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The complete get ready guide to Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is a city that’s easy to fall in love with, full of life and adventure, with a beating cultural heart. The Catalan city by the sea is a real feast for the senses, with so much to offer it’s no wonder visitors return time and time again, never tiring of its unique character.

If you’re planning a trip to Barcelona, there are just a few things you’ll need to know to make sure you’re good to go.

Less luggage, less hassle

No matter what time of year, the weather is always pleasant in Barcelona. If you’re visiting between the months of December and March there may be occasional rain showers, but expect a warm climate and bright sun the rest of the year round. Check the weather online here, to get an idea of what to expect.

This makes holidays in the city an excellent opportunity to practise packing light. A few versatile outfits to wear in different combinations are all you’ll need. The added calm that comes with carrying less baggage will help get you into the easy-going Catalan frame of mind that make the fun-loving locals so friendly.

The beach is, of course, one of the most popular places to be during the warmer season, with subtropical temperatures and sparkling ocean views just a short stroll away from the city centre.

Make sure you pack some beachwear, in case you feel like having a quick dip after a day of sightseeing. Be careful though, beach clothes are prohibited outside of the confines of the beach itself. So make sure you dress appropriately and come prepared with a change of outfit after swimming.

Book early, see more

When a city with a population of 1.6 million people becomes as famous as Barcelona, it’s understandable that there might be heavy crowds to contend with.

On busy days, waiting times for must-see landmarks like the beautiful Sagrada Famíliar can stretch to as much as four hours. Don’t let your holiday time be taken up by long queues. Book in advance to get the most out of your visit.

The same applies to the Museu Picasso and Fundació Joan Miró, all essential parts of the Barcelona experience. With a bit of forward planning, there’s no reason you should have to choose between them.

One other important thing to bear in mind when planning your time in Barcelona is the phenomenon of the siesta. The people of Catalonia are well-known for being hard-working and in possession of boundless energy. None the less, many local shops will close for the traditional siesta break between the hours of 1-4pm.

Larger department stores will stay open and you’ll have no trouble finding a great place to eat during this time. It’s not uncommon for locals to have dinner later than 10pm, and some spots stay open all through the night until sunrise.

Outside of the busy season (July and August), most shops will be closed on Sundays, so to avoid disappointment, make sure you plan your big shopping spree on any other day.

Don’t get lost, get around

There’s no need to hire a car in Barcelona. The city is well-served by public transport, and if you travel out of town there are numerous bus tours available.

The underground Metro rail service runs until midnight Monday to Thursday, until 2am on Fridays, and on Saturdays the trains run all night. The Metro operates at a reduced service on Sundays. If you’re at all familiar with the London Underground, then you’ll have no trouble navigating your way around the different Metro lines. Here’s a handy map of the available routes.

If you do need assistance finding your way around, all of the ticket machines have English as an available option, and the Metro staff are friendly and happy to help. It is worth noting that some of the stations involve quite long walks, especially Passeig de Gràcia.

When planning to make use of the Metro, it’s a good idea to buy a Barcelona Card in advance. This card offers free unlimited transport for Metro, trams and buses, as well as shuttles to and from the airport via the RENFE train or TMB bus.

As an added bonus, Barcelona Card holders get discounted or even free entry to top local attractions, making it well worth the price of 60 euros for a five day pass.

Helpful links & social chats

Free smartphone and tablet apps can be incredibly useful when travelling. Some we suggest downloading in preparation are:

  • Weather for Spain - for local weather updates, tailored for Spanish locations.
  • Barcelona Metro Map - to help you navigate the underground rail system.
  • Currency Calculator - for staying on top of exchange rates.
  • Airbnb - stay like one of the locals, with these alternative places to stay.
  • Yelp - reviews of local restaurants and business, written by visitors like you.
  • Google Maps - never get lost again!
  • Instagram and Twitter - check #Barcelona on these social networks for a real taste of Catalan flavour.
  • Time Out Barcelona - information about the best shows, concerts, and restaurants in the city
  • Barcelona, Like A Local - a useful online city guide written by Barcelona locals

Top accounts to follow are Barrut on Instagram, and @VisitBCN_EN on Twitter.

One more thing

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to book your Heathrow airport parking with us at Good To Go. With our Meet & Greet parking service, you do the packing, we do the parking. It’s the fastest way to get your holiday started.

Now you’re ready for your Barcelona adventure. Buen viaje!

(Official government advice for British citizens visiting Spain and its region is available here.)

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