Barcelona Travel Guide

Explore Barcelona

If there’s only one city in Spain you can visit, make it Barcelona. This vivacious city has it all sun-kissed beaches, rich history, renown architecture, world’s best chefs, and rolling forest covered hills topped with museums, castles and hiking trails.

If you’re into history and architecture, its Gothic quarter is a hodgepodge of 14th century cathedrals, ancient city walls, temples and subterranean cisterns.In other parts of town you’ll see a sharp contrast with whimsical and temporary creations by Gaudí, Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró
all of whom are the country’s most famous artists.

For those who want to kick back, the stunning city beach is lined with atmospheric seafood restaurants and hip beach bars that are perched right on the sand.


Top Things to Do

Sagrada Familia

An iconic Cathedral that’s become a symbol of Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site most famed for its Gothic and Art Nouveau architecture style. Designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, the Cathedral has been under construction since 1882, but holds many modern features that are way ahead of its times.

La Rambla

This tree-lined pedestrian boulevard stretches for 1.2 kilometers through the city center, connecting Plaça de Catalunya with the Christopher Columbus Monument at the port. A hot Favorited among locals and tourists alike, this boulevard is brimming with floral shops, street artists, performers and cafes that are perfect for people watching.

Park Guell

Another masterpiece of the great architect Antoni Gaudí, this public park is an eclectic ensemble of lush gardens, mosaic-tiled sculpture and architectonic elements that reflect the modernism style. Perched on the top of Carmel Hill, this green space is back dropped by a view of the city and its coast.

Museu Picasso

Barcelona is chocked full of museums, but if you have to choose only one to visit, make it the Picasso Museum. This establishment houses one of the most extensive collections of artworks by the 20th-century Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. Its exterior is just as interesting: the museum is located in five adjoining medieval palaces and is framed by beautiful Gothic architectural designs.

Where to Eat and Drink

Barcelona’s diverse gastronomy makes it a culinary haven for a wide range of palates, whether you’re into casual style tapas, traditional Spanish cured meats, fresh seafood dishes, halal food or avant-garde molecular fine dining. If you’re looking to get a real taste of Spanish cuisine, Barcelona won’t disappoint.


RECOMMENDED PLACES TO EAT

La Boqueria

The city’s central market has been renovated and transformed into a sassy and colourful collection of seafood stalls, fruit stands, sweet shops and tapas bars. Today it’s the best place in town to get fresh local produce and sample Catalonian platters.

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Habibi Arabic Halal Restaurant

This fully-certified halal restaurant along the popular La Rambla pedestrianised walkway dishes up a blend of Middle Eastern, Arabic and local Mediterranean cuisine as well as various Shisha tobacco flavors at reasonable prices.

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ABAC

The Michelin-starred restaurant is run by celebrity chef, Jordi Cruz, and famed for its host of modern Catalan dishes that marries creativity with traditions. The sophisticated restaurant only has 56 seats and usually requires booking (way) in advance.

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Alkimia

Translated to mean Alchemy in Arabic, this contemporary gourmet restaurant experiments with avant garde cooking styles and bold, new flavours. It’s evident from the minimalist design of the restaurant and the ultra edgy menu.

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Recommended Places to Stay

Majestic Hotel and Spa

This five-star hotel epitomises elegance with marble floor, neo-classical columns, grand staircases and neutral colours.

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Hotel Pulitzer

Located just a stone’s throw from Plaza Catalunya, this well-located boutique hotel has a bustling lobby – a meeting point for Barcelona locals and tourists alike, a beautiful patio overflowing with plants and an impressive rooftop terrace-garden.

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Cotton House Hotel

The unconventional traveller would lover this classic boutique hotel that has been converted from a cotton guild. With a decor reminiscent of the old Ottoman architectural style, the hotel exudes exotic flair from yesteryear.

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Room Mate Emma

Part of a funky hotel chain in Spain, this mid-range hotel is the hippest joint in town with slick decor, chic design and cool vibes. Rooms may be on the small end, but the hotel has thoughtful touches like free mini Wifi routers and welcome bags of jelly beans.

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Best Time to Go

Blessed with sunny weather year-round, Barcelona has mild weather regardless of summer or winter. The best time to visit though is from May to June when temperatures are pleasant, around 20 to 25ºC, and there’s a flurry of festivals taking place. When summer hits, humidity can rise to an uncomfortable level and tourists flood into the city and take over the beaches.


Getting There

Many airlines fly from Saudi Arabia to Madrid and Barcelona, including Qatar, KLM, and Turkish Airlines. There are no direct flights, and most one-stop flights last at least 9 hours.

Getting from Airport to City
  • By Train

    The Rodalies commuter train connects the Barcelona El Prat Airport with the city center. The train station is located near Terminal 2. A single ticket costs 4,10€ and takes around 26 minutes to the Passeig de Gràcia train station. The airport metro line L9 also runs the same route, and a single fare costs €4.50.

  • By Bus

    The Aerobus is a fast and cheap way to get to the city center, and it costs 5,90€ one way or 10,20€ for a return ticket (that is valid for only 15 days). Each terminal has its own bus line and both buses take around 35 minutes to get to the center.

  • By Taxi

    Taxis are easily available from the taxi ranks outside bother terminals. The price to the city center is around 25€ to 30€ each way and the journey takes between 25 and 30 minutes depending on traffic.



Extra tips
  • In Barcelona (and the rest of the region of Catalonia), Catalan and Spanish are the two official languages. English is not very commonly spoken so do pick up a few basic Spanish words to communicate with locals.

  • The currency in Spain is the Euro (EUR). The current exchange rate is 1 SAR to 0.24 EUR.

  • The outlets in Spain supply 220 volts at 50 hertz.

  • Spain uses the two-pin Euro plug.