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Barcelona is a Mediterranean jewel located near the border between Spain and France.  This Catalan city has a rich history dating back to the middle ages and the Gothic Quarter is a revitalized neighborhood where Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand commissioned Christopher Columbus to sail to the new world and you can stay at an #AirBnB on the same square.  Barcelona is also a very current, cosmopolitan, modern city of around two-million people with a vibrant economy and culture.

Image Title: Barcelona was the site of the 1992 Summer Olympics and this art still  Stands on the waterfront
Barcelona was the site of the 1992 Summer Olympics and this art still Stands on the waterfront


Getting to Barcelona

Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) is an international airport with daily flights from cities all around the world.  The airport is about a €30/15 min taxi ride downtown.   Barcelona also has an excellent metro system that can get you downtown for around €5/45 min.  If you are travelling with more than just a couple of people, consider the total cost of the individual train fares vs the total cost of a taxi.   Another consideration, particularly in the Gothic Quarter, is that the streets are generally cobble stone and may not be clearly marked or the names may change, so getting a taxi to drop you at the door is money well spent if you are not quite sure where you are going.

Staying in Barcelona

In the heart of the city there are hundreds of hotels, B & B’s, and private apartments as well as a few hostels.  It is really up to you what kind of experience you want and how much you are willing to pay.  Lodging cost should not be a major consideration in selecting Barcelona as a destination city because even the thriftiest traveler should be able to find something reasonable.

On our two trips, we stayed as a couple at a trendy romantic downtown hotel, called Alma Barcelona and we stayed as a family with our two college age daughters and one boyfriend at an AirBnB.  Both places were unique and suited our needs very well.

Eating in Barcelona

In a city of two-million people where tourism is a significant part of the economy, your problem will be too many choices, not too few.  Generally speaking, the waterfront restaurants are a more touristy and the deeper into the city you go the more “authentic” you get.  Similar to lodging, there really is something for every budget and every palate.  These are some of the restaurants where we ate and our Trip Advisor Reviews:

Exploring Barcelona

There are hundreds of things to do in Barcelona with something for everyone’s interests.  Some of our highlights are included below, but we will definitely be back to Barcelona to explore even more.

Sagrada Familia:  It’s pretty hard to go to Barcelona and not visit one of the most celebrated Cathedrals in the world.  

Montjuic Castle: The views overlooking the city from Montjuic Mountain are stunning, particularly at sunset.

Park Güell: was originally designed as a housing development by the famous Barcelona architect, Antoni Gaude.  Now it is a public park that showcases Gaude’s remarkable style.

Girona and Salvador Dali Tour:  If you are interested in taking a bus tour outside of Barcelona, there are a number of tour bus companies to the town of Girona on the Italian Border and to the Salvador Dali museum.

Antoni Gaude Tour: There are a number of tour operators who can provide guided tours of Gaude’s more spectacular buildings around the city.

Picasso Museum: Pablo Picasso spent much of his youth in Barcelona and the Museu Picasso in the Gothic Quarter now is home to much of his early works.


Football Club Barcelona:  If FCB is in town for a match at Camp Nou, the largest football stadium in Europe, is a must see.

Magic Fountain of Montjuïc: The Magic fountain has a free light show near the Plaça Espanya metro stop.  The fountain is choreographed to music and lights similar to the Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas.  Make sure to check the operating times when you go because it does not operate every evening.  [Pro Tip 1: If you get there early, you can get a seat on one of the sky bridges or the steps of the National Museum of Art.  Pro Tip 2: There will be plenty of “Venders” selling tins of beer for your added enjoyment.] 



Tram: Barcelona has a Tram across the inner harbor that ends at a hilltop restaurant with outstanding views of the city and the port.  [Pro Tip – This is a GREAT place for Sangria in the sun]

Picnic in the Park: Sometimes, it’s just great to kick back with a local picnic with wine, bread and cheese at one of the central parks like Nou Barris Central Park.