Advance Planning

Three months before Book accommodation and reserve a table at a top restaurant.

One month before Check out reviews for theatre and live music, and book tickets.

One week before Book tickets for top sights like La Sagrada Família. Browse the latest nightlife listings, art exhibitions and other events to attend while in town. Reserve spa visits and organised tours.

Resources

Barcelona (www.bcn.cat) Town hall's official site with plenty of links.

Barcelona Turisme (www.barcelonaturisme.com) City's official tourism website.

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/barcelona) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

BCN Mes (www.bcnmes.com) Website for a trilingual monthly print mag of culture, food, art and more.

Spotted by Locals (www.spottedbylocals.com/barcelona) Insider tips.

Top Tips

  • Plan your visiting times to avoid the worst of the crowds. Go early in the morning or late in the day for the top Gaudí sites and the Museu Picasso.
  • When possible, book tickets online. This will allow you to bypass the queues and is often cheaper.
  • Be mindful of siesta time (generally 1pm to 4pm). Plan your shopping for mornings or early evenings.
  • Travel smart; keep valuables tucked away and out of sight. Pickpocketing is a concern in busy, touristy areas.
  • Save time and money on public transport by purchasing 10-ride passes (T-10), which can be used on the metro, buses and funicular.
  • Take advantage of multi-course lunch specials. These are offered by many restaurants, and are often great value.

What to Take

  • Money belt
  • Earplugs for noisy weekend nights
  • Trainers or walking shoes
  • Bathing suit
  • Swim towel
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Reading material (try page-turners by Carlos Ruiz Zafón or Manuel Vázquez Montalbán)
  • Rain jacket or umbrella

What to Wear

In Barcelona just about anything goes, and you'll rarely feel uncomfortable because of what you're wearing. That said, Catalans are fairly fashion-conscious and well dressed. Most folk dress smart casual, with something perhaps a bit dressier if going somewhere special for the evening. If you're planning on going to upscale nightclubs, bring something stylish (sandals or sneakers are a no-go).

Meanwhile, La Catedral advertises a policy of no admittance to those in baseball caps, sleeveless tops or shorts. The rule isn't always enforced, but it's best not to take the risk.

Pre-departure Checklist

  • Check all airline flight prices before booking a ticket.
  • Find out if you can use your phone in Spain and ask about roaming charges.
  • Book your first night's accommodation to ensure an easy start to your stay.
  • Check the calendar to figure out which festivals to attend or avoid.
  • Organise travel insurance.