Help a Reader Travel: Barcelona

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Welcome to another post of helping a reader travel!

This weekly post is to help readers get a ton of travel advice from thousand of Deals We Like blog readers. Thus far, we’ve been able to help other readers travel to a slew of domestic and international destinations. Check out recent destinations and comment on suggestions here.

So this weeks travel destination includes Barcelona. I received the following email from reader Lauren:

“I am heading to Barcelona at some point within the next six months and would love some tips. How many days should I dedicate? Where to stay? Suggested restaurants? Highlights to see?”

Barcelona is one of my favorite cities and I am sure readers will have a lot to add. I was there for work a little over two years ago and tacked on four days of personal vacation time. I definitely could have stayed forever, but I think four days was a good amount. My favorite site there was the Park Guell. Other highlights included the Sagrada Familia, The Gothic Quarter, and the Olympic Stadium. I loved just being able to walk around the city observing the beautiful architecture. The food there is also AMAZING! If you have time to leave the city for the day, I recommend taking the train to Sitges. It was maybe an hour train ride away and the train stopped right in town and close to the beach.

If you’ve ever been to Barcelona, let’s help out reader Lauren and I am sure many other interested readers!

Also, if you have any upcoming travel where you need some help, feel free to email me at to be a featured “Help a Reader Travel” Monday special. Thanks!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. Some stream of consciousness thoughts:
    -Avoid Las Ramblas. If you have been to Bourbon St. or anything like that, you’ve seen Las Ramblas.
    -If you like to run, a jog along the beach in Barceloneta from the W to the Casino is a nice little jog. There are some cool corporate buildings around there too if you’re into the architecture part of Barcelona.
    -We took one of the double-decker tour buses for two days and hit most of the major landmarks. Only annoying thing is that if they get ahead of schedule they’ll just sit there for however long until they fall back into their schedule.
    -Check out the Casa Miro for a peek into the life of the oft-overlooked Joan Miro.
    -I wanted to do the cable car ride in Montjuic but we ran out of time.
    -Speaking of museums, I have heard the Picasso Museum is overrated as it’s mostly his early works and not what you typically associate with Picasso.
    -Spend at least an hour or two at Sant Caterina market in the Ciutat Vella eating Spanish hams and cheeses. When you’re done buy 100 grams of your favorite ham and 100g of your favorite cheese and stash it in your hotel room or flat fridge for a late night snack or breakfast.

  2. Without a doubt best value for money are the different colour buses, red, blue & green. All are hop on hop off and each follows a different get to see whole city & can choose where to get off and explore further. What out for your valuables at all times too. Check out Lovin Barcelona for great apartments instead of a hotel.

  3. I believe a full week is the way to go. It allows for 4 days of enjoying the intown sights, a rest day to do just fun stuff and a couple of day trips. Sitges is a good choice and my favorite is Figueras to explore the Dali museums. I was never a fan but it was the stop-off point on our rail trip down from Paris. Since we were going to be there, we decided to go have a looksee anyways. I won’t ever understand the man but I now comprehend his true genius. Cute little town with some lovely food spots also.

  4. Check out Fat Tire Bike Tours for a unique way to see the city. We lived our tour with them!
    We also did the hop on/hop off buses which worked well for seeing the major attractions. Book your tickets for Sagrada Familia online to avoid long lines. We had the concierge do this the morning we went since we weren’t sure of our schedule prior to that.
    We spent a couple of nights at each of the Hilton’s in Barcelona. They are both located very near the hop on/off bus stops and we found them nice and convenient. Plus, if you have diamond status breakfast is included.

  5. One of our favorite things to do was start at the beach in Barceloneta, and hit all the little tapas bars along the beach that run from there to the W Hotel, having sangria and tapas. We did this all afternoon one day and it was just such a great, fun day of relaxing.

  6. I highly recommend a tapas tour and a cooking class. I used Taste Barcelona for the tapas tour and Barcelona Cooking for the cooking class. Amazing experiences!

  7. +1 on Andy’s comment re avoiding Las Ramblas. Just like Bourbon Street, you’ll probably want to walk down it just to check off your list to never wonder “what if”, but I wouldn’t plan on much more than a maybe an hour there, and certainly not eating there. It’s overcrowded and awful.

    2. If you have a choice re where to stay, the W is one of the best hotels there. I highly recommend points + cash — the hotel tends to be pretty expensive, and points + cash make it affordable. I went a few times as SPG Gold and they upgraded me to a “Wonderful” room with a view of the ocean (ask for it) every time — after I requested it.

    3. Since you have the good fortune of having a few months to plan, consider booking a table at the restaurant Tickets. Their reservations fill up months in advance, so I’d book now anyway, even if you’re unsure. It’s relatively expensive for BCN, but not by US standards. I had the “bring me whatever you want” tasting menu — for 11 tapas (insanely badass tapas) and two mojitos I paid the equivalent of USD $110 or so. 11 tapas were kind of a lot, but I didn’t want to stop — probably could have after 6 or 7.

    4. Park Guell.

  8. I second the “Taste Barcelona” recommendation. Easily one of the highlights of our recent trip to Europe and the most enjoyable thing we did in Barcelona.

    Rather than points (which I would usually use in an expensive city), I used Priceline bidding for our hotel in Barcelona with ok results. Ended up @ the Tryp Apolo Barcelona for $91.00 per night. Obviously that is a great rate but the hotel was average and a bit dated. My spouse thought it was fine but I rated it a 3 on Tripadvisor.

  9. Just returned last week. Las Ramblas is great people watching. Grab a table in the afternoon, have a beverage and enjoy the craziness. Gaudi sites are amazing. Gaudi crypt below sagrada familia has unadvertised masses. Ask guards near tkt booth. Even if not religious or catholic, mass time is the only way to see it. Catedral is also phenom but cover shoulders and upper legs or the guard will turn you away. Catarina market is way more local than Las Ramblas mkt. create a picnic basket and walk over to the Parc for a great afternoon w the locals. great candle store in gothic qtr that has been around since 18xx. On/off bus and metro great options for exploring the city. Have fun!

  10. Try La Bombeta in Barceloneta. It’s cheap and great! Pinoxho is great too. Go to the boqueria near Ramblas for freshly squeezed juice and breakfast/snack. The key here is to go to smaller stalls inside the market, not the sit-down places around the boqueria. Figueres is a fun place to visit for a day, though I don’t know if it is worth staying overnight. Have fun! We were there in late December last year and was certainly warmer than the east coast here.

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