Useful Tips

Follow these easy tips to get a little more out of your Barcelona vacation. These tips will save you time and money and show you things you might not have seen otherwise.

 

First Day in Barcelona - Take A Bus Tour First!

Though the Barcelona Metro should be your primary transport choice in the city, for your first day I recommend a hop-on-hop-off sightseeing tour bus to help you get your bearings:

When is the Barcelona Metro Open?

The metro in Barcelona is open until midnight from Sunday to Thursday, until 2am on Friday and through the night on Saturday.

Share a T10 Ten-Trip Metro Ticket

If you don't get the Barcelona Card, make sure you get a ten-trip metro ticket. Each journey is nearly 50% of the standard fare and the ticket can be shared between as many people as you want. The ticket is also valid on the buses and even on the train from the airport.

Don't Get Ripped off on Boqueria Juices!

Every visitor to Barcelona takes a trip to the Boqueria and are keen to buy something from Barcelona's most famous market - but fear of the weird and wonderful cuts of meat (meat of what? non-Spanish speakers ask) or simply a lack of cooking facilities means most people just buy one of the freshly squeezed fruit juices. So here's a simple tip for you - the stalls as you enter the market from the Ramblas charge two euros for a glass of juice, but the markets just ten meters to your right charge only one! OK, it's just one euro, but I'm always pretty annoyed when I think I've paid double what I should have paid for something.

See Hospital de Sant Pau Before La Sagrada Familia

Another essential stop in Barcelona is at Gaudi's famously unfinished basilica (no, it's not a cathedral), La Sagrada Familia. But most head straight for the Sagrada Familia metro stop. This does indeed take you directly to the church, but there's a better way...

My tip is to instead go up to the Hospital de Sant Pau (just one stop further on the metro, at Sant Pau Dos de Maig). Not only is the hospital a spectacular and rarely visited attraction in itself (the sight of amazing modernist architecture in a still-in-use hospital is quite memorable), but the walk down Avinguda de Gaudi to La Sagrada Familia is a much more impressive way of approaching the basilica.

Fly to Barcelona, not Reus or Girona

How many airports do you have to choose from when visiting Barcelona? Only one, really - Barcelona International Airport. But that doesn't stop some airlines (well, Ryanair) from advertising Girona and Reus airports as 'Barcelona' airports.

Girona and Reus have their merits as destinations, but the hour-and-a-half journey to Barcelona makes them impractical if your destination is the Catalan capital.

Know when the Museums are Free

The Picasso Museum and the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya are both free on the first Sunday of the month, while the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona is free on the first Wednesday. Find out when the museum you want to visit is free if you're short of money or are only mildly curious about the exhibits and don't want to fork out on the full price admission. But arrive early, especially in summer, as lots of people will have the same idea as you.

Eat at Lunchtime

Barcelona restaurants, just like everywhere in Spain, put on the best menus at lunch time. They're cheaper, but that doesn't necessary worse - it is the serving of large quantities of a small selection of dishes that brings the price down. You will usually get a starter, main course, a dirnk and a dessert for between eight and 12 euros, but be sure to check - sometimes the dessert or certain drinks are extra. My personal favorite lunch time menus is served by Flor de Maig, at Carrer Pintor Fortuny 29 (just off Las Ramblas)

Keep Your Eye on Your Wallet

Starting off with a serious one - be extra vigilant with your personal belongings, particularly on the Ramblas and on the beach. Pickpockets are common in Barcelona. Wear a moneybelt or keep your hand on your wallet or purse at all times and you should be fine - don't let the risk of being robbed stop you from enjoying your time in Barcelona!