If you are like most people, the first time you visit Barcelona, you are going to be blown away. There is no other city like it in Europe. You will love the food, the architecture, the people and the atmosphere.
But before you go, there are a few things that you need to know that will help make your visit more enjoyable. In this article I am going to give you my list of 7 things that you should know before going on your first vacation to Barcelona.
- Barcelona is huge, but it’s easy to get around
The city and its surroundings have a population of about 5 million people, which means that it’s the second largest city in Spain after Madrid. Don’t worry, though: the center can be easily explored on foot, and you can use the metro or a bus to get anywhere else. And from the airport, you should take a Barcelona Airport taxi to your hotel and then take the metro back. You can also take the metro if you want to go somewhere else.
You should definitely set aside some time to explore the streets of Barcelona’s old town. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon learning about the city and getting to know its cuisine – and it won’t take you long if you walk fast enough.
- The siesta is sacred
In Spain, lunch hours are usually from 1 pm to 4 pm (some restaurants close at 3 pm). This means that most stores close during these hours as well – including museums, which usually open at 10 am or 10:30 am and close again shortly after 5 pm or 6 pm.
- Late June – late August is the peak season
Barcelona is a busy year round destination, but it can be especially crowded in August when many Barcelona residents leave the city for summer vacation. If you have a choice of when to go, try to visit outside of peak season, which is between late June and late August. High season means higher prices for hotels and for tickets to attractions like Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia church, Casa Batllo, and Park Guell. And if you don’t have a choice about when to go but will be visiting during high season, book hotels and buy tickets well in advance. Also, book Barcelona Airport taxi services in advance so you can find the driver waiting for you when you land at the airport.
- Spanish tapas are a real treat
Little plates of delicious food that you can share with friends and family while enjoying wine or beer. In recent years there’s been an explosion of tapas bars in Barcelona, but unfortunately many of them serve good quality food at reasonable prices.
- Barcelona has a unique way to order food.
Your server will bring you bread and dip, and then take your drink order. If you want something else besides bread and dip, you’ll have to ask for it.
- Gaudi’s buildings in Barcelona are a very popular tourist destinations
When visiting Gaudi’s buildings in Barcelona, such as La Pedrera, Casa Batllo or Sagrada Familia, we recommend that you buy tickets in advance because these are very popular tourist destinations and you will have to wait in line for a long time if you don’t have an advance ticket.
- Spanish is the language widely used
Don’t expect people to speak English everywhere you go; learn some basic phrases in Spanish and Catalan like “please,” “thank you,” “good morning/afternoon/evening,” “where is the restroom?”, and numbers 1-10.
Barcelona is a city that always keeps you on your toes. It has a lot to offer, and it’s one of those places where you can really relax and enjoy yourself. The best part about it is the people – they’re so friendly and helpful. It’s also a great city for shopping and eating out. If you’re looking for something different than what you see in you city, then this is definitely the place to go.