Barcelona is the multi-facted crown jewel of the Spanish Mediterranean coast.
With its many architectural and cultural splendors, it is little wonder that Spain’s second largest city, with a metropolitan population of 4.5 million, is a frequent cruise ship port of call and a vacation mecca for Europeans.
The city is also a major venue for trade shows and exhibitions and attracts business people and tourists from around the globe.
Whether you’re there on business or pleasure, you should explore Barcelona’s Gaudi and Moorish architecture, fabulous waterfront, superb beaches (some permitting nudity), eclectic shopping and people watching and abundant museums.
We think Barcelona lives up to its hype.
Reading Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s 2001 thriller, The Shadow Of The Wind, set in Barcelona or Robert Hughes’ Barcelona (1992), a paean to the city’s art, history and highlights will put you in the Barcelona ambiance before you go. Thank you for using our referral (“affiliate”) links to support our journalism.
When you’re ready for reservations, here are some useful resources:
For a 1-Day Visit:
- Take a guided tour on a hop-on, hop-off tour bus to make the most of your time and get an overview of the city.
- Have a paella lunch at Barceloneta.
For a 2-Day or 3-Day Visit:
- National Art Museum of Catalonia
- La Sagrada Familia, the breathtaking under-construction cathedral designed by Antoni Gaudi
- La Rambla, an eclectic street with shops, entertainment, buskers galore and people-watching
- La Barceloneta, the city’s old fishing district, home to many good restaurants
- Get paella and take in a flamenco performance at Tablao Flamenco Cordobés
- Eat at a tapas bar
For a Longer Visits:
Barcelona is easily accessible by plane. El Prat Airport (BCN) is a quick trip by train or bus into the central city.
Barcelona’s Sants railroad station has connections to most of Europe, including high-speed trains from Madrid and Paris. Rail Europe tickets, passes, and routes.
Highway connections in Spain are good.
There are numerous ports in Spain for cruise ships. Check with your cruise line.
When To Go: With its mild Mediterranean climate, Barcelona is comfortable year-round. To avoid crowds and get the best prices, Spring and early to mid-Fall are best.
Where To Stay: If you come by train, stay around the Sants train station. The Barceló Sants hotel is built over the station and is an excellent value. Hop-on, hop-off buses and city buses stop here. Other nice places to stay are along the waterfront.
Special Travel Interests: Gaudi, Catalonian culture
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What did you do on your visit to Barcelona? Share your favorite tips in the comments section below!
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