With its unique Gaudí architecture and Mediterranean beaches, Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is also a city that will awaken your senses. Watch people dressed as dragons and devils run through the streets and set the city ablaze with fireworks during La Mercè Fire Festival. Listen to local rumba catalana music or flamenco guitar on Las Ramblas. And taste authentic Spanish tapas and sangria at a side street bodega. Barcelona is a city that you don’t just travel to, it’s a city that you experience with all your senses. South African travellers need a Schengen visa to visit Barcelona and the rest of Spain.
There are so many amazing things to do in Barcelona you may find yourself seriously considering extending your trip so you can experience everything. You will spend a lot of your time in Barcelona eating tapas – it is one of the best things to do in Barcelona. Some of the best tapas bars and bodegas are in the Barceloneta and Poble Sec districts. You will also spend your holiday to Barcelona gazing up in awe at the distinct Gothic and Gaudí architecture that lines the streets. The most impressive architectural masterpieces are the La Sagrada Família, Casa Batlló, Park Güell, Casa Vicens, Palau de la Música Catalana, La Pedrera, and Barcelona Cathedral. You can’t go to Barcelona and not spend time on the gorgeous Mediterranean beaches. Some of the best beaches in Barcelona are Barceloneta Beach, Bogatell Beach, Nova Icària Beach, and Platja de Sant Pol (which is just outside of the city). Barcelona is a beautiful and interesting place, with something new around every corner. Simply walking around the streets is one of the best things to do in Barcelona – which is what makes it such an exciting place to travel to.
Some of the best areas for shopping in Barcelona are the streets of Passeig de Gràcia and Portal de l'Àngel in Eixample. Portal de l'Àngel is home to major brands such as Pull and Bear, Zara, and Mango, while Passeig de Gràcia is known for its luxury shopping and brands such as Armani, Diesel, and Jimmy Choo. There are also a number of shopping malls in Barcelona that offer everything else. Barcelona can be expensive if you stick to high end accommodation and eating out at really posh restaurants. The average cost of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant is R200, R50 for a beer, and R30 for a coffee. A decent bottle of wine from the store costs about R85. Transport costs are R40 for a single ride on the metro and a 3-day Hola BCN card is about R400. A room in a hotel or guest house averages R1000 and a home stay is about R2000.
Walking or renting a bike is the best way to get around Barcelona. Public transport is also reliable and available throughout the day. You have the option of using the metro, tram, or train. You can buy a single ride ticket; a T-10 card which is valid for 10 rides on any of the public transport systems; a Hola BCN card that gives you unlimited access to the public transport systems and is available for 2, 3, 4, and 5 day periods. There is also the Barcelona Card that gives you access to the public transport systems, free entry to some of the best museums, and 70+ discounts at various places around Barcelona. Metered cabs are also widely available and the best way to get around at night in Barcelona.
Some of the best places to stay in Barcelona are guest houses, home stays, and inner city hotels. The best guest houses are in Eixample and the best hotels are in Ciutat Vella and Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. The Gothic Quarter has some of the most beloved hotels and home stays in Barcelona. El Raval and Gracia are known for their arty Bohemian charm and El Born is the best area to stay in if you want to be in a nightlife hotspot. Note: When deciding where to stay in Barcelona, make sure the place you stay at is registered. Illegal lets are a problem in Barcelona and should be avoided. Staying at locally owned accommodation is recommended.
There are currently no direct flights to Barcelona, but connecting flights to Barcelona are available from most major cities in South Africa. The shortest flights to Barcelona are about 13 hours and 30 minutes. Flights to Barcelona land at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona El-Prat Airport (BCN). Some of the most popular airlines operating flights to Barcelona are Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Lufthansa, and KLM.
Cava is a sparkling Catalan wine that is often called the Spanish version of champagne. It originated in the 1800s in Penedès, a wine growing region just outside of Barcelona. One of the best things to do in Barcelona is taking a trip to Penedès to taste and make your own cava. Catch a train from Barcelona to Penedès and spend the day touring a 10th century winery, tasting different types of cava, and bottling your own cava. Artcava offers a top rated cava making experience. Complete the experience by going on an evening food tour with a local who will take you to some of the best food spots in the city.