Barcelona is one of the most popular travel destinations and not without a reason. Here are some top tips from a local to help you get around in this Catalan gem.
Most popular neighbourhoods of Barcelona
Eixample means ´expansion´ in Catalan and if you have ever wandered the streets here, you will understand why. During the 19th century, the old town of Barcelona started to overpopulate so they had to expand this area, making it the largest neighbourhood in the city. When you fly into Barcelona, you will recognise its distinct grid pattern with long straight roads and blocks of houses.
During the planning process, Antoni Gaudí seized the opportunity to make Eixample part of his Modernist movement. Despite receiving criticism for his Casa Milà and Casa Batlló work, for being too outlandish, they are now two of the most famous buildings in the world, both found on the designer high street of Passeig de Gràcia. Their unique nature has led the way for more notable architectural works, which fit together seamlessly with the traditional builds of this region.
Eixample is also to the artist’s most famous work, the Sagrada Família. Despite a completion date of 2026, you can enjoy its beauty when you visit Barcelona. We would suggest booking tickets to all these sights in Eixample prior to arriving in Barcelona! Remember, there are always alternative ways to experience Barcelona!
- El Born
Found by two other famous monuments, in the Ciutadella Park and the Arc de Triomf, is where you find El Born. Staying here will give you the Picasso museum, wonderful boutique shops, a lively bar scene on Passeig de Born and the Santa Maria del Mar. The latter being a 14th century church that is truly stunning, capturing the imagination when understanding its deep links to Barcelona´s maritime past.
El Born recognised as being one of the most fashionable places of the city. El Born, like most parts of Barcelona, offers many plazas to watch the world go by from, whilst enjoying Sangria and tapas- we recommend the Patatas Bravas. Shopping, food, history and culture; El Born has it all.
Barceloneta has completely transformed over the last 50 years or so. A fishing community has now become a busy hub of beach bars, or chiringuitos, amazing seafood restaurants and nightclubs. Its nightlife scene is the place to be if you are looking to dance the night away in Barcelona. With the seafront lined with beachside clubs, it is easy to find your ideal choice of bar or club. On one side is Port Vell, a notable waterfront harbour from where you can admire the yachts or visit the museum of the history of Catalunya. Ideal for a bike tour around Barcelona. Take a trip over the water on the Port Vell Cable Car to see Barcelona from the air. Day or night, Barceloneta is the place to be!
The clue is in the name, but if you follow Passeig de Gràcia all the way to its end, you will reach the neighbourhood of… Gràcia! This trendy neighbourhood has many charming squares where you can find locals chatting and enjoying the sun with a cerveza or Vermut (a wine that is popular here). Boasting a lively yet authentic food, drink and nightlife scene, Plaça Del Sol is worth visiting. Whilst, Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia, known for its old clock tower, is a beautiful part of the neighbourhood and is filled with cafés, bars and independent shops. As well as its authentic food.
Going back to the work of Antoni Gaudí’s, Gràcia is home to Casa Vicens and leads onto Parc Güell. A beautiful and vibrant park that lies is one of the first things you need to see when visiting Barcelona, so book in advance! Not only is the park an architectural masterpiece but it also has one of the best views of Barcelona. However, another that neighbours Gràcia, the Bunkers del Carmel, rivals this view, a civil war artillery post has now become a popular spot to see the world.
How to choose where to stay?
When it comes to accommodation in Barcelona, you want to find the perfect place to stay- and rightly so. Unfortunately, so many websites that are supposed to help you find a somewhere usually leave you with more questions than answers.
One of the options is using AB Apartment Barcelona, who have over 700 apartments in Barcelona available on short term to long-term rentals; they will ensure you have a memorable stay in the city. Stay in an apartment in Barcelona that is fully equipped and has WiFi, which allows you to enjoy every corner of the city as if you were at home, and there is nothing better than that.
Now that you have more information on what each neighbourhood has to offer you can get your search started.
Transport in Barcelona
Barcelona has plenty of transport options available to you to help you get around the city in a cheap and simple manner. The first is their metro, with stations dotted all over the city; you can easily navigate the lines to get from A to B. The ticket prices have changed for 2020, but what you get from each travel pass remains. The following ticket passes not only allow you to get around on metro, but also on bus, Rodial and Renfe trains:
- Bitlett senzill (single ticket) for one single journey: €2.40
- T-Casual for 10 journeys: €11.35
- T-Grup is multi-person, 70 journeys to be made over 30 days: €79.45
- T-Usual for unlimited travel in one month: from €40
- Airport ticket for a journey from the airport to the city on Metro only: €5.15
Despite being in Spain, Barcelona finds itself as the Capital city of its region, Catalonia. An area that even includes some parts of Southern France and, as a result, has a number of cultural differences to other regions in Spain that have developed over hundreds of years. The biggest difference seen in the language, Catalan.
Barcelona has, in fact, two official languages- Spanish and Catalan. With both represented in equal measure in public sector work, legal documents and in everyday life. As a result, before coming to Barcelona you should be aware that they do not only speak Spanish here and that you should look to impress the locals by learning some Catalan prior to your trip. That is why we suggest learning some of the most useful phrases in Catalan to have at the ready before arriving in Barcelona.
Weather for each season
Barcelona is known for its popular beaches and great weather. Whilst both of those presumptions are true, there are times where the weather is not ideal for holidaymakers who want to live like a local. Therefore, we try to plan by considering the trends of the seasons:
- Autumn: Here the weather is still tranquil, with temperatures around 15-20 degrees Celsius. The mild nature makes it more than comfortable for all tourists.
- Winter: The biggest challenge faced in Barcelona is the rain in this season. It does not rain much, but when it rains, it pours. Temperatures float around 8-15 degrees Celsius and you can feel the freshness in the air most mornings.
- Spring: Weather in this season is the most enjoyable, with temperatures from 15-25 degrees Celsius; many tourists come to Barcelona for some sun and warm evenings.
- Summer: As you can imagine, this season is when things really heat up. Temperatures can reach the high 30s and it sees long days with the sun beating down.
Ready to go to Barcelona?
About the Guest Author: Owen Mawer is a British student currently living and working in Barcelona. He enjoys exploring the lesser known sides to the city as well as being able to offer local knowledge when it comes to looking for areas to stay in and the type of accommodation to go look out for.