winter 10 degrees. Mostly no rain and sunny. Check the forecast beforehand! Everyone in Barcelona is super relaxed, enjoying the sun, drinking, so don’t worry much about your outfit unless you feel like going out at night to a fancy restaurant or disco.
WHERE TO STAY IN BARCELONA
Barcelona is the perfect size! Not as big as Paris and not as small as Amsterdam. So you will be well located in almost every downtown neighbourhood. The heart of the city is Plaça Catalunya. So if you love being in the middle of everything, this is the place for you. I cannot skip the fact that there are a lot of bars in this area, so I would read carefully the reviews of your hotel or Airbnb. If there are complains about noise, I would definitely consider another place for your visit Barcelona. If you wish to stay in a quiet area, more modern, then consider staying in the Eixample area or Gracia. Check here “Where to stay in Barcelona” if you haven’t decide!
TIPPING IN BARCELONA RESTAURANTS
This is very fun as there is this saying that Catalan people are know as “cheap people” so do not expect big tips in Catalunya, nor in the rest of Spain. There is still nothing stipulated nor even a minimum you should leave. Normally people leave coins. But if you are a tipping person and you are used to leaving 10% or 15% your waitress will be more than happy.
FIGURING OUT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN BARCELONA
I have made already a video about this! “Getting around in Barcelona” Metro works on Saturday all day long and we have night buses everyday as well. There are Day Cards for travelling limitless during those days but you need to buy one card per person. It also allows you to go from and to the airport. Or you can buy the the T10 card, which is 10 trips that you can share with your mates. No need to buy one per person but with this card, you can only go to the airport by train, not by metro.
BOOK IN ADVANCE BEFORE YOU VISIT BARCELONA
Definitely book the Sagrada Familia ticket in advanced, of course if you are wanting to go inside. There is usually a 2-hour-queue everyday so this is something you must do beforehand. The same thing happens with Park Güell now. It’s not free anymore since 2015! Or what you can do, is go there before they open, let’s say 8am in summer and enjoy the place for free at your own pace.
Hope this has been super useful for your visit Barcelona. If you think there are also more things to keep in mind before coming to the city, just leave me your comments below!