DESTINATION GUIDE: Barcelona

Barcelona, city, seaport, and capital of Barcelona Provincia (province) and of Catalonia Comunidad autónoma (autonomous community), northeastern Spain, located 90-miles (150-km) south of the French border. It is Spain’s major Mediterranean port and commercial center and is famed for its individuality, cultural interest, and physical beauty.



Money

Barcelona has long been an expensive city, but prices are still lower than an hour north across the French border. Euro is the currency widely used in Spain.


Credit cards are the safest way to carry money. They provide a record of all expenses and offer relatively good exchange rates. You can get cash advances on your credit cards at banks or ATMs, provided you know your PIN. You will pay interest from the moment of withdrawal, even if you pay your monthly bill on time. American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard, and Visa credit cards are all widely accepted in Spain.


Debit cards are widely accepted in large towns and tourist areas. However, you might still find smaller independent retailers that do not accept card payments. It is best to keep a small number of euros on you, just in case.


Climate

The climate of Barcelona is mild, with relatively rainy winters and hot, sunny summers. The monthly average temperature ranges from 9 °C (48 °F) in January to 24.5 °C (76 °F) in August. The best time to visit Barcelona is in the Spring, from April to June. Mid to late summer is the best time for a beach holiday, and Winter is usually mild but sometimes rainy.



Electricity

The electrical current in Spain is 220-volts, 50-cycles alternating current (AC); wall outlets take Continental-type plugs with two round prongs. An adapter from flat to round prongs is a must for computers and hair dryers.


Getting There


Plane

Barcelona airport, with several terminals, is located 16-kilometers south of the city and is also known as Barcelona-El Prat.


Train

Barcelona has direct railway links to and from cities like Paris, Lyon, Marseille, and Toulouse. Plus, the high-speed train runs to Madrid and southern and eastern Spain.


Car

Barcelona is well connected and has a large number of car parks.


Bus

The bus station in Barcelona that has the most national and international connections is Barcelona Nord Bus Station. Buses also depart from Barcelona Sants station and other areas of the city.


Boat

Barcelona has become the Mediterranean's foremost cruise ship harbor. It has nine passenger terminals, seven for cruise liners and four for ferries.


Culture

The cultural roots of Barcelona go back centuries. The people of this city love arts and entertainment - Barcelona has numerous venues for live music, operas, theaters, orchestras, and more. As the capital and chief cultural center of Catalonia, Barcelona is also the ‘literary hub’ of all works created in the Catalan language. The city hosts international conferences and expositions. Sports are another aspect of its rich culture. Barcelona shot to fame after it successfully hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics. Finally, Barcelona celebrates several festivals that are both religious and cultural. Some include Epiphany, Formula One Spanish Grand Prix, Primavera Sound Festival, and Barcelona Independent Film Festival.


Top Experiences

  • Gaudí's Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and Casa Batlló

  • Take a day trip to Montserrat

  • Visit the Picasso Museum

  • Visit the fairies themed bar

  • Learn how to salsa for free

  • Wander through the Gothic Quarter

  • Hike up Montjuïc



Family Travel Highlights

  • See a Flamenco show

  • Take a tour at the Museu De La Xocolata

  • Hop on the magical carousel at the Tibidabo Amusement Park

  • Watch a movie under the stars

  • Watch talented young skaters in front of MACBA

  • Play beach volleyball at Barceloneta

  • Join a free walking tour


Foods to Try

  • Bombas: Potato Bombas are tasty little stuffed mashed potato balls that you can find in Spanish tapas bars.

  • Blistered Padrón Peppers: Most are mild, but every now and then you'll bite into a wickedly hot one.

  • Spanish Omelet or Spanish Tortilla: An omelette made with eggs and potatoes, optionally including onion.

  • Manchego Cheese: Made in the La Mancha region of Spain from the milk of sheep of the Manchega breed.

  • Pan con Tomate: Made with just four easy ingredients — toasted bread, fresh tomatoes, olive oil and sea salt.

  • Croquettes: Typically with ham, croquettes are made with a bechamel sauce enriched with Serrano ham and deep-fried to crispy perfection.

  • Bocadillos: A sandwich made with Spanish bread, usually a baguette or similar type of bread, cut lengthwise.

  • Gazpacho: A cold soup made of raw, blended vegetables.


Vermouth and Croquette Tapa
Vermouth and Croquette Tapa

Drinks to Try

  • Sangria: Traditionally consists of red wine and chopped fruit, often with other ingredients or spirits.

  • Cava: A sparkling wine of Denominación de Origen (DO) status, which may be white (blanco) or rosé (rosado).

  • Leche de Pantera: Often bright pink, this beverage is a delicious milk and spirit mixture. Plenty of bars now offer their own homemade variation.

  • Vermouth: A fortified wine, flavored with various botanicals and may be white (blanco) or red (rojo).

  • Beer (Cerveza): Estrella Damm is a lager beer, brewed in Barcelona, Spain. It has existed since 1876, when August Küntzmann Damm founded his brewery in Barcelona, and is the flagship beer of S.A. Damm, a prominent brewery in the city. The brand is the oldest in Spain and the name Estrella means "star" in both Catalan and Spanish.


Photography Hot Spots

Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia
  • Sagrada Familia

  • Casa Batlló

  • The Magic Fountain

  • Mercado de la Boqueria

  • La Barceloneta

  • The Gothic Quarter

  • Arc de Triomf

  • Palau de la Música Catalana




Where to Stay


Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona

NOTABLE SERVICES: Pet friendly, babysitting, bicycle rental, and butler service

Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona - Terrat - Rooftop Terrace
Terrat - Rooftop Terrace

Ideally located near all the city’s major attractions, Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona offers an atmospheric setting on Passeig de Gràcia. With contemporary interiors by designer Patricia Urquiola, the 120 rooms and suites (some with private terraces) are among the most luxurious in Barcelona. Carme Ruscalleda (one of the most awarded chefs in the world) is the leader of the two-Michelin-starred Moments Restaurant, casual Blanc, and Banker’s Bar. Terrat rooftop bar serves chef Gastón Acurio’s Peruvian delights. The spa is designed as a haven of serenity, making Mandarin Oriental the perfect base to explore the Catalan capital.


Book with MTD and receive:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

  • Daily buffet breakfast, for two guests per bedroom

  • A complimentary tapas assortment including drinks for two at Banker's Bar, once during stay

  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi for duration of stay


Hotel Arts Barcelona

NOTABLE SERVICES: Wedding services, house safe, family pool, and butler service

Hotel Arts Barcelona Infinity Pool
Infinity Pool

A dazzling display of contemporary architecture, Hotel Arts Barcelona (operated by the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company) is renowned the world over for its impeccable service and lavish accommodations, including 28 duplex penthouses. The penthouses are located on the top floors of the hotel and offer butler service and use of a MINI Cooper. The hotel has an exclusive spa, 43 The Spa, located on the 43rd floor. Visit the terraced gardens, infinity-edge pool, family pool, the stunning collection of Spanish art, or the five restaurants – including the acclaimed two-Michelin-starred Enoteca Paco Pérez, with a wine cellar topping 700 labels.


Book with MTD and receive:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

  • Daily full breakfast for two guests per bedroom, served in Lokal Restaurant

  • $100 Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay

  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi


Serras

NOTABLE SERVICES: Children's programs and pool

Serras Rooftop Restaurant
Rooftop Restaurant

Stories of Pablo Picasso swirl around the rooftop pool bar at The Serras. The master’s former studio turned boutique stay – located in the historic city center, Barrio Gótico – is now a canvas of contemporary luxury, its ambience trendy yet unpretentious. The 28 rooms are comfortably chic, their natural color palette accented by bold geometric patterns with touches of wood and iron; balconies overlook the old city or yacht-filled Port Vell and the Mediterranean Sea. Look for Michelin-starred chef Marc Gascons behind the open kitchen at Informal restaurant, busily adding his own twist to seasonal Catalan favorites.


Book with MTD and receive:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

  • Buffet breakfast daily for two guests per bedroom

  • $100 Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay

  • Complimentary tapas and bottle of Cava in the room on arrival

  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi