Barcelona – the city of giant football team FC Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia and together with Madrid is one of the two largest cities in Spain. But not only football in Barcelona, it is also known as a cultural and art center, a major financial center of the Mediterranean region and especially the famous architectural works of two eminent architects who accredited by UNESCO are Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Barcelona is ranked as one of the three most successful city brands in the world, ranking first in Spain in terms of labor rate and GPD per capita in 2012. So, what to do in Barcelona? Let’s check out our Barcelona travel blog (Barcelona blog, Barcelona trip blog) with the fullest Barcelona travel guide blog for a wonderful budget trip to the marvelous city for the first-time from how to get there, best time to go, where to stay, what to eat, best places to visit, top things to do… to find out the answer!
- 18 fun things to do in Barcelona for FREE
- 5 wonderful tours with locals in Barcelona you should not miss
- How to get around Barcelona cheap? — 5 best way to get around Barcelona & how to travel around Barcelona
- Explore La Fabrica House — The transformation of the cement factory into a magnificent mansion by the Spanish architect
- My trip to Barcelona blog — Explore the city of wonders
Coming to Barcelona is to come and experience a diverse and unique culture, you can’t help overwhelming, admire when admiring the unique, weird architectures of Gaudi, walking on the La Rambla granite paved boulevard all day long without feeling bored, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of nightlife stretching along the beautiful coast of Barcelona.
Barcelona travel blog: A brief history and culture of Catalonia
Before you go to Barcelona, you should learn a little about the history and culture of this city, because it has its own characteristics. Barcelona is the largest city of Catalonia (or Cataluyna in Catalan language), is a semi-autonomous region, a land of high independence despite belong to Spain. Catalonia has its own culture and language, is one of the richest and most developed regions, formerly a large country and invaded by dictator Franco. Later, when the Franco regime disintegrated, Catalonia, although nominally is a part of Spain, had its own voice and political independence. People here always aspire to be independent and separated from Spain to form a separate government and country, because of a proud part of its cultural and history, partly because Catalan always has to shoulder a lot of economic burden for a country of stagnation of Spain in recent years.
Coming to Barcelona you will clearly see the independence desire of this land, the national flag with red stripes on a yellow background is displayed everywhere in the city. Although the Catalan language is different, it is generally similar to Spanish (both belong the Romance languages), usually they only distinguish when they want to know if you are a native Catalan or not. Usually, people here do not speak English, but if you go to the shops or meet shop owners, people doing business and services… they speak English very well, so you should not worry too much.
Barcelona blog: When is the best time to visit Barcelona?
Barcelona is a Mediterranean city with sunny all year round, while the whole of Europe is in the cold of winter and it is usually cloudy and dark, but in Barcelona there are still sunny days, mild sunshine and warmth. It is possible to divide the appropriate periods to travel to Barcelona as follows:
- August: This is the peak month in the summer of Barcelona, people here often go on their vacation so the city is quite deserted, many stores will discount, suitable for those who want to enjoy the quiet atmosphere here. However, this time many services and shops are closed, so be prepared that you will not find many services like other times of the year.
- April – June and September – November: This is the best time to go to Barcelona because the weather is very cool, pleasant, the temperature ranges from 20-25 degrees Celsius. One thing to note is in April usually coinciding with the Christian holiday of Easter, at this time almost all shops here will be closed, especially the famous Boqueria market located on La Rambla Boulevard, it will be really a pity, so you should remember to consider.
Barcelona travel guide blog: How to get to and getting around Barcelona?
We have written a very detailed article on how to get to Barcelona and how to travel around Barcelona here. Please read: How to get around Barcelona cheap? — 5 best way to get around Barcelona & how to travel around Barcelona?
Barcelona trip blog: What and where to eat when traveling to Barcelona?
Barcelona is a vibrant, bustling city and full of budget as well as luxurious restaurants or street food vendors. The eateries here open very late for the simple reason that the people of this city have dinner very late, but not so lazy as in other parts of Spain. Breakfast usually starts at 11am, then around 2pm – 3pm they will have lunch and dinner is usually at 9-10pm, or even later.
A highlight in Barcelona is that not only food but a lot of other goods and services here are very cheap compared to the common price in Europe. I used to buy a few blocks of milk here for only € 0.75 (even cheaper than in Vietnam ), bread, fruit or sausages, you only need to go to supermarkets to buy at very affordable price. In a upscale restaurant, the coffee is only € 2 / cup, beer is € 2.50 / cup, Mac Donald’s hamburger is € 4 / piece. If you want to eat seafood and fresh food, you should go to Mercado de La Boqueria market (Address: La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain / Hours: Sunday: Closed) or two less famous markets, Mercat de l’Abaceria (Address: Passeig de Sant Joan, 184, 08037 Barcelona, Spain / Hours: 8AM–3PM; Sunday: Closed) and Mercat de la Barçeloneta (Address: Plaça Poeta Bosca, 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain / Hours: 7:30AM–2PM; Sunday: Closed).
The most famous dish in Barcelona as well as in Spain is Tapas that selling in many shops on La Ramble street or Plaça de Catalunya square, which is the name of the snacks here, or go to La Bodegueta restaurant (Address: Rambla de Catalunya, 100, 08008 Barcelona, Spain / Hours: 6PM–1:30AM) which serves Tapas very delicious. While waiting for the late dinner you can enjoy a little Tapas and a glass of wine, such as Patatas bravas (the dish of fried potato cubes served with spicy sauce), Calamares fritos (fried squid), boquerones (anchovies), Croquetas de Jamo (jamon meatballs), Chorizo (pork sausages), Pimientos asados (fried chili peppers), Albondigas (meatballs) and berenjenas gratinadas (grilled eggplants with cheese), etc.
Another traditional dish not to be missed is Paella (Paella mixed rice dish), although it originates from Valencia. Paella is essentially a small pan of rice mixed with many flavors of the sea from seafood blended into the fragrant of rice, in addition, they also mixed with shrimp, squid, fish, … Eat whole the mixed rice pan will make you satisfied, full. Paella is a traditional dish present at most restaurants on the menu every Thursday, why? There are many explanations for this, but usually Thursday is the day that families here gather together and they choose Paella as the main dish.
As a coastal tourist city, Barcelona is also rich in seafood, you can easily find restaurants serving delicious seafood along Passeig Joan De Borbó street or in Port Olimpic area. Alternatively, to find a diner that serves local food you might go to Ciutat Comtal (Address: Rambla de Catalunya, 18, 08007 Barcelona Spain / Hours: 8:00 am – 1:30 am), which is highly rated on TripAdvisor.
Barcelona travel blog: Where to stay?
With a friendly city and a low cost of living like in Barcelona, you will have no difficulty to finding for yourself a good place to stay with a reasonable price. For backpackers like me, I simply go to Booking.com or Agoda.com (the booking websites that I often use a long with Hostelworld to find hostels in Europe) to find a place to stay in the center and near the Metro stations for convenient and comfortable travel, and I chose Urbany Hostel BCN GO! (Agoda.com or Booking.com). This hostel must be said to be very good from staff to facilities, the room rates is only EUR 10-15 / bed depending on the date of booking, clean room and beautiful furniture, separate from the lobby below so if there is a noisy party at night, it does not matter. You can refer to this hostel in my journal articles in Barcelona.
If you want to stay more luxurious, you can choose some good-rated luxury hotels such as Casa Fuster GL Monumento (Agoda.com or Booking.com) or Majestic Hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com) located right in the heart of Passeig de Gracia, these hotels you do not have to worry about the quality service and utilities are available.
Below we recommend more best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
In addition, to saving more you can find room on Couchsurfing or AirBnB. Remember to find room near the central area such as Placa de Cataluyna square, Passeig de Gràcia or near the old town of Barri Gothic for easy travel.
Barcelona travel guide blog: Best places to visit and top things to do in Barcelona
Main tourist attractions and admission information:
- Casa Batlló: € 21.50
- La Sagrada Família: € 15- € 24
- Picasso Museum: € 11- € 16
- Palace of Catalan Music: € 18 (guided tour)
- Barcelona History Museum: € 7
- Port Cable Car: Round trip – € 12.50; one way – € 9.00
- Cycling tour: € 22 – € 24
Las Ramblas (La Rambla) Boulevard
This is a very famous walking street that anyone who comes to Barcelona definitely will also have a few walks here. This street is similar to Hang Ngang, Hang Dao night market in Hanoi’s Old Town, which is also a walking street with souvenir shops, but there are many basic differences. This granite-paved road is always crowded with tourists, but it is always clean and airy, from the people to the tourists always have a sense of common hygiene, no horns or jostle, hustle. On the two sides of the road are many shops, restaurants, cafes, clothing shops, .. but I do not encourage you to buy goods here because they are usually more expensive than elsewhere.