Barcelona Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Eat and More


Located on the northeast coast of Spain, Barcelona offers plenty of beaches, beautiful architecture and great food. Whether you are traveling to Spain and planning to visit other cities, or living in Europe and spending the weekend, Barcelona has something for everyone.

Gaudi’s beautiful architecture is enough on its own, and the Sagrada Familia should be on everyone’s bucket list. This impressive structure has been under construction for 135 years! Other attractions include the Picasso Museum, beautiful parks and Camp Nou, home of Barcelona Football Club. A lively food scene offers paella, croquettes, jamon and gazpacho accompanied by delicious wines or, even better, vermouth.

Where to stay

As with many cities in Europe, there is accommodation at all price points in Barcelona, ​​from super affordable hostels for budget travelers to high end hotels.

As for where to stay, the map below offers a nice overview of the different areas of Barcelona. Barri Gothic is centrally located and a great starting point. Although El Raval and El Born are other great choices. Eixample is another great choice, especially if you plan to spend time at the Sagrada Familia.

Map of Barcelona neighborhoods

St. Christopher’s Inn – Hostel

Lobby of the Saint-Christophe inn

Located in the Gothic Quarter, St. Christopher’s Inn offers affordable accommodation for travelers on a budget. Hotels are great in that they offer a variety of room types at different price points. Just need a place to sleep? A bunk bed in a room with 12 other people for $22? Sure. A room just for you? They have that too.

  • Nearest airport: Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport
  • Time: 18 minutes
  • Distance: 8 miles

Casa Camper Hotel

Terrace of Casa Camper

Another great centrally located option is the Casa Camper Hotel. No bunk beds for 12 people here. Casa Camper is a modernist hotel with great reviews, a terrace bar, and free snacks 24/7. When you’re hungry for something more than snacks, don’t worry, Casa Camper is right next to the Michelin-starred tapas restaurant, Dos Palillos.

  • Nearest airport: Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport
  • Time: 17 minutes
  • Distance: 8 miles

what to eat

Good dining options abound in Barcelona. From quick and cheap bites to upscale restaurants, there’s something for everyone. One thing to note, the meal times are slightly later in Spain and Americans should be prepared for this. Lunch is usually taken around 2 or 3 p.m. and many businesses close after lunch for a few hours. Don’t expect to be seated for dinner at 5pm. Many restaurants are not even open for dinner at this time and often dinner is eaten much later, between 9 and 11 p.m.

Adopt the calendar! And approach eating with more of a grazing attitude. Have breakfast at the hotel when you wake up at 7 or 8 in the morning, then somewhere between 10:30 and noon you will have the almuerzo. It’s like a second breakfast (brunch) or an early lunch, depending on how you want to look at it. You’ll eat your next meal between 2 and 4 p.m., so eat something that will keep you going until then. Alright, 2:00 p.m. is approaching, time to start thinking about what you want to eat for lunch. It’s often the biggest meal in Spain, so don’t hold back. Things tend to slow down after lunch and many businesses close for a few hours. Relax and perhaps take a nap before the evening festivities begin. Start looking for dinner around 8 p.m., although some people don’t eat until 11 p.m.

  • “$” = economy or cheap
  • “$$” = medium
  • “$$$” = expensive

Citizen Coffee

Brunch plates at Citizen Cafe
Mini guide

The Citizen Cafe is perfect for the first or second breakfast (aka brunch). With many positive reviews, what stands out is their tasty food, good service and value for money.

  • Ideal for breakfast/brunch
  • $$

Browse the menu


Oven-roasted chickens

If you’re looking for simple yet delicious food that also offers great value, check out Apluma. Roast chicken is the star of the show here, but pair it with tomato salad and roasted eggplant, with balsamic pineapple for dessert.

Browse the menu

Boqueria Market

Fruit stand at the Boqueria market

Open from 8am to 8.30pm, La Boqueria Market is a very popular place to visit in Barcelona, ​​and for good reason. Whether you’re looking to buy ingredients, a meal or souvenirs for friends and family, this market has it all: fresh produce, seafood, olives, ham, vermouth. Have a fresh fruit smoothie in the morning, tapas for lunch or dinner, or a quick snack any time of the day.

  • Ideal for breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • $$

Browse the market

What to do

Whether you are interested in architecture and design or not, you will want to discover some of Barcelona’s impressive buildings. The Sagrada Familia is one of the big attractions, but a longer walking tour of Antoni Gaudi’s works is well worth it. Other attractions include art museums and the beach.

Barcelona beach

Sagrada Familia

Exterior of the Sagrada Familia

The construction of this basilica began in 1882 and it is still under construction today. There are a number of buildings around Barcelona designed by Antoni Gaudi, but the Sagrada Familia is his most famous. The intricate details of the design are breathtaking and will surely impress you.

You can take guided walking tours or venture out on your own to see all of Gaudi’s structures around Barcelona.

Interior ceiling of the Sagrada Familia

Free walking tour

Picasso Museum

Interior Picasso Museum
muse’s life

Barcelona is home to a museum celebrating the early work of Pablo Picasso, who was actually born in Malaga, Spain (about 10 hours south of Barcelona). 4,251 works make up the collection and are mainly focused on Picasso’s formative years. Fittingly, the museum highlights Picasso’s ties to Barcelona, ​​where he lived as an apprentice artist.

Visit the museum

How to save money on your trip to Barcelona


As I mentioned above, there are free and self-guided walking tours of Barcelona. It’s a great way to save money if you don’t mind a little browsing. Plus, if you’re in town on the first Sunday of the month, you can visit many of Barcelona’s museums for free!


One of the best ways to save money on accommodation is to stay in hostels, not hotels and spas. You can find rooms for less than $20 per night. Hostels are also a great place to meet other travellers, get suggestions on what to see and do, and often have deals with popular restaurants and attractions to save you money.

Vehicles rental

Book in advance and travel out of season! That said, Barcelona is a super walkable city with good public transport. If you’re just going to be in Barcelona, ​​you’ll probably be fine without a car. If you’re worried about getting from the airport to your hotel, just take the train/metro (it’s much cheaper than a taxi, anyway). However, our travel plans sometimes require a rental car. If so, our tips above apply.

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