Barcelona City Guide
The vivacious Spanish city of Barcelona that was immortalized forever in Woody Allen’s 2008, hit movie Vicky Christina Barcelona is a truly magnificent destination and a year round tourist magnet. Barcelona, which is located in the autonomous Spanish community of Catalonia, is largely regarded as a gateway to the famed Spanish coastal region of Costa Brava.
It is estimated that five million people reside in Barcelona proper and another five million visit this exciting city every year making it the fourth most visited city in Europe. If you have never visited Barcelona but have always wanted to visit the city famously associated with legends like Antonio Gaudi and the Barcelona Football Club, then you should perhaps consider taking advantage of the various Barcelona hotel deals and cheap air flights that we at Fare Buzz perennially have to offer.
Where to stay in Barcelona
Barcelona is home to nearly 90,000 diverse hotels but since the city receives a constant influx of year round visitors, it is often a struggle to get a hotel room in the city. However, if you plan to do your hotel bookings through Fare Buzz, you needn’t worry for we can secure cheap air tickets as well cheap hotel rooms for your visit to Barcelona whenever you decide to make your trip.
Ciutat Vella (Barri Gòtic, El Raval & La Ribera--The Ciutat Vella (Old City)
The old city of Barcelona which encompasses historic neighborhoods like the Barri Gòti, El Raval, El Born and La Ribera is the heart and soul of Barcelona. The area is home to several landmarks like Les Ramblas, Passeig Nacional, Plaça de Sant Jaume and more.
Ciutat Vella also hosts several discount hotels and many budget accommodation options and is best suited for those visitors who want stay in the midst of all the action but also need cheap hotel rates for their stay in Barcelona.
This neighborhood offers modern and somewhat expensive hotels, wide avenues, excellent restaurants, 19th century moderniste architecture and designer stores galore. So if you have a passion of any of these then L’Eixample is where you should base yourself for your visit to Barcelona.
Sants and Plaça Espanya
These Barcelona neighborhoods are home many business hotels and are convenient for MICE events as these areas contain the FIRA de Barcelona ( the trade fair and exhibition grounds of Plaça Espanya) and the World Trade Center which is located at the bottom of Paral.lel. Moreover these neighborhoods are within close reach of the Barcelona airport which is easily accessible via a twenty minute taxi ride. Given all these business-centric conveniences, these neighborhoods are largely favored by business travelers.
The Barcelona seafront is increasingly becoming popular with hotel developers and now hosts several upscale hotels. These seaside hotel properties are popular with visitors who like to be based far from the tourist hordes during their vacations in Barcelona.
Depending on your individual tastes and preferences, Fare Buzz can locate suitable hotel rooms at the best hotel prices for your vacation in this exciting Catalan city.
Places to see in Barcelona
Barcelona is almost always associated with the world renowned, rather fanciful and outlandish creations of its native son, the world famous architect: Antonio Gaudi. Several weird and wonderful Gaudi creations dot Barcelona’s cityscape and provide great sight-seeing opportunities.
La Sagrada Familia
The magnificent unfinished cathedral of Sagrada Familia is one of Antonio Gaudi’s most famous works located in Barcelona. Work on this imposing structure began in April 1882 and it continues until today. The work is being completed according to the guidelines laid down by this great architect. The Sagrada Familia is a huge tourist attraction, which has been funded entirely from donations. Gothic towers, stone reliefs and figures are all a part of this cathedral, which is expected to be completed in the next twenty years. 22 varieties of stones have been used until date for the construction of this famous structure.
The Parc Guell
The Parc Guell is located on Camel Hill and is filled with Gaudi’s whimsical works like flights of stairs, columns, a plaza that affords great views of the city and a pink colored house. The last mentioned attraction, la Torre Rosa, which was once occupied by Gaudi and his niece and is today a museum housing Gaudi-designed furniture and other artifacts.
Barcelona’s famed Las Ramblas is a promenade that extends from within the Barcelona port at Placa Catalunya to Port Vell and is filled with lively restaurants, bars and shops. La Ramblas also traverses through the old Gothic quarter of Barcelona, the Barri Gòtic. The Barri Gòtic was once a fortified Roman settlement, which today is a maze of narrow streets that has within its boundaries several attractions like the magnificent Cathedral le Seu.
Montjuic and Tibidabo
To get a bird’s eye view of the city, you may also want to head out to the two hills that overlook Barcelona; namely Montjuic which overlooks the city center and Tibidabo; which is located four miles to the northwest of the city. Both these elevations are filled with an assortment of attractions like the Joan Miro museum and the National Art Museum of Catalonia, both of which are located on Montjuic and the Parc D’Attraccions (an amusement park) and the Torre de Collserola (a telecommunications tower with an observation deck); which are located on Tibidabo, accessible by funicular.
Barcelona offers a plethora of attractions for culture loving tourists as it is equipped with various museums like Museu d’Història de la Ciutat, which has displays of the subterranean Roman settlement of Barcino, the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), which is housed in a Richard Meir designed building and has displays of numerous magnificent 20th century contemporary works, the Museo Picasso, which has exhibits of the artist’s early works and the FC Barcelona Museum and Stadium, which chronicles the history and achievements of one of Europe’s most beloved soccer clubs, FC Barcelona affectionately referred to by its of legions its fans as ‘Barca’.
Best time to visit Barcelona
The port city of Barcelona is blessed with a year round Mediterranean climate that features mild humid winters and warm dry summers. The city is usually inundated with tourists in the blazing hot summer months of July and August when daytime temperature range from 25 to 31 °C (77 to 88 °F) during the day to about 20 °C (68 °F) at night.
However, if you want to avoid long queues at Barcelona’s many museums and other attractions, you should try and book a vacation to Barcelona before the crowds arrive in late May or early June or then towards mid- September when the city celebrates its most popular festival, the Festes de la Mercè which features the immensely popular parade of the Gegants (giants) and the fire runs or Correfocs.
In fact Barcelona like various other cities in Spain has a yearlong event calendar that is filled with feasts and festivals. If you wish to experience the true character of this vibrant city, you should try and coincide your visit to Barcelona with a prominent Catalan festival like the Dia de Sant Joan( the annual feast which is celebrated in honor of Saint John in mid- June) or the Fira de Santa Llucia which is the annual Christmas fair of Barcelona.
Getting around in Barcelona
Barcelona is served by its El Prat de Llobregat Airport (BCN), which is located seven miles (12km) to the southwest of the city center. The Barcelona airport welcomes a whole host of global full service and European low cost carriers, which make getting to Barcelona infinitely easy. We at Fare Buzz offer numerous cheap flight deals to Barcelona all year long. We even have last minute flights covered should you decide on a spur of the moment visit to Barcelona.
Barcelona has a well developed and efficient public transport system made up of metro, buses, trains, funiculars and cable cars. The best way for you to access Barcelona’s public transport is by investing in a Barcelona City Card that offers free travel on public transport as well as discounts on various popular Barcelona attractions.
If you are comfortable with driving in Europe, you can even consider a renting a car for the duration of your stay in Barcelona. Fare Buzz offers a good selection of affordable car rentals for Barcelona, which can be booked at the very same time that you make your hotel and flight bookings for your visit to the invigorating Catalan city.
Where to shop in Barcelona
In order to discover the soul of Barcelona, you should head to the city’s main market called the Mercat de La Boqueria or simply ‘Boqueria’ which is located near the Las Ramblas and is populated by over a thousand stalls whose vendors sell all sorts of products like fresh fish and seafood, meats, poultry, game, fruits and vegetables, herbs, breads and pastries, frozen items, artisan products, charcuterie (Spain’s famous cured hams), wine and much more.
There are several cafes located within the market and offer shoppers and tourists a spot to rest and relax as they grab a bite while taking the wondrous sights and sounds of this great food market.
Aside from the animated and colorful La Boqueria, Barcelona is also home to a fascinating flea market, which is held on the Plaça de les Glories on several days of the week. This market which is called Els Encants or the Mercat Fira de Bellcaire is populated with various vendors who offer a wide array of goods like antique furniture, jewelry, books, apparel, trinkets, second hand electronics as well as food and beverages.
Other recommended shopping locales which should be perused in a vacation to Barcelona include the area of Passeig de Gràcia, which hosts several outlets of luxe stores and the galleries and boutiques of areas like El Born and El Raval, which offer far edgier fare like unique fashion ensembles along with vintage clothing and other quirky finds.
Where to eat in Barcelona
Barcelona is renowned as a world famous gastronomic destination that has produced world famous chefs like the celebrated Ferran Adrià and rising star Charles Abellán along with other Michelin-starred names like Xavier Pellicer, Fermí Puig and Mey Hoffmann.
Barcelona offers a wide array of restaurants that offer local Catalan delights and fresh seafood along with various other global cuisines. Some of the most popular and highly regarded restaurants in Barcelona include eateries like Comerç 24, Dos Cielos, Enoteca, Hoffman, Los Caracoles, 7 Portes, ABaC and Alkimia which offer a diverse selection of eats.
Nightlife in Barcelona
Barcelona has an amazing nightlife scene. Generally the peak time at a nightclub even during the work week is 3am and makes you wonder how the Catalans ever get to work!
Fashionable bars and clubs dot every neighborhood of the city though areas like Carrer Avinyó in the Barri Gòtic, the Rambla del Raval in El Raval, and the streets of El Born in La Ribera are especially known for their rambunctious party places.