This gem of a city is ideal for a sightseeing city break, a beach holiday or a mixture of the two depending on what you fancy!
I opted for the city sightseeing style and was blown away by the beauty that this city holds. Not only are the churches, streets and views phenomenal but the shops also have some cool, quirky sights to offer too!
During my time planning my trip and exploring the city I found some interesting nuggets of information that either : I wish I had known before going or helped me along on my travels. So, here they are…
The Lost Homebird’s three things to know before visiting Barcelona:
#1 There are three airports
Wait, what? Yup, that’s right, I was caught out at the first hurdle. Although I am sure you are much savvier than me, don’t be fooled like I was! But if you have already booked your flights and worry is starting to kick in STOP, calm and breathe. All will work out and be ok!
Being a first time explorer and travel novice at the time of my trip I felt very chuffed with myself when I managed to plan, book and arrange the travel details all by myself, until my travel buddie piped up with … “mate, which airport did you book?” Sheer horror sank in as I came to realise that I had not booked us to fly to Barcelona–El Prat Airport, which is the closest to the city centre, but in fact to Girona, a whole 103km North of the intended destination! Whoopsie.
Your choice of airport may depend on where you are flying from but it’s always good to check the others for cheaper flights. If, however, you’re not looking for an hours transfer to the city centre then book a flight to the El Prat airport.
After a little bit of research and pinging an email to our accommodation and the bus company I calmed my hysteria and realised that my panicking was unnecessary.
So for all you little panickers (or maybe just to reassure myself after all the flapping) here is why it will be okay… there are buses and trains that are super easy to use and if you’re feeling frivolous with your money there are also taxis.
I used sagales busses just because the hotel recommended them and it went to the right place.
Okay, so you may not be running around the house like it is on fire as I did and you’re probably sat there thinking, “chill out, its just another airport ” or “were you born under a rock? Of course there is transport” (and if you’re not and you feel my pain then I’m glad I’m not alone) but, just something to be aware of in terms of transport to the city and your accommodation.
And if you’re still not sure then check out this page for some useful links:
Talking of transport…
#2 Use the underground
I know, rich coming from the girl who was fretting about not having a direct route from the airport but guys and dolls, I got brave on this trip!
Barcelona’s underground trains, known as the metro, are super efficient, easy to use and cheap too!
You can get tickets for the metro online or at the station. I opted for the Barcelona travel card which can be bought for 2-5 days. We got a 5 day travel card which suited us on our short city break and meant that we were entitled to unlimited journeys on the bus, metro, tram, commuter train and a metro ride to and from the airport* this is only to EL Prat airport.
#3 Book a ticket for Sagrada Família
If you want to explore the beautiful Sagrada Família which was designed by Gaudí then I would highly recommend booking your ticket in advance. When we arrived it was fairly late in the day so the queue was huge which meant that we didn’t get to look inside.
As it is such a popular tourist attraction in Barcelona tickets sell out crazy fast which means that, like us, you may not be able to get in on the day. To avoid any disappointment pop on over to their website where you can choose your tour, date and time.
If you do fancy testing your luck but find yourself in the same position as we were then don’t fret because there is still loads to do in the area. You can easily walk around the outside and you will be able to take in the incredible detail on the exterior of the church. There is also a park opposite the church which had some very cool street performers as well as some sweet and quirky little shops with lots of tourist memorabilia and goodies!
So there you have it. Three things to know before you visit this beautiful city.