Visiting Barcelona for work? We’ve got you covered with top bleisure travel tips, from hotels and transportation to the city’s best cuisine!
Barcelona is already world-famous for its incredible architecture, gorgeous coastline, vibrant nightlife and colorful history. But it’s also gaining a new reputation when it comes to bleisure travel, thanks to its infinite opportunities to combine work and play.
If you’re in Barcelona for meetings, a conference or a corporate event, make sure to take full advantage of your time here. Stay at the best hotels, eat at local restaurants, network at our favorite bars and maybe even extend your trip—you’ll never run out of things to do in the Catalan capital!
How to move around in Barcelona
Getting around this city couldn’t be simpler, thanks to its extensive network of taxis, ridesharing apps, trains and buses. Fortunately, public transportation in Barcelona is efficient and affordable—and easy to navigate even if you don’t speak Castilian or Catalan. The metro alone has eight lines and more than 150 stations, so you can reach almost any destination.
If you’d rather travel by car, the easiest way to move around in Barcelona is by using a taxi or the Cabify ridesharing app. You can also use the Free Now app to call a cab from your phone. Just make sure to give yourself some extra time, as traffic can be tricky in the city center!
If you’re attending a conference at the Fira de Barcelona, you’ll be happy to know that both of its venues are easily accessible from the city center. The Gran Vía venue is located near L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, just a 15-minute drive from Plaça de Catalunya. You can reach it via metro by taking L9 Sud (the orange line) to the Fira stop, or the FGC train to the Europa/Fira station. There’s also a city bus stop right outside the conference center.
The Fira de Barcelona’s Montjuïc venue is just four kilometers from the Gran Vía space. If your event is taking place at both locations, there will probably be shuttle buses running between them. Alternatively, a taxi ride from one to the other only takes about 10 minutes, or you can take FGC Line 8 between the Europa/Fira station and the Espanya station.
Check out our guide to attending IBTM in Barcelona for more tips for business travelers!
Getting to and from the airport
The Fira conference centers are conveniently located very close to the airport. If you’re going directly to or from an event, your best bet is to take a taxi or use a ridesharing app. This is also a great option to move between the airport and the city center, as it’s fairly cheap and extremely convenient.
With Cabify, a ride from the airport to the Fira Gran Vía takes about 10 minutes and costs €15, while a trip to the center takes 20 minutes and costs €25 (on average). Keep in mind that regular taxis in Barcelona have an extra surcharge for trips to and from the airport. In general, it’ll cost you about €25–30 for a taxi to the city center.
It’s also easy to reach the airport via public transportation. The L9 Sud metro line goes straight from the airport to the center, and you can change to Line 1 at the Torrassa station or Line 5 at Collblanc. An airport metro ticket costs just €4.60. You can also take the Renfe train for €4.20, or the Aerobús straight to Plaça de Catalunya for €5.90.
The best hotels for bleisure travelers in Barcelona
There are plenty of options for quality accommodation in the Catalan capital. If you’re here for an event at the Fira de Barcelona, we suggest staying somewhere close by. Choose a hotel between the venue and the city center so that you can easily reach them both!
One great option is Hotel Brummell in Sants-Montjuïc, a gorgeous boutique hotel with a modern design and exceptional service. Book a penthouse suite to enjoy a private terrace and beautiful views! Another favorite is B Hotel near Plaça d’Espanya. We love the rooftop terrace and pool, and it’s conveniently located just steps from the metro.
Extend your trip at a hotel in the city center
If you decide to tack on an extra day or two to your trip, you might want to stay in a more central neighborhood. Lots of hotels offer comfortable rooms at affordable prices, right in the middle of all the action. For example, check out Room Mate Carla in the Eixample district. Its bold decor, peaceful patio and delicious buffet breakfast make it a great choice.
If you want to be surrounded by history, stay in Ciutat Vella at the Catalonia Catedral hotel. Just minutes away from the cathedral, it’s housed in a beautiful modernist building, featuring a lovely restaurant and rooftop pool. Hotel Praktik Èssens is also an awesome option, offering luxurious accommodation at incredible prices!
For understated elegance and exceptional service, book a room at Casa Camper. Just one street away from La Rambla and a few blocks from Plaça de Catalunya, it doesn’t get much more central than this. It features a vertical garden, hammocks and—our personal favorite—a 24-hour complimentary snack bar.
Where to eat during a business trip in Barcelona
After hours of networking and meetings, you’re bound to get hungry. Luckily, there are plenty of incredible places to eat in Barcelona—many of them close to the Fira conference centers. Try Espai Kru for fresh seafood, IAKNI for a Lebanese lunch or CruiX for creative tapas and paellas. You can reach any of these spots from the Fira Gran Vía in less than 10 minutes by taxi—and they’re all within walking distance from the Fira Montjuïc!
What about once work is done for the day? If you’re on your own for dinner—but would rather not eat alone—consider booking a food tour in Barcelona. Our Tapas, Taverns & History Tour will take you through El Born and the Gothic Quarter to some of the city’s most authentic eateries. It’s the perfect way to enjoy a delicious dinner, learn about local history and meet other curious travelers who love food as much as you do.
The best restaurants for a nice dinner out
If the business part of your trip extends into the evening, you’ll need to find a nice restaurant to enjoy with clients or colleagues. Barcelona is full of impressive and elegant eateries, from local institutions to cutting-edge icons. Some of our favorites are Bardot Barcelona and Cal Boter. If you want a special group menu, try Bar Rafols or Casa Paloma.
For something slightly fancier, there are plenty of upscale restaurants offering avant-garde cuisine. For Michelin-starred quality at slightly more reasonable prices, head to Hofmann; they offer tasting menus for under €100, as well as à la carte options.
We also love the inspired Japanese fusion at Koy Shunka, and the legendary haute cuisine at Tickets. Just make sure to book far in advance—and if you have a large group, a table may be harder to come by at these places.
If you’re looking for something a bit more unique, try one of our custom team building experiences, like an interactive Tapas Challenge or even a blind wine tasting!
Our favorite spots for solo dining in Barcelona
No matter what brings you to Barcelona, you can’t leave without tasting a ton of delicious food. If you ask us, your free time is best spent sampling all the local specialties! Some of our favorite places to do this—especially as a solo diner—are the Catalan capital’s incredible markets.
While Mercado de la Boqueria is easily the most famous market in Barcelona, we’d recommend slipping off the beaten path to a place that caters to locals. One such spot is Mercat Santa Caterina, conveniently located in the Born neighborhood. Be sure to stop at Bar Joan for a cheeky glass of mid-morning cava (just like the locals do)!
Once you’ve nibbled your way through a few markets, grab something more substantial at one of the top 10 must-visit restaurants in Barcelona. Whether you’re looking for traditional Catalan cuisine or modern takes on tapas, these places won’t disappoint. For dessert, get a glimpse into the sweeter side of El Celler de Can Roca at Rocambolesc. Or if you’re craving a savory snack, sample some of Barcelona’s best street food!
What to do in Barcelona when you’re not working
Barcelona is truly the perfect place to mix business and pleasure. It’s easy to enjoy the local culture while making new contacts and fostering valuable connections. If you don’t believe us, just head to one of the city’s best rooftop bars; what better place to network than a beautiful terrace with panoramic views?
Continue your evening with a tour of Barcelona’s nightlife—there’s a reason this city is famous for its after-hours attractions. Sip on craft cocktails in an elegant atmosphere, or dance the night away in one of the craziest clubs. If you’d rather have an early night, enjoy a glass or two at one of our favorite wine bars.There’s something for everyone, no matter your style!
Barcelona’s best daytime activities
As amazing as Barcelona is after dark, we also love this city when the sun is out. If the weather is nice, spend some time relaxing on Barceloneta Beach. This area offers tons of terraces where you can enjoy fresh seafood and lovely views, followed by a nap on the sand. Not in a beachy mood? Create your own adventure by wandering the streets and discovering the city’s hidden corners!
Of course, no visit to Barcelona is complete without visiting the main tourist attractions, from the breathtaking Sagrada Família to the magnificent Gothic Quarter. To see it all while also sampling local treats, try one of Devour’s daytime experiences. We recommend the Tastes & Traditions of Barcelona Food Tour, which will give you a look at two of the city’s most iconic neighborhoods as you spend your morning eating your way through them.
If you have some extra time on your hands, venture outside the city on a day trip from Barcelona. Wine connoisseurs are sure to love Montsant, and art buffs will enjoy a visit to Salvador Dalí’s hometown of Figueres. The nearby town of Girona is also a great option; “Game of Thrones” fans might recognize it as one of the series’ filming locations—but we’ll always think of it as the site of one of the world’s best restaurants!
We hope we’ve just made your upcoming trip to Barcelona for work a whole lot easier—and we’d love to see you while you’re here! Join us on one of our small group food tours for a look at Catalan cuisine and culture through local eyes.
Melissa first moved to Spain to explore her interests in linguistics and communication, and quickly fell in love with its culture and cuisine. She’s particularly passionate about Spanish vermouth and canned seafood, and makes it a point to drench absolutely everything in olive oil.