A few tips.
You can reach the capital of Catalonia – a beachside cultural metropolis on the Mediterranean – from Switzerland conveniently by train in 7 hours. In Barcelona itself, you can roam the different districts (barri) easily on foot. We recommend buying a metro card to make use of the well-developed metro network.
If you want to get a feel for the pulse of the city, your best bet is to stay in the El Born neighbourhood or Barri Gòtic. Both are known for being artistic neighbourhoods offering a great range of restaurants. If you prefer things more on the quiet side, then the beautiful Gràcia neighbourhood, well away from the crowds of tourists, is the ideal location.
Barcelona is one of the most popular locations for city breaks, so we recommend visiting outside of peak tourist season.
Tibidabo – local mountain with great views.
A visit to the top of the Tibidabo is well worth it just for the breathtaking view over the whole city. You can get up the 520-metre-high mountain conveniently thanks to the idyllic funicular. On the Tibidabo, you can pay a visit to the second oldest amusement park in Europe, the Parque d’Atraccions, with its carousels, Ferris wheel and roller coaster. And don’t miss your chance to take a look at the beautiful neo-Gothic church Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor, which was inspired by the famous Sacre Cœur de Montmartre in Paris.
In the footsteps of Antoni Gaudí.
No one has shaped the cityscape of Barcelona like the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. His unfinished basilica, the Sagrada Familia (started in 1883), is an absolute must-see, with its imposing backdrop and detailed facades.
And a visit to Parc Güell will likely leave you lost for words. The fairytale-like complex is one of Barcelona’s most famous landmarks and has been described as Antoni Gaudí’s homage to nature.
If you want to see even more of Gaudí’s works, visit the Casa Milà at Passeig de Gràcia No. 92, also known mocklingly as ‘la pedrera’ – or the quarry. And keep an eye out for the unmistakeable mark of Gaudí on the odd facade here and there as you wander through Barcelona.
Barceloneta – the beach.
If you fancy a swim, you can head to the Barceloneta, and its miles of sandy beaches, by public transport, on foot or by bike. The beaches are well equipped, with restaurants, beach bars and sports facilities. Around the harbour and along the beach promenade, you’ll find some authentic fish restaurants that specialise in paella.