This blog post was originally posted on May 4, 2016 and was updated on August 20, 2017.
Traveling to a new city is an eye-opening experience. Start your trip off smoothly armed with these top travel tips for Barcelona!
With these travel tips for Barcelona you can ensure that you will skip the lines, eat at the right time of day, effectively travel around the city and so much more! These top tips will save you both money and time, leaving you to enjoy your vacation in the Catalan capital!
Skip the line!
No visit to Barcelona would be complete without seeing famous sites such as the Sagrada Familia or the Picasso Museum. As you can imagine, a lot of people are doing the same, and this can amount to long, painful lines. However, almost every single monument or museum sell their tickets online, which means you can show up and go straight to the entrance without waiting in line!
Local’s Tip: Buy your tickets in advance, especially during the busy summer months! Even the online tickets have been known to sell out!
Arrive to and from the airport with ease
Barcelona’s airport is wonderfully convenient. If you do it right, it should be only 25 minutes from the city!
For about €5, use the blue Aerobus that zips back and forth between Plaça Catalunya and the airport, with stops at Plaça d’Espanya and Plaça Universitat. It runs from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. with intervals of five minutes between buses. There’s a good chance you’ll be staying close to ones of those stops, and if not, you’ll likely be a cheap taxi ride away from your destination once you get off the bus! Visit their website for more details or to purchase your tickets in advance. This is one of our best travel tips for Barcelona!
A taxi will generally cost €30, but keep in mind this price fluctuates on weekends, holidays and at night. Another tip when planning how to get to and from the airport? If you are staying in the old city center, your taxi might not be able to get you right to the front door!
Eat when the locals eat
Mealtimes in Spain can be confusing for visitors! Many restaurants may not even be open when you’d typically have lunch or dinner. Most lunch restaurants open their kitchens between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day. You might find bars that serve tapas or cold cuts, but if you want a traditional, hearty Spanish lunch, aim for this schedule!
Just as lunch is later than you might be used to, dinner also tends to be later in the evening. Though there are some exceptions, particularly in the old city center, most restaurants and tapas bars will not be open until around 8 p.m., and even then they will be empty! Most locals go out for dinner between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. This is one travel tip for Barcelona that will really help you fit in with the locals!
Local’s Tip: Don’t miss our post on our favorite tapas bars in Barcelona! And watch the video below for some of the must-try tapas to eat while in the city!
Learn a bit of Catalan
There are two co-official languages in Barcelona—Spanish and Catalan. Though everyone speaks Spanish, Catalan is more commonly used in day-to-day life at local markets, and in restaurants and shops. Even if you don’t speak either language, learning a few phrases is a good idea (and one of our top travel tips for Barcelona!)
Ask for the bill and speak up when you need something
Speaking of Catalan, you might need some language skills to communicate while eating out. Like in many other places in Europe, you generally need to ask for the bill when you’re ready to leave. Also, don’t be shy when asking for more drinks, tapas or whatever it is you need—waiters in Spain often don’t check up on a table unless they are fully aware you need something! Understanding this will most likely make your restaurant ventures in Barcelona much more successful!
Carry cash on you
Many establishments in Barcelona don’t accept credit or debit card payments, especially for small purchases under €10. It’s always best to carry a bit of cash in your pocket and in particular smaller bills and coins. Keep in mind ATM machines charge you a fee between €3 and €5 each time you use them with a foreign bank card, so it’s best to avoid making many small withdrawals.
Learn how to tip
Tipping in Barcelona is not obligatory, and depending on the situation, rarely expected. Tipping for a beer, for example, is nearly unheard of. That said, most people leave up to 10% at restaurants and tapas bars, and some people round up when riding in taxis.
Use the metro
Barcelona’s metro system is fantastic: it’s well-connected, runs frequently and is very simple to understand. If you’re going to be here for several days, we recommend getting the 10-ride pass for €10, as single trips cost €2 alone.
Have a local show you around
Barcelona is so much more than Gaudí, Las Ramblas and the beach. It’s a fabulous city with a lot to offer, and there’s no better way to see it than through the eyes of a local! All of our Devour Barcelona tours are led by passionate locals who love to share their city, delicious bite by bite!
Watch your things
Barcelona is not a dangerous city. However, it is known for its pickpocket problem, and that’s not necessarily a myth. If you are in a crowded place, a popular square or in the metro, make sure you are aware of your belongings. Pickpockets in Barcelona are experts, and your wallet could be gone long before you even realize!
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