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Cyprus Travel Guide

Barcelona Travel Guide

The capital city of Spain's autonomous Catalonia region, Barcelona offers visitors an escape for the senses. From the fresh seafood at the buzzing markets and coastal eateries to the strange but stunning architecture of Gaudi's parks and infamous buildings - Barcelona offers a perfect city break you'll want to relive again and again.

What you'll find in this guide:

Practical Information

Weather in Barcelona

Getting to Barcelona

Getting around Barcelona

Top things to do in Barcelona

Current testing requirements

La Sagrada Familia

Casa Batllo

Park Güell

Practical Info

What time is it in Barcelona?

GMT +1

What currency do they use in Barcelona?

Euro EUR

What language do they speak in Barcelona?

Spanish

What power adapter do you need for Barcelona?

Type C and F

How long is the flight to Barcelona?

Avg 1 hrs 40 minutes


Culture and etiquette

Religion

The national religion is Roman Catholic, but many other religions are practised.

Tipping

Tipping is discretionary. Restaurants always include service charges in your bill, but these will be clearly stated. A small tip of 5-10% on top of that is usually expected, but not a necessity.

Smoking

Smoking is popular with the Spanish so most places have designated smoking areas, which will be clearly signed. It's banned on public transport and inside where food is being served.

Language 101

The main language is Spanish. But Catalan, Basque and Galician are also spoken. We think it's a good idea to learn a few key phrases and words to help immerse yourself in the culture and authentically enjoy all the things to do.

  • Hello - Hola (OH-lah)
  • Goodbye - Adios (ah-dee-OS)
  • Please - Por favor (por fah-VOHR)
  • Thank you - Gracias (GRAH-cee-ahs)
  • Yes - Sí (see)
  • No - No (noh)
  • I would like - Quisiera (kee-see-AYR-oh)
  • The bill, please - La cuenta, por favor (lah KWEHN-tah, pohr fah-BOHR)

Weather in Barcelona

Perched on the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, Barcelona has a subtropical Mediterranean climate - which means mild winters and warm summers to you and I. It's generally a sunny city with very little rain or snow, making it the perfect city break destination.

Springtime in Barcelona

The weather can be changeable during the spring months, with some rain and cloud around as well as sunshine. There's often a sea mist in early spring.

Average Daytime Temperatures:

  • March: 12°C
  • April: 13°C
  • May: 16°C

Summer in the City of Culture

Barcelona has a long summer, which sometime stretches from May to October. It can get very humid in July and August, with thunderstorms common from mid-July until early autumn. This is the ideal season to enjoy a festival or frolic in the Med, with welcome sea breezes and the sea at a very tempting average temperature of 25°C. July has the lowest number of rainy days in the year (about two a month).

Average Daytime Temperatures:

  • June: 20°C
  • July: 23°C
  • August: 24°C
  • September: 22°C

Autumn in Barcelona

October and November can still be pleasant in the city but quite unpredictable with cloud and rain likely. With six rainy days on average during October, this is the wettest month Barcelona has to offer.

Average Daytime Temperatures:

  • October: 18°C
  • November: 13°C

Barcelona's Winter

December, January and February are the coolest months but the mercury rarely plummets below 10°C in Barcelona. Barcelona enjoys around three times more sunshine and longer days than northern Europe during the winter. Snow is not common but if it comes it's usually a light dusting in February.

Average Daytime Temperatures:

  • December: 11°C
  • January: 10°C
  • February: 10°C
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Getting to Barcelona

Can you fly direct to Barcelona?

As Barcelona is a popular tourist destination there are plenty of direct flights available - from both London and regional airports. The flights are operated mainly by Ryanair, easyJet and British Airways and start from as little as £20.

Barcelona is served by the Barcelona–El Prat Airport which likes around 15km outside of the city.

Getting to Barcelona from El Prat airport

There are plenty of options available for making your way from the airport to your accomodation:

  • Aerobus - this is the quickest way into the city and costs 5.90EUR one-way or you can buy a return ticket for 10.20EUR and it lasts 15 days.
  • Bus - you can also get a public bus, but there is not much need for this as the aerobus is a much better option.
  • Taxi - the taxi rank can be found outside T1, T2A, T2B and T2C. It takes around 20-40 minutes and costs between 20-30EUR.
  • Train - the R2 Nord line will take you directly to the city and costs 4.60EUR. However if you intend on using public transport throughout your stay it's worth buying a Hola Barcelona Travel Card.
  • Metro - the metro connects both terminals with Barcelona's underground network and costs 4.60EUR for a single ticket. Again, we suggest the Hola Barcelona Travel Card.
  • Private transfer - this is the most direct way of getting to your accomodation as you can pre-book the transfer from door to door.

Getting around Barcelona

Unless you are planning on exploring outside of the city then it may be unecessary to hire a car - there is ample public transport available in the city.

Much of the city is explorable by foot, and in fact this is one of the best ways to discover any city - you never know what hidden gems you might find. If your feet tire than you can get nearly everywhere in the city by metro - including all the top sites and even the beach.

Barcelona Airport Transfers

Barcelona Airport Transfers

Pre-book your Barcelona Airport transfers with prices starting from under £10 and FREE cancellations on a great range of shared and private transfers.

Barcelona Car Hire

Barcelona Car Hire

Pre-book your Barcelona car hire, with prices starting from just £2.79 per day with FREE cancellations*

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What are the current testing requirements for Spain?

We aim to keep this information up to date however we advise always checking the current entry requirements on gov.uk before you travel.

Please note that there is currently no confirmed date for when Scotland or Northern Ireland will introduce lateral flow instead of PCR.

If you're looking for a recommended supplier you can find and book these via our Covid Testing FAQ page

Fully vaccinated? 

Travelling with children? 


UK >> Spain

⚠️ Spain currently requires travellers to present proof of vaccination

Children aged 12 and over must present proof of full vaccination.

Spain >> UK

⚠️ Pre-departure test required

Test type: Lateral flow or antigen

⚠️ Day 2 & Day 8 test required

Test type: PCR

⚠️ 10 Day Quarantine

⚠️ Complete a Passenger Locator Form

Test to release (optional)

Children 10 and over are required to provide the same tests as adults.

Children aged 5 - 9 must have a pre-departure test and a day 2 test only.

UK >> Spain

😊 No tests required

⚠️ Provide proof of vaccination

⚠️ Complete a Health Control Form

Children aged 12 and over must present proof of full vaccination.

Spain >> UK

⚠️ Lateral flow test on return

⚠️ Complete a Passenger Locator Form

Children under 18 have same testing requirements as adults.

Guide to La Sagrada Familia

As one of the most iconic and recognisable structures in Europe, the mighty Sagrada Familia of Barcelona demands the attention of visitors to the city and leaves an indelible impression of wonder on those that enter. Infamous for being incomplete, the Sagrada Familia is a monument of huge acclaim and reverence, and is arguably the most famous structure of Antoni Gaudi, the favourite son of Barcelona.

Dominating the city skyline, the Gothic/Art Nouveau spires and ornate structure of this Roman Catholic edifice has been through significant change since the foundations were laid back in 1882. While much has been spoken about the changes to Gaudi's original vision, the death of the architect led to a prolonged development, with many aspects still incomplete or yet to have started. As such, for the Sagrada Familia to have entered the annals of history in such high esteem speaks wonders for the sheer magnificence and visionary wonder of this awe-inspiring building.

History of La Sagrada Familia

While the very first stones of the Sagrada Familia were laid on March 19, 1882, the man synonymous with the structure - Antoni Gaudi - did not become part of the project until a year later, taking charge and completing construction of the crypt in just seven years. Over the coming decades, donations from known and secret benefactors would support Gaudi in realising his ambition, with the iconic Nativity façade of elaborate and intricate detail one of the earliest features to take prominence.

Little by little, elements of the Sagrada Familia we see today would appear, with the very first bell tower on the Nativity facade - the first of a planned 18 spires - completed in 1925, a year before the tragic death of Gaudi. That this would be the only tower the architect would see completed makes the poignancy associated with the Sagrada Familia, the site of Gaudi's remains, overwhelming.

Since 1926, a host of architects, designers, and sculptors have worked on the cathedral, with Domenec Sugranes the first to pick up where Gaudi left off. And, while the destruction of many original plans and drawings during the Spanish Civil War disrupted construction, the continued development of the Sagrada Familia has been steady, resulting in the 21st-century structure visible today. In 2010, the building was even consecrated as a place of worship by Pope Benedict XVI, adding to the many other privileges bestowed on the Sagrada Familia, including UNESCO World Heritage Status.

What to see and do at La Sagrada Familia

The entire Sagarda Familia complex attracts nearly three million tourists every year, making it an undoubted must-see for any visitor to Barcelona. From taking in the awe-inspiring splendour of the Nativity facade to gazing skyward at the soaring peaks of the spires, admiring the forest of angled pillars that support the rooftop to exploring the Museo Gaudi house below ground level, a visit to the Sagrada Familia is unlike a visit to any other religious building.

With construction work ongoing, care should be taken to explore only those areas designated safe. Guided and audio tours are available to help you discover the many wonders of this majestic site, while lifts are available to take you on a journey ascending the towers of the Nativity and Passion facades.

Visitor's Information for the Sagrada Familia

Opening times for the Sagrada Familia vary throughout the year: November to February, 9am to 6pm; March and October, 9am to 7pm; April to September, 9am to 8pm; December 25, 26, January 1 and 6, 9am to 2pm. Ticket prices vary depending on your chosen tour, but access without a guide is just €15.

The Sagrada Familia gets very crowded during the tourist season. We recommend booking your tickets in advance and arriving early - especially if you want a shot of this iconic structure without the crowds obstructing the view.

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Top things to do in Barcelona

Top things to do in Barcelona | La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

One of the most iconic buildings in the world - La Sagrada Familia is Gaudi's unfinished cathederal.

Inside you'll find glorious multicolour stained glass windows - so beautiful infact they insipired a board game.

Top things to do in Barcelona | Park Güell

Park Güell

Another of Gaudi's most iconic structures in the city - Park Güell sits upon a hillside overlooking the city.

It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 - and the colourful wavy benches frame an iconic photo over the city.

Top things to do in Barcelona | La Rambla

La Rambla

La Rambla is the main tree-lined pedestrian street that runs through the heart of Barcelona. Here you'll find resturaunts, shops and hotels.

Make sure you stop off at La Boqueria market - a large public market that sells a range of local food and drink.

Top things to do in Barcelona | Picasso Museum

Picasso Museum

Though Picasso was from Málaga he spent several years of his youth studying and devleoping his art style in Barcelona. The Picasso Museum houses a staggering 4,251 pieces of his work - arguably the greatest collection worldwide.

It's the only museum that was dedicated to the artist whilst he was still alive.

Top things to do in Barcelona | Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló

One structure that embodies the eclectic and unique vision of Gaudi is the Casa Batllo, known locally as Casa dels ossos - the House of Bones.

Gaudi took the existing structure and developed it into his signature style - with wavy lines and colourful mosaics.

Top things to do in Barcelona | Camp Nou

Camp Nou

Whether you are a football fan or not we highly recommend a trip to the famed home of FC Barcelona. You can take a tour of the stadium and get behind the scenes of the great football club. With a capacity of 99,354, it is the largest stadium in Spain and Europe - and standing pitchside is quite the experience.

Guide to the Casa Batllo

Arguably the most famous son of Catalonia, and one of the foremost architects of the Modernist movement, Antoni Gaudi is acclaimed for his imaginative style and rich legacy that has left an indelible mark on the magnificent city of Barcelona. One such revered structure that embodies the eclectic and unique vision of Gaudi is the Casa Batllo, known locally as Casa dels ossos - the House of Bones.

By replacing the facade of an existing structure with external walls distinctive in their wavy appearance, and combining them with a fragmented aesthetic of coloured glass and ceramic tiles, the work is a clear representation of Gaudi's talents. The arching rooftop, meanwhile, evokes the curvature and scales of an animal's back, with many believing inspiration to have been sourced from a mythical dragon. As a masterpiece of shape, colour, and light, the Casa Batllo features an even distribution of light throughout, but it is the skeletal, organic quality of its appearance that has earned it the moniker House of Bones among the Catalan people.

History of Casa Batllo

While the appearance of the Casa Batllo we see today epitomises the qualities associated with Antoni Gaudi, it was only after extensive redevelopment that the structure would prove so iconic. The initial building - also constructed by Gaudi in 1877 - was unremarkable in style, and it would take its purchase by Josep Batllo and the subsequent commissioning of Gaudi for it to be renovated and refurbished throughout.

Completed in 1906, Gaudi's vision led to the transformation of the apartment, the expansion of the central well to flood the structure with light, and the addition of more floors. All this earned it the praise of both critics and the Batllo family, and to this day is stands out in its audacity and creativity.

In 1954, the building would pass from the Batllo family to the Seguros Iberia company, and later, in 1993, to the present owners. Since this time, continued refurbishments have lead to the building being hired out for exclusive events, with visitors transfixed by its magnificent, unique appearance.

What to See and Do at Casa Batllo

The facade of the Casa Batllo is such that to enter the building with anything but a sense of excitement would be folly. This is a building that, like much of Gaudi's work, defies convention, offering something wondrous to behold at every turn. Entry to the Noble Floor - the former residential area of the Batllo family - takes place through a grand entrance hall reminiscent of marine caves, while the three interconnected rooms of the main suite overlook the Passeig de Gracia, with the large windows flooding the building with light.

The Loft, meanwhile, is characterised by the simplicity of the shapes used in its decoration. With a distinct Mediterranean feel elicited from the use of white colouring, and 60 catenary arches evoking the sense of navigating the ribcage of some mythical beast, there is something magical about exploring this iconic structure. Even the Roof Terrace, with its splendid views across the city and arching dragon's back appearance, will leave visitors with a sense of fascination, and an appreciation of the majesty of Gaudi's work.

Visitor's Information for Casa Batllo

Open 365 days a year from 9am to 9pm, Casa Batllo offers plenty of opportunities to discover the work of Gaudi at its very best. Children under seven can enter for free, while tickets for other ages range from €15 for local residents to €21.50 for adults.

We really enjoyed our tour with an official guide - and the cost is included in your ticket!

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Guide to the Park Güell

From Hansel-and-Gretel houses to magnificent plazas, a forest of stone columns to the former home of Gaudi himself, Park Güell may well have floundered when it came to its initial premise of being a mini-city for the elite, but has long since excelled as a pocket of wonder in the cosmopolitan city. Unusual but compelling, there is no end to the fascination of Park Güell, a project of Gaudi's where nature and design combine to create an area of enjoyment for public visitors and intrigued travellers alike.

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, the skilful design and sense of tranquillity that abounds offers suitable respite from the bustle of downtown Barcelona. And, with the collection of colourful mosaics, subtle yet delightful buildings, and array of monuments such as viaducts, fountains, and the renowned serpentine bench, the park is a paean to evocative design as much as it is to the splendour of nature.

History of Park Güell

The origins of Park Güell date to 1900 and the purchase of an area of tree-covered hillside by Count Eusebi Güell. Having commissioned Gaudi for a series of projects at the end of the 19th century, Güell tasked the architect with developing landscaped grounds featuring a series of homes for the bourgeoisie of Barcelona. Over the course of the next few years, Gaudi would create three kilometres worth of roads and walkways, enchanting gatehouses, colonnaded walkways, and much more, only for the project to be abandoned in 1914, with just two of a planned 60 homes completed.

Eight years would pass before the park would be acquired by the city for use as a public area, and the former home of the Güell family would be converted into a state school. For Gaudi, meanwhile, Park Güell would remain his residence until his death in 1926. His home, which was built by Francesc Berenguer in 1904, would ultimately become the Gaudi House Museum in 1963, and today represents one of the foremost attractions in the area.

The design of Park Güell and its use as a municipal park attracts more than four million visitors annually. The main terrace is surrounded by a serpent-style bench at which visitors can interact socially, while the park's natural wonders - for much of it remains forested and occupied by wildlife - offers an unrivalled level of peace and serenity within the city.

What to See and Do at Park Güell

A visit to Park Güell is one of the city's most popular pastimes, with a host of fascinating structures and landmarks to discover. The Dragon Stairway, which is divided into three sections, leads to an area known as the Greek Theatre where performances were to be staged for the enjoyment of residents. Below this, the Hypostyle Room of 84 Doric columns and a ceiling decorated with delicate mosaics can be discovered, while the Austria Gardens, whose name derives from the gifts of trees from Austria in 1977, offers something completely different to explore.

Of course, one of the most popular sites to visit in Park Güell is the Gaudi House Museum. Furniture and other memorabilia of Gaudi's life in Park Güell are on display throughout the museum, providing visitors with a detailed insight into the life of one of Catalonia's most revered sons.

Visitor's Information for Park Güell

Admission to Park Güell costs just €7 for a general ticket, with concessions available for children, residents, and the elderly. Opening hours differ according to the time of year, with the low season (January 1 to March 28, and October 25 to December 31) open from 8.30am to 6.15pm; the mid season (March 29 to May 3, September 7 to October 24) open from 8am to 8pm; and the high season (May 4 to September 6) open from 8am to 9.30pm.

It is worth noting that portions of the park are free, but you'll need a ticket to get into the area with the best views or to visit the Gaudi House Museum. Once you leave the paid area of the park, you can't go back in without purchasing another ticket.

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