“Phoenician Barkeno”, “Ancien Greek Βαρκινών”, “Roman Barcino”, “Ciudad Condal”
With so many trips and visits to one of my all time favorite cities in the world; usually coming once or twice a year since 2003 mainly to visit and enjoy being with all my Catalan friends there, it’s finally a great time to create a the travel guide for it, no more excuses on why to postpone. And while I am typing these introductory words, I do already know this will be a long guide and harder to create than all other cities I’ve been to, except for Madrid, my home town, which is probably topping any other guide as being one of the most complete. After all, a person is more knowledgeable about their city when living or having been living for that many years in it right?.
Barcelona is a brand on its own. Everyone around the world have heard of it. In fact, although at points painful, many people from non Spanish speaking countries do believe it is the capital of Spain. Well, on the other hand, the city knew well how to sell itself to the world. Adverts, promotions, guides, tourist projects to bring people, great marketing and so on, something Madrid only started doing recently. But of course, Barcelona has an asset impossible to beat, the sea. It is the 3rd largest city in the Mediterranean only after Istanbul and Alexandria.
Although along the coast, it is not only a seaside destination; it is a major centre for financial, telecommunications, cultural and businesses. Second transport hub after Madrid. Large music, sport and arts city; and an incredible architecture playground unique in Spain. After all, the millions of tourist and business people the city receive per year want to marvel the elegant avenues with the countless collection of Modernist style constructions, having the ones from Gaudí (full name Antoni Gaudí i Cornet) the sight number one.
The city is the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia on the north east corner of Spain and extending up to the Pyrenees and French border. It’s the largest port along the Spanish Mediterranean coast and also the largest cruise terminal.
Having retained its Gothic old town almost intact, built on top of the Roman town, the 19th/20th century bourgeois expansion of the city is totally opposite to these small maze of streets by introducing the urbanism of Cerda, a massive orthogonal plan world famous today and one of the postcards you can get of the city. Broad tree-lined avenues, squares, roundabouts and the largest two avenues, Diagonal and Gran Via, crossing diagonally through the entire city west to east. Seeing the city from the air is just spectacular, and although in every extension from the same period in any city in Spain introduced an orthogonal urbanism, there is nowhere else in Europe a city of the size of Barcelona in such an extent.
There is unfortunately a negative point in the city. Petty crime is common and only getting to worst. I mean with this, bag or camera snatching, pick-pocketing, theft. You should take special precaution around the port, beach, the metro and of course around the main tourist attractions. It is a well known issue but if you are cautious there is nothing to worry. I hope you are not the kind of tourist leaving the camera and property like that, in a table, while having lunch or a coffee. It might sound very silly and obvious but you would be surprised how many people don’t care for their belongings too well.
For further information about Barcelona visit Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. Spain’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
Food and drinks:
Being a city where I’ve been so many times and enjoyed and discovered so many places with the years, I split the sections to list here my favorite places:
-Cava Catalonia region, overall, is the solely producer of cava in the world. It is something Catalan by nature, a younger champagne version which you can find in white and rose. Everywhere you go they will serve it and of course you can find it in every supermarket. Beware that being so delicious and so easy to drink as if it would be water, it comes quick to your hear. It is one of the easiest drinks that get you tipsy in no time without realising.
-On top of the list would be El Champanillo. Located in Barceloneta area it is a small and very busy bar where you can get great freshly made sandwiches on bans of many ingredients of your choice, and their famous cava rosado (rose cava). Prices are also very competitive although with the years we can clearly see the price of the cava have dramatically increased, though still good value and of great quality. You must bear in mind this is a very famous place and very typical, this is, expect it to be overcrowded and prepare to play some tetris with your body in order to find a little place to stay.
-La Vaca Paca Located in Passeig de Graçia, is a buffet style where you can eat as much as you want on starters, mains and finally deserts; but you cannot eat all and then repeat with a starter; just follow the order. Value for money is incredibly good not to mention the location.
-El Bosc de lss Fades Cafe Literally meaning the Fairytale Garden, right next door to the Wax Museum is this interesting and different place decorated as a fairytale forest. Complete with a small waterfall and little river, trees, gnomes and fairies, it’s a great choice to have a cocktail or drink though expect to pay higher than other pubs.
-Barri Gothic Plenty of cafes, pubs and bars and cocktail bars everywhere. Most of places do open until very late.
What to see and do in Barcelona:
Having so much to see and do, I will try to compile the sights by area or grouping by subject, having the Modernism as one of the key points, the old town and the extension.
- Barri Gòtic Gothic Quarter is the oldes part of the city and includes buildings as back as from the Roman times to medieval times and to the modernism architecture.
-Portal de l’Àngel This pedestrian street is one of the busiest and expensive in the city. Connects from Plaça de Catalunya towards the sea through the Gothic Quarter.
-Casa Martí and Els Quatre Gats In Carrer Montsió 3, not far from Via Laietana and on the opposite side of where the Palau de la Música is lcoated, is this house built in 1896 for a textile family. The tavern on the lower level, The 4 Cats (Quatre Gats) was also entirely designed in Modernist style, a gift from Domènech i Montaner. Unfortunately it was only open for few years until 1903. Nowadays it is a bar where the Modernist elements are contemporary.
-Las Ramblas Together with Passeig de Graçia are the landmark streets in the city. It marks the western edge of the Gothic Quarter. Among the important things to see and do here are:
-La Boquería Market An Art Nouvea market where you will find hundreds of food stalls of delicatessens. You can try even spider if you like.
-Palacio de la Virreina Built in 1778 is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in the city. Nowadays it’s a place for exhibitions belonging to the City Hall.
-Gran Teatro Liceu This opera house was built first in 1847, a fire destroyed it in 1861 where only the front façade and the mirror hall were spared. In 1994 another fire destroyed it completely except once again, the façade and the mirror hall. It opened its doors once again in 1999.
-Casa Bruno Cuadros Very near the Liceo on the other side of the road is this peculiar modernist house with oriental decoration where a dragon and umbrellas make the façade. It’s a modernist refurbishment from 1883 of the previous building.
-Palau Güell Meters away from Las Rablas in Carrer Nou de la Rambla, an UNESCO World Heritage Site modernist work designed by Antoni Gaudí for industrial tycoon Eusebi Güell and built between 1885 and 1900. You can visit its interiors as part of the museum.
-Monument to Columbus Located on the southern end of Las Ramblas and overlooking the port. You can climb up for a nice view of the city and port.
-Via Laietana Marks the eastern edge of the Gothic Quarter. An important transport node in the city where you will find elegant 19th century and Modernist buildings.
-Palau de la Música Catalana Just a street off Via Laietana. An UNESCO World Heritage Site is an astonishing modernist concert hall designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and built between 1905 and 1908 in what became more usual Renaixença style, this is, including motifs of the Catalan history on the ornaments. The façade is a great work in brick with monumental sculptures adorning one of the corners, while the exuberant interiors are a mix of fine marbles, glass and ceramics, being the stained-glass skylight a masterpiece. It’s the only concert hall in Europe illuminated by natural light during daylight hours. Apart of attending a concert, you can also visit it when no shows are happening as part of a museum visit.
-Cathedral of Saint Eulalia Is the cathedral of Barcelona, a Gothic masterpiece. Built between 13th and 15th centuries. The façade you see today is an addition of the 19th century over the plain exterior which was common to Catalan churches.
-Bisbe Irurita Street Bridge Next door to the cathedral is this Gothic bridge over Bisbe Street which marks the entrance to the Gothic Quarter. It is one of the most known images of the city, but surely you did not know it was only built in 1928.
-Church of Santa Maria del Mar World renown after the book of the same name, this was the cathedral for the poor people as they did not have access to the Cathedral of Saint Eulalia. In the cloister you can see up to 13 white geese that are kept inside.
-Church of Santa Maria del Pi Translates as Saint Mary of the Pine Tree, a 14th century Gothic construction whose interior burnt down in 1936 but carefully restored afterwards.
-Plaça de la Mercè
-La Mercè Basilica It is the patron saint of the city. Built in the 18th century in Baroque style.
-Plaça del Rei Another landmark in the city is this 14th century medieval square. Entirely surrounded by the Royal Palace buildings complex from this period and over the Roman city which remains lie below and can be visited.
-Palau Reial Major Translates as the Grand Royal Palace, residence of the Counts of Barcelona, then the Kings of Aragon. Key buildings in the complex include the Saló del Tinell and Saint Agatha Chapel, both Catalan Gothic architecture masterpieces; and the Palau del Lloctinent (Lieutenant’s Palace).
-City History Museum Where you can see the Roman remains underground.
-Plaça Reial Another landmark tourist place, the square is entirely surrounded by restaurants and bars under the arches and nice palms and trees in the middle.
-Plaça Sant Jaume Saint James’s Square occupies what would be the former Roman Forum at the intersections of Cardo and Decumanus streets where the Temple of Augustus would be. From the temple only 4 columns are preserved. It’s the administrative heart of Barcelona and second largest square in the old town after Plaça Reial. Here people celebrates any victory of Barça football club, New Years’ Eve countdown and other festivities as the human castellers during Mercè.
-Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya It’s the palace hosting the administration office for Catalonia region.
-City Hall Just opposite the Palau de la Generalitat.
-Temple of Augustus The Roman columns are accessible through Paradis Street on a building which incorporated them in the basement. Free access.
-Gaudí lamp posts In Plaça Sant Jaume and surrounding streets.
- Eixample Distric Literally meaning The Extension, was built between the 19th and 20th centuries as the expansion of the city over the limits of the original Old Town, consists of a revolutionary massive urban plan designed by Ildefons Cerdà hence it is referred as Plan Cerdà. A perfect grid pattern whose characteristic point is the octagonal shape of the blocks, allowing much more light to come to the streets giving also more space for the pedestrians. Having such an enormous playground in the sense of constructing each of the blocks and the bourgeois and aristocratic level of many families and their textile, chocolate and banking businesses among others, demanded from the architects to build an ongoing best of the best house. This show off reached its peak magnitude on the Modernist constructions today world famous in the city.
-Sagrada Familia Its full name Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family is by no means, the grandest, greatest and finest work by Antoni Gaudí and still under construction as of today. An UNESCO World Heritage Site it is anticipated the completion date to be 2026, exactly 100 years after the death of the architect. Further description here would be too long and boring. This place has to be seen in person to admire such impossible-to-repeat wonder piece of art. Metro Sagrada Familia.
-Plaça de Catalunya The major centre-point and transport hub in the city linking the old town with the new. Main meeting point and large shopping area, filled with many cafes and restaurants on the nearby streets. metro Catalunya.
-Casa Pich i Pon A modernist building, it is a reform conducted byJosep Puig i Cadafalch of a previous builduing.
-Passeig de Graçia One of the most expensive streets in Spain. It’s like the catwalk of Barcelona where the models are not people but the buildings. Connects the northern tip of the Gothic Quarter at Plaça de Catalunya with Avenida Diagonal. Metro Catalunya or Graçia.
-Manzana de la Discordia Which translates as the block of the discord. Along the street you will find some of the finest Modernist buildings in the world. Works of Antoni Gaudí, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Enric Sagnier; each with their own unique style makes up an incredible mix. Those are Casa Batlló, Casa Amatller, Casa Mulleras and Casa Lleó Morera.
–Casa Batlló An UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of Gaudí’s masterpieces, from 1904, it’s not a new construction from scratch but a full renovation of a previously existing building. Colloquially named House of Bones because of the skeletal shape of the columns and balconies; the facade and chimneys have one of Gaudí’s trademarks, the mosaics of broken tiles called trencadís. In the roof the shape of a dragon in many colour shades. The Batlló were a noble family dedicated to the textile industry. You can visit the entire building as it’s a museum.
-Casa Amatller Also knows as Casa Trinxet. Designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch and constructed between 1898 and 1900 for Antoni Amatller, noble man in the chocolatier business.
-Casa Mulleras Designed by Enric Sagnier and carried out in 1898 it’s a remodelling a the previous Casa Ramon Comas from 1868.
-Casa Lleó Morera Designed in 1904 by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, it’s also a remodelling of a previous building and one of the finest modernist buildings in Barcelona. You can visit some parts of the building but msot remains private property.
–Casa Milà An UNESCO World Heritage Site. Commonly known as La Pedrera (the quarry). Located few meters from the block of discord heading north towards the Avenida Diagonal is this iconic apartment block, masterpiece of Gaudí. Built in 1912 for the familiy of Roser Segimon and Pere Milà. The most interesting areas are both interior courtyards and the chimneys on the roof designed to look like an army of warriors, all made with elaborate mosaics of broken tiles. The incredible work of the catenary and parabolic arches below the roof creates the effect of the inside bones of a snake. You can visit most if the building since it’s a museum.
-Casa Bonaventura Ferrer At number 113 is this beautiful modernist building of reduced size in façade hence the nickname of cute little palace. Designed by Pere Falqués i Urpí was built in 1906.
-Avenida Diagonal Original plans were for two diagonals, just one was carried out although Avenida Meridiana was built instead. It crosses the whole of the extension from north west to south east towards the sea, the broadest and busiest transportation bone together with Gran Via. Along the Avenue you will find several modernist buildings (listed below) and nowadays many company headquarters, hotels and shopping malls choose the avenue as their prime location.
-Casa de Terrades Known as Casa de les Punxes is a landmark modernist building located in the intersection of Passeig de Graçia with Avenida Diagonal. Designed in 1905 by Josep Puig i Cadafalch in Medieval-Gothic style in order to unify the three buildings on property of the Terrades sisters. It cannot be visited inside since it’s of private property. Metro Diagonal.
-Palacio del Baró de Quadras Another beautiful modernist building from 1906 designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch in plateresque style. It it the House of Asia since 2003. Metro Diagonal.
-Casa Serra Also designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch built in 1908 as the home of Pere Serra although he never lived here. Nowadays is the Council of the City of Barcelona. Metro Diagonal.
-Casa Comalat Built between 1909 and 1911 designed by Salvador Valeri i Pupurull clearly influenced by Gaudi’s organic forms. It has two façades, the one overlooking Diagonal is more symmetrical and regular in shape while the one in Carrer Rosselló is more curved where colour is the prominence fact.
-Plaza de Glories It’s the key transport node where the three major avenues meet (Diagonal, Meridiana and Gran Via). Newly built Torre Agbar has become a 21st century symbol of the city, rivalling in design with Norman Forster’s Saint Mary Axe Tower in London, built after the one in Barcelona was finished. Metro Glories.
-Diagonal Mar and Forum The whole area was built as part of the regeneration of this area of Barcelona towards the sea with motive of the Universal Forum of the Cultures celebrated in 2004 and include many high-rise offices, hotels and apartment blocks all of great design by renown architects, parks and museums. Metro Diagonal Mar/Forum.
-Gran Via Together with Diagonal, Meridiana, Graçia, Parallel and Via Laietana forms the main transport node within the city. Again, many landmark buildings, monuments and squares are found along this street.
-Plaça de Espanya The largest urban square in Barcelona, built for the 1929 International Exhibition. Metro Espanya.
-Fira de Barcelona It’s one of the two major exhibitions centres in the city. The pavillions can be found along Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina from Plaça de Espanya towards the National Museum of Art and Montjuïc hill.
-Venetian Towers Part of the Exhibition of Barcelona and nowadays world renown symbols of the city.
-Las Arenas Bullring Now a premier concert hall and shopping mall, it was built in 1900 in Moorish Revival style.
-National Palace Although not part of Plaça de Espanya but Montjuïc Hill, it is listed belowe in the relevant section.
-Casa Calvet Built in 1899 is one of the first works of Gaudí and also one of the simplest mainly because it had to be built between older structures and on one of the most elegant areas of Barcelona therefore having to balance architecturally with the surrounding buildings. It was built for the textile industry family Calvet where they had their workshop on the lower floor and their apartments on the upper levels. Metro Urquinaona.
-La Monumental Bullring Between Gran Via and Marina streets, built in 1914. It is the Museum of the Bull. Since in Catalonia is forbidden bullfighting do not expect to see such activity. Metro Glories o Tetuan.
-Passeig de Saint Joan An avenue running from the lower part of Graçia district southwards towards Parc de la Ciutadella, passing some key important modernist landmarks listed below. Metro Arc de Triomf.
-Arc de Triomf The Triumphal Arch was built as the main access gate for the 1888 Universal Exhibition. designed by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas.
-Casa Estapé Designed by Bernardí Martorell i Rius and built in 1907 is also known as Casa Laplana. Of important are the colourful ceramics work and wrought iron.
-Central Catalana d’Electricitat Built between 1896 and 1899 the building was designed by Pere Falqués i Urpí. The brick ornamentation, big windows and small iron beams it the façade are its key elements.
-Palau Macaya Designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch and built in 1901. Although having a much more austere façade as other modernist constructions there are many details as that sculpture on the left chapitel of a bicycle, allegory the sculptor made towards the architect who in that time was travelling by bicycle between this building and the other one he was creating at the same time, Casa Amatller.
-Castle of the Three Dragons Designed for the Universal Exhibition of 1888 by Lluís Domènech i Montaner as a cafe/restaurant. It is located in the Parc de la Ciutadella.
-Hivernacle Also located in Parc de la Ciutadella was built as a greenhouse for the Universal Exhibition of 1888 designed by Josep Amargós i Samaranch.
-Umbracle Another of the original exhibition halls of the Universal Exhibition of 1888 also located in Parc de la Ciutadella.
-Avenida Meridiana Forms the last of the broad avenues criss-crossing the Eixample Distric.
-Hospital of the Holy Cross and Saint Paul Although not directly located on Avenida Meridiana, but near it on the northern side. This large scale modernist construction, an UNESCO World Heritage Site was designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and built between 1901 and 1930. Until 2009 it was still used as a hospital and ever since it’s being restored as a museum and cultural centre. Metro Sant Pau/Dos de Maig.
- Gracia District To the north of Eixample district and north of Avenida Diagonal
-Parc Güell An UNESCO World Heritage Site, designed by Antoni Gaudí and built between 1900 and 1914 is one of the largest architectural works in south Europe. Originally planned as a housing garden city upon the idea of Count Eusebi Güell, only 2 of the original 60 luxury houses were built, none of them by Gaudí; nor the houses were sold. Gaudi bough the one designed by Francesc Berenguer in 1904 and made it his family home until 1926. Now it’s Gaudí’s House Museum. Some icons include the mosaic salamander fountain, the mosaic undulating bench in the form of a sea serpent and the Doric columns supporting the main square where the serpent bench sits on top. Colonnades, viaducts, fountains and buildings blend in harmony with the landscaped gardens. Metro Vallcarca.
-Casa Vincens An UNESCO World Heritage Site it was the first major work by Antoni Gaudí built between 1883 and 1889 for Manuel Vicens, owner of a brick and tile factory hence the design of this house with allegory elements of his business . Located at Carrer de les Carolines 24, nearest metro station Fontana, although you cannot visit inside as it’s private property. Metro Fontana.
- Villa Olimpica District Entirely modernised, refurbished and where appropriate, newly constructed for the Olympic Games of 1992. It was where all the athletes had their accommodations. metro Ciutadella/Villa Olimpica.
-Olympic Port Located between Barceloneta y Nova Icària beaches is an important destination for locals and tourists for the great choice of shopping, food, drinks and entertainment.
-Mapfre Tower, Hotel Arts and the Golden Fish sculpture. One tower designed by SOM Architects, the other by Bruce Graham and the sculpture by Frank Gehry.
- Montjuïc Hill Directly accessible from Plaça de Espanya via Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina. Some of Barcelona’s Fair Trade pavilions are along this avenue and some fine modernist buildings (listed below). You will get some of the finest views of the city from the top.
-Castle Dating from the 17th century, served as a prison in more recent times until the time of General Franco, where it was the site of numerous executions.
-National Museum of Art of Catalonia Occupying the National Palace building, it’s the finest art museum in Catalonia. From the top you will get great views of whole Barcelona.
-Magic Fountain Right on the slopes of the hill towards the city, at the front of the grand staircase of the National Palace is this fountain with shows of water dance and light nightly.
-Palaus d’Alfons XIII i de Victòria Eugènia Built for the 1929 International Exhibition and designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, they are today current exhibitions halls of Barcelona’s Fair complex.
-Four Columns Designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch for the 1929 International exhibition, were destroyed by dictatorship of Primo de Rivera and rebuilt in 2010.
-Fàbrica Casaramona Designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch for Casimir Casaramona i Puigcercós, owner of textile business. Today houses CaixaForum exhibition halls.
-Mies van der Rohe’s Pavilion Although demolished in 1930 after the International Exhibition of 1929, it was rebuilt in 1988.
-Olympic Stadium Also built in 1929, it was used as part of the venues of the 1992 Olympic Games.
-Poble Espanyol Similar to that in Palma de Majorca it’s a model Spanish village museum where the houses are built in different styles of Spanish architecture.
-Torre de Montjuïc Is a landmark telecommunications tower designed by famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
-Port Vell Aerial Tramway Montjuïc can be reached by this cable car running from the top station of Miramar to the Port down below.
-Funicular Connecting Paral-lel Metro station (L2 and 3) and the top station.
- Tibidabo Mountain It is the tallest mountain in the Serra de Collserola where from the top you will get the most magnificent views of the entire city and the sea. Reaching the top is best via the ancient tram (named Tram Blau, meaning Blue Tram) from Plaça Kennedy, metro Avenida Tibidabo, and then a funicular ride for the last part.
-Church of the Sacred Heart In Catalan Temple de Sagrat Cor, was built in modernist style between 1902 and 1961 and can be seen from most of the city below.
-Tibidabo Amusement Park One of the oldest in Europe, it still retains most of its 20th century attractions.
-Collserolla Tower A large telecommunications tower built in 1991 designed by Norman Foster.
-Bellesguard Tower Literally meaning Beautiful View. Not in Collserola itself but on the lower area of Sarrià-Sant Gervasi district. Designed by Gaudi and built between 1900 and 1909 stands on the former 15th century country residence belonging to Martin, king of Aragon and count of Barcelona.
- Beaches This is one of the most acclaimed benefits of Barcelona. Many beaches align one after another from Barceloneta up to Diagonal Mar. For the large size of the city, there is a great choice of beaches and just walking distance from many of the sights.
With so many timesin Barcelona and each of them seeing something different, the photo section below is a bit different to other guides. Here is a selection of relevant albums of different areas of the city:
- Passeig de Graçia, La Pedrera, Plaza de Espanya and Montjuic, Parc Güell, Sagrada Familia, Ramblas, Barri Gòtic and Barceloneta
- Tibidabo Mountain, Cathedral of the Sea and Correfoc de Gava
- Arc de Triomf, Palau de la Musica, Santa Caterina i La Ribera neighbourhood and Port Aventura amusement park
Bacelona has the second busiest airport in Spain after Madrid, el Prat, serving most of the international and intercontinental destinations. Secondary but important airports also serving the city are those of Girona to the north (over 1 hour bus journey to Barcelona), and Reus to the south (less than 1 hour from the city); both mainly used by low cost carriers.
All three airports are very well connected either by frequent buses or by commuter trains. We call them Cercanias in Spanish, Rodalies in Catalan. For El Prat, both the train and the buses take the same time and have few stops along the city at the major transport hubs (Sants Train Station, Graçia, Catalunya, Espanya, França Train Station).
Of course you have another great transport network across the whole of Spain, the high speed train network. It was the 1st country in the world in number of operational km although it was placed 2nd in the world’s list only after China. Travelling from Madrid to Barcelona is as fast as only taking 2.15 hours trip. Same to other destinations within Spain, therefore if you are coming to Barcelona from other Spanish city, consider taking the train instead of the plane, it will take you by far less time on high speed train. *Note that conventional trains do also the routes but at much longer time).
The city is well served by one of the largest and most efficient metro systems in the world; the national commuter train network (Rodalies or Cercanias) and the regional commuter train network. Bus network covers the entire city and coupled with the modern tram lines, forms the key transportation grid and use the same ticket independently of what network you are using, allowing you with free interchange between those transports within one hour after validating the ticket.
Funiculars and cable cars complete the choice. As a tourist, Barcelona is one of the few cities in the world I have been where moving with public transportation is the easiest and where you can absolutely reach any sight fast and efficient without having to walk long distances from the nearest transport.
With such a vast choice in hotels, finding a good deal should be the less concerning part of planning a trip to Barcelona. But of course you should know that high and low season mean a lot in the final price you will be looking after. Summer months are of course, like everywhere, the most expensive. And because of Barcelona being such an important business city, you need to count with both clients, tourists and business, which are whole year round.
Barcelona is the kind of city where you can find really everything. From low standards to the top of the top in service and luxury. Fancy places, great design, the top in names, brands and chains, just everything. A good and reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, Hotels Click, LateRooms or Ebookers.
Compiling some of the hotels we’ve been over the past years as a note for recommendation here is a good bunch to give you an idea:
Hilton Diagonal Mar. Recently opened when we went in 2007, it was back then one of the best hotels I’ve ever been. A proper 5* property located in the regenerated area occupied by the Forum of the Cultures. Very high standards (nothing to compare to the lower Hilton standards you find in the UK), great staff and fantastic location. Bus, tram and metro just around the corner.
Our all time favorite would be the Eurostars BCN Design. A boutique 5* hotel which just opened days before our arrival (it was 2008), right in Passeig de Graçia meters away from the landmark modernist buildings, walking distance to the old town and basically really in the middle of the city.
Twice we’ve been at the Eurostars Lex L’Hospitalet, a quite new property is one of the areas of recent redevelopment, with great transport connection to the city centre either by bus, train or metro. It was a rather simple hotel specially if compared to some of the ones we’ve been in other stays, but great value for money and comfort.
In 2015 we did stay at the Melia Barcelona Sky. The location is unbeatable, and so was the overall design, inside and outside. Try to request a higher floor room, then the views over the city are guaranteed. It is a very beautiful property, with a great breakfast buffet, and great staff in every department, however if you plan to go to the bar for a drink, to the pool, the lounge by the pool or terrace lounge, notice it’s quite posh and some more appropriate dressing seems to be the norm.
On the following year, 2016, we stayed at the H10 Itaca. Another of the properties we can highly recommend without hesitation. Super central, walking distance to Sants Station, and once again full of great and friendly staff in every department, comfortable, quiet, large room and nice breakfast.