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Best & Essential Things to Do in Barcelona! An Insider’s Guide

Last updated on July 11, 2019

After living in this sun-drenched city for 5 life-changing years, Ben Holbrook shares his personal recommendations on the very best things to do in Barcelona.

This is the same advice I give my best friends when they come to stay in Barcelona – this is my insider’s guide

UPDATED October, 2017: I moved back to Barcelona and have updated this blog post with even more of Barcelona’s top attractions and things to do.

1. Placa Reial – Music, Palm Trees, Restaurants & Good Times

A beautiful square located just off Las Ramblas, it’s a must see for anyone looking for great bars and traditional Spanish/Catalan restaurants in Barcelona. Placa Reial (Royal Plaza) is also home to some of Barcelona’s best nightclubs.

Placa Reial (Plaza Real) Barcelona - Square off La Ramblas

Check out Sidecar for live bands and indie rock music or head over to Jambore for pumping hip-hop and dance classics, you can also catch some live flamenco performances in Barcelona, but it’s worth mentioning that flamenco is not a Catalan tradition. In fact, it comes from the south of Spain, and the Catalans will expect you to know that.

My friends and I used to grab a street beer from the guys in the street and sit on the fountain in the centre of the square. We’d spend hours just sitting there, shooting the breeze, enjoying the atmosphere.

2. Get Lost in El Born & El Gotico

El Gotico and El Born are home to some of Europe’s most beautiful and oldest streets. Even after living there for years I still get lost in the windy streets and stumble on something new.

The Gothic Quarter, Barcelona

Quirky little cafes, tapas bars and shops make these areas the ideal place to spend an afternoon and get a feel for the real Barcelona.

Both El Born and the Gothic Quarter can be dirty, smelly and sometimes dangerous, but nothing can compare to these rustic streets. You simply cannot say that you’ve seen Barcelona until you’ve seen, and got lost in, these ancient streets.

Exploring the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona
Backstreets of the Gothic Quarter

3. Kick Back, Grab a Drink and Relax at One of Barcelona’s Beaches

Barcelona is one of Europe’s best beach cities. In fact, I think it won some kind of award for that very title, and it deserves it. There’s a beach for everyone and almost anything goes.

Barceloneta is the most popular beach in town. It’s incredibly over-crowded and you’ll be lucky to get a space to stretch out, but this is where all the action is.

Chiringuitos (beach bars) pump out loud reggae music and people sip on expensive Mojitos (5-10 Euros). Beautiful people from all over the world show off their toned bodies and smoke strong cigarettes (among other things) and the constant buzz of beach life makes it impossible not to feel excited.

MORE: Barcelona’s Best Beaches ~ From Serene Sands to Party Playas

Barceloneta beach, Barcelona

WARNING: The huge amount of tourists at Barceloneta attract the city’s best pick-pockets. DO NOT leave your bag, even for a second, not even to go to the toilet or to go in the sea. I’ve also seen pick-pockets’ hands in tourists’ bags on the metro – take extra care on the yellow metro line.

Once you’ve experienced Barceloneta beach, take a walk along the promenade that takes you to almost all of Barcelona’s best beaches. You’ll see the scene change as you get farther away from Barceloneta.

Locals play volleyball near Port Olimpica and if you’re into watersports you’ll find plenty to entertain at Barcelona’s beaches – check out my guide here.

Many of Barcelona’s wilder beach-goers make the most of the nudist stretches at Marbella beach. In fact, nudity is legal at many of Barcelona’s beaches. You may even see the elephant man and his friends, who seem to hang out (literally) across the city all summer. They’ve got some great tans!

Nudity at Barceloneta beach in Barcelona

4. Get High on a Rooftop Terrace

There are countless rooftop terraces in Barcelona. The problem is, nobody knows where they are! They tend to be located at the top of Barcelona’s exclusive hotels and they like to keep it that way – exclusive and elusive.

B-Hotel Barcelona: Best 3-Star Hotel in Barcelona

When you find one, you’ll probably find a sign that says that their rooftop terraces and pools are only for the use of their guests. In reality, however, things are a little more flexible. Admittedly, the staff won’t let in groups of lads on tour, or rowdy hen groups, but if you’re dressed decently and introduce yourself politely, they will welcome you to their hidden paradise.

My personal recommendation is to head to Hotel 1898 toward the top end of La Rambla (it’s on the right, above Starbucks). Jump in the lift next to reception and go up to floor 7. You will come out directly on the rooftop terrace, next to the bar.

Order a drink, or ask where you can sit, and they will provide you with a menu. I ordered a Heineken for 6 Euros and a glass of cava, complete with strawberry garnish, which was also 6 Euros. The waiter asked us if we had a room number but didn’t seem at all bothered when I said I didn’t.

Rooftop terrace views from Hotel 1898 in Barcelona

Despite the signs in the hotel which say that the terrace and rooftop pool are only to be used by guests, nobody stopped or questioned us and we made the most of the epic views across the Barcelona skyline.

We were clearly the only “non-residents” at the pool and I couldn’t help but wonder who these lucky people were. They were obviously very rich but, at the end of the day, we were living the same dream at a total cost of 12 euros!

5. Escape to Sitges (Only 20 Minutes from Barcelona)

Barcelona has it all, but if you feel the need to get away from the city and go where the locals go for a holiday, then cute but classy Sitges is a must. Jump on the metro and head to Sants Estacio, then get the RENFE train to Sitges.

You can use your T10 metro card (although technically you shouldn’t) and you’ll be in Sitges in 20 minutes. Even though it’s so close to Barcelona, it has a completely different vibe.

Much more about Sitges, including advice on where to eat and sleep, in my post here.

girls cycling along the promenade in Sitges Barcelona

It’s clean and chic and you’ll totally understand why this is where the rich and famous Spaniards have their holiday homes. The broad boardwalks are lined with tall palm trees and rows and rows of classic cafes and restaurants.

The bars are surprisingly cheap considering the wealth this town attracts, but you may as well grab a couple of cold ones from a corner shop and hit the beach – the views are even better!

You may also notice that Sitges is somewhat of a gay haven and the town is full of flamboyant gay bars and clubs. The town frequently erupts into extravagant festivals and the legendary Sitges Carnival is something I will never tire of.

Sitges is simply amazing and has to be seen to be believed. Want to hear more? Check out my other post about Sitges here. Check out my other post about Sitges here.

People celebrating Catalonia day in Sitges, Barcelona

6. Take Part in Barcelona’s Vermouth Ritual

The locals call it “fer el vermut”, which basically means to “do the vermouth”, and it’s easily my favourite way to kickstart a lazy day of eating and drinking in Barcelona. It’s an old-school tradition that’s enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance in the last couple of years.

The ethos is simple: you meet up with friends and/or family before lunch and have a couple of vermouths and a little tapas aperitivo to get your appetite going.

My favourite vermouth bars can be found along streets like Carrer Parlament and Carrer Blai in Sant Antoni and Poble Sec, though there are many excellent spots all over the city.

Check out my guide to the best vermouth bars in Barcelona to see my top 10.

Ben Holbrook's guide to vermouth sipping in Barcelona

7. Tapas Crawl Your Way Through Barceloneta

The proper way to eat tapas is to hop from bar to bar, sipping on a drink or two and devouring tapas along the way. My favourite ‘barrio’ (neighbourhood) for tapas crawling is the old fisherman’s quarter of Barceloneta, which despite being packed with tourists – because it’s right by the beach – is where many locals go for the city’s best tapas.

Best tapas bars by the beach - Barceloneta Barcelona

Tapas tip: Stick to one or two dishes per bar (the goal is to visit as many as possible) and be sure to ask for the house speciality (el especialidad de la casa). If they don’t have a speciality, it’s not a real tapas bar, so get outta there! 

For a truly unique dining experience I also recommend getting involved the city’s new “dining with locals” scene. Websites like WithLocals allow you to connect with local chefs and foodies, who will actually cook for you in their own home. It could be a barbecue on a rooftop terrace or a traditional homemade paella! For a moment, you’re sure to feel like you actually live in Barcelona!

Check out my guide to Barceloneta’s best budget-friendly tapas bars and restaurants.

Can Mano Seafood and Tapas Restaurant Barceloneta, Barcelona

8. Slurp Your Way Through Barcelona’s Booming Craft Beer Scene

I can’t express how excited I was when I moved back to Barcelona and discovered that it was overflowing with craft beer! With local Catalan brewers setting up shop on a weekly basis, there are tons of seriously good brews to try out and plenty of craft bars to prop yourself up at.

I’ve spent a rather absurd amount of time “researching” them all and recommend paying each and every one a visit.

Check out my inside guide to the best craft beer bars in Barcelona.

Ben Holbrook travel writer with the owners of Garage Beer Co. craft beer bar Barcelona

9. Take the Fast Track to Gaudi’s Best Work

For years people asked me whether or not it was worth visiting Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia (the Gothic church with the dramatic spires that has yet to be finished). And for years I said I didn’t know because I had always been put off by the 5-hour-long lines to get in and so had never experienced it.

Antoni Gaudi's Casa Batllo

But then I was sent on a blogging assignment to try out a “skip the line tour” and my mind was blown. Whether you’re an architecture fan or not, walking through the heart of this inspired structure is like being transported to a parallel universe, a divine sanctuary of peace and perfection.

I’ve seen all of Gaudi’s buildings in Barcelona and I’d have to say that if you only see one cultural site in Barcelona, you should make it the Sagrada Familia.

Definitely be sure to pay a couple of euros extra to “skip the line” – it’s absolutely worth it. You can get tickets here.

I also recommend getting the “skip the line” tickets if you want to see Gaudi’s famous Casa Milà and Casa Batlló buildings on Passeig de Gràcia.

Check out my post about my Sagrada Familia experience and find out how to skip the line.

La Sagrada Familia Barcelona Gothic Facade

10. Take in the Sunset and Epic City Views from Mirablau Bar

If you look upwards and away from the sea from almost anywhere in the city you’ll see the dramatic silhouette of Sagrat Cor church, which is perched at the peak of Mount Tibidabo.

Best view of Barcelona Mirablau Bar Tibidabo Barcelona

Just below the church, not that you can tell just by looking at it, is a little bar which hangs over the hillside and affords what I consider to be the most breathtaking views of Barcelona. Head there for about 7pm, earlier to be sure of getting a table, and order a couple of  cañas (cold beers) and tapas to sip and nibble on as you take in the elevated views over the city and down to the sea. It’s incredibly romantic and I couldn’t be luckier to live a mere 15-minute walk away.

Make it Happen: Take the L7 train (not metro, train) from Placa Catalunya to Avenida Tibidabo (15-minute ride). From here you can either follow the scenic, yet very steep, road of Avenida Tibidabo all the way up to Mirablau bar (a good 30 minute walk) or cross the street and hop on the vintage (and very romantic) blue tram that rattles its way slowly up the hill and stops literally just outside the bar (another 15-minute ride).

NOTE: There is an open terrace sort of bar just where the tram stops, but that’s not the bar I’m talking about (the views do not compare in the slightest). Walk a little farther and you’ll see the sign for Mirablau – try to grab a table in the window.

MORE: Discover more epic viewing points and photo spots around Barcelona here.

My Recommended Accommodation in Barcelona

Click the image below for my definitive guide to the best neighbourhoods and accommodation in Barcelona ~ everything from budget hostels to family friendly hotels and luxury boutiques!

Ben Holbrook's inside guide to the best neighbourhoods and accommodation in Barcelona

Or do a quick search via this search box and benefit from’s “Best Prices Guarantee” and “Free Cancelations”.


Where to Stay in Barcelona ~ The Definitive Neighbourhood Guide

Where and What to Eat & Drink in Barcelona ~ A Glutton’s Guide

TripUniq: Get Personalised Tips on What to See and Do in Barcelona from Local Experts

Barcelona Watersports: SUP, Surf, Sail and More ~ A Wet & Wild Guide

19 Best FREE Things to Do in Barcelona ~ An Inside Guide

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  1. Colin Lewis Colin Lewis

    Great Review of Barcelona and surrounding areas Ben, in fact as good as any I’ve read on any travel web site, Swansea needs you to boost it’s travel awareness, so don’t stay away too long.

    • I actually really want to write a few guides to Swansea, and the Gower Peninsula! I’ll let you know when I do. All the best, Colin. Great to hear from you.

    • Kody Kody

      How is the nightlife in Barca during December?

      • Hi Kody,

        It’s not quite as wild or as sandy as it is in the summer, but there’s still loads to keep you dancing!

  2. GerryS GerryS

    Going to Spain in the fall. Good info, THX

    • Thanks, Gerry!

      Glad it helped. I’ll be adding lots more content, so don’t forget to keep checking back. Have a great trip and let us know how it goes!

  3. Belle Belle

    Ben: thanks for this. You really just made me fall in love with Barceloma. Question for you. Will this be a good place to take my 13yr old. I promised her I’d love to give her the gift of traveling around the world. She turns 13 this year and looking for something fun but with a historical or humanitarian or learning experience imbedded in at some point. Was thinking Barcelona. Any thoughts or anywhere else you can suggest?

    • Hi Belle, thanks for the comment.

      I think , as Spanish cities go, Barcelona could quite easily be the most ‘child-friendly’.

      You’ve got all the beaches and promenades for playing/swimming/cycling/roller-blading/skateboarding etc. The architecture is magical and, I would imagine, relatively interesting for youngsters. There are ice-cream and waffle stops on every corner and enough variety of food that you won’t struggle with picky eaters. Although I’m not a big fan of La Ramblas (too touristy), it is a good place to find all kinds of food. Not just tapas.

      Maremagnum, at the marina of Port Vell, has an IMAX theatre, an aquarium with shops/restaurants. And it’s only a stone’s throw away from Barceloneta beach and La Ramblas.

      Parc de la Ciutadella is also a great place for kids and adults alike. There are huge fountains, a boating lake and the Arc de Triomph (just like the one in Paris) as well as Barcelona Zoo and other museums that focus on the city’s history and wildlife. La Sagrada Familia (which I used to be able to see from my bedroom window) is an incredible experience for all ages, although I wouldn’t necessarily wait in line to enter – seeing it from the outside would probably suffice a youthful mind. Parc Guell, in the north, is a fantastic way to burn some energy and experience the best of Gaudi’s work, whilst enjoying panoramic views of the city. For Catalonia’s answer to Disney Land, adventure up to Tibidabo in the mountains. It’s different in all the right ways!

      In regards to going out at night, I would avoid La Raval and the areas around Las Ramblas, which can become a little too alternative at night. Stick to neighbourhood bars near where you are staying or, better yet, head up to Gracia and enjoy the more family-friendly vibes of their squares and open-air restaurants and bars.

      In short…
      Barcelona is probably one of the best Spanish cities to visit with kids/teenagers – there are lots of fun things to do and the history is colourful enough to capture the imaginations’ of all ages. This becomes even more apparent when you compare it to the likes of Madrid, for example, which could be a little too stiff for younger people.

      Be careful in the later hours and when travelling on the metro – thieves can spot a tourist a mile off, and they are incredibly talented at what they do. Also, be careful when exploring the Born and Gotico areas, if you get separated in those streets it can be VERY difficult to find each other again, even if you both have cell phones!

      I hope this helps – please don’t hesitate to ask me any other questions you may have!

      ~ Ben

      • Sue George Sue George

        Great information – thank you. We’re off for our first visit with our 12 and 10 year old and this has been the best info I’ve found.

  4. Vicky Vicky

    Hi Ben,
    Thanks for all the info, I am going in June with some friends for 4 nights and i found your reviews very helpfull as you advise on little things and details a tourist would never know about.
    I do have two questions though and hoping you can help:
    1. Apart from Las Ramblas which i guess is the most touristy place for tapas, which other area or tapas bars would you reccomend for food? Anything casual that gives u the real feel of the culture would be great.
    2. Is there anywhere in Barcelona where you can hear live spanish guitar music? not flamengo obviously since it is not originated from catalunya.
    Thank you .

    • Hey Vicky, thanks for your comment. Here are my answers to your very good questions :)

      Yes, stay away from La Ramblas, although El Born and El Gotico are close by and offer plenty of tapas bars – still a little bit touristy.

      1. For tapas with the locals, I would recommend going to….

      Gracia in the north of the city (green metro line to Fontana), look for the little squares and terraces that are filled with ugly silver tables and chairs, they are where the locals go for cheap beer and good tapas. Remember, tapas isn’t really a fancy affair. My favourite area of Gracia would have to be Plaça de Sol; it’s a small square full of colourful, traditional Spanish/Catalan buildings, bars and a very local vibe (but still warm and friendly). Any of the bars or restaurants here will serve great tapas. What’s more, it really comes alive at night and there are a few little nightclubs close by which are a lot of fun – I had my 27th birthday here.

      For something a little more formal, check out my other post: Top 3 ‘Non-Touristy’ Barcelona Restaurants.

      2. Live Spanish guitar music….

      Let’s see. When you think of Spanish guitar music, you are basically thinking of music which has little to do with Catalonia. This means it can be hard to find in Barcelona, but you can find it. Personally, I would head down to El Gotico (the old part of the town to the left of La Rambla) at night. The best Spanish guitar players often come here to play to passersby as they stroll through the narrow, ancient streets.They’re pretty much there as soon as the sun goes down – just follow the music.

      Another good spot for free live music is outside the Cathedral at the bottom of Portal de l’Àngel (the road that runs parallel to La Rambla). I used to go there every Sunday and there’d always be live music on the go. There are also lots of nice terraces and tapas bars to choose from, so it might be ideal for you guys.

      • Vicky Vicky

        Thank you Ben, very helpful and detailed indeed :) i surely will take loads of your suggestions. Take care and keep us posted :)))

  5. jennie jennie

    Hi Ben,
    We are taking a Med cruise with a 12 and 14 yr old and have one day in Port at Barcelona. We love food, cool (and somewhat safe!) streets and beaches. Can you recommend the best of those things in the 10 hours we have on shore? :)

    • Hi Jennie,

      Sounds like a great trip you’ve got planned!

      You can see a lot of Barcelona in 10 hours, here’s what you don’t want to miss.

      1. Passege de Gracia > Stroll up La Rambla as quick as you can, walk across Plaça de Catalunya (the big square in the centre of Barcelona) and then onto Passege de Gracia. This is one of the streets in Barcelona which I think best sums up Barcelona’s unique, bohemian/extrovert style. Its bold Art Nouveau/Gothic/Gaudi architecture is truly awesome and it’s here that you’ll take your best Barcelona snaps! The kids’ll love it too!

      2. El Born > As you stroll back down Passege de Gracia (definitely worth seeing for the second time) towards the sea, head to Barcelona’s oldest streets and enjoy tapas and vino/milkshakes in one of El Born’s many bars and restaurants. It’s only a short, but very picturesque, walk back to the beaches where you’ll find oodles of fun.

      3. Beaches > All of the beaches are great but I would recommend the strip next to Port Olympica if you want more space to relax and for the kids to run riot. There’s also a McDonalds nearby, which is great if they aren’t digging the local delicacies.

      Basically, there’s so much to do immediately next to the ports that there’s no need to worry about using the Metro or any other public transport. Trust me, as soon as you get off the ship it’ll all be there, waiting for you to enjoy.

      Have a fantastic time! ~ Ben

  6. Agnes Agnes

    Hi Ben,
    Do you know by nay chance a good accomodation option in Barcelona?
    I am planning city break at the beginning of June and have no idea where I could find not too expensive, but conveninetly locateted to city centre hotels or B&Bs?
    Could you also please recommend good night club for Saturday night?
    Many thanks

    • Hey Agnes – If you are looking for a hostel then I would definitely try

      If you are feeling adventurous then I would search and look for Barcelona locals that are privately renting out rooms or whole apartments (pisos). This may be tricky if you don’t speak good Spanish, but there are always lots of English-speaking locals offering affordable accommodation, too.

      Failing that, I would try, where you can find beautiful apartments to rent across Barcelona for very good prices. I just booked an apartment in Valencia with these guys.

      And of course, if money is no option I would stay in one of the many beautiful hotels on Passege de Gracia (or anywhere near Placa Catalunya) – these are centrally located and great for seeing the city. And there’s also the W Hotel, which is the iconic beach hotel where Shakira filmed the video for her hit, “Loca”. Have an incredible time in BCN! Saludos ~ Ben

  7. Simon Simon

    Hi Ben,

    We are 3 of us guys from Dubai who are planning to go to barcelona for 3 nights and then to ibiza for 3 nights. Other than the 5 points you mentioned above do you have any idea of what 3 single guys can do in barcelona and secondly do yo have any idea about Ibiza?

  8. Lauren Lauren

    One of the best sites with recommendations! Thank you

  9. Madison Madison

    Hey Ben! Thank you for your journal – it seems like a cool idea!:) think i’m definitely gna do hotel 1898 enjoyin the terrace if the weather allows :) I am goin’ there by myself soon in june about 3 days. Since i’m a girl, i’m lil bit afraid where would be the best place to stay like from las ramblas to el gotico.

    Where would be the best place you would recommend?

    Also, would there be somethin’ that i could enjoy as a single?haha i would love to have my own time there – im thinkin’ maybe i should go at least a day in the beach getting some tans! and i love art, music, and fashion – def thinkin’ bout chillin’ at las ramblas as well :) thanks

  10. Great review of Barcelona… the beach really is amazing. I just spend 2 weeks in Barcelona and I was there most days.

    I’d love to stay longer and really get to know the city. Any idea what the job scene is like for a native English speaker without a lick of Spanish speaking ability? Slim I guess?

    • Hey Andrew – glad you had a good time, thanks for your comment. I’m still missing it like crazy, even two years after leaving! Jobs are tough in Barcelona, even if you speak 10 languages! But it all depends on what you want to do. English teaching is possible but very competitive and you’ll need to get trained. But good luck!


  11. Libby Murray Libby Murray

    I can’t tell you how amazing these reviews are!! Defiantly best page I found. I’ve spent the past week in banyoles training with my rowing team. Before we head home we have all day Saturday in Barcelona. By all day I mean 10am to 5am, (we are staying until we leave for our flight).

    What are the ideal places to hit in one day and what should we do during the day and the night? Sorry for this loaded question, but any insight would be great!

  12. Mudit Mudit

    Hi Ben,

    Great info and helps a great deal with my travel dilemmas! i am planning a trip this October. I really want to see some beautiful countryside, Bullfighting (in short authentic non-urban spain). Does Barcelona have some day trips or should I choose Madrid or any other port of entrance in Spain?

    Thanks a ton in advance!

    • Gracias Mudit, very kind of you.

      The first thing I think you need to be aware of is that bullfighting is banned in Catalonia, so you won’t find it anywhere near Barcelona. In fact, Barcelona’s bullring has been turned into a shopping centre.

      I have been to a bullfight in Madrid and it was a pretty crazy/authentic experience. I would recommend it, but be prepared for some serious gore. I’ve never seen so much blood and it really is a very cruel “sport”. In fact, I feel bad “recommending it”, but I understand the desire to experience culture. The man in front of me collapsed because it was so gruesome and they had to call and ambulance.

      If you do go to Madrid in October, be prepared for some mediocre weather. Unlike Barcelona and other cities further south, Madrid can get quite cold and wet, but I’m very much in love with it and truly believe it’s worth a trip.

      Join me on Facebook and let me know if I can help with anything else!

      Adeu colega! :)


  13. Barry Charles Barry Charles

    Well intentioned, but probably the worst insider guide I have ever seen. I am staying in ElBorn which is the highly yuppy and one of the safest areas in the city. In what world would it be considered dangerous? Compare El Born to the characters you might meet late at night around Las Ramblas or the alleyways by Placa Real. Weird advice.

    Two years in town and your insider pick is Placa Real, one of the most touristy and annoying places in the city? You couldn’t have found a couple of cool bars to suggest that are off the beaten path? I’ve been here for ten days and i can do better than that. This city is teeming with nondescript doorways that lead to cool/semi secret spots.

    Come on, Ben, you are holding out, man!:)

    • Thanks for the comment, Barry! You seem like just the kind of person I’d like to go for a beer with.

      Well, What can I say, I’m sure you can indeed do much better. How about I give you a platform to show off your skills?

      I’ll look forward to seeing your tips right here when you get a chance.

      Warmest regards,


  14. Niati Niati

    Wow. This is one of the most detailed reviews I’ve found yet. Thanks:)

  15. […] Stroll up and down Las Ramblas, the wide avenue at the heart of the city. And don’t miss the Gothic Quarter, where you’ll discover some of the most beautiful and mysterious streets of the city.  Look for […]

  16. Danny Danny

    Great info for planning a trip. Bit of a random question, do you know of any specific places, areas which would be a great setting for an engagement photography shoot? Something architectural, parks, streets, funky areas ect.
    Any help would be awesome

    • Hey hey Danny! Good to hear from you!

      I would suggest:

      El Born and Gotico for gritty street photos

      Tibidabo for epic mountains and views over the city and ocean (also see Parc Guell and Montjuic for more of this)

      An check out the terrace of the W Hotel, on the beach, for epic beach/ocean shots.

      Hope that helps!



      • Danny Danny

        Thanks for your help! Much appreciated

  17. Elisa Elisa

    Very informative tips! Thanks for posting. Could you please help with a query I’ve got?
    We will be in barcelona at the end of August for 5 days & would like to know if accomodation in Barceloneta would suit our family of 2 adults & 2kids – 4 yrs & 4 months old. I can’t quite get my bearings in terms of where its located so I’m unsure if it’ll be too noisy at nights due to tourists & whatnot ? Although we are planning on eating out every night & not returning till late, we don’t want too much commotion. Thanks:)

    • Hola Elisa,

      Thanks for getting in touch! If you’ve got kids and you want lots of space, I’d recommend getting your own apartment. There are loads of great places near the beach and it’ll work out cheaper because the hotels in that area are super high-end. Check out – they’re based in the city and seem to have the best selection.

      Barceloneta is noisy and touristy, but at the same time, it’s probably as noisy as anywhere else, and they build the apartments there to block out the noise.

      Hope that helps! Let me know how it goes. Ben

  18. Sue Sue

    Nice review of Barcelona. I was there a couple months ago and in muy opinion it’s a impressive city. I fall in love for that city. It has a really nice and different places. If you want to discover everything I would like to recommend to check this site. It’s called visitum
    When I went there I did a tour with bike called Barcelona discover. It only takes 3 hours more or less and it wasn’t to much expensive. I think that we paid 20€ more or less.
    Good luck travelers ;)

  19. amanda amanda

    Hi Ben! thanks for the info, i’m going to check out all of these places. I’m a photographer and was wondering if you knew where exactly that photo in the el gotiso and el born section was taken? the one with the wall art. Please let me know asap :) Thanks!

  20. Went there this summer and it’s a shame I didn’t experience the dance and music scene. Visited a few attractions in 3 nights, would def go again! Lots of photos up on my blog @

    You can also download a useful info sheet of all the main attractions (including opening times and entry fees), link provided in the blog post.

  21. Matt Matt

    Great read, appreciate all your insights and knowledge!

    We will be in the city on two different occasions during our trip. The second I am deciding between several hotels and seeing if you have any pointed advice – Hotel Neri in Barri Gotic, Hotel Majestic in Paseig de Gracia, Hotel Do in Placa Reial, Hotel Fuster in Paseig de Gracia or Hotel AbaC . Would greatly appreciate your help and thoughts on this. Cheers.


    • Hi Matt,

      Thanks for your comment, and I’m sure you’re going to have a fantastic time in Barcelona, especially if you’re going to stay in one of these gorgeous hotels (all very nice).

      If it were me I’d probably want to stay in Hotel Majestic, largely because it’s such an iconic Barcelona hotel and also because of its prime location. Place Reial is another great spot to stay in, but I would imagine it would be quite noisy at night.

      But in all seriousness, please let me know where you end up staying and about your experience there. I am always interested to hear about recommended hotels in Barcelona.

      Take care and speak soon!



  22. Hey Ben,

    this is a great summary on what to do in Barcelona. Especially the Sitges recommendation is really underrated so far, and it’s always nice to discover hidden spots around big cities like Barcelona.

    Also, Raval is a different type of district to discover. I like it as it is different from the rest, but surely, as you know, you need to take care over there.

    Safe travels and see you at the beach,

  23. David C David C

    Hi Ben, great insights and thanks for taking the time to write.

    We are coming to Barcelona this week-end and once we’ve done the touristy stuff on Saturday, plan to spend the entire day on Sunday following your advice, ElBorn/Gothic etc. Thanks again and keep up the great work. There is so much more out there than Trip Advisor!!



    • No problem David, glad to have helped. Don’t miss Poblesec (pinchos and vermouth on Carrer Blai!). Ben

  24. Mark Mark

    Thanks for the great ideas for spending some time in Barcelona. We will definitely attempt to get to a roof top pool/bar for a drink. We are renting a car and traveling the coast all the way to Gibraltar then up to seville and through the Algarve to Lisbon. We have about 16 days in June to travel along the coast of Spain and are wondering where you would suggest as must sees along the way. We would like to avoid some of the throngs of tourists on the beach but realize that that is the reality along such a beautiful coast. We are willing to stay in some of the smaller communities and have not booked any accommodations yet. Cheers and thanks

  25. Just returned home from our trip to Spain. Your tips were really helpful as we fell in love with the Born neighborhood and truly enjoyed our late afternoon at Hotel1898.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Really glad you enjoyed, Greg! Thanks so much for your comment. Hasta la proxima!

  26. simon simon

    Hi Ben, your insights and knowledge are just what I need. If was going to propose to my girlfriend in Barcelona in August.. where would I go at mid-day/night? Somewhere quiet and not a lot of people about… (she would kill me in front of large crowds) but also memorable for both of us. thank you! :)

    • Hi Simon,

      That’s a really tricky one, but I would go up towards Tibidabo (in the Colserolla hills). The views are unreal and you can normally find a quiet spot. Good luck! Ben

  27. Buddy, you made my day. I´m just looking for some good tips on internet because we are flying to Barcelona tomorrow. We will try to use your tips and include them in our 4 days plans. cheers !

    • Gracias, thanks so much. Pleasure to be of service! Ben

  28. Febin Febin

    Thanks for all the info Ben! Really helpful. We are heading to Barcelona for New Years. Any idea what the best place to be then is? Thanks!

    • Gracias Febin! Glad the blog has helped. New Year’s will be amazing I’m sure. I’m working on a post about Christmas/New Year’s in Barcelona now, so will let you know when it’s published. Saludos! Ben :)

  29. […] in Barcelona, take advantage of the freedom travelling alone offers. You can get up when you like, visit the attractions you’re interested in, eat where you want to and stay up until the early hours if you like! Being a solo traveller means […]

  30. Kolbrun Kolbrun

    Hello and thank you for this great guide! I am wondering what you mean when you say “You can use your T10 metro card (although technically you shouldn’t) and you’ll be in Sitges in 20 minutes”? Because I´m planning on buying the T10 metro card and travel to Sitges by train.

    • Hola Kolburn,

      Thanks for your comment and question! What I mean is that your T10 card is only supposed to be used on the metro in the city, not to ride trains outside of the city.

      I believe the T10 will allow you on the train to Sitges, but if a member of staff checks your ticket and finds you are using your metro card to take the train to Sitges, you could be fined.

      You should really buy the proper train ticket from Barcelona to Sitges.

      Hope that helps! Happy travels!

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