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Is Barcelona worth Visiting? - The Pros And Cons

Learn if Barcelona is worth visiting and how to plan your upcoming trip to this magnificent city. Here are our pros and cons to help you make a decision.

Barcelona Park Guell - is Barcelona worth visiting?

You’ve been dreaming of visiting Barcelona for so long, and now it’s finally time for you to plan this trip. But you’re wondering, is it worth it? Situated in Catalonia Region, on the Eastern Coast of Spain, Barcelona is a vibrant city famed for its exceptional architecture, quirky arts and delicious culinary scene. For a few years now I've been meaning to check out Gaudi's work, and this year I finally got the chance to visit Barcelona.

We recommend visiting during spring because the weather is mild with plenty of sunshine, yet still, relatively off-season, which means fewer crowds and more secluded photographic opportunities.

A popular tourist destination, Barcelona is a place for dreamers that enjoy a good tapas restaurant, plenty of green space but also intricate labyrinthine streets that lead you to surprising and lesser-known points of interest.

We know you'll love Barcelona, who wouldn't love marvelling at Sagrada Família, eating great food and seeing an extensive collection of art from Pablo Picasso in the Picasso museum?

It's always good to be an informed traveller, which is why we put together a list of pros and cons before you decide if you should indeed visit Barcelona Spain.

Table of ContentsOpen

Pro: BARCELONA'S QUIRKY ARCHITECTURE

If you love Gaudi's extraordinary work then you should most certainly visit Barcelona. There are plenty of beautiful building facades, interiors and decors. I was most impressed with the interior of a Gaudi masterpiece – La Sagrada Família.

Close to the Gothic Quarter, this famously unfinished cathedral is breathtaking with its intricate detailing and rich history. If you think it looks amazing from the outside, wait until you go inside and see all the playful colours.

Tickets sell fast, so make sure to prebook your guided tour to La Sagrada Familia.

The quirky architecture doesn't stop there though – Santa Maria del Mar is a prime example of a stunning Gothic church, and other important modernist buildings such as Casa Batlló, Casa Milà (located on Passeig de Gràcia) and Casa Amatller are also impressive sites that reveal the magic of Barcelona. Perfect for an afternoon spent wandering!

Walk around spacious boulevards and feel the French influence on the place, or make your way around the Old Town where you can breathe in the Italian influences throughout the small streets. When it comes to architecture, Barcelona just keeps giving.

Inside Sagrada Familia Barcelona

Pro: BARCELONA'S SEASIDE

Did you know you need to pack your swimsuit to visit Barcelona? Do as the locals and escape Barcelona's hustle and bustle by enjoying a day by the beach.

Featuring its own sandy shores, the seaside is almost always busy during the summer months when visitors and locals alike soak up the Spanish sun and sip on cocktails till twilight.

Visit the nearby Barceloneta beach or take a day trip to the nearby Costa Brava, grab a beach towel and forget about the dins of the world.

Book your tour to Girona and Costa Brava from Barcelona.

Barcelona View

Pro: BARCELONA HAS AMAZING FRESH SEAFOOD

For seafood lovers, this is most certainly one of the best things about Barcelona. Enjoy tons of amazing food such as prawns, fresh lobster, octopus legs and squid rings.

La Peninsular is considered by many reviews to be the best restaurant for an authentic Spanish seafood experience, from grilled cuttlefish to mussels and clams.

You can also buy lots of food from the supermarket or seafood market and cook the best dinner in the world.

Book a special food tour in Barcelona to sample all the local specialities.

Seafood Plate Barcelona

Pro: BARCELONA'S BOUTIQUES

For fashion lovers, this is the place to visit small and independent boutiques with great price tags. Spanish fashion is stylish, practical and affordable. Find great bargains and support the local artists in the process. Seems like a great win-win situation. Besides who doesn't love hunting for the perfect souvenirs?

Find your fashionable dresses, cute accessories and really comfortable shoes. I strongly recommend abandoning mainstream brands and searching for the perfect outfit hidden in a boutique somewhere, through the quaint streets of Barcelona.

Market Cactus Barcelona

Pro: BARCELONA'S WEATHER

With 2,524 hours of sunshine a year, it's no surprise Barcelona attracts so many tourists from all over the world. Even the winters are mild here in the Catalan region. Summers can be a little torrid, but as previously mentioned, you can always take a break from the hot city and enjoy a relaxing afternoon by the beach. Springs and Autumn are fantastic times to visit.

Pro: MOST PEOPLE IN BARCELONA SPEAK ENGLISH

Do you speak a little Spanish or Catalan? It's a great time to practice your language skills. But if you don't there's no need to worry as pretty much everyone in Barcelona speaks English. Maybe some of the older generations might feel uncomfortable in doing so but they can always find something to help.

That's the beauty of such an international city like Barcelona. Always alive, ever-changing and with so many digital nomads that help the place move forward.

Arc Triomf Barcelona

Pro: BARCELONA IS FULL OF PET LOVERS

Isn't it lovely to visit a place where people love and respect their pets? There are so many pet-friendly establishments, including eateries and hotels. It's completely fine if you bring your dog in the subway or you allow it to chill with you whilst enjoying a sangria somewhere.

People really take care of their pets and treat them like family. So don't be surprised if you dine in a small tapas restaurant right next to a couple of well-behaved dogs.

Pro: CAN'T GET BORED IN BARCELONA

There is so much to do in Barcelona, you simply can't get bored. Whether you visit a museum, check out an art gallery, shop or just wander around, Barcelona is a great place to be. Its vibrant history is all around you and there is always an impressive sight to be seen, such as the Magic Fountain, Columbus Monument or the Arc de Triomf (the triumphal arches).

The Gothic Quarter is a great place for a history lesson of Barcelona and there are excellent walking tours of the area.

Buy tickets online to learn about the Gothic Quarter's deepest secrets with a deep dive into the stories of the Gothic Quarter and the chance to chat with new people over a sangria afterwards.

You'll love all Barcelona's dimensions, from the gothic to the hipster. Every corner you turn is another chance to soak up the Catalan culture, making a Barcelona city break so exciting.

Cory Barcelona Park Guell

ACCOMMODATION IN THE HEART OF BARCELONA

We have put together our recommended hotels based on distance from the city centre, quality and price. Enjoy the many outstanding restaurants and bars in the Old Town and of course, don't forget to visit La Sagrada Familia. For even more check out our complete guide on where to stay in Barcelona.

Luxury: Bed and Breakfast Anakena House

Anakena House is located right in Eixample, right in the centre of Barcelona. With only nine rooms, there is a cosy yet luxurious atmosphere. This bed & breakfast has stunning views of the city centre, a beautifully decorated interior and air-conditioned rooms. Guests can also enjoy free Wi-Fi and breakfast included.
➡️ Book on Booking.com

Luxury: Hotel Catalonia Passeig de Gràcia 4* Sup

Set in the heart of Barcelona, also in Eixample, Catalonia Passeig de Gracia offers a sleek and modern place to stay. Located 5 minutes' walk from Plaça de Catalunya and 7 minutes' walk from Casa Batlló, this hotel boasts private terraces, an outdoor pool and free Wi-Fi.
➡️ Book on Booking.com

Mid-Range: Hotel Catalonia Catedral

The Catalonia Catedral is set in a traditional Modernist building, just 350 feet from Barcelona Cathedral. It features an incredible rooftop seasonal pool and a Japanese-style terrace and garden.
➡️ Book on Booking.com

Cons - Barcelona's streets

When visiting Barcelona, the streets can look a little dirty and may seem quite dusty. Some small streets can even get smelly when it's really hot. But the local authorities are looking after the city and clean many streets and tourist areas almost every single day.

You won't have an issue walking in sandals or wearing white clothes. However, don't expect Barcelona to look or feel like a sterile city. But after all, it is part of its charm. Let's not forget that it's also a pretty old city dating back to the Neolithic times!

Boutiques Barcelona

Cons - The customer service needs improvement

Compared to Japan or the UK, Barcelona needs a bit of improvement when it comes to engaging with customers. This applies to hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions. If you're used to super friendly US-style customer service, this may come as a bit of a surprise and is something to remember if you choose to visit Barcelona.

Let's be mindful when locals might seem a little abrupt. We all know that Barcelona is a little overcrowded at times which can put a strain on the locals and their day to day lives.

Cons - Barcelona is pricey

Like many big cities, the prices in Barcelona are quite high. This applies to food, accommodation, tickets for tourist attractions and public transport. However, there are ways to save some money by staying in apartments located further from the main tourist attractions. You can eat fresh from the local markets and by making your own food, you'll save a lot of cash during the trip.

Rather than splurging on restaurants and cocktail bars, buy Spanish wine from the supermarket and enjoy a glass at your own leisure on your balcony. A little will go a long way and help you save on the overall trip. Entrance prices are fairly expensive but it really is a unique destination so it's worth seeing all the attractions.

Cory Barcelona Guell

Cons - There is a pickpocket problem in Barcelona

As with all major tourist destinations, petty crime can be an issue. Be vigilant at all times, and keep a close eye on your belongings. Exercise common sense and avoid dark alleyways or unknown places after dark. Don't walk with your phone or wallet on the back of the pocket as that can be snatched at any point.

Be especially careful in very busy areas and main boulevards. During peak season, pay extra attention to scammers who may appear to lure you with random questions or questionnaires.

Bonus tip: You will want to purchase travel insurance when visiting Barcelona!

Cory Sagrada Familia Barcelona

Cons - Barcelona gets very crowded

You are visiting a popular tourist destination so do expect crowds. Even during winter or off-season, there will likely be a line in front of the main museums. If possible, avoid the summer months or main holiday seasons. Avoid weekends and purchase your tickets at the beginning or Spring, late Autumn or Winter.

Take your time and try to take it easy, without paying attention to the queues and crowds. After all, it's the art, food and architecture that you're in Barcelona for. There are a few things you can do to be a smarter traveller:

Book your accommodation at least 3 - 4 months in advance
Book your skip the line tickets in advance
Call your preferred restaurants to book tables at least 2 weeks in advance

Cat El Raval Barcelona

Is Barcelona worth visiting?

Understanding Barcelona's rich history, admiring its unique buildings and strolling through its streets can make anyone fall in love with it. I loved Park Guell the most as well as the great variety of fresh seafood available at Marcado de La Boqueria and all local supermarkets.

I think Barcelona makes for a brilliant city break full of interesting places which has to be visited at least once. The cons to the city are similar to what you would find on any city break, but as long as you keep your wits about you, you will still have an amazing experience when you visit Barcelona.

Sagrada Familia Interior

Is Barcelona a good holiday destination?

Barcelona is a fantastic holiday destination. It’s one of the top travel destinations for a good reason. You’ll love the food, the architecture and the overall atmosphere of the city. Besides, Barcelona has a seaside too, which allows you to combine a city holiday with a beach vacation.

Barcelona is also very popular amongst football fans with FC Barcelona being one of the top football teams in the world.

Cory Barcelona Street

Is Barcelona safe for tourists?

Barcelona is safe for tourists and most visits are trouble-free. As with any major destination you need to exercise a bit of caution. Exercise common sense, keep an eye on your belongings and be especially careful with pickpocketers.

Is Barcelona cheap to travel?

Barcelona is not a cheap city, although there are plenty of budget accommodation options available to suit all budgets. You can find accommodation slightly cheaper when staying further from places like Las Ramblas or Sagrada Família. Save by eating from the local markets and smaller local-owned tapas restaurants.

Dinner Barcelona

Is Barcelona a nice city?

Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It’s a nice city year-round and you will fall in love with its architecture, street art and all those tapas restaurants!

How many days in Barcelona is enough?

This really depends if you’re an active or laid back traveller. Ideally, you should stay a minimum of 3 days but aim for 5-7 days if your time and budget allow it. 5 days in Barcelona will really allow you to visit and see everything.

Barcelona is a fantastic holiday destination. It’s one of the top travel destinations for a good reason. You’ll love the food, the architecture and the overall atmosphere of the city. Besides, Barcelona has a seaside too, which allows you to combine a city holiday with a beach vacation.

Barcelona is also very popular amongst football fans with FC Barcelona being one of the top football teams in the world.

Cory Old Town Barcelona Spain

Is Barcelona safe for tourists?

Barcelona is safe for tourists and most visits are trouble-free. As with any major destination you need to exercise a bit of caution. Exercise common sense, keep an eye on your belongings and be especially careful with pickpocketers.

Is Barcelona cheap to travel?

Barcelona is not a cheap city, although there are plenty of budget accommodation options available to suit all budgets. You can find accommodation slightly cheaper when staying further from places like Las Ramblas or Sagrada Família. Save by eating from the local markets and smaller local-owned tapas restaurants.

Cory Park Guell Barcelona

Is Barcelona a nice city?

Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It’s a nice city year-round and you will fall in love with its architecture, street art and all those tapas restaurants!

In conclusion, Barcelona is definitely a brilliant city which has to be visited at least once. Understanding its history, admiring its architecture and strolling through its streets will make you fall in love with it.

Tell me about your experiences in Barcelona. What did you like most?

What do you think?

Did you like this article? Do you have any questions or suggestions? Leave a comment below.

Your Comment

A
Alice Eduardo Enrile
28 Aug 2019

Your article really gives me a lot of tips for my incoming trip with my friends. Please continue sharing your experience to us

C
Camille
15 Jul 2016

I agree with your list! I lived there for three months after having lived 6 months in Paris and I found it almost as pricy, add the fact that the touristy stuff is expensive whereas in Paris most every attraction was free (I'm a french-american dual-citizen, so everything is free for citizens 26 and under)! And the crowding. I definitely got tired of the swarms of people especially at Las Ramblas and Rambla Catalunya which I would try to avoid. It's a small city with a lot to see so it's no wonder it's so crowded!