Ultimate Travel Guide to Barcelona


Besides Madrid, Barcelona is perhaps the most well-known city in Spain. It’s nestled on the coast in the Catalonia region, rich with culture and fun things to do. It’s a huge city, but very walkable, and the highlights are easy to access on the metro or on foot.

The weather is also fantastic, my friend and I went in January and it was a pleasant 50 degrees each day, which was like going to the tropics after being in the Minnesota cold. Winter is also a good time to go because you’ll avoid the insane tourist crowds that flood the city during July, August, and September.

What to See and Do in Barcelona

Sagrada Familia

The most iconic landmark of the city, this cathedral is something you must not only see from the outside, but it’s imperative that you tour the interior. I don’t care what kind of budget you’re on – this is non-negotiable.

Meaning “sacred family” in English, this church is an architectural wonder. Designed and constructed by Anton Gaudí, the beloved architect and artist of Barcelona. Construction of this massive cathedral began in 1882 and is still unfinished work, and isn’t expected to be completed for at least 20 more years.


Parc Güell

Located in the Gracia district of Barcelona, Parc Güell is another Gaudí site to see as well as a great location to get a panoramic view of the city.  The subway station is a bit of a walk away from the sloping hills that lead you up to the park, but hiking up to the park makes the view so much more worth it.  Beautiful mosaics compose concrete benches and decorative walls throughout the park. It’s worth it to pay to enter all of the Parc, I’ve been twice and loved it each time.

 Mosaic benches that wind throughout the Park


The Picasso Museum

The Picasso Museum is another stop worth making during your time in the city. Here you’ll find quite the collection of his pieces from the various “periods” of his life, as well as learn more about who Pablo Picasso was, beyond being an artist.


La Boqueria Market

A fun stop on Las Ramblas, La Boqueria Market is a bustling outdoor shopping excursion. Unfortunately, it has become something of a tourist trap, when it used to be the local market that people bought fresh produce, fish, and meat at. If you go for a visit, buy a few things from a stall owner to support their business in exchange for your photos.



Casa Batlló

Another architectural creation of Gaudi, Casa Batlló is a unique and interesting museum to walk through as a Barcelona experience. Located in the heart of Barcelona on Passeig de Gracia, Casa Batllo is definitely worth touring if you have a cloudy or rainy day in the city and want to spend some time indoors.

Restaurants in Barcelona
This spot is an excellent stop for delicious tapas. Order a few things off the menu to share, pair it with a jug of sangria or beers and you’ll have yourself a filling meal of savory variety.
Ensalada Griega – Spanish-style greek salad, big soft cubes of delicious goat cheese, fresh diced tomatoes and a basil vinaigrette dressing

I can never have too much Sangria when in Spain



The hostel we stayed in “Casa Gracia Barcelona Hostel” was absolutely fantastic.  Clean rooms, great breakfast provided, super helpful and kind staff to give you pointers on things to do as well as advice on how to get from place to place.
Things to note about Barcelona
Be super careful with your valuables. Las Ramblas and other crowded areas are KNOWN for pickpockets. Never carry your passport around with you and always have control of your wallet and phone.
If traveling in the busy season, be sure to book ahead. Accommodations fill up and can be quite expensive, so it’s a good idea to look in advance.
Wear good walking shoes! You’ll walk a ton in this city, and no one wants to deal with uncomfortable blisters.

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  • […] did a blog post with more detailed information on the city back in 2013, so I won’t repeat myself in this entry, but here are some photos from my trip there with my […]

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