The department store El Corte Inglés publishes a helpful (and free) street map for tourists. You can pick a copy at the store, or from most hotel front desks. They’re also available at the tourism information offices (including one at each terminal at Barcelona El Prat Airport).
By public transport
- APP’s for smarthphone are the best option to move inside the city. They provide bus information in real time and routes to destionations with train, metro, tram and bus. Some aplications for Android and iPhone are Google Maps, Citymapper and Adif, the last provides real time for Renfe trains (Rodalies de Catalunya). Only some station of bus and FGC (Plaça Catalunya and Provença) provides free WIFI.
- The Barcelona Bus Turístic links all of the Barcelona tourist sites you could possibly want to visit. It has three routes (map provided as you board), including a northbound and a southbound line that leave from opposite sides of the Plaça de Catalunya. Each takes 1-2 hours. The hop-on/hop-off format lets you get-off risk-free at any interesting stop, see what interests you, then get back on any later bus at that or any other stop. One approach is stay on for an entire route, then continue while getting off at locations that interested you earlier. Buses are double-decked, with the open-air upper deck offering much better views…sunscreen essential in summer months, jackets in winter/early spring/late fall. As you first get on, you are offered earphones. Outlets near every seat let you choose among many languages and playback volumes. As you approach each significant location, you receive audio describing it. You can buy tickets at the bus stops and elsewhere (e.g., better hotels) valid for one day (€27, April 2015) or two consecutive days (€38, April 2015). At least in March 2015, buy tickets online are more cheaper.
- Red Line: Estació de Sants- Creu Coberta- Plaça d’Espanya – CaixaForum Barcelona – Poble Espanyol – MNAC – Anella Olímpica – Fundació Joan Miró – Telefèric de Montjuïc – Miramar – World Trade Center – Colom/Museu Marítim – Port Vell – Museu d’Història de Catalunya – Port Olímpic – Platja de Bogatell/Cementiri del Poblenou – Parc de la Ciutadella/Zoo – Pla de Palau – Barri Gòtic – Plaça de Catalunya – Casa Batlló/Fundació Antoni Tàpies – Passeig de Gràcia/La Pedrera – Francesc Macià/Diagonal.
- Blue Line: Monestir de Pedralbes – Palau Reial/Pavellons Güell- Futbol Club Barcelona – Francesc Macià/Diagonal – Eixample – MACBA/CCCB – Plaça de Catalunya – Casa Batlló/Fundació Tàpies – Passeig de Gràcia/La Pedrera – Sagrada Família – Gràcia – Park Güell – Tramvia Blau/Tibidabo – Sarrià
- Green Line: Fòrum – Port Olímpic – Platja de Bogatell/Cementiri del Poblenou – Poblenou – Parc Diagonal Mar.
- The metro can take you to many places. Stations are marked <M> on most maps; every station has a detailed map of exits to the city. A one-journey ticket cost €2, so it’s best to buy a multi-person 10-ride ticket for €9.95 (2015) for Zone 1 which includes most tourist areas (called a T-10) or a personal 50-ride monthly ticket. These tickets are also valid on the buses, trams, FGC (Catalan Railway Network) and on the main Spanish Trains (RENFE (Rodalies de Catalunya)). 2- to 5-day public transport tickets are available that allow unlimited travel on the metro and bus networks (€14 for two days, €32 for five (March 2015)). These are an excellent value. Be sure to look after them well as bent or damaged cards will not be read by the ticket machines (such cards can be replaced at one of TMB’s customer service centers). Metro operating hours are: Sunday and M-Th 5:00 to 24:00, Fri 5:00 to 2:00, Saturday 24 hr (continuous service from Saturday at 5:00 until Sunday at 24:00). Trains are fast, often coming in two minute intervals. Announcements are made only in Catalan and Spanish, though signs and ticketing machines are generally trilingual in Catalan, Spanish and English. In case of temporal break on the line -for example, power failure-, a announcements are made in Catalan, Spanish, French, Japanase, and other many languages.
Pay attention to the fact that to get from metro lines operated by TMB (1,2,3,4,5, 9/10 and 11) to the ones operated by FGC (6,7 and 8), or vice versa, you need to exit and then enter through a new pay-gate. In this case, if you had a one-journey ticket, you need to get a new one. If you used a multiple journey ticket (such as the popular 10 rides T-10 ticket -the one that locals use the most-) you won’t be charged for a second time when changing lines (as long as you are within the stated travel time for a single journey). To be clear, you get 10 journeys on a T-10 ticket, and once a journey begins, you have a certain amount of time (stated on the card) where you can use the pay gates the TMB metro, the FGC metro (6/7/8), TMB bus, tram, and local RENFE (Rodalies de Catalunya) lines up to once on each journey. The number of rides left will be indicated on the back of the card as well as the fact that the T-10 has been fully used up. The text that appears in the ticket when you use the 10 travels is “Titol esgotat”, below 10 lines of times used. The bus map may also be downloaded, this allows you to plan your route and make connections.
Usual features are: all cars are air conditioned; there are large screens for video advertising between lanes (e.g. at Universitat).
- The RENFE trains are not the same that metro. Please use the correct word to avoid wrong indications, metro is subway/underground and train is RENFE. Renfe isn’t the correct name, the real is Rodalies de Catalunya and outside Catalonia is Cercanias. You can referer using the previous names without problem. The trains can be very caotic and no information sometimes or contradiction. If you are not sure of something, is better to ask young people because they speak enough english to help you. The young people like students they know very well the trains, so try to avoid old people because most of them don’t speak english. Indications are rarely in english, and public address system only in catalan and spanish. Civia trains, provides free spanish sockets in every entrance shared for 2 doors. That’s mean exists 3 sockets for each car.
- Although the metro is the best option to visit tourist zone, the’re others transports integrated into ATM. ATM is the system that allow you use train, bus, metro… and only pay once. The following public transports are integrated inside ATM: bus, metro, [www.tram.cat/en/ TRAM], Rodalies (Renfe) and FGC
- The Barcelona Card features unlimited free travel on public transport and free admission and discounts at around 100 visitor attractions. The card is available for purchase for periods of between 2 and 5 days, costing €37.00 for a 2-day card and €62.00 for a 5-day card. But you will get an online discount of 10% if you are booking in advance. If you don’t plan to see lots of museums every day, then it is cheaper to buy transport-only tickets (see above).
But there are many things that you will want to do in Barcelona that are not eligible for discounts. You can’t use the Barcelona card on fun transport options like cable cars, funiculars (except to Montjuic), for example.
- The Barcelona ComboPass® is a non-Official combo pass available for periods from 2 to 5 days and includes the benefits of the Barcelona Card described above, plus the Hop on/off Bus Turistic and the Montjuic cable car. However, it will not necessarily save you money compared to buying each ticket separately. For example, it costs €78.90 for a 2-day Barcelona ComboPass, but if you purchase the 2-day Barcelona Card (€33.30), the 2-day Bus Turistic ticket (€30.60), and the Montjuic cable car ticket (€9.27) separately and online from the Official city ticket offices, then you will only pay €73.17 and save over €5 per person.
Due to the demands of bicycle hire companies, the city’s bike share system ‘Bicing’ is not available to tourists. Therefore maybe consider walking instead.
- Bornbike Experience Tours Barcelona. Bikes for €6. They offer guided city tours such as the Gothic to Modernism Tour, Beach Tour, Montjuïc Tour, and the Tapas Tour.From 22€ rent a bike from 6€ Carrer marquesa nº 1 metro Barceloneta More info:www.bornbikebarcelona.com
- BCN RENT A BIKE, close to the Palau de la Música and the Cathedral, rent classic bikes, the iconic Flying Pigeon, and provides tours guided by architects with a detailed knowledge of the city and its monuments.
- RENT-A-BIKE, very cheap and comfy Dutch bikes for only 9 Euro per day, located in the nice Gracia/Eixample district. Carrer del Perril 31, opened: 9:30-20:00
- Biking in Barcelona. Backed by Biciclot, a co-operative that promotes the use of bicycles in Barcelona. They offer high-quality tours for groups (from 12 to more than 100 people), private groups or individuals, as well as bike rentals.
- Budget Bikes. With top quality Dutch bicycles on hire, Budget Bikes offers good group reductions as well.
- Deviant Bikes. Bike rental in Gracia, they specialise in fixed gear and single speed bikes and longboards. Bikes cost €20 per day and boards €15 per day. GoPro video cameras are included with the rentals.
- e-bikerent. Electric Bike rental €7-20 per day. Tours to highest points of Barcelona from €30 for about 4 hr.
- Terra Diversions. Bicycle hire in Barcelona city center: You can rent a bike or do a tour. Big selection of city bikes, mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, road bikes and children bikes in different sizes.
- Pedals Barcelona. MTB and Roadbike Tours. In a 1 to 5 days tour you will pass through some of the most beautiful Natural Parks around Barcelona. The route is self-guided although you can choose to have a guide. Pedals adapt to your needs. You can contact them by email at email@example.com
- Plan Bike Barcelona Cool beach cruiser bikes for rent. You can find them near Plaça d’Espanya
- Ajo Bike Barcelona Ajo Bike is a budget bike shop in El Raval, a vibrant district in central Barcelona. You can rent a bike for as little as 4 euro for 2 hours. The price for 24 hours is 10 euro and if you are more people, every extra person pays 9 euro. On Monday a bike could be rented for 48 hours on the price of only 10 euro.
- Telefèric de Montjuïc links the city to the top of Montjuic, with 3 stations (Parc de Montjuïc, Miramar and Castell de Montjuïc). Costs: €10.30 for two-way trip.
- Tramvia Blau is an old tram (beginning of the 20th century) connecting Av. Tibidabo metro station and Funicular station at the foot of Tibidabo. Costs: €4.50 for a two-way trip.
- Funicular del Tibidabo connects the foot of Tibidabo with the view point. Costs: €9 for two-way trip.
Offers different routes through Barcelona city and most visited spots. Also offers open routes up to clients preferences, friendly and multilingual. The tour is fun, silent and smart, and 100% ecological. more info: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 93 5195700.
- Mattia46 50cc, 125cc, 150cc, 200cc scooters for rent for a cheap price to enjoy Barcelona.
- GoCar is a two-seater, 3 wheeled vehicle that runs with a 49cc size scooter engine. It is legally classified as a scooter to drive on the roads. The GoCars were created with the purpose of being rented to tourists as a different way to see a city.
- Scooters for singles or couples are a great way to explore Barcelona at their own speed. If you are coming as a group you can get a personal tour of all the places you like to see.
- Vesping, Passaje Simo, 24 – Next to Sagrada Familia, ☎ +34 626 773 361 (email@example.com). 10:00-20:00. Explore the city on a GPS guided Vespa. Choose from the tours or go explore on your own.
- Barcelona Moto Rent Barcelona Moto Rent, your scooter rental, gives you the opportunity to travel and visit the city for a cheap price. Carrer Roger de Lluria, 31 – Next to Plaça Catalunya – +34 935 325 925 – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Barcelona Segway Tour. Barcelona Segway Tour connects the narrow streets and squares of the old city with the modern seafront. Get the most out of Barcelona and let the city’s Official Segway Tour be the highlight of your stay.
- Barcelona segway day Explore highlights of Barcelona by segway in hours. Get to know history of Barcelona from professional tour guides also get advice for the best places for eating going out and shopping.
Parking around all major tourist destinations is expensive (€3/hour, €20-36/day) and the spaces are difficult to navigate, as there are several classes of public parking spaces, with complicated rules for each class. Barcelona is plagued with the same problems that plague other major European cities; massive traffic jams and extremely narrow streets in some areas, coupled with a very complicated road system. As such, driving yourself around is not recommended for tourists, especially those with no driving experience in large cities. Public transport will get you to all the major areas, and you should use that as your main mode of transport.
Having a driving map is essential – plan your route before you set off. Navigating with an average tourist map is frequently misleading: many streets are one-way; left turns are more rare than rights (and are unpredictable). As an example, Gran via de Les Corts Catalanes is technically two-way, but in one direction supports only minor traffic: after every crossroad you’ll find the traffic light on the next crossroad turns red by the time you reach it.
But if you have to take a rent a car there are several companies there to get great car rental rates like Sixt rent a car, Hertz, DotTransfers, EuropeCar and more Some free parking spots reported by travelers are:
- Near Moll de Sant Bertran (which is south-west from Museu Maritim) – driving at B-10, exit to WTC and make a complete round at roundabout, heading to warehouses – and park next to its employees cars.
- Somewhere near Guell Park.
- Near Font Màgica, in Plaça Espanya.
Getting around by car makes sense if you plan to spend much more time driving outside the city borders than inside it – and ideally if you don’t plan to park overnight at all. Otherwise, for purely in-city transportation, consider renting a scooter, or using public transportation instead.
Barcelona’s official languages are Catalan and Spanish. However, most signs are indicated only in Catalan because it is established by law as the administrative language. Yet, Spanish is also widely used in public transport and other facilities. As in most other cities, any attempt by visitors to use the native languages is always appreciated. Most locals are bilingual in Catalan and Spanish, and instinctively address foreigners in Spanish. Catalan is a language, not a dialect, and sounds closer to Italian, Portuguese, and French in many ways. Avoid referring to Catalan as a dialect, which will offend Catalans.
These issues regarding language, national identity, and politics are like politics anywhere, and there’s no way to summarize here. The percentage of Catalan speakers is much lower In the city of Barcelona than in the rest of Catalonia. People here thus generally use Catalan with family members, close friends, and others that they are sure speak the language, and use Spanish, which is understood universally, with strangers. Spanish-speaking visitors will have no problems in Barcelona.
In tourist areas, almost all shops and bars have some English speaking staff. People will generally make an effort to try to help you if you speak in English. If you are an English speaker you will not have any problem as Barcelona is a very touristic city.
|What to see in the dark
The most spectacular sights in the night are:
Walk around the winding streets and hidden squares, fountains and palaces in the Barri Gòtic (Ciutat Vella).
If you are thinking of visiting several museums, an “articket” will save you some money. It is a combined ticket costing €30 and covering admission to six museums.
Attractions spanning several districts
- Harbour Cable Car. Jun-Sep: 11AM-8PM. The 1450 metre long harbour aerial tramway with red cars connects Montjuic and Barceloneta. It starts in Barceloneta on the top of the 78 metre tall Torre San Sebastian tower, which has also a restaurant at its top accessible by an elevator. It has an intermediate stop at Torre Jaume I tower (close to Columbus monument), which can be reached by elevator from ground–107 metre tall tower, the second tallest aerial tramway support tower in the world. The final point of the tramway is Montjuic. Overall, the tramway is quite old (built in 1929), and the car is packed with tourists during the daytime–particularly sensitive for a stroller or a wheelchair. Plan your route wisely as the capacity is limited. It can be up to 1-1.5 hours from the moment you join the queue to the moment you get in the car. Currently, the Torre Jaume I tower in Barceloneta is temporarily closed for renovation, while two other stops work as usual. The facility doesn’t accept credit cards, it’s cash only. One-way €10, round trip €15.1.
- “Montserrat“A little ways outside the city of Barcelona (roughly an hour and a half), lies the beautiful Montserrat mountain range. Today there are a handful of newer buildings that have been built on the range, but upon visiting, it is easy to slip back into the past to imagine what the mountain range must have been like hundreds of years ago. A beautiful monastery stands at the center of the mountain range where visitors can attend masses that include wonderful live church quires of young men who live at the monastery. The range is home to many rock climbers who venture to the high altitudes to challenge the vertical limits of Montserrat. It also affords visitors an excellent hiking experience through scenic paths, all of which over look the surrounding cities, including Barcelona.
The beauty of Montserrat speaks for itself. It is a must see and will provide a full day of sightseeing. For the most full experience possible, it is encouraged to seek out a travel guide who will bring you there for the day and show you every nook and cranny of the mountain range, providing exceptional background and knowledge on the ancient and beautiful structures that still stand strong today.
Temple of Augustus
The Temple of the Roman colony of Barcino date of the first century BC, was dedicated to the imperial cult. The building was located on the axis of the Forum, an arcaded square where the main public buildings clustered in the city, the church or the bar, where he met the Ordo Decurionum or municipal senate, there was the market on all products sold arriving anywhere in the Mediterranean. The temple overlooking the city, which rises on a podium which is accessed by a staircase, but had also built a small hill’s highest point, known as Mons Taber on which built Barcino. Today the remains of the Temple is located inside a building which houses four columns and Corinthian fluted shaft, and architrave of the podium. Address: Paradís street
- F.Cervera Ancient Art Gallery– In F.Cervera Gallery you will find a premier collection of ancient art pieces. You can check the Etruscan and Roman antiquities.
Gaudi architecture and Modernist Barcelona
Gaudi architecture includes the Parc Güell in Gràcia, the still unfinished (as of 2011) Sagrada Família in Eixample and the houses La Pedrera/Casa Milà and La Casa Batlló both in Eixample. The Ruta del Modernisme run by Modernisme Centre (Pl. de Catalunya, 17, subterráneo; phone +34 933 177 652): guidebook and discount voucher book for €12. Takes you round all the best Modernisme (art nouveau) buildings in Barcelona. The main part of the route can be walked in a couple of hours, providing you don’t stray too far from the main routes. The Tourist Offices offer a pack that includes discounted tickets to many attractions such as La Pedrera and La Casa Batlló. All can be seen from the outside for free.
La Sagrada Familia
One of the most famous and breathtaking locations to visit in Barcelona the most famous building in the entire city and its landmark, La Sagrada Familia. Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in November 2010 was consecrated and proclaimed a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI. From the outside, visitors are astonished by the sheer height and intricacy of the design of the church and although it is not completed yet, the progress that has been made is incredibly impressive. The project began nearly a century ago and was designed by one of Spain’s most well known and respected architects in Spanish history, Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi was born a Catalan (ethnic group in Spain) and produced some of the most moving buildings and works of art that are still standing and praised by the Spanish people. Undoubtedly, his most famous work is La Sagrada Familia. La Sagrada familia is a masterpiece in the center of the city of Barcelona. The height of the church will be, once it’s finished, exactly equal to the height of the largest mountain in the nearby hills, the reason being because Gaudi felt that no man-made creation should ever rise above God’s natural creations. The height of the church is overwhelming when standing at its base and the inside is even more impressive.
Upon first walking into the church one cannot help to feel their stomach drop as they witness one of the most impressive and beautiful creations known to man. Visitors first gaze up at the height that the ceiling extends to, supported by beautiful hand shaped columns, which were hand-shaped to resemble the trunks of trees. As a lover of nature, Gaudi included many elements of God’s natural beauty within his work. As visitors move towards the center of church they cannot help but to twist their head in a full 360 to admire all of the stained glass windows that line the walls of the basilica. During the day these windows produce incredible natural light (a personal favorite of Gaudi) that illuminates the sheer beauty of the inner church.
The church is absolutely breathtaking. La Sagrada Familia is an absolute must see for every visitor in Spain and the Barcelona. It is truly a masterpiece and is sure to please visitors of all ages.
Be careful when visiting, as there are certain restrictions on dress in this and the Barcelona Cathedral.Bare shoulders, knees and feet are not permitted and unless adhered to you will not be granted access. Information to this effect is not really given anywhere you may have already looked.
To avoid the queue, tickets may be booked online and collected at Sagrada Familia itself. You will need to indicate the time of visit. If you plan visit either the Passion Tower or the Nativity Tower, the ticket will grant you entry one hour before the scheduled time you booked. You can stay in Segrada Familia for as long as you want after descending the Tower. The Passion Tower has elevator both ways. The Nativity Tower option means you to take the elevator up and walk all the way down. You enjoy the view of the city as you climb down, not the external wall of the Tower.
- Kids & Family Walking Tour – interactive and fun walking tour of the Gothic Quarter for families with children
- Museum of Natural History – in the Forum – Museu Blau
- Can Framis Museum – Catalan Modern Art with activities for kids and guided visits.
- CosmoCaixa: Museum of Science – Amazing museum for kids from 4-5 onwards. Adults will really enjoy it also.
- Tibidabo Amusement Park – Located on the Tibidabo hill overlooking the entire city of Barcelona, this is an amusement park focused on kids with priceless views.
Named the #1 Beach City in the world by National Geographic, Barcelona’s beaches are world-renowned. Although locals prefer that you do not stroll through the city in beachwear, the beaches themselves have a very open and relaxed atmosphere. As with many other European beaches, you will find topless (and even nudist) beach-goers. Unlike many European beaches, however, you will find fun and friendly “chiringuitos” common on Spanish beaches that offer you a place to sit down and listen to music while you have a drink and grab a bite to eat directly on the sand as you watch beach-goers strolling by. Please be aware that the sand at the main beaches is quite rough – may have small stones and shells as well.
The Barcelona beach season starts around March 15th and goes until around November 15th. The High Season for beach-goers is usually from the end of May until the end of September.
- Sant Sebastià
- Sant Miquel
- Nova Icària
- Mar Bella
- Nova Mar Bella
- Stroll along the following famous streets in Ciutat Vella:
- Les Rambles (Catalan)/ Las Ramblas (Spanish) or La Rambla, a gorgeous tree-lined pedestrian walkway, the busiest and most lively street of the city. Mostly occupied by tourists, expect to pay higher prices for lower-quality food and drink. Avoid the groups of people supposedly betting on a game played on a cardboard table, they are thieves. Head off into some of the side streets for a cheaper, more local, and authentic experience of Barcelona. Often called Les Rambles, because it is actually a series of several different streets each called ‘Rambla de ____’, the sections also have distinct feels. As you get closer to Plaça Catalunya, you find more street performers doing stunts. In the middle, you’ll find street performers in costumes. Towards the pier, there are artists who will do pencil drawings, paintings, etc.
- La Plaça de Catalunya. The epicenter of the city and main transportation hub connecting all the major streets, the Square is known for its fountains and statues, plus the shops that surround it. A favourite meeting spot for locals.
- El Portal de l’Àngel. This large pedestrian walkway is one of the most expensive streets in all of Spain and offers visitors many new and stylish shops to browse.
- Cruise miles of beachfront boardwalk starting from Barceloneta or get a tan on the beach.
- Sit on a wooden bridge to Maremagnum in Ciutat Vella and cool your toes at the water’s edge: with a book, sandwich or just for a short rest.
- Wander the Barri Gòtic in Ciutat Vella, the largely intact pseudo-medieval center of the city.
- Enjoy your Sangria at La Plaça Reial in Ciutat Vella, near the La Rambla Street. Great place to sit, relax and drink. While visiting La Plaça Reial.
- Walk in Born in Ciutat Vella, a very popular area with great restaurants and places to have a few drinks. If your accommodation is on Rambla, Born is a great place to escape the crowds, enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and meet off-the-beaten track travellers and non-tourist-industry locals–especially in the evenings.
- Ride the Cable Way to get from the sea front to Montjuïc mountain in Sants-Montjuïc
- Sit and sip on a coffee in Plaça dels Àngels in Ciutat Vella, while admiring the whiteness of the MACBA and the best street skate tricks in town.
- Catch a performance at the beautiful Teatre del Liceu or the Palau de la Musica Catalana both in Ciutat Vella.
- Visit a Flamenco Show in a real tablao. Although the dance is not local to Catalunya, one of the best Flamenco Shows in the city is Tablao de Carmen in Sants-Montjuïc. A cheaper alternative is in the jazzclub Jazz Si in Ciutat Vella.
- Rent a bike or join a Biketour and get to see the highlights of the city in a different way. Ride from the magic beaches of the Mediterranean, to Gaudí’s modernist buildings through the medieval atmosphere of the Old Quarter.
- Sail 3 hours to see Barcelona from the sea.
- Mail boats serve almost all populated in Barcelona, and are amongst the cheapest way to reach many areas, though far from the fastest or most comfortable. The government has a mailboat schedule of mailboat routes online which may or may not reflect reality.
- Join a Barcelona photography walk or masterclass in English with www.Meetup.com/BarcelonaPhotography
- Camp Nou (FC Barcelona stadium). If you are football fan, it is a must see attraction.
- mapadearte.com (mapadearte.com), barcelona. Go see some of the famous or small unknown galleries or some museums in your neighbourhood. This website has an easy to use map with all places, their websites, opening hours or just show the places which are open per day.
- Sail on a classic yacht. Enjoy a day trip sailing along the Barcelona coastline on a classic yacht.
Festivals and events
Barcelona hosts a number of annual fiestas, many of which are unique to Catalonia and offer an insight into its distinctive culture.
- Cavalcada de Reis. (January 5) This float parade of the Three Wise Men is majestic and held on the evening of January 5 every year. Although geared towards families and kids, the various colourful and decorative floats can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
- Sónar. A annual three-day music festival. It is described officially as a festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art. Music is by far the main aspect of the festival. The festival runs for three days and nights, usually starting on a Thursday in the third week of June.
- Monegros Desert Festival The most famous and biggest one day/night electronic music festivals in Spain is in desert of Fraga 200km from Barcelona. More than 40,000 people gather every July to celebrate the electronic music with the best DJs representing styles from house, electro, minimal, techno, to drum&bass, dubstep and hiphop. 20hours nonstop, unique desert experience.
- Festes de Gràcia. The Festes de Gràcia is a Catalonian celebration, held around the 15th of August each year to commemorate the Assumption. During the week of festivities that mark one of Barcelona’s most important fiestas, the city of Gràcia explodes with fun, excitement, color and fireworks. Many streets are decorated by the neighbours, live music, food in the street, and the parties continue all night.
- Festes de Sants. Similar to Gracia’s event, but smaller and later on in August. If you can’t go to the Gracia’s, try to go to this festival instead.
- Sant Jordi. (April 23) Considered to be like Valentine’s Day. People give roses and books around the streets. Traditionally men give women roses and women give men books. It is one of the most popular and interesting celebrations in Catalonia.
- Corpus. Late in May (Corpus Christi day). An egg is put over the fountains (most of them in the churches, and decorated with flowers), and “magically dances” over the water. Most of the churches are in the city center: Cathedral’s cloister, Santa Anna, Casa de l’Ardiaca, Museu Frederic Marés, and over 10 more fountains.
- Fira de Santa Llúcia. From December 2nd/3rd to December 23rd, to commemorate Sta. Llúcia (December 13th). During this time, in front of the Cathedral, Christmas objects are sold. Some places sell Christmas trees, but most of them sell elements for making the pessebres (Nativity scenes). These include small sculptures, wooden pieces and moss used to simulate grass.
December 13th is the feast day of Santa Llucia, patron saint of fashion designers and blind people, who gather at the Santa Llucia chapel in the cathedral to pay their respects.
- Revetlla de Sant Joan. (June 23) This is the midsummer solstice celebration. It is celebrated on 23rd June every year and is signified by the fireworks (note that there are frequent and loud amateur fireworks all night long, which may make it hard to sleep) that are permanently on display during this time.
- La Mercè. (September 24): The annual festival of the City of Barcelona dating back to the 17th Century, it is an official holiday established to observe the Roman Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Mercy. It offers a lot of activities, with the main event being the parade of gigantic papier maché figures. Also worth noting are the group of ‘castellers’ who compete to see who can form the highest human tower, live music events, and the Magic Fountain and Fireworks show at the base of the Montjuic hill. All the days events are accompanied by a heavy consumption of Cava, the national drink of Catalonia.
- Fira de Barcelona. There are trade events all year round in Barcelona, including the annual Mobile World Congress which sees more than 70,000 visitors to the city.
During festivals and especially during mobile world congress which is a major trade show at the Fira, accommodation in Barcelona and especially near the Fira is much more difficult to find and more expensive than usual.
Take a walking tour
For those visitors who wish to get a real taste of Barcelona, you can join a group of English-speaking local guides for free sightseeing tours. In addition to exploring major landmarks and famous streets, you will also get stories, recommendations and tips that only a local could provide. These professional guides are passionate about their city and offer tours which are both educational and fun. These walking tours are based on a tip supported service.
Most shops and shopping malls are closed on Sundays because of law restrictions, but not all. In Ciutat Vella you will find plenty of small fashion shops, souvenir shops and small supermakets open on Sundays. The souvenir shopping scattered throughout the Barri Gotic and all along La Rambla are tourist traps, none of them sell Catalan or Spanish products but the typical array of Chinese general souvenirs, they should be avoided. Moreover on the the Port Vell, right at the end of The Ramblas there is Maremagnum, a shopping mall that stays open all Sundays.
- Secondhand English books in Grácia.
- Design lovers head for Grácia.
- El Corte Inglés. Spanning several floors and several buildings, and in several locations around town, many in Eixample and Inland Suburbs and a couple also in Ciutat Vella. You can find anything and everything in this department store, from gastronomy to pneumatics. Tax return checks are made on a separate floor of the store.
- La Boqueria. In Ciutat Vella. Large public market with a diverse range of goods and produce. Enjoy freshly squeezed organic fruit juices for €1.5 per cup. If you go near closing time (20h, 8PM) sellers will make you a special price (2 or 3 for 2€). Closed Sundays.
- Stamps are actually sold in ‘Tabacs’ or tobacconists. Once you know what they look like, you’ll notice them on every block or so. To post your mail, you need to find one of the yellow letter box located rather infrequently along the sidewalks.
- Jamonarium, Pg. Sant Joan 181. in Gracia. A Spanish Pata negra ham, the best souvenir you can bring from Barcelona
- La Gauche Divine. in Ciutat Vella. A multi-functional space that combines fashion, music, art and design.
- Camper, multiple locations. (10AM-10PM; vacation from mid-Aug to Sep 5).
- Museu Gastronomic (Open on Sundays), Av. Diagonal, 322 (Near Sagrada Familia Metro Station), ☎ +34 931 298 132. 10AM – 9PM. Sunday open from 10AM to 2PM. Museu Gastronomic is a Catalan food and wine store that looks like a museum or exhibition. They also serve cold snacks for less than 15€ per person. The shop is children friendly and offers facilities for bicycle parking. It is located near Sagrada Familia Metro Station. Open from Monday to Sunday.