Tips when visiting Barcelona, Spain

Living in Barcelona for over 6 months, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing a lot of what this amazing city has to offer. It is a city filled with everything you could desire in my opinion. Here is a quick list of things to keep in mind and places that I recommend you check out!

Transportation

  • Metro: Purchase a “T-10 ride” pass versus individual metro tickets. You will save half the cost over 10 rides.
  • Main Airport: You can get into downtown Barcelona several ways. A cab from the airport will cost approximately €30-35. The RENFE train is €4.50/ticket or simply 1 swipe from your T-10 metro pass.  This train departs from Terminal 2 and drops off at Sants Estacio and Passeig de Gracia stations. Your third option to and from the airport is on the AeroBus. Each ticket costs about €6.00. Stops in each direction include Plaza Catalunya, Plaza Espana, Terminal 1, and Terminal 2 at Barcelona’s main airport.
  • Rent-a-Car: Parking is rather difficult to come by in Barcelona but should you be renting a car, opt to book one through www.DoYouSpain.com. Book a week or two in advance and you can get a weekly rental for dirt-cheap. If you’re American, make sure to get an international driving permit beforehand at the DMV.

Places/Restaurants/Clubs

  • La Sagrada Familia: Easily Gaudi’s most famous piece of architecture, this gothic style church is a must see for any visitor. Be sure to buy your entry ticket online prior because tickets sell out in advance.

 

  • La Boqueria: A large public market located off Las Ramblas full of vendors selling everything from candy to seafood to fruit. Keep in mind; everything at the market entrance is 1.5-2x more expensive because that is where the most traffic is. Go to the back to get the same items for half the price.
  • Labryinth of Horta (Parc de Labirint d’Horta): A lesser-known spot tucked away in the north part of Barcelona. Dated back to the late 1700’s, you can enter the labryinth and stroll through the gardens of this beautiful park. Take the L3 Metro Line and get off at the Mundet stop.
  • Camp Nou: Home to the greatest football (soccer) team in the world, FC Barcelona. This historic stadium holds just short of 100,000 people. If you don’t have the chance to see a match, do yourself a favor and at least take the stadium tour. It will leave you in awe.
  • Can Paixano (Champagne Bar): Come here to enjoy cheap bottles of cava, sausages, croquettes, and more at this no frills establishment. The place is usually packed and for good reason, the food and drink is delicious. Be prepared to know a little Spanish as the staff doesn’t really speak English. You’re in Spain after all.
    • Address: Carrer de la Reina Cristina, 7, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
  • Sala Apollo: Super fun and very well known club in Barcelona. Caters more to the alternative and rock crowd with events such as Nasty Monday’s and Crappy Tuesday’s. If you are here on a Monday, make it a priority to come here and party your face off.

Miscellaneous

  • Pick-Pocketers: It is very common to see people performing or playing various card games with large groups of tourists, especially on Las Ramblas. Be vigilant and keep an eye on your belongings, especially in large crowds. Keep valuables in your front pockets. Same goes for when riding the metro. Keep your backpack in front of your body. Trust me, just do it.
  • SIM Card: If you can’t go a few days without service on your cellphone, first make sure it is not locked by your carrier at home. Then, visit any local Orange Mobil or Movistar phone shops to buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card. They typically cost around 10 euros and require a passport when purchasing.
  • WiFi: Nowadays, WiFi is very easy to come by virtually anywhere. And lucky for you, Barcelona city offers hundreds of free WiFi hotspots that you can connect to on the go.
  • Alcohol: You are not allowed to purchase alcohol in stores past 11:00 PM on any given night. You can drink at a bar/club until close though. Also, you will find tons of men selling cheap beer on the streets throughout the night.. You can typically bargain with them and walk away with a 6-pack for 5 euros.

Credit Cards/Money

  • ATM: The ATM will most always give you the best exchange rate compared to those foreign money exchange booths. When withdrawing cash, select the EUR button rather than the USD (or whatever your local currency is). Your bank will convert the transaction at a much more favorable rate to you. The same idea goes for when paying for things with your credit card at a store or restaurant.
  • Fees: Stop throwing money away and consider getting a credit card that doesn’t charge international transaction fees. Great ones to have are Barclays Arrival Plus MasterCard and Chase Sapphire card.