The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona, is one of the most visited cities in Spain. If this is your first group visit, it is easy to be overwhelmed with how large and beautiful the city is and how much there is to see and do. This article will cover some do’s and don’ts when visiting the city of dreams, Barcelona.
Rent an apartment
After buying plane tickets to Barcelona, the next action is to look up hotels. There are so many other incredible options though that often go forgotten about. When travelling with a small group it may be more wise to rent an apartment. Family holiday rentals in Barcelona can be a great way to enjoy Barcelona in style, yet with a bit more privacy and calmness. You will also get more space and a kitchenette for cooking some local food. This way, you can save money from the expensive hotel costs and splurge elsewhere, such as the many activities to do that you’ll find on this list.
Learn / write down some main phrases
Residents in Barcelona don’t speak English as much as the rest of Europe, so be sure to have a few key phrases that can help you get by. Restaurants should be easy enough to communicate, but knowing how to say “thank you” and “how are you doing?” is just polite.
- Hola – “Hello”
- ¿Qué tal? – “How are you?”
- Muy bien – “Very good”
- Me llamo… – “My name is…”
- Mucho gusto – “Nice to meet you”
- Hasta pronto amigo – “See you soon, friend”
- Gracias – “Thank you”
- Placér – “A pleasure”
- De nada – “You’re welcome”
- Disculpe – “Excuse me”
Visit museums when they’re free
There are many incredible museums in Barcelona, but these kinds of activities can add up fast. Most museums are free on a given day of the week. For example, the Museu Picasso has one of the most extensive collections of Pablo Picasso’s artwork. This museum is free on Thursday afternoons, as well as the first Sunday of the month.
Likewise, the incredible Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) which houses Gothic, Romanesque and Renaissance art collections, is free every Saturday afternoon (past 3pm) as well as the first Sunday of every month. The Barcelona Maritime Museum is also free every Sunday afternoon (past 3pm), and the Palau Guell is also free to enter on the first Sunday of every month. Knowing this can be the extra incentive to indulge in some culture and history when you otherwise would consider it to be too expensive or too far out of the way.
Barcelona is a very safe city. However, there are some precautions to take as a tourist to prevent being targeted by pickpocket thieves. It’s worth knowing that these thieves exist (as they do in every major city), although they are quite prevalent in Barcelona. You’re safe from violent crime in Barcelona, but you should keep your possessions safe and where you can see them. For example, put expensive items in the core part of your bag, as opposed to the front pocket which is much more easily accessed.
Use the Metro
Barcelona has one of the most impressively simple and effective underground metro public transport systems in Europe. When visiting for a short time, it’s worth picking up a 3 day Hola Barcelona Travel Card. This card will allow you to take unlimited journeys on the metro, which covers travel between the airport and city centre too! For just €22.20, you can visit all the landmarks that you can fit in, and with the speed of this train service – you can fit in a lot!
Visited the surrounding towns
Although Barcelona is an incredible city, sometimes you just want a relaxing, quiet day in a small, authentic Catalonian town. The public transport in Spain, as discussed above, is very good. You can get to some local, gorgeous towns along the coast in no time at all. Sitges is one of these (sits 38 km from Barcelona), which has a beautiful Mediterranean beach and sea. It also hosts the world-renowned Fantastic Film Festival, which is one of the largest science fiction and horror movie events there is. Sant Pol de Mar, Figueres and Ripollet are a few among many other beautiful towns nearby short a short visit.
Visit a football match
The iconic and world famous Camp Nou is an obvious choice for a tour in Barcelona, which hosts the Barcelona football team as well as 99,354 attendees. However, given the incredible style of football the Barcelona showcase week-in, week-out, it seems only logical to get tickets for a La Liga game of theirs to experience the incredible atmosphere and watch one of the world’s greatest football players, Lionel Messi.