From Catalan cuisine to Gothic architecture to beautiful beaches, Barcelona is one city that truly has it all. Drawing nearly 9 million visitors a year, this quintessential Spanish destination is a favorite for many, and for good reason. Behind the tourist-facing facade, the day-to-day life of the city is impossible to miss. Barcelona has its own rhythm and a great visit should include not only the well known sights, but also a healthy dose of meandering through the city’s various neighborhoods.
Best time to visit Barcelona
With a much more mild climate than most European cities, Barcelona enjoys visitors year-round. Picking the right time to schedule a trip should likely take into account your tolerance for crowds and rain.
March – April: The temperatures may be good, but early spring brings a ton of rain and for a city where wandering is often the plan of the day, this could majorly dampen your experience.
May – June: Without a doubt, the best time to visit Barcelona is in the spring. Not only will you stay one step ahead of the tourist crowds, but you’ll also get to enjoy the best weather the city sees – with luck, it’ll even be warm enough for days at the beach.
July – September: Summer in Barcelona means crowds, pure and simple. Everything from visiting the Gaudi House Museum to getting a table for dinner is going to take longer. That said, if you’re coming for the beaches, you’ll find no better time than the summer months.
October – November: As the weather cools back down, the rain returns as well. If you’re fine with wearing boots and carrying an umbrella, then the payoff will be less visitors and more locals as students return after a summer away.
December – February: While Barcelona won’t be as cold as most European destinations in winter, you can still count on chilly weather. However, prices in winter fall considerably and you’ll be able to explore more of the city without breaking the bank. Just don’t expect to include beaches on your itinerary.
Things to do in Barcelona
Walk Las Ramblas – An excellent introduction to Barcelona, La Rambla is one of the main streets of the city, with plenty to see and do. Be sure not to miss the Joan Miro mural, other-worldly seafood at La Boqueria, or a refreshing Estrella Damm being hawked by one of the many street vendors.
Discover Neighborhoods – While the Gothic Quarter may get most of the attention, the truth is that each of Barcelona’s neighborhoods has a different feel. Up-and-coming Gracia is the current center for creatives in the city.
Sagrada Familia – Even if you’ve already seen a gazillion churches on your travels, Gaudi’s famous Sagrada Familia is still worth a visit. Unlike anything else on the planet, it’s strange combination of styles and spires will surely leave an impression.
Eat at Gresca – Barcelona is an epicenter for modern cuisine, so if you’re going to splurge for a meal, this is the city to do it in. For fine dining at a reasonable price, the tasting menu or tapas options at Gresca are as good as it gets.
DIY Street Art Tour – As one of the most open cities for street artists, you’ll find murals and graffiti on nearly every corner. Scratch the surface of Barcelona’s art culture with a visit to Graffiti Park (Jardins de les 3 Xemeneies) or go deeper in the industrial Poblenou district.
Events in Barcelona
Primavera Sound – Giving new definition to “all killer, no filler,” Primavera (late May/early June) has become a must-go event on the European music festival calendar. Cross-genre and expertly curated, you can expect diverse names like Bjork, A$AP Rocky, and LCD Soundsystem on the lineup.
Sonar Festival – If electronic and experimental are more your thing, then Sonar in mid-June may be a better choice. As a veritable who’s who of underground and mainstream innovators, artists and visitors come from all corners of the globe to attend.
Best apps to use in Barcelona
Barcelona Pocket guide
If you prefer a DIY type of tours throughout the city the pocket guide app is a perfect travel sidekick. This app gives you detailed directions on how to get to the most popular tourist attractions and locally loved favorites via audio. Once you get to the tourist attraction such as a museum it will give you a tour of all the must-see places. You can easily snap a photo of what you are looking at and it will give you the history of that artifact. It’s like having a tour guide in your pocket. This is perfect for solo travelers or travelers who hate being herded around like cattle in large groups. The best part is this app works offline so you can avoid those pesky roaming fees we all despise so much. Click here to download and get your own personal travel guide in your pocket.
Barcelona offline maps
Barcelona offline maps help you learn the lay of the land so that you can navigate throughout the city easily. It has many features such as currency conversion, list of restaurants and popular places to visit in the city. The best part is that it works offline so that you can avoid roaming fees and easily get around without any wifi.
Barcelona is known to have a great restaurant culture. This app will allow you to discover detailed information of hundreds of restaurants scattered throughout the large city. Each restaurant is categorized so that you can easily find something you have the craving for.