An action packed, cosmopolitan city, Barcelona promises beautiful beaches, elegant architecture, and inimitable culture and heritage. What makes the city even more special is its cool vibe, thriving nightlife, rich music scene and an ongoing culinary renaissance.
Summertime from June – August is the peak tourist season in Barcelona. Hotels are fully booked and room rates are at their highest. Try to book your preferred hotel a few months in advance, if you’re planning a summer visit. In the shoulder months from May – June or September, the average temperature is around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a good time to enjoy the warm, balmy weather, less crowds and reasonable room rates. Barcelona also hosts numerous carnival-like festivals during the short spring season from May – June. From October onwards through winter, the ocean becomes too cool for a swim, and the city experiences occasional rain showers. However, if you don’t mind slightly cooler temperatures of 55 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit, then visit Barcelona from November – March. While you may have to skip the beach activities, you can enjoy the some bargains on hotel rates, and avoid the crowds.
Non-stop international flights from the U.S. to Barcelona are available from American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Norwegian, and Iberia. Other airlines offering flights with 1 or more stops are British Airways, Aeroflot, SAS, Lufthansa, LOT, Air France, TAP Air Portugal, Royal Air Maroc, KLM, Avianca, Finnair, Emirates, Brussels Airlines, WOW air, Swissair, Air China, Turkish Airlines, Air Europa, SATA, Qatar Airways, Korean Air, Alitalia, Singapore Airlines, Austrian Airlines, and many more.
Barcelona El-Prat Airport is an international airport located approximately 7.5 miles southwest of Barcelona city center. A free shuttle service that runs every 5 – 10 minutes, 24 hours a day, connects the various terminals of the airport as well as the long-stay car parks. There are several ways to travel from the airport into the city.
Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona operates Aerobús, the official shuttle bus service connecting Barcelona Airport’s terminals 1 and 2 with Plaça Catalunya in the city center. The ride takes approximately 35 minutes and a one-way ticket costs €5.90 EUR. Buses depart every 5 minutes, and stop at other key locations including Plaça Espanya, Gran Via-Urgell, and Plaça Universidad. From Terminal 1, you can take Aerobús route A1, while from Terminal 2 you can choose route A2. Another option that connects both terminals with the city center location of Plaça Espanya is route 46. If your flight arrives at night, you can choose night bus route 18, which stops at both terminals 1 and 2 and travels to Plaça Catalunya. You also have the option of night bus route N17 from Terminal 1 and night bus route N16 from Terminal 2.
You can find taxis at the taxi ranks opposite the arrivals areas of terminal T1, T2 A, T2 B, and T2 C. Fares are metered. There is an additional €3.10 EUR surcharge applicable for rides to and from the airport. Minimum fare from the airport, including all additional charges is €20.00 EUR. A typical fare from BCN to the city center is between €23.00 EUR – €28.00 EUR depending on traffic and the day of the week. To travel from the airport to the Cruise Port, taxis charge a flat fare of €39.00 EUR.
A handful of car rental companies are present at the airport. You can also plan ahead and check for deals on car rentals with momondo.
Barcelona’s magnificent architecture and the local attractions in the old city area are best experienced on foot. With narrow streets and regular traffic jams, try to avoid driving in the city. Instead, rely on the fast and efficient public transportation options for getting around in Barcelona.
Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) operates an extensive network of underground rail (Metro) and local buses that connect all parts of the city. A single fare ticket costs €2.15 EUR, and is valid on the metro as well as the bus. You can also purchase an integrated ticket called T-10, which allows multi-person travel for up to 10 journeys on the bus and/or metro. This costs €9.95 EUR for travel within Zone 1.
To access the popular sights and attractions, consider booking a tour with Barcelona Bus Turistic, which operates open top, double decker, hop-on hop-off buses. The buses offer 45 stops and 3 routes that cover all the popular sights and attractions. A 1-day adult ticket costs €29.00 EUR, and a 2-day ticket costs €39.00 EUR.
Metered black-and-yellow taxis are available throughout the city, and can be hailed on the streets. The meter starts at €2.15 EUR followed by €1.13 EUR for every 0.6 miles after, and a waiting charge per hour of €22.10 EUR.
Citizens of the United States with a valid passport can visit Spain for a maximum of 90 days without having to apply for or obtain a Schengen visa. For foreign nationals, please check the Schengen Visa Info website.
A hip, urban destination, Barcelona offers plenty of history and architecture, culture and festivals, gastronomy and nightlife. With a ton of landmarks, monuments, parks, markets, museums and beaches to explore, a single trip may not be enough to see everything that Barcelona offers. Here are a few suggestions on what to include in your itinerary to truly experience this vibrant city.
Try a Pintxos bar
In a city that promises heaps of gastronomic delights, don’t miss a visit to a Pintxos bar, a culinary trend in Barcelona. While essentially this is Basque tapas, tradition calls for choosing your Pintxos with toothpicks. At the end of the night you are charged for the number of toothpicks used. Euskal Etxea restaurant at Plaça de Montcada is one of the best places to try this. Some of the other must-try tapas bars include Quimet i Quimet, La Esquinica and El Jabali.
Many of the religious attractions, such as the Catedral de Barcelona and Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, require visitors to cover up their knees and shoulders when stepping inside. Visitors without the proper attire are strictly not admitted. Make sure you dress appropriately or carry shawls, scarves etc. to cover up with, so you don’t miss out on these grand sights and attractions.