Barcelona has a comprehensive Metro system that is easy to navigate. Purchase tickets from multilingual touchscreen station booths, which cost around AUD$12 for a 10-trip pass. It's the easiest way to get around the city with trains leaving every few minutes and stopping near most of the top attractions. The trains run late every night and for 24 hours on Saturdays.
You can't miss the black and yellow cabs darting in and around the city streets and crowding around the top tourist attractions. There are plenty of them! They offer a metered journey and don’t cost a fortune. However, you might notice that fares increase after 8pm and on Saturdays. Make sure you take your destination address with you to avoid any language hiccups.
Hop-on hop-off tour buses are ideal for getting your bearings. They run on three routes around the city with red covering the North, blue the South and Green running sun-seekers to Barcelona's beautiful beaches during summer. A daily ticket will set you back around AUD$40 and take you on all three lines. Worth it for a full day of adventure.
Explore the essential hotspots up close by walking around Barcelona's magical sites like Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter. Anyone who has seen the city from above knows it was built with symmetry in mind, so getting lost is tricky. Join a walking tour in your first few days and discover a fun, affordable way to master your city map.
Las Ramblas is prone to petty crime. The area is an amazing explosion of activity at the quietest of times and being distracted is easy. Enjoy the show, but be aware and keep a close eye on your belongings, especially when it feels like you're being jostled in a crowd. Pickpockets use this as a perfect opportunity to dive in.
Purchase 10-trip tickets that can be used by more than one person and on buses and trams. You could end up saving 50% on the fare. Day passes expire and there's so much to discover by foot that you might not use it as much as you think. T10 passes don't expire and work out at around just AUD80 cents a trip!
Locals love to feast before their afternoon siesta and many restaurants serve their best spreads at lunchtime. Huge quantities of deliciously fresh produce are laid out and you get more value for your money than at night. The trick is to eat like a king in the day and enjoy a light tapas meal in the evening.
Barcelona offers a wealth of discount cards that give you free entry into popular attractions. A Barcelona Museum Pass costs around AUD$30 and gives you access to seven must-see museums. The Barcelona Card gives you entry into twenty attractions and special transport offers, but some of the museums on offer aren't as popular. Cards can be purchased online at Viator.
One route to the Spanish city is on British Airways, with two stops in Singapore and London and a total journey time of 26 hours, 30 minutes.
Take a flight with Singapore Airlines or British Airways to Barcelona and stopover in Singapore. Journey time is just over 22 hours.
If you would prefer to avoid the scenic route you can get there in 23 hours onboard Qatar Airlines, with one stopover in Doha.
If you're in a group of three or more, get a taxi. It will work out cheaper and more convenient than other options. They line up outside the main terminals and the journey into the city will take under 30 minutes at around AUD$30. With hundreds operating throughout the night you'll never have to worry about being stranded – no matter how early or late you arrive.
This express bus service links the airport to the city centre and departs every 10 minutes from outside Terminals 1 and 2. At around AUD$7 for a one-way ticket, it's the cheapest option if you're travelling alone. The buses stop at Placa Espanya and Placa de Catalunya, where you can catch a metro to your hotel's nearest station.
Bumper-to-bumper traffic and plenty of one-way streets make Barcelona's roads hard to master in a rental car. If you want to travel privately from the airport, book a car transfer and avoid the stress. It's a more expensive option but perfect after a long flight if you feel like being whisked to your hotel's front doors in style.
Barcelona's metro system does not stretch to the airport. Take an over-ground Renfe train, which leaves every 30 minutes. The journey takes around 25 minutes to Barcelona Sants, where you can alight to join the Metro. Avoid having to buy another ticket en route by purchasing a T10 Metro pass at the airport, which also works on the Renfe system.
The famous Las Ramblas is a melting pot of street art, musical and theatrical performances, markets and cafe culture. And they're all crammed into just over one kilometre! You could easily spend a whole morning here souvenir shopping and pausing for tapas breaks in between. This heart of the city offers a sensory explosion and is well worth a return visit during your stay.
Barcelona's world famous ‘Barri Gotic' is a stunning representation of Spain's architectural history. Wind your way through a narrow labyrinth of streets, craning your neck up at the medieval facades. The area is also renowned for fabulous shopping. Spend a day here to get the best of both worlds: an insight into a glorious past and some designer indulgences.
This enchanting garden oasis, designed by modernist Gaudi, is a hodgepodge of dream-like architecture. Located 20 minutes walk uphill from Lesseps Metro station you'll be treated to a magnificent view of Barcelona from above. Dedicate half a day to wandering through mosaic buildings and lovely parklands and don't forget to drop into the Gaudi museum before you leave.
For a family day out, head to Montjuic by cable car and visit the charming Spanish model village of Poble Espanyol. Explore a huge variety of architectural styles and culture from all over the country and visit the arts and crafts exhibitions. Go in the afternoon for a chance to see the Magic Montjuic Fountains: an incredible lights and water display nearby.
This backstreet bistro near the Picasso museum is passionate about sourcing the freshest seasonal produce. Everything you taste here will be local, authentic and delicious. Ignore the outdated decor and be stunned by the beautifully presented plates. The duck ravioli and suckling pig are particularly exquisite, and make sure you get a personalised wine pairing to reach your Spanish food nirvana.
Obe's interior is rustic and simple, but don't let that fool you into thinking the food will follow suit. For traditional Italian flavours with a modern twist try the lamb loin in pesto crust for mains followed by the heavenly white chocolate mousse. This newbie to the Barcelona food scene is centrally located near San Caterina market.
A modest corner-cafe serving a huge variety of food and possibly the best coffee in Barcelona. From sandwiches bursting with flavoursome fillings to freshly tossed salads coated in healthy, homemade dressings. Fuel a few hours at Las Arenas mall opposite with a continental breakfast of pastries and orange juice, and make this little den of deliciousness a must-try while you're in the Montjuic area.
A clean, canteen-style layout leaves plenty of room for lots of hungry locals who come to sample tapas tidbits. This Basque-cuisine cafe counts your toothpicks at the end of your meal to calculate your bill – like Spanish sushi! Platters of spicy meats will whet your appetite from behind the glass counter and the atmosphere is electric, especially on a Friday.
The epitome of luxury cool, this sleek beachside hangout transforms at dusk into one of the city's most famous nightclubs, known for hosting celebrity-packed after-parties. Shake it on the dance floor to pumping house beats courtesy of top international DJs or relax and people-watch in the stylish chill-out zone.
Bestial is a stylish bar and restaurant for fashion-conscious media types. They tend to flock here to sip on cocktails in the beautiful garden terrace which overlooks the Barcelona waterfront. It's been designed with minimalism in mind in cool grey-brown tones, and although the food is excellent the place is more dance haven than dinner party.
Take a timeout from the heaving crowds of Las Ramblas and head to this smooth, monochrome cafe, restaurant and nightspot. Bar Lobo is a Japanese restaurant and cocktail bar which exudes understated cool. After midnight, the tunes get louder and the mini dance floor welcomes trendy patrons in from the terrace.
This could be Barcelona's most unusual bar. Enormous black and white posters of 1960s models adorn the walls and the rest of the interior is pure white. It's like a modern art gallery with cocktails and tapas thrown in. Food and drinks has never been so unusually exciting.
Jump on a tour bus and spend the morning exploring your surroundings, hopping on and off at the main city sights. Next, head to Las Ramblas and dive headfirst into the amazing cultural and culinary delights this incredible city has to offer. Take your time and soak it all in. Stop for market tapas and enjoy a glass of sangria in the sun. Wander your way down to Placa de Catalunya and discover a treasure trove of ancient sculptures, gorgeous fountains and incredible monuments.
Lose yourself for the whole morning in the spellbinding narrow lanes of the Gothic Quarter, Europe's largest inhabited medieval precinct. Visit the Cathedral and the Picasso museum to tick off fascinating cultural must-sees, followed by a spot of designer shopping. Take a break in the charming botanical parklands at Parc de la Ciutadella. Next, wind your way down to the vibrant Port Vell and visit Barcelona's fabulous aquarium with a huge selection of marine life from seahorses to sharks. Afterwards, continue your walk through the boat-strewn docks to La Barceloneta to watch the sun go down with a cocktail at one the area's lively bars.
Take the Green Line Metro to Lesseps station and visit Park Guell for the morning. Explore the extraordinary gardens, one-of-a-kind monuments and get an amazing panoramic view of the city. That afternoon, visit Sagrada Familia. Marvel at the majestic spires, astonishingly intricate Baroque facades and breathtaking interior. It is one of the city's absolute must-sees and a World Heritage icon. That evening, discover the new Barcelona at Port Olimpic, a modern area with a thriving bar scene.
Take a cable car from the port to Montjuic Castle, a stunning 17th century fort with glorious views over the Mediterranean. Next, make your way to the remarkable village of Pablo Espanya, which showcases the best of Spanish architecture. The area is also home to the Joan Miro museum, which is well worth a visit if you want to find out more about Spain's most famous 20th century artist. That evening, visit Placa Espanya where you'll be treated to an incredible lights and water show from the Magic Fountains.
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