The Travel Hack’s Guide to Barcelona

You’ve booked your flights and now you’re wondering what you can actually do in Barcelona. Well step this way, as we share our Barcelona guide. Having visited a few times, including just last month, it includes some of our favourite tourist spots, as well as some lesser known favourite finds.

A word of warning though – if you haven’t booked your flights, you’ll probably be reaching for your card by the end of this post!

 

Our Fave Things to Do and See in Barcelona

The Neighbourhoods (Barrios)

Barcelona is split into distinguishable areas, known as Barrios, and really has something for everyone. These are the ones that I think you should visit:

  • Barri Gotic – known as the Gothic Quarter or The Old City (and my favourite!). Think cobbles, limestone coloured buildings and cute independent boutiques and cafes

Barcelona Guide, Barcelona, things to see in Barcelona, what to do in Barcelona, barcelona things to do,

Barcelona Guide, Barcelona, things to see in Barcelona, what to do in Barcelona, barcelona things to do,

  • Gracia – Fashionable and classy
  • Barceloneta – home to the beach
  • L’Exiample – You’ll find a lot of Gaudi’s work here (La Sagrada Familia – you MUST visit*, Casa Mila etc), as well as shops and restaurants
  • El Born – Beautiful buildings and good for a night out

Barcelona Guide, Barcelona, things to see in Barcelona, what to do in Barcelona, barcelona things to do,

  • Las Ramblas – Touristy and busy, but home to the famous food market, Mercado de La Boqueria (definitely pay it a visit)
  • El Raval – lively, diverse and full of character. It was once known as an area that tourists should avoid, but I recently spent a bit of time there and it seemed safe – an up and coming kinda place.
things to see in Barcelona, barcelona things to do, what to do in Barcelona, Barcelona, El Raval, Cat Statue, Barcelona Guide-
El Raval
  • Montjuïc – too many reasons to visit – see next section!

Travel Hack Tips: *Book your tickets for La Sagrada Familia online in advance to save joining the mahussive queue. Also, if you want to get a flavour of each area then a bike tour is an awesome way to do that. I’d definitely recommend Fat Tire Bike Tours.

Barcelona Guide, Barcelona, things to see in Barcelona, what to do in Barcelona, barcelona things to do,

Montjuïc

I know I’m biased as this is where I got engaged, but you simply have to venture up to Montjuïc. It’s a massive hill with a castle (Castell de Montjuïc) at the top. You now have to pay to go into the castle, but you get some nice shots from the outside. If you’re on a budget, don’t worry, there’s plenty to see elsewhere on the hill.

Montjuic, Castle, Barcelona Guide, Barcelona, things to see in Barcelona, what to do in Barcelona, barcelona things to do,

A maze of pathways lead down, so you can either spontaneously pick a direction at each fork or pick out a route on a map.

You’ll find manicured gardens, fountains to dip your feet in (a life saver if, like me, you’re pregnant!), views of the seafront and city, museums, Poble Espanyol (a Spanish village) and the 1992 Olympic Games site. Told you there’s a lot! This handy list details more info on each of them. I’d recommend at least a good few hours to enjoy this area.

Barcelona Guide, Barcelona, things to see in Barcelona, what to do in Barcelona, barcelona things to do,  Montjuic, fountain

Aim to end up at Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. It’s a huge art museum, but I like just looking at the outside of the building. It’s so grand and people always sit on the steps and walls, so it’s a good spot for people watching. It’s also an ideal place to watch the sunset. Afterwards you can follow the steps down to the Magic Fountain (think water acrobatics, music and over 50 shades). It’s a bit gimmicky, but worth a peep.

Barcelona Guide, Barcelona, things to see in Barcelona, what to do in Barcelona, barcelona things to do,

Barcelona Guide, Barcelona, things to see in Barcelona, what to do in Barcelona, barcelona things to do,

Travel Hack Tips: Take lots of water and snacks, or a picnic if you can. There isn’t much on offer and the stuff that is there is pricey and not the most appetising. Oh, and fellow pregnant ladies, make the most of any public loos – there aren’t many, so go if you see one!

How to get here: Walk or catch the metro to Paral-lel, then hop on the funicular for five minutes or so, before changing over to the cable car. The metro and funicular are included in your metro ticket, but the cable-car will cost you about seven Euros. It’s worth it though, firstly because you’d be knackered if you walked up the hill and secondly, the views are pretty incredible.

Parc Güell

This popular spot is one of Gaudi’s creations. It was supposed to be an amusement park for the rich, but it didn’t really work out. It was opened to the public and people have been flocking to visit ever since.

Barcelona Guide, Barcelona, things to see in Barcelona, what to do in Barcelona, barcelona things to do,  Parc Guell, Gaudi

You’ll need a few hours here because the site is massive. Similarly to Montjuic, a maze of pathways lead you around the park so go whichever way takes your fancy. You can see Gaudi’s work, but you’ll need to pay (and queue) if you want to see it up close and personal.

Even if you don’t want to see Gaudi’s work, go here for amazing views of the city and to listen to local performers.

Barcelona Guide, Barcelona, things to see in Barcelona, what to do in Barcelona, barcelona things to do,  Parc Guell, Gaudi

Travel Hack Tips: Bring your own snacks and lots of water. Wear comfy shoes and ideally a hat, as the shady spots get busy.

How to get here: Walk or catch the metro to Lesseps or Vallcarca, then walk and/or hop on the escalator for fifteen minutes or so. FYI, the hill up to the park is super steep!

 

Barcelona Guide, Barcelona, things to see in Barcelona, what to do in Barcelona, barcelona things to do,  escalator, parc guell

Our Fave Places to Dine

You’ll find restaurants for all budgets in Barcelona, but these are my faves;

  • La Font Del Gat – located at Montjuïc and a bit of a mission to find, but it feels like a secret hideaway. The food is good (especially the patatas bravas) and the tables are set among orange trees.

Barcelona Guide, Barcelona, things to see in Barcelona, what to do in Barcelona, barcelona things to do,  patas bravas

  • La Mon Roe – located in El Raval and one of my faves. It’s a hipster spot, where the staff wear dungarees and the food is deliciously satisfying. Think classics like burgers and nachos, as well as hearty salads and more.

Barcelona Guide, Barcelona, things to see in Barcelona, what to do in Barcelona, barcelona things to do,  le mon roe, el raval, eat

Barcelona Guide, Barcelona, things to see in Barcelona, what to do in Barcelona, barcelona things to do, , le mon roe, el raval

  • Atu Bola – located in El Raval and centred around, erm, balls. It’s gourmet street food, served in a cute cafe. Great veggie options and really affordable.

Barcelona Guide, Barcelona, things to see in Barcelona, what to do in Barcelona, barcelona things to do,  atu bola, el raval

  • 360° located in El Raval at Barceló Raval (hotel). It’s a rooftop bar (need I say more?!) that serves delicious tapas and incredible views of the city.

Barcelo Raval, Barcelona, Review, Travel Blog

Where to Stay

If unique, stylish stays and rooftop bars are your thing (and why wouldn’t they be?!) head to Barceló Raval (click the link for the full write-up and pics).

There is so much more I could say about this city, but these pointers are my top ones.

So, over to you, do you have any recommendations? Is Barcelona somewhere you’d like to visit?

Pin this for later!

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Char Taylor Travel Blogger

Char Taylor is the blogger behind Taylor Hearts Travel, a blog that is redefining family travel, sharing inspo & tips for worldly adventures with mini-explorers. Char is a UK based travel blogger, lover of stylish travel & mama. She has worked with lots of travel brands and great tourist boards, and her blog has also won the attention of the likes of Huff Post Lifestyle, Company Magazine’s High-Street Edit, and the U.S. Travel Association.

SHOWHIDE Comments (15)
  1. Oh, lovely guide! Though I’m from Barcelona I still love reading blog guides about it to see what people like/dislike about the city. Certainly, the Park Guell is a gorgeous place to go! And wow, I have never been to any of these restaurants!! With love,
    Vera

    The Flash Window | Bloglovin

    1. i would definitely recommend it i went and remember ALWAYS have a cross body bag not a handbag as the pickpockets sort of ruin the amazing atmosphere
      stay safe
      -Alice

  2. This is such a useful guide! I definitely enjoyed reading it although my trip to Barcelona is now over and I have even written about my favourite touristy spots in town: http://evamilano.eu/?p=412
    I still wish I could have read this article before so I can have in mind places to eat. I did explore a lot and liked a fair share of them… but you can never have too much good food 😀
    Thank you for sharing!

    Eva,
    http://evamilano.eu/

      1. hi Char,

        where is the shop in barcelona unter the picture of parrup on this site? the second picture…cheers özlem

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The Travel Hack

The Travel Hack is a blog about stylish adventure travel and affordable luxury.

We believe luxurious travel can be affordable and isn't just for the rich. Follow along with our worldwide adventures as we share our trips and tips for incredible travel experiences on a modest budget.