Short city guide to Barcelona (2024)

The basics you need to know

This website provides the insights you need to appreciate the beautiful city of Barcelona at its best.

Barcelona's attractions and venues you should not miss are described in the sections devoted to Visits, Nightlife, Restaurants, and Shopping, while other useful information is available in the sections dedicated to Events, Excursions, Flights, and Transports.

Moreover, in the Hotels section or using the search box on the left, you will find over 420 hotels offered at an excellent value for money thanks to our partnership with the leading European online hotel reservation operators.

Barcelona is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Among its strengths are the modernist architecture masterpieces, particularly by the Catalan genius Antoni Gaudí. Among these stand out the famous Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Casa Milà, and Casa Battlò (better known as La Pedrera).

Of equal interest is the medieval Barcelona, in this historical period the city was one of the major powers of the Mediterranean, the capital of the Kingdom of Aragon, which included in addition to Catalonia and Aragon, also Valencia, the Balearic Islands, southern France, southern Italy, and even Athens. Today the beautiful Gothic Quarter of Barcelona is a testament with its magnificent palaces and churches that period of splendor of the city.

Barcelona and Catalonia have traditionally been home to visionary and revolutionary artists. Besides the already mentioned Gaudí, they gave birth, among others, to Dalí and Miró. Picasso himself, born in Malaga, grew up in Barcelona where he spent the years of his personal and artistic training. Barcelona is home to wonderful museums dedicated to Picasso, Miro, and Gaudi (the latter in La Pedrera building). The main museums devoted to Dalí are hosted in his hometown of Figueres and in Cadaqués and are accessible through day trips from Barcelona.

In the Visits section of this website, you will find a guide to the main attractions of Barcelona from the medieval to the modernist period and to its major museums.

In addition to its natural and artistic beauties, the city of Barcelona has other attractions for the tourist, such as its cuisine, nightlife, shopping, its numerous festivals and events and the excursions which is possible to do to other attractive cities and villages of Catalonia.

Its cuisine is undoubtedly a strength of the city. In Barcelona, you can enjoy Catalan dishes such as fideuà and zarzuela, as well as specialties of other regions of Spain such as Valencian paella, Andalusian tapas, tortilla, and gazpacho, the arroz caldoso of Alicante, the Basque pinchos, etc. The best area of Barcelona for restaurants is undoubtedly the fishermen district of the Barceloneta where the specialties are seafood dishes.

You will find a guide to Barcelona cuisine and the best restaurants in the Restaurants section.

Obviously Barcelona is also famous for its nightlife. Catalans like to say they are a nation of workers less interested in the nightlife than other Spanish people. This is, however, a bit hard to believe for tourists who are spoiled for choice from the rich and varied range of clubs and bars. Barcelona's nightlife is able to satisfy all tastes offering sophisticated cocktail bars in the neighborhood of El Born, "alternative" bars in the Gothic Quarter, live music venues such as Harlem Jazz Club, Jamboree and Luz de Gaz, the chiringuitos located along the beach and trendy discos such as Razzmatazz, Catwalk, Moog and Otto Zutz.

In the Raval district, it is possible to find some very peculiar and historic bars which had Picasso and Hemingway among their customers, among them are the Pastis, the London Bar, and the Marsella.

You will find a guide to Barcelona's best nightlife venues in the Nightlife section.

Barcelona is also interesting for its shopping possibilities. Despite the rapid change of the city over the past decade, which occurred often at the expense of its traditions, wandering in the streets of medieval Barcelona you can still find small workshops where to buy original products. Barcelona's markets are also beautiful and include Els Encantes Vells antiques market and the spectacular Boqueria food market. The best places for a more "classic" shopping are the wide boulevard of Passeig de Gracia, which goes through the modernist Eixample district, and El Corte Inglés department store.

You can find a guide to Barcelona's markets and other shopping opportunities in the Shopping section.

In the city of Barcelona, very interesting festivals and events take place which are very popular with the local population who are involved in the construction of human castles through the castellers, the traditional Catalan Sardana dance and the parades of "devils, giants and correfoc". You can check in the Events section if there are festivals during your stay in Barcelona.

In the Events section of the site, you will find also information on the numerous music festivals hosted by the city of Barcelona, such as Festival del Grec, dedicated to music, theater and dance, Sonar, dedicated to electronic music, Festival de Flamenco de Ciutat Vella e de Cajón, dedicated to flamenco.

Moreover, from Barcelona you can make interesting excursions to the pearls of the Costa Brava, Cadaques and Tossa de Mar, to the peculiar city of Girona, true guardian of Catalonia traditions, to the Benedictine abbey of Montserrat, situated in a spectacular location and is the spiritual heart of Catalonia, to Tarragona, known for its Roman ruins, and to many more interesting destinations.

In the Excursions section you will find suggestions about the most interesting day trips that you can make from Barcelona.

Finally, in the Hotels section over 420 hotels are offered at the best available prices thanks to our partnership with the leading European online hotel reservations operator. The booking is immediate while the payment will only take place at your departure from the hotel.