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Barcelona General Travel Tips

by Miriam Ernst
Barcelona, Camel, City view, top

General Travel Tips Barcelona

A city that I have been living in for over 1,5 years. A beautiful city, where I’ve had amazing experiences, lots of visits from friends and family, where I’ve been over 30 times at the airport. You can even explore Barcelona virtually these days, thanks to live experiences with virtual reality to make you feel like you’re really here exploring this beautiful city.

From all those travels, weekend escapes and experiences within the city here are my best travel tips for Barcelona.

Before you read these tips it is vital to ensure that you look at this article and others to make sure that you are travelling safely no matter where you go, to make sure that your trip goes smoothly.

1. Airport, Arrival and Departure

To get to Barcelona there is only one airport, the Barcelona El Prat. There are two terminals: T1, the newer airport and for general airlines and T2, the older airport which is mainly used by low-cost airlines. Moreover, the airport also has a separate private Business Aviation Terminal for smooth, speedy, and secure transfers from private jets through to ground transport. This ensures that passengers flying via Jettly’s Jet Charters and other private jet charters are able to enjoy a relaxing and luxurious experience.

The best ways to get to the city are either by taxi or bus.

Taxi will cost you something between 25 and 35 euro, depending where in the city you are heading to and if there is traffic or not. In any case there is a minimum charge of 20€ to and from the airport. Make sure to know that the airport has an supplement of 3,10 € and 1 € for any non carry-on luggage. The taxis in Terminal 1 are on level -1 which you can reach by taking an escalator after leaving the protected area. In Terminal 2 you can find them just by stepping outside to the street. In both cases there is an organisation for the lines and you’ll have to wait your turn.

Busses to the centre will cost you 5,90 €. There are two stops, one is in Placa Espanya and the second one in Placa Catalunya. The second stop is the real hearth of Barcelona. Make sure to bring cash and a smaller bill(maximal 20 €) with you. They won’t change larger bills than 20. If you are part of a larger group, it may be worth hiring a minibus. While minibus insurance can be expensive, the convenience of it can’t be beaten.

Busses to the airport will cost you 5,90 €. Before entering a bus make sure you know if you’re departing from Terminal one or Terminal 2. The bus driver can mostly help you with that if you know your Airline, but they are not always right. Depending on the Terminal you’ll have to take the Bus A1 or A2. There are three stops, where you can hop in but the most important ones are Placa Catalunya or Placa Espanya. Make sure to bring cash and a smaller bill(maximal 20 €) with you. They won’t change larger bills than 20.

2. About the City

Barcelona is a lovely city with lots of different areas. I have written a more detailed post about this here.

In general the city is very safe. However be aware of pickpocketing ! Where tourists are you can find them in every city. So be aware of this especially in touristic areas and around touristic attractions as well as when getting on and of the metro.

Barcelona’s the perfect holiday place for a city trip combined with a view days at the beach. I was also able to strike a few conversations with the locals thanks to curso de español.

3. How to move in the city

Barcelona is filled with busses and metros and to travel from one place to another is pretty simple, however might be a little confusing if you’re not used to this metro net. Here are the most important information about how to move in Barcelona.

Metro / Bus: One way costs 2,15 € 10 rides are 9,95 € this is the cheapest way to get around and what most local people use too. You can even share one T10 ticket by stamping it once for each person.

Rent a bike or e-bike: Especially Barceloneta is filled with these small shops where you can rent them for a day or two and discover the city.

Touristic Busses: If you have view time and want to see all Barcelona has to offer I’d suggest a touristic bus. The fair is circa 25 €, depending on the operator and you’ll get to see all the sightseeing places all over Barcelona and an audio guide in lots of languages.

By foot: Barcelona is a big city but there are some areas where you are better of by foot. Two of the most beautiful areas are Gothic and El Born but with the tiny streets there are not many ways to travel but by foot. Take the time at lunch or before dinner to walk down here, choose form one of the small restaurants and enjoy the small and idyllic streets.

At night: Barcelona’s metro is open till midnight but on Saturday is going the full night. In addition to the metro there are night busses working all week, which will take some time but bring you to almost every area of the city.

4. Negotiation and prices

Barcelona is a european city, therefore lots of the prices and rules are working around the european standard. Most prices are not negotiable if you are not counting the illegal markets on the street or the vintage markets on the weekends.

Cocktail in a Bar: starting at 5 €

Cocktail in a Club: mainly 10-15 €

T10 metro ticket: 9,95 €

Taxi: The taxis in Barcelona are more on the low side in Europe. To/From airport circa 30 €.

Dinner: 15 – 30 € usually / person

Spa: Read all about this here.

5. Opening Hours and Timings

In Spain the working and eating hours are quite different to european standard, however the state is thinking about changing this in the future.

Shop opening hours: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm usually with some exceptions and smaller shops closing over lunch.

Sunday: shops are usually closed, but there is one shopping centre called Maremagnum close to the Barceloneta, which is open on Sundays.

Lunch time: usually 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Dinner time: Starting at 9:00 pm. On weekends it is not unusual to have dinner at 10:00 or 11:00 pm

Nightlife: bars are filled at all times during the evening, but usually start to fill as of 10:00 pm. You tend to go to clubs as of 1:00 am but people also arrive after 2:00 am often. Remember most clubs have free entrance lists which are valid only up to 2:00 am.

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6. ATM’s and money exchange

Barcelona is full of banks at every angle with ATM’s to withdraw your money from. If you’re somewhere close to the centre you’ll never have to walk more than 5 minutes to find one.

Money exchange can be done in banks for a small additional fee or in Placa Catalunya in one of the official exchange places. Don’t exchange in small bars or places close to the beach as you never know what could expect you.

7. Food and drinks

Food is generally very good in Spain and Barcelona and you will find something for every taste.

Typical to eat are tapas in the evening, which would be as an aperitif or as a full meal. You can find these bars all over the city and usually the full ones are the best is terms of taste. To give you an idea, ‘Patatas Bravas’ tend to cost 3,5 € on a reasonable price.

For lunch the city is filled with menus of 10 € / person. Here are my best cheap lunch places for Barcelona.

Dinner is varying a lot and depends on the type of cuisine as well as the style of the restaurant. Paella is one of the typical dishes and cost usually around 18 € / person. You can find some restaurant suggestions here.

8. The beach

If you are in Barcelona to have a combined holiday between Beach and City then here are some tips for you.

It is super simple to get to the beach in Barcelona. If you take the metro to Barceloneta (yellow line) then it is only a 5min walk down to the beach. However in summer time the beaches close by the centre are very dirty and filled with people so if you’re planning got actually ly down and relax I’d suggest you to go to ‘Marbella Beach’ or my personal favourite ‘Platja Boatel’. Both of the two beaches are a little further away but are still reachable by metro and bus.

However if your idea is to have a full day at the beach I’d suggest you to check out my city-escapes for Barcelona and choose one of the most beautiful beaches around Barcelona.

Travelling to Barcelona soon? There are also blog posts about General travel Tips for Barcelona, the best beach alternatives, Barcelona’s main areas, Cultural Highlights, Best Clubs, The best Spas, City Escapes, Best Restaurants and best Pizza Places.

Any questions? Just write me an email or drop a comment below! Best, Be-Sparkling!

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Gamers Who Travel 2 November, 2016 - 10:40 AM

This is an awesome post, wish we read it before we went to Barcelona 🙂

100cobbledroads 18 November, 2016 - 3:49 AM

So many practical tips for Barcelona. No first-time visitor would ever feel lost with such a list.

vishvarsha 20 November, 2016 - 3:04 AM

Great tips for a first timer in the city. Really helpful and would definitely keep this in mind if and when I go there 🙂

Miriam Ernst 22 November, 2016 - 3:07 PM

Thank you 🙂

Sona Sethi 20 November, 2016 - 10:13 AM

Simple great trips for any first timer. Love the way you have broken down key elements which will be on top of mind for any traveler. Thank you for sharing.

Indrani 20 November, 2016 - 2:19 PM

Yes a good guide. I didn’t do the bridge but other factors are helpful. Wish I had read this before my visit.
Good break up of required info.

Tom 20 November, 2016 - 9:13 PM

A “Just the facts” post, something we all need to start. I like the way your provide links, like the spa and beach, for further info on certain things. Maybe you can have more?

Miriam Ernst 22 November, 2016 - 3:06 PM

Thanks Tom ! Yes I am about to write more detailed reviews about the City as I know it very well – coming soon 🙂

Alberto C. 20 November, 2016 - 9:58 PM

Very complete guide, you did an amazing job! It includes pretty much anything you need to know when you’re visiting Barcelona.
Good idea suggesting a couple different beaches apart from la Barceloneta. Any other beach that you visit in Barcelona will be a hundred times better 🙂

Janine 21 November, 2016 - 2:54 AM

Barcelona was a beautiful city. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and your tips are spot on! I hope to go back and will use your tips when I go back.

Blair Villanueva 21 November, 2016 - 7:43 AM

For the first time to visit Barcelona (im excited!) this travel guide is perfect for me

Miriam Ernst 22 November, 2016 - 3:07 PM

Oh great ! Enjoy 🙂

Joanna 21 November, 2016 - 11:59 AM

I have explored Barcelona last year and really enjoyed just walking around. I never took a bus, I walked for miles every day but I enjoyed it. You are right, Barcelona can be expensive for dinner but you can get some nice tapas to share if you’re with friends and the split bill will be much cheaper. 🙂

EG III 21 November, 2016 - 6:24 PM

Great post. As I’ve never been to Barcelona this is a good go-to guide I can use when budgeting a future trip there!

Shane 21 November, 2016 - 6:27 PM

I only had 48 hours in barcelona and didn’t make it to any beaches but had an amazing a
Experience regardless. Was surprised it wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be! Will be going back one day!

Ana Ojha 21 November, 2016 - 7:27 PM

Wow! Your post is like a complete travel guide on Barcelona! I’ve never been to Barcelona but saving it for my reference in future!

Miriam Ernst 22 November, 2016 - 3:04 PM

Thank you !! You def should plan a trip there!

City Cookie 21 November, 2016 - 7:51 PM

Really practical tips! I’m going to Barcelona in December so this is great, thanks!

Miriam Ernst 22 November, 2016 - 3:04 PM

Oh great ! Enjoy 🙂

chantae 22 November, 2016 - 2:05 AM

This is so helpful! You should charge for this advice 😉 I love Barcelona so much, I could easily live there. Great tips that I’ll be sending over to any friends heading that way!

Miriam Ernst 22 November, 2016 - 3:03 PM

Hahaha you’re fun :p I am glad you think it is helpful – maybe google will repay me with a higher ranking place 😉
Thank you for sharing!

sridharsalian 22 November, 2016 - 7:05 AM

love the way you tell about this place. It’s amazing information the places with wonderful pics. I’ve never gone there before. Noted it!

Miriam Ernst 22 November, 2016 - 3:02 PM

Thank you ! You def should travel there soon 🙂

anjuprakash 22 November, 2016 - 7:37 AM

Thanks for sharing such an informative and useful post! I’ve dreamed of living in Barcelona ever since I watched the Vicky, Christina Barcelona! If i ever plan a trip, will definitely save your post for planning 🙂

Miriam Ernst 22 November, 2016 - 3:02 PM

hahaha that is so fun – I love that movie and it def inspired me 🙂

Sriparna 22 November, 2016 - 8:27 AM

As a hard core Spanish fan, I’m very inclined towards unfolding the beauties of Barcelona 🙂
Real great tips!!!

Miriam Ernst 22 November, 2016 - 3:01 PM

Thank yoU! You definitely should the city is beautiful! 🙂

Ami Bhat 22 November, 2016 - 9:17 AM

Thanks for these helpful tips. It is good to know when stuff opens in a place. Helps you plan your day better. Also, the internal transport system is so required. Glad you addressed that.

Jona Bering | Backpacking with a Book 22 November, 2016 - 11:47 AM

Hi there! Helpful tips you got there. This post answered all the essential questions a first-time traveler in Barcelona would ask. Thanks! Will share this to friends who are traveling to Barcelona someday!

Miriam Ernst 22 November, 2016 - 3:00 PM

Thank you 🙂

Preethi 31 May, 2017 - 8:45 PM

great tips and Information, wish I read about the shopping centers being closed on Sundays. Very useful information for first time travelers to Barcelona.


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