Barcelona Travel Guide
Barcelona is the liveliest Mediterranean city and the most cosmopolitan in Spain.
Since low-cost flights started, Barcelona has become a magnet for weekend tourists from all over Europe, attracted by all this Catalan metropolis has to offer: beaches, culture, shopping, leisure activities, cuisine, nightlife, concerts, lifestyle and much more.
Shopping in Barcelona’s old town
Barcelona is a shopping paradise - an absolute must for visitors to the city. Stroll down Spain’s most famous street, Las Ramblas, take a break in one of its many cafes and watch the colourful hustle and bustle of street artists, Barcelona residents and tourists passing by. There are delights for shopping addicts on all sides of Las Ramblas.
Tip: Slip into the many little lanes of the Gothic Quarter (Barrio Gótico) and the Raval neighbourhood, where Barcelona’s historic backdrop promises hidden boutiques to delight you with their wares and creativity.
The beaches of Barcelona City
Barcelona’s beaches offer visitors a chance to get away from it all in the middle of a major city and sample the beach holiday atmosphere. Most of the beaches in Barcelona date from the years when the city turned to the sea and opened itself up as part of its urban renewal programme for the Olympics. Barcelona’s beaches start at the Barceloneta peninsula, the old fishing district, and extend several kilometres to the north. They are cleaned each day and really create a holiday atmosphere. Drinks and small snacks are available from numerous beach-side bars (“Chiringuitos”). In the evening, these are transformed into little beach clubs where you can enjoy a variety of musical styles as you sip your drink before starting with Barcelona nightlife.
Nudist beach goers have two beaches, the Mar Bella beach - meeting point for the gay community - and the nudist beach Barcelona Sant Sebastia.
Nightlife in Barcelona
The bar and pub scene in Barcelona ranges from traditional pubs to atmospheric or ethnic bars to modern designer establishments. The nightlife in Barcelona is enormously varied. First-time weekend tourists tend to gather around Las Ramblas where from midnight onwards each weekend you have the feeling you’ve landed in the party stronghold of Lloret de Mar. However, that’s not the only place to get out and about after dark in Barcelona. To discover the other nightlife areas in Barcelona, including those where the locals go, just look under the Don Travel category Nightlife in Barcelona.
Antoni Gaudi – the architect of Modernism
Antoni Gaudi has really given Barcelona a distinctive appearance. He is the best known representative of modernism, an artistic and architectural style that originated in Barcelona at the end of the 19th century and is closely associated with Art Nouveau. Two of his works in Barcelona just must be seen by visitors: the Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell. The “Bus Turistic” sightseeing busses take visitors comfortably to both places. They can also be reached by bus or the underground. Other distinctive Gaudi buildings in Barcelona are the Casa Mila and the Palau Güell (Güell Palace).
Districts of many faces
Barcelona’s old town is one of the most beautiful and harmonious city centres in Europe. It consists of the Gothic quarter, home to the cathedral and former royal palace, the neighbouring Ribera district, where houses dating from the 14th century can still be found – one of them contains the Picasso Museum of Barcelona. The former fishing district of Barceloneta is bordered by popular, kilometre-long sandy beaches, the Barceloneta beach, and invites you to take a stroll through its narrow lanes. The Eixample (extension) is a district built at the end of the 19th century in a chessboard pattern. Many of Barcelona’s attractions, such as the Sagrada Familia or the Casa Batlló on the classy Passeig de Gracia shopping street, are located in this district. You can find more details under Barcelona City Districts.
Don Travel Barcelona Travel Guide tip: Barcelona from above
Barcelona’s two cable railways are highlights few tourists enjoy (maybe because of the rather high prices). The railway from the former fishing district of Barceloneta to Montjuic offers a splendid view over the city and beyond. There, you’ll find the Poble Espanyol, the olympic stadium and the fortress of Castell Montjuic. You’ll need at least half a day to take it all in. If you’re afraid of heights, there’s also the Bus Turistic for a comprehensive tour of Barcelona from closer to terra firma.