In a weekend you'll get a taste for the magnificent Catalan capital which will have you wanting to return over and over again. And why not with budget airlines offering great deals into Barcelona airport all year round and the easy accessibility of Gerona airport to the north.
Most visitors stay in accommodation near the Ramblas and in the Gothic Quarter just to the east. This is a fine base from where you can explore the city's sights by day including Gaudi's masterpiece, the unfinished Sagrada Família Cathedral, and Parc Güell in the north. If you're lucky FC Barcelona might be playing at home and you can watch a match at the 98,000 seater Nou Camp stadium.
In the evening there are plenty cafes and restaurants around the Ramblas but you might like to head down to the harbor to dine at Port Olympic or in a traditional paella restaurant in the Barcelona area.
Barcelona's El Prat airport lies some 12km south-west of the city. There are plenty options for transferring between the airport and the city centre as well as to all other destinations.
This pre-booked private transfer is a great new service transporting you from the airport to any city center hotel and other destinations outside Barcelona city.
The A1 Aerobús service runs every 15 minutes from the airport to Plaça de Catalunya via Plaça d'Espanya. The trip is about 40 minutes and costs €3.30. Suburban buses EA and EN leave every 90 minutes for Plaça d'Espanya; they take about 50 minutes and cost €1.
Rodalies (Cercanías) train line 1 runs between the airport (zone 4) and centre of town (zone 1). The trip costs about € 2.15. Trains run daily every 30 minutes from 6:13am to 11:15pm. It takes about 17 minutes to reach Estació Sants and 23 minutes to Catalunya station.
There is generally no shortage of taxis available to/from the centre. It's a half-hour ride and should cost about € 20. Make sure the meter is on at the start of the journey. We recently took a taxi from the airport to C/ Ferran just off the Ramblas. On arrival the meter read €18 but this was then increased to €24. When questioned the driver said this is a supplement for entering the airport are and for placing two small bags in the boot. We'll be checking out the private transfer (above) next time.
Transport within Barcelona City
Once you're in Barcelona the best ways to get around are on the underground and by using the city sightseeing tourist buses:
The metro is the easiest way to get around the city. You may need buses or suburban trains to reach some places. And buses run along most city routes every few minutes. You can buy multiple-trip city tickets that offer worthwhile savings.
This is the best way to visit Barcelona in a day. Get on and get off the bus at will at any one of the programmed stops, visit or shop at a reduced price. Buy the ticket directly on board the bus, and get an informative leaflet on the places you can visit, as well as a card with discount coupons for some of these places.
The full ride takes about 2 hours and the bus comes every 20 to 30 minutes approximately.
NORTHERN ROUTE: Pl. Catalunya (in front of El Corte Inglés), Pg. de Gràcia /La Pedrera - Sagrada Família - Parc Güell - Tramvia Blau/Tibidabo - Monestir de Pedralbes / Col·lecció Thyssen - Palau Reial - Fútbol Club Barcelona - Francesc Macià / Diagonal - Pelai / Centre d'Art Contemporani.
SOUTHERN ROUTE: Pg. de Gràcia /La Pedrera - Francesc Macià /Diagonal - Estació de Sants - Pl. Espanya - Poble Espanyol - Anella Olímpica / MNAC - Telefèric / Fundació Miró - Miramar / Costa i Llobera - Colom / La Rambla - Port Vell - Port Olímpic - Vila Olímpica - Parc de la Ciutadella/Zoo - Pla Palau - Barri Gòtic.
Due to its location on the Mediterranean the Barcelona weather involves pleasant temperatures all year round without the blistering heat of some other Spanish cities but certainly hot enough in summer for most people's liking.
It does tend to have a reasonable amount or rain but there are also many clear, sunny days all year.
The temperatures seldom if ever fall to 0ºC even on the coldest winter's day and for a lot of the year you can eat and drink on the outdoor terraces of the bars and restaurants.
Barcelona has 4 kilometers of beach which you can also enjoy for most of the year with some good sea food restaurants along the front.