Barcelona's Mediterranean climate provides the perfect backdrop for the city's unique architecture and vibrant nightlife. Travelers can soak in the Iberian sun on one of Barcelona's beaches or explore the city's lengthy history with an architectural tour. Sample Catalan food at one of Barcelona's tapas bars before viewing the world-famous artworks of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. The variety of activities and lifestyles available in Barcelona makes it a necessity for anyone traveling in Spain.
The city of Barcelona is home to some truly unique Catalan foods and is a place where tourists can easily spend a whole week trying different dishes. Traditional restaurants in the city serve a variety of tapas or pintxo, which are the perfect way to sample the local cuisine. Barcelona is famous for its fresh seafood and some of the city's most beloved dishes are created with locally sourced seafood. Try the local version of paella (fideuà) which is made with noodles, monkfish, squid, and prawns for an authentic Catalan experience. Food is a very important part of the Catalan culture and locals will be seen partaking in lengthy meals while socializing with family and friends. Book several months in advance to get a reservation at Tickets to try the innovative cuisine of chef Albert Adrià. Tickets is one of the most well-known restaurants in Barcelona, and they serve traditional Catalan cuisine with a modern twist. Bodega La Puntual offers an authentic experience and is the best place in Barcelona to sample ham, or jamon, including the famous bellota ham. Vegetarians should try calcots and romesco sauce, which is a dish made from green onions native to Catalina paired with a traditional salsa.
For your daily dose of caffeine, Barcelona has tons of boutique and themed coffee shops and cafes serving an unbeatable variety of beans and coffee styles. Hidden Café BCN boasts some of the most knowledgeable baristas and a wide selection of scrumptious pastries to pair with your coffee. With a range of specialty coffees roasted in-house, Hidden Café will have you coming back for more in no time. Head over to Gràcia and visit SlowMov who only work with specialty coffee and enjoy delicious, pure Arabica coffee. With their range of coffee changing depending on the season and the microclimate of the areas where they source their coffee, SlowMov serves some of the most versatile seasonal flavors. Located in the Poble Nou neighborhood, Espai Joliu boasts vintage design with quirky touches making for a cozy vibe. Its close proximity to Bogatell beach adds to its charm, as does its selection of freshly baked cakes and avocado-cheese sandwiches. The French-styled En Aparte is Barcelona's hidden gem of coffee shops. Located in the less frequented old town, this coffee shop is centrally located right in the heart of Barcelona. Enjoy your coffee on the terrace or inside the coffee shop and let the unique furniture charm you.
The Catalan capital of Barcelona is blessed with one of the world's great streets at the heart of the city. Any walk through central Barcelona involves a stroll down La Rambla, the mile long avenue leading from Placa Catalunya down to the port. At the top, tradition says a refreshing drink from the Font de Canaletes spring ensures the visitor will return to Barcelona. From here the Rambla has distinct sections, with areas devoted to flower sellers, craft markets and booksellers. One particular highlight is the Mercat de la Boqueria, the city's spectacular covered market. It offers a cornucopia of fresh meat, fish, and fruit from all over Spain, as well as traditional Catalan charcuterie and cheeses. With picnic supplies available, there is time to stroll east from the Rambla to the Barri Gotic, Barcelona's main historic quarter. The quarter was originally contained within the city's medieval walls. Sightseeing highlights here include the 14th century cathedral and the Royal Palace on the perfectly preserved medieval square, the Placa del Rei. Nearby, the Placa Sant Jaume is the location of the main Catalan government building. Back on the Rambla, the Art Nouveau Cafe de l'Opera remains a favorite meeting place.
Barcelona features an extensive public transport network that makes it easy to explore all corners of the city. The fastest and easiest way to get around the city is by metro, which comprises of 12 lines with over 160 stops to take you to the most interesting parts of Barcelona. The red and white urban buses serve over 100 lines and enable you so to reach the more hidden corners of the town. Additionally, there are two tram networks with a total of six lines. The blue trams going up to Tibidabo, with its breathtaking view over the city, are historic trams that are more than 100 years old. There are many ticket options from a single-use ticket to a several day pass. The latter, the Hola Barcelona Travel Card offers the best value for money as it is valid on all methods of public transport. You can buy it beforehand online or at the ticket office at the main metro stops as well as in one of the city's many tourist offices. Single-use tickets are available from vending machines and also directly on the buses. Don't forget to validate tickets when boarding a bus or you could get fined.
The best time to visit the city of Barcelona is between May and June, when the temperatures are in the 70s each day without the humidity of the summer months. This is the perfect time to visit before the summer crowds arrive, and the weather is ideal for visiting the numerous outdoor attractions in Barcelona. Take a stroll along Las Ramblas and enjoy the many street performances and festivals that take place here in the late Spring. Early Spring temperatures are pleasant but there are often rain showers in March and April, so pack a rain jacket and umbrella. In March each year, the city is flooded with over a hundred thousand visitors for the Primavera Sound Music Festival. This festival features international music stars on six different stages over three days. Those that want to enjoy the beaches of Barcelona should visit between July and September. The humidity and temperatures are high, but perfect for a day on the beach. Don't forget to pack plenty of sunscreen and avoid the beaches in the middle of the day to minimize the risk of sunburn. In winter, visit the Christmas markets or religious festivals that take place in Barcelona.