How to Tackle Barcelona as a First Timer
From churches and architectural masterpieces to Catalan cuisine and a buzzy nightlife, Barcelona has a lot to offer first-time visitors—so much so that it can be a challenge to fit it all in. Here are our top tips for how to make the most of your first trip to the capital of Catalonia.
Take a Skip-the-Line Tour
Barcelona’s popularity means top attractions often have a line, but you can maximize your time by booking skip-the-line entry ahead of time. See the stained glass of the Sagrada Familia, admire Gaudí’s tile work in Park Güell, or learn more about the modernista movement at the art nouveau Palace of Catalan Music (Palau de la Música Catalana).
Tour the Neighborhoods
Each of Barcelona’s neighborhoods has its own distinct personality, so getting an overview during your stay takes some effort. Get a feel for the city by riding the open-air hop-on hop-off bus, or zip around the historic city by Segway, bike, or e-bike.
Cruise the Mediterranean
Admire the Catalan capital from the waters of the Mediterranean on a cruise from Port Vell. Set sail on your own private yacht, or opt for a romantic sunset cruise. No matter which you choose, it’s a great way to take in the city’s skyline from a different perspective.
Tuck In to Tapas
No trip to Barcelona would be complete without treating your tastebuds to the local cuisine. Since it’s your first visit, ensure you find the best options when you join a local for a tasting tour through the old city, or learn to make some typical dishes for yourself during a cooking class.
Visit the Costa Brava
Barcelona serves as a gateway to the beautiful Costa Brava, an area rich with day-trip opportunities. Walk the medieval streets of Girona, visit the Dalí Museum in Figueres, or spend a day beach hopping along the coast.