Barcelona, Spain
Spain, Travel Tips

5 Things to Know Before Traveling to Barcelona

So, you’re traveling to Barcelona, Spain?  Here are five things I wish I knew before heading there myself.

Read nextHow to Fall in Love With Barcelona Without Really Trying

#1: Spanish is widely spoken

Despite Barcelona being the capital of Catalonia, an autonomous region of northeastern Spain with its own official language (Catalán), you will still get by just fine by speaking Spanish.

Most locals speak both Catalán and Spanish, so if anyone starts speaking to you in Catalán, simply explain that you only speak Spanish.  Of course, you can usually fall back on English if you really need to.

Arc de Triunfo, Barcelona, Spain

#2: The price of tapas…

Traditional Spanish tapas are typically bite-sized and can be found cheaply all over the city.  Take note of the price before ordering, though–if something costs €4-5 or more, the serving is likely to be quite large.  Small portions should only cost €1-3 each.

Alternatively, get to know the culture even more intimately by enjoying dinner with locals in Barcelona.

5 Things to Know Before Traveling to Barcelona, Spain

#3: Beat the crowds at Park Güell

Early evening is a great time to visit Antoni Gaudí’s famous park, Park Güell. You’ll avoid the midday heat, spend less time waiting in line, and have fewer people to contend with for the ideal photo spots. In the summer, the park is open as late as 11 pm.

Park Güell, Barcelona, Spain

#4: Skip the line at La Sagrada Familia

Any time of day is a great time to visit La Sagrada Família, but in order to skip the line, you must purchase a ticket online ahead of time. I highly recommend a guided tour or audio tour for the full experience, and even better if you can go up into one of the spires for an incredible view over the city (see top photo of this post!).

This is one Barcelona attraction that absolutely should not be missed.

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

#5: Getting around is a breeze

Barcelona is surprisingly walkable and extremely accessible by public transit. I was surprised by how quickly I could walk from one neighborhood to the next, and it’s a pedestrian-friendly city with wide sidewalks and many car-free thoroughfares. Alternatively, you can rent bicycles to tour around the city.

I very rarely took taxis while traveling in Barcelona, and when I needed to travel a longer distance (like to and from the airport, for example), I simply hopped on the metro–a single ride ticket will cost you just €2.15.

5 Things to Know Before Traveling to Barcelona, Spain

Have you traveled to Barcelona? What tips would you add?

5 Things to Know Before Traveling to Barcelona, Spain


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16 Comments

  • Reply Thea February 11, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    This is awesome! I am bookmarking this!

    http://www.thetravelingdyosa.com

  • Reply Clara March 4, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    If you’re lost in Barcelona and don’t speak spanish, just ask to a teen, they speak english better than the adults, and they are the way more nicer

    • Reply Leah Davis March 4, 2016 at 10:23 pm

      Good tip, Clara! Never thought of that 🙂

  • Reply Chris, South Australia July 6, 2016 at 5:52 am

    Mske sure you go to Monserrat … beautiful and great views. An easy day trip from Barcelona

    • Reply Leah Davis July 10, 2016 at 2:38 am

      I will definitely check that out next time! Thanks for the tip, Chris!

  • Reply GAil July 9, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Thanks, Leah… like these practical ‘hints’. When time in a place is limited (which mine will be in Sept), a few sweet clues to sorting things out is useful and appreciated!

    • Reply Leah Davis July 10, 2016 at 2:36 am

      You’re very welcome, Gail! Glad you found them useful! Happy travels 🙂

  • Reply Tracy R August 23, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Thanks for the tips. Do you have a favorite area to stay in while visiting? I am trying to decide between Eixample and the Las Ramblas areas. I will only be there for one night and want to see as much as possible.

    • Reply Leah Davis August 24, 2016 at 2:51 am

      You know, I think either one would be solid! Both are pretty central. Barcelona is really accessible by public transit, so you can cover large distances quickly. Stay near La Rambla if you want to cover a lot of ground by foot as well–you’ll have easy access to great markets and shopping, the beach, the Gothic Quarter, Parc de la Ciutadella, etc. Enjoy your stay!

  • Reply Laura Flores October 18, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    What city in Spain would you recommend staying the longest?
    Laura

    • Reply Leah Davis October 18, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      Hey Laura! I don’t know the other cities in Spain very well, so that’s a tough question for me to answer! Madrid is the other big hub, and I know that it’s super easy to get pretty much everywhere else in the country from there…so if you plan to do a lot of traveling around, Mardid might be your best option. Then again, Barcelona has the beach… 😉

  • Reply Diana October 28, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Costa del Sol is south and beautiful, too! Spent a week there and even visited Morroco and Gibralter.

    • Reply Leah Davis October 28, 2016 at 10:02 pm

      Oh I have not heard of that! I will have to look into it the next time I am in Spain! 🙂

  • Reply Matt August 23, 2017 at 11:04 am

    ach Leah, just love your writing style!
    Barcelona is missing you, you’ve to come back soon 🙂

    Matt

    • Reply Leah Davis August 25, 2017 at 9:13 am

      I miss Barcelona (and you guys) too!! I would love to come back soon!

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