7 Mistakes to Avoid When Visiting Park Güell [Local’s Guide]

pastel colors of the park guell mosaic from a nice angle

Whether you are hungry for more Gaudí delights, seeking some oxygen away from the city center, or simply looking for killer views of the city, Park Güell is well worth a visit!

That said, it’s not the most straightforward attraction in Barcelona.

While its popularity on Instagram may make you think it’s an easy find to just stumble across, that belies the difficulty many tourists have when finding this tucked-away park.

Park Guell by architect Gaudi in a summer day in Barcelona, Spain with whimsical mosaics and architecture

Here are my tips for visiting Park Güell while you’re visiting Barcelona, as someone who has called the city home for a decade.

I’m letting you know 7 mistakes that are commonly made by people visiting Park Güell — so that you won’t!

Mistakes to Avoid when Visiting Park Güell

1. Don’t get lost!

Park Guell in Barcelona. Frog sculture fountain at main entrance covered with pieces of colorful ceramic tile

I live near Park Güell, and that means every single day I see bewildered tourists exiting the metro station, looking around for some kind of green area or that familiar friendly salamander… before turning to their phones with a look of puzzlement.

First things first: Park Güell is on a massive hill, and the two closest metro stations – Lesseps and Vallcarca – are a 10-20 minute walk away, and that walk is mostly in the direction of “up”.

If you get out at Lesseps metro, you surface in Plaça de Lesseps, which is a pleasant if eclectic square with some eye-catching buildings as well as bars, cafes and restaurants if you feel like making a pit stop.

Overview of the gardens and ornaments of Lesseps square in Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain, Europe

If you want to cab it from here – I am not a big taxi user but it’s not a bad idea at all – this is a busy square where you are likely to be able to flag one down. The fare is about €6. 

Another option – perhaps a bit more of an “experience” – would be to take the 116 bus from the corner of Plaça de Lesseps and Gran de Gràcia.

You can find a map of the route here and bus arrival times here

The 116 is a “bus del barri”, a neighborhood bus, roughly the size of a school bus, and it takes a winding a 13-minute route up the hill.

In peak season you will find tourists on it, but it’s generally a way for local residents to get up and down the hill. 

Entrance Park Guell designed by Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, Spain, the entrance clear on a sunny day

Finally, you can walk it, but it’s extremely important to know there are a couple of streets with some escalators, which I would highly recommend.

The foot of Baixada de la Glòria street is about a 7-minute walk from Lesseps or about 5 minutes from Vallcarca, and the view from the top makes it a photo opportunity in itself.

At the time of writing, the escalators are being renovated and are due to reopen in December 2023. 

escalator view in barcelona with cameras and hill

I used to live at the top of this street and even with the escalators, I’d say it’s a pretty physical climb, not something I would recommend for older visitors, folks in flip-flops, etc.

For the rest of you, if you feel like buying a drink in the convenience store or getting a juice nearer the top – take the break, don’t rush.

A curiosity about this route is that you end up at the back entrance of the park.

You climb up a final flight of stairs that leads to a winding path, before you  finally come across the famous Plaça de la Natura esplanade, complete with its endless mosaic bench!

View of the city from Park Guell in Barcelona, with its mosaic serpentine bench and a view of the city of Barcelona

If Baixada de la Glòria is still being refurbished when you get here, the best option is the 17-minute walk [directions here] from Plaça de Lesseps via Av. del Santuari de St. Josep de la Muntanya.

This street only has one escalator, so it doesn’t make the walk much easier, but it’s better than nothing.

Finally, a word for those opting for Vallcarca station. Once you pass through the turnstiles, look up immediately and make sure you take the exit for Park Güell!

The word “vall” is valley in Catalan, which means that if you take the wrong exit, you will end up on the wrong hill! 

If you find yourself going up a huge escalator, you need to turn around at the end.

Any detour from that exit in Avinguda de la República de Argentina is going to make your walk longer!

Vallcarca Station. Barcelona Metro map., with the word parc guell near the metro name

Vallcarca metro can also be a bit bewildering because when you come out at the Park Güell exit, the first thing you see is a rather abandoned-looking square lined with protest banners and derelict buildings.

This is a result of a tug-of-war between local residents and the city’s plan to demolish their houses, which dates back to 1976

As a result, many visitors immediately turn around and head towards the attractive-looking bridge: don’t do that.

Bridge Vallcarca in Barcelona, the direction you should not be heading in when visiting Park guell

You have to walk downhill from the metro, past the aforementioned sad square, and this street (Avinguda de Vallcarca) will lead you either to Baixada de la Glòria or an escalator-free option for those seeking a real workout.

If all of this sounds really stressful, there are tours that will combine a trip to Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia and Park Güell, handling the transfer for you as well as guided you through both.

It’s not a bad option, although it’s pricier than visiting everything independently.

Check prices and availability online here!

2. You don’t need to pay if you don’t want to!

Taken on a walk in Park Guell, in the forested section of the park that is not as touristy, very green and forest-like

Park Güell is not some walled-in garden: its hillside setting actually lends it a pretty rugged, foresty feel in some places.

A consequence of that is that when the city decided to charge for entry, it only cordoned off the central, most famous part of the park.

So, if you want to go through the main entrance, past the salamander, under the rain-collecting columns and up on to the esplanade, you will have to pay.

As of writing, skip-the-line tickets are about $14, or about $25 if you want a guided tour too.

Park Guell in Barcelona. Doric columns of Hypostyle Room support lower court central terrace

However, if you are more interested in the view and just getting a quick peek of the famous stuff from above, you can access for free from the Baixada de la Glòria end.

For those open to shenanigans, there is an option to sneak in. Local residents are given free access from 7:00 to 9:30 AM and from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM.

Though in theory someone might ask to see the card that proves you are a local, I have heard tell of visitors gaining free access this way.

detail of the mosaic work at park guell in barcelona

Finally, free entry is also available at specific times throughout the year:

November-March – On the first Sunday of every month, there are a limited number of free tickets available at the box office.

April – October – every Sunday from 5pm to 8pm.

As well as all day April 23rd (Saint George’s day), May 18th and September 24th (during La Mercè festival).

3. Don’t buy tickets from the box office

Specific architecture of Casa de Guarda at Park Guell in sunny day, Barcelona,

It is possible to buy tickets from the box office at Park Güell, but there are two distinct disadvantages.

One, there will definitely be a long line of people with the same idea.

But more importantly, two, there is a limited number of tickets for each time slot, so you might not be able to go straight in.

Booking a ticket online is straightforward enough, and it means you can rock up at the park knowing your entry time.

Park Guell in Barcelona, nobody around, with view of the colonnades area

Checking in the off-season, you really only need to book a day or so in advance — looking now for the next day, I see plenty of afternoon spots available, though the morning is taken up.

In the high season, you may want to book earlier — especially if you want to visit during a less hot time of the day, like in the morning!

Book your ticket online here!

4. Don’t forget to dress smart

outdoor area of the entryway with views of the terrace and endless bench

As noted above, flip-flops, dressy sandals, or any other impractical shoes are a no-no!

As well as the initial climb to get to the park, there are going to be steps and dusty trails, so I wouldn’t wear anything flimsy or fancy on my feet.

Similarly, because the park is high up and open, it can feel very exposed to the elements.

Picturesque garden: an alley among the gardens of the Guell Park, designed, in Barcelona, Spain.

On an average day in Barcelona, that means the sun and the heat might get to you, so make sure you wear sunblock and be careful with exposing your shoulders or other delicate parts prone to sunburn!

There is some shade among the columns under the esplanade, and also under the trees, but there are also vast expanses where you might feel right under the sun. Bring water!

5. Don’t be taken in by souvenirs

pastel colors of the park guell mosaic from a nice angle

The walk from both Lesseps and Vallcarca will take you past a fair few souvenir shops.

Indeed, a bunch of them huddle close to the main entrance, along with a restaurant and some other joints.

I would really think of this as tourist central, so unless something unique really, really catches your eye, I would wait till I was in another part of town for snacks or knickknacks.

6. Don’t forget about Gràcia!

Street with orange tree with oranges and a balcony of a house in the background in Gracia, Barcelona

If you exit the park through the main entrance, you can follow the roads downhill towards Travessera de Dalt.

This road, teeming with traffic, will take you back to Lesseps if you hang a right, but if you cross and continue downhill it will take you to the neighborhood of Gràcia.

Gràcia occupies a strange position in the Barcelona tourism landscape. Not so long ago it was a villagey neighborhood, removed from the hullaballoo of the beach and the downtown area, but in the last twenty years its popularity has soared.

the famous casa vicens by gaudi in the gracia neighborhood

Nonetheless, I am sure many tourists still miss it – I’d say it’s tourist-friendly rather than touristy – and its (kind-of) pedestrianized streets.

This area is home to picturesque squares and endless bars and restaurants that make it a great spot to treat yourself to something nice after your physical exertions.

It’s also home to a few attractions, like Casa Vicens, another Gaudí site you can visit.

7. Don’t say the names wrong!

This last Park Güell tip is just for pedants or those wanting to impress locals.

  • Antoni Gaudí is “an-TOE-nee gow-DEE” not “AN-ta-ni GOW-dee”
  • Güell is a difficult one but “Gway” is closer than “Gwell”. Even Spanish speakers have trouble with the Catalan ll at the end of a word – the best way I can describe it is as a fight between a y, an l and a j.
  • While some spell it “Parc Güell” as in Catalan, the original spelling was “Park Güell” as in English, because Mr Güell was looking to recreate a British-style garden

For any of you looking to take care with your pronunciation of people and places, I highly recommend Forvo.

Vegan & Vegetarian Barcelona: Restaurant Guide from a Barcelona Local

Barcelona, you’ve come a long way, baby.

When I first came to town, being a vegetarian wasn’t easy at all. 

Locals would often ask me questions that seemed for all the world to have been plucked straight from the mouth of a grandpa in a 1980’s sitcom: “So, you don’t eat meat? Not even chicken?” 

I came to learn that any sandwich or salad dubbed vegetal would often have tuna in it.

I once even asked in a bakery if they had any sandwiches “not containing meat or fish”; the server replied, “Tuna,” and when I pointed out tuna was a fish, she could only say, “that’s true!”

the beach in barcelona on a sunny day

Going out to eat was always a fraught experience, usually involving identifying the one or two dishes which I could eat, no matter how long the menu was. 

Once, I ordered fish for a visiting Muslim friend and a pasta salad for me. Ahsan’s fish turned out to be stuffed with pork, and my salad was topped with not just tuna but also crab, even though I had told them I was a vegetarian when ordering.

Then, suddenly, the vegan revolution came. It certainly wasn’t televised. I suspect it was on Instagram. 

Practically overnight, I went from being the weird vegetarian to noting a slight disappointment when people asked, “Oh, so you’re not vegan?”

The times have changed so much that today in Barcelona, you can find a vegan section in any major supermarkets – notably the organic chains Veritas and Ametller Origen. 

Along with the familiar products like tofu and plant-based burgers, seitan is a popular meat substitute in Spain – I had actually never heard of it before coming here, and recommend it highly.

Even better, restaurants have more vegetarian-friendly options that before, many of which are vegan, and the number of dedicated vegan and vegetarian restaurants has shot up faster than a bamboo stalk.

That being said, I am going to start my guide to vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona with a couple of ol’ favorites.

City Center

views in barcelona with venetian towers

Maoz Vegetarian

Maoz Vegetarian is located just off La Rambla on the gorgeous Carrer de Ferran, and has been providing much needed sustenance for veggie party animals for decades.

During my first year in Barcelona, I Skyped with an old coworker who had lived here for a year, and when the subject came to vegetarian food, the first question she asked was “Have you been to Maoz?”, her eyes lighting up with fond culinary memories.

So, if you find yourself with a hankering for anything falafel-based or hummus-related while wandering up or down the Rambla, it’s a great option for takeout or a pit stop.

Address: C/ de Ferran, 13, 08002 Barcelona

cathedral of barcelona on a sunny day with marble facade and spires

Teresa Carles 

Teresa Carles (pronounced kind of like “Carla’s” rather than “Carlos”) has practically nothing in common with Maoz except its longevity. Teresa has been making vegetarian cuisine since 1979, back when Spaniards were still coming to grips with the concept of democracy, let alone tofu. 

She started her career in the town of Lleida, gradually opening places closer to the metropolis, before opening this venue in 2011.

It’s a classy spot between Plaça Catalunya and Plaça Universitat, and the prices are reasonable, if not cheap. Two course meals start from €11.50, while most mains on the menu hover around the €12-13 mark. 

As well as classics such as veggie burgers, they also do a roaring trade in pasta dishes such as their delicious ravioli or lasagne. Juices are pricey but certainly pass the freshness test.

Address: C/ de Jovellanos, 2, 08001 Barcelona

view of a section of parc guell with colonnades and nature mixed together in barcelona

Flax & Kale

Not far away from Teresa Carles in Carrer dels Tallers (which is about as rock ‘n’ roll as the city center gets) is Flax & Kale, a venture from Teresa Carles’ son, Jordi Barri I Carles. While often listed as vegetarian, there are still some fish dishes on the menu. 

Another important difference: while Teresa Carles’ website stresses that their food is presented “without dogma”, Flax & Kale pushes the “healthy flexitarian” angle in their food and philosophy. 

There are some elements here that might remind you of the Slow Food movement, especially about regaining something that was lost, and treating the act of eating with respect.

But don’t let the focus on the philosophy of food discourage you –  it’s an airy, fresh setting, and has the added novelty of a roof garden. As well as the mains, Flax & Kale offers plenty of more snacky and brunchy options, like tacos and poke bowls.

The same group has recently opened Teresa’s Stairway next door, a place which focuses on takeout and delivery so you can enjoy fresh plant-based food on the go!

Address: Carrer dels Tallers 74b, 08001 Barcelona

view of casa vicens in barcelona with beautiful architecture in a gaudi style

Veggie Garden

Veggie Garden has two central locations: one between Plaça Catalunya and Plaça Universitat on Gran Via, the main road that cuts a horizontal swath through the city, and the other in rough and ready Raval.

The décor here is a far cry from the elegance of Teresa Carles and co. Here, the look is perhaps much more in line with your first impression of Barcelona’s nightlife: shabby chic reigns supreme, with a DIY aesthetic leavened by colorful graffitied walls.

On the menu, you’ll find a mixture of influences from both Asian and the Mediterranean. That means you can find a vegan paella and Indian thali platter under the same roof. 

Desserts include vegan cakes and ice cream, and the place is open till 11:30 at night, making it a perfect option for a late-night spoonful of vegan decadence.

Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 602, 08007 Barcelona

Address: C/ dels Àngels, 3, 08001 Barcelona

a modernist building of a former hospital turned into an art deco beauty in gaudi-esque style by another famous barcelona architect, in barcelona


Another pillar in the vegetarian food empire in Barcelona, Vegetalia also has two central locations, as well as a range of products you can pick up in vegetarian food stores around town.

Of the two restaurants, I know Vegetalia Born better. Located in a square, it offers indoor and an attractively airy outdoor seating. 

The wide range of dishes are similar to the restaurants above, although I have to highlight the vegetarian paella as a particularly strong standout dish.

Address: Vegetalia Gòtic: C/ dels Escudellers, 54

Address: Vegetalia Born: Plaça del Fossar de les Moreres

view of the opera house in barcelona with a barely-leafy tree in front of it on the main ramblas street

Bubita Sangría Bar

For something a little rowdier, check out the Bubita Sangría Bar in El Born, within walking distance of both the Museu Picasso and the Parc de la Ciutadella. It offers both vegan tapas and, as you may have guessed, various blends of sangria. 

While it’s a little on the pricey side, you can see how much great care and attention go into both the food and drink.

I personally love tapas, but in the average tapas bar a vegetarian might only have two or three options, and vegans might be left with potato dishes and little else. 

It’s often quite a beery and carby experience too, so Bubita is great for a lighter, plant-based alternative version of tapas, where nothing in front of you is off limits.

Address: Carrer dels Flassaders, 15, 08003 Barcelona


barcelona escalator near the park guell

Veg World India

Indian food was a real godsend when I first got to town and was looking for a veggie place where both I and my non-tofu loving friends could eat happily.

Up in Gràcia, Veg World India lays on a genuinely authentic Indian food experience in a country where many of the locals seem to have a pathological fear of spice.

The owners are Punjabi but attempt to showcase specialties from various parts of India with their tasting menus. Of course, those menus aren’t cheap – €22 and up per person – but you can find mains from around €14.

Address: Carrer de Bruniquer, 24, 08012 Barcelona Spain

the sagrada familia of barcelona with water in the front


Also in Gràcia is Abissinia, an Ethiopian place. While not strictly vegetarian, I felt I had to mention it here, because it does still offer plenty of vegetarian options.

It was one of my most memorable dining experiences from my first year in Barcelona.

If you’ve never had Ethiopian food before, it really is a different experience: food is served on platters inside wicker baskets.

The “mains” come in little mounds and are accompanied by salad and injera, an Ethiopian bread with a crepe-like texture. 

Like Veg World, this isn’t a cheap option, but if you are looking for something totally novel – or a place you can take meat-eating friends to – I can’t recommend it enough.

Address: C/ del Torrent de les Flors, 55, 08024 Barcelona

views of a landscaped area in park guell with a path leading through a garden with flowers and lupines

Dolce Pizza y los Veganos

One final stop in Gràcia.

Don’t be put off by the name (which still strikes me as a candidate for Worst Band Name Ever) this is a vegan place with lots of ingenuity on the menu. 

As the name suggests, they specialize in a wide range of vegan-friendly pizzas, but they also have their own take on that old vegan favorite, the hot dog, as well as less fast foody options like salads, pasta and Spanish rice dishes. 

It’s not an enormous place, so if you have your heart set on trying their fare, head to their official website to book a table. Takeout is also an option.

Address: C. d’Hipòlit Lázaro, 34, 08025 Barcelona


beachy area of barcelona with the famous w hotel which looks like a sail in the background


I thought I would leave you with an option by the beach – and another name that might put off non-locals! 

“Brutal” in Spanish, apart from its obvious literal meaning, is often used to mean something like badass or hardcore, and as the V and B are pronounced the same in Spanish, Vrutal makes for something of a cute pun for a veggie place.

This place has more of a bar vibe, with unplastered walls and stark, exposed ceilings. Like Bubita, however, its dishes are made with a deceptively high level of love and flair, making this a great spot to duck into for a refreshing drink and a bite after a long sunny walk along the coast.

Address: Rambla del Poblenou No 16 Bajos 4, 08005 Barcelona Spain

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Visiting the Sagrada Familia

the sagrada familia of barcelona with water in the front

Unless you have a major aversion to architecture or religion, La Sagrada Familia is a must-see during your trip to Barcelona.

It’s the city’s major tourist attraction, so visiting it is a pretty slick, painless experience, but there are still some things to bear in mind.

As a Barcelona local living in the city of the last decade, I’ve seen a lot of tourists come and go — and seen a few of the mistakes people make when visiting the Sagrada Familia.

view through the windows of la sagrada familia with stained glass casting a beautiful glow

I’m here to illuminate them so you don’t have to learn the hard way!

Here’s my expert guide to visiting La Sagrada Familia without the fuss.

Mistakes to Avoid when Visiting the Sagrada Familia

Don’t call it a cathedral!

Aerial view of the Sagrada familia jutting out from the landscape of barcelona, dominating the skyline

We tend to think of all show-stopping churches as cathedrals, but La Sagrada Familia is actually a basilica, which is a church with special privileges that can only be conferred by the Pope.

La Sagrada Familia isn’t the only basilica in Barcelona, indeed three more of the city’s most famous churches have the same honor.

Those three are Santa Maria del Mar, Santa Maria del Pi and La Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Merced.

All of them are within walking distance of the Barcelona port.

the actual barcelona cathedral, not to be mistaken for the la sagrada familia basilica. church with spires and stained glass on a sunny day.

Barcelona does have a cathedral, and it’s well worth a look too: not far from Plaça Catalunya, it can make for a suitably Gothic stop on a tour through Barri Gòtic.

The cathedral is called, well, Catedral de Barcelona, or its fancy-schmany churchy name is the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia.

Don’t go inside if you don’t want to!

The Sagrada Familia and construction works in Barcelona, Spain

Most of the tips for visiting the Sagrada Familia below are aimed at people who plan to buy a ticket to go inside, but don’t feel obliged if it’s not your thing.

As with most of Barcelona’s architectural attractions, you have a decision to make: do you prefer to see it just from the outside for free, or will you feel like you are short-changing yourself?

La Sagrada Familia’s interior certainly has lots of points of interest – it’s definitely not one of those buildings which is gorgeous outside but unremarkable within.

But it is still going to cost you more than twenty bucks to visit the interior, as well as involve a swarm of other tourists, so ask yourself how important it is to you.

Sagrada Familia Antonio Gaudi Barcelona Spain with body of water in front of it from the park

If you opt against buying a ticket, there are still a bunch of photo opportunities.

The two famous façades of the building both have small parks in front of them, ideal for taking snaps, sitting and contemplating the basilica’s beauty, or maybe even having a picnic.

Even if you never go inside, it’s still a sight worth seeing.

Don’t buy tickets on-site.

The sagrada familia entry way with the ticket office visible

If you are going to go inside, remember this is one of the most-visited sites in the country, so it’s a good idea to buy tickets in advance.

If you don’t, not only are you likely to find big lines at the ticket office, you might even find tickets have sold out for the day! 

Buying tickets online is simple — you can buy skip-the-line tickets here, or book a ticket for a guided tour here.

All tours come with the audioguide app as standard, but the difference in cost between the basic package and a guided tour isn’t that much more, and so it’s well worth thinking about.

Don’t forget the towers!

Basilica Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia (Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family) in Barcelona, Spain

For not much extra, you can add on the towers of the Sagrada Família as part of your visit.

All over Europe, you will find religious buildings charging a little extra for a view from the top, but I’d say going up the tower in Sagrada Familia is a genuinely exciting experience. 

You are usually given a choice between the tower of the Nativity Façade (the older-looking façade) and the Passion Façade, which has newer elements designed by modern architects. 

the passion facade of the sagrada familia

The latter offers you a more exciting view, taking in the downtown area of the city and Montjuïc.

However, if you are a Gaudí purist, you might get more out of examining the side he alone designed.

Both towers are now served by an elevator which takes you up, but you walk down a winding staircase to come down.

It’s not too strenuous or hazardous, but there are a few hundred steps!

Some sensible footwear will serve you well here if you take this option (and for any day out sightseeing in Barcelona, frankly).

Book your entrance and towers ticket here!

Don’t choose a time without thinking

the interior of the sagrada familia church with view of the vaulted ceiling and stained glass

Talking of strenuous activity, if you do buy a ticket, choose the time of day carefully.

La Sagrada Familia is likely to be relatively less crowded first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon.

In peak season – April through September – the basilica is open until 8 PM. The full timetable is: 

  • November-February: Monday-Saturday 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Sundays 10:30 AM to 6:00 PM.
  • March, October: Monday-Saturday 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Sundays 10:30 AM to 7:00 PM.
  • April-September: Monday through Saturday 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Sundays 10:30 AM to 8:00 PM.
sagrada familia closed at night time with a beautiful view of the exterior all lit up in gold

Last tickets are usually 45 minutes before closing time, although I would personally give myself a little more time so as not to rush.

Finally, if you are visiting in the summer, it’s a good idea to avoid early afternoon anyway.

La Sagrada Familia might have high ceilings but all that body heat can still make it a little stuffy, and if you are walking down from the tower, you don’t want to overheat!

Don’t break the dress code.

view through the stained glass windows of la sagrada with glorious light coming through in a kaleidoscope of rainbow colors

Personally, I have never seen anyone denied access to La Sagrada Familia but the dress code is surprisingly strict.

So even if you don’t rock up in a swimsuit, in theory you could have problems getting in.

Heads, shoulders, and knees are the key words (toes get a pass).

That means hats are not permitted. Shoulders should be covered, so no sleeveless tank tops or blouses. Shorts, dresses and skirts should be below the knee.

For the ladies, showing off a lot of back or a lot of front is also a no-no. 

More obviously, any offensive or distracting designs are also not permitted, nor is wearing anything with a view to promoting a product.

Similarly, remember where you are when taking photos.

Using flash photography (which is outright not permitted), taking selfies, saying or doing goofy things while taking snaps should all be kept to a minimum.

Don’t forget it’s a church.

the interior of the sagrada familia looking up at the beautiful work of the interior with its detail and windows

While we are thinking of spiritual considerations, remember that La Sagrada Familia is a fully functioning church — not just a tourist spot!

That means at 9 AM every Sunday, you can attend mass there.

Obviously, this experience will mean more to Christians than it will to the godless heathens among you.

It’s also an opportunity to gain free entry and actually see La Sagrada Familia being used for its true purpose.

Bear in mind, you won’t be the only visitor with this idea.

Capacity is limited and I have personally never tried to go (although I did pull the same trick at Barcelona Cathedral once).

That said, if you are on the fence about paying to get in (or if, you know, you’re a Catholic!) it might be an interesting idea.

Don’t go without doing a little homework.

Stained glass detail of the Sagrada familia interior of the church

This is probably the most optional Sagrada Familia tip, and if you are reading this, it’s probably a good sign that you are trying to find out about the basilica before you make the trip.

I really recommend that. Guides, whether audio or flesh-based, are very informative, but if it’s your first time hearing a lot of the information, it might be hard to take it all in. 

I personally find I do much better with this kind of information if I have read something or watched something in advance.

Suddenly, the information during the visit is a repetition of some of the things I already learned, rather than just a sea of new facts.

Don’t miss out on these videos!

With that borne in mind, I highly recommend adding this video to your list of things to see in advance.

It’ll help you get a true understanding of what you’ll be seeing at the basilica.

Produced in 2013, it is an animation showing the rather stunning rate of progress at which building work has taken place in recent years – as well as the considerable additions to come before the work is set to finish in 2026.

That year is the centenary of Antoni Gaudí’s tragic sudden death in a tram accident, and this video shows real photos of the building’s progress.

It is astonishing to see both how much has been done recently and how little had been completed during Gaudí’s lifetime.

Watching these videos before visiting the Sagrada Familia will certainly enrich of your appreciation of it.

Don’t miss out on the surrounding area!

Barcelona, spain - idyllic Avinguda de Gaudi with the sagrada familia visible at the end of the street

At the end of your visit, you might feel inclined to head to the metro station and catch a train to your next destination, but – beyond the aforementioned gardens – there are a few things to see around here.

Avinguda de Gaudí is a pedestrianized street that veers off diagonally from La Sagrada Familia, and while it’s undeniably touristy, it makes for a nice walk. 

Eating here would be pricey, but you do have the more economic option of a coffee in front of the basilica!

the famous brick building of the Hospital of the Holy Cross and Saint Paul, (Hospital de la Santa Creu i de Sant Pau), Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain with palm trees and blue sky

If you walk to the end of the street, it will take you up to the Recinte Modernista Sant Pau Barcelona, a modernist masterpiece which was originally designed as a hospital.

Its designer, Lluís Domènech I Montaner, would have a good case for being the city’s most famous architect if it wasn’t for you-know-who.

Don’t feel like you are in the middle of nowhere

the area of plaza catalunya in the center of barcelona with pink flowers, fountain, and familiar buildings of the barcelona city center

Looking at the metro map, La Sagrada Familia can feel a little away from everything else focused around Plaça Catalunya.

But Barcelona is an eminently walkable city. If you head downtown from the basilica, you will get to Arc de Triomf in around twenty minutes, which in turn means you are a stone’s throw from Parc de la Ciutadella.

If you have lunch after your visit and want to walk it off, even the beach is only about 40 minutes’ walk in the same direction.

Alternatively, walking south-west from La Sagrada Familia (the direction that the Passion Façade faces, along Calle de Mallorca or Calle de València) will take you to Passeig de Gràcia in about twenty minutes.

This is a nice alternative if the metro is swarming!

One Day in Barcelona: Expert Guide for 24 Hours in Barcelona [2023]

view of the opera house in barcelona with a barely-leafy tree in front of it on the main ramblas street

Trying to see any city in a day is probably an act of madness.

But if you only have 24 hours to spare, the good news is Barcelona isn’t a hard one to try to sightsee in.

All in all, Barcelona has all you need to blitz a day of sightseeing.

It’s a pretty compact city, it has excellent public transport, and a lot of attractions are concentrated in a small part of town.

With one day in Barcelona, you have no hope of seeing it fully: but you do have a shot at getting a good impression of the city.

a modernist building of a former hospital turned into an art deco beauty in gaudi-esque style by another famous barcelona architect, in barcelona

After living in Barcelona for over a decade, I’ve helped many friends see the city, no matter how much time they have to visit — and here are my top picks for what you should prioritize with only one day in Barcelona.

Unfortunately, that means some things had to go (sorry, Park Guell, you’re beautiful but save it for another visit!)

Here’s my guide to seeing Barcelona in a day.

Start at the Plaça de Catalunya and Las Ramblas.

View of Square of Catalonia in Barcelona, with pink flowers and a fountain and statues and buildings in the background on a cloudy day

An obvious place to start, this square at the top of Las Ramblas is served by the Catalunya metro stop.

Or if you are coming straight from the airport, like if you’re visiting Barcelona on a layover, you could get the A1 Aerobus here!

Talking of transport, given that our one day Barcelona itinerary is going to be busy, the best ticket to buy is the T-Dia, which gives you unlimited travel on public transport for the day.

metro sign in barcelona in the plaza de catalunya metro stop area

The square is huge and monumental, definitely worth exploring for photo opportunities among its statues of lions and ancient heroes.

There are also some flagship stores around, notably the famous El Corte Inglés department store.

Las Ramblas are the real draw, however.

Probably the most famous road in Spain, this mile-long avenue has a wide central pedestrianized area, ideal for a leisurely stroll.

La Rambla street. The most popular street in Barcelona early in the morning. Almost empty. Spain

Local’s note: you can call this street its official name, La Rambla, but it is technically a series of a number of streets (Rambla de Canaletes, Rambla dels Estudis, etc).

That’s why many people also talk of it in the plural, i.e., Las Ramblas (Spanish) or Les Rambles (Catalan).

It is touristy, and in peak season you might find yourself accosted by people selling trinkets or waiters touting their restaurants, but it is still an unmistakeably magical walk.

My tip as a local is to make sure you look up! A lot of the buildings are really beautifully decorated or have eye-catching rooftops – something of a recurring theme in this town.

On a one-day trip, I wouldn’t put pressure on myself with any must-sees along Las Ramblas, but one obvious highlight would be La Boqueria, a fruit market about five minutes’ walk down the street from Plaça Catalunya, on the right-hand side.

view of a person visiting la boqueria market in barcelona

Barcelona is filled with lively “mercats”, market buildings, often with ornate roofs, where locals shop for fresh produce.

La Boqueria is the city’s most famous market, and is therefore much more of a tourist trap, but there is still good produce to be found.

Plus, customers who are happy to shop around and compare prices instead of going to the first place will be rewarded for their patience!

A little further down on the same side of the road is the Teatre de Liceu, the city’s sumptuous opera house.

Teatre de Liceu on the rambla, a popular tourist landmark in barcelona, a beautiful opera house

Ravaged by fire in 1994, it has been back in operation since 1999 and hosts both classical and occasionally popular music.

It’s a nice idea to walk through its elegant lobby and enjoy it!

A possible stop for a morning coffee would be next door at the Café de l’Òpera, an establishment which opened in 1929 and looks for all the world like it has been plucked out of a period drama.

On the opposite side of the road you will see the turning for Carrer de Ferran.

By downtown’s Gothic standards, this is positively a wide street, and something about its lampposts and many aged shop façades always fills me with a sense of warmth and romance.

Unusual view of the iconic Plaça Reial square (Plaza Real) in Barcelona city center, during a sunny day of January. Usually this is one of the most bustling places of the Gothic Quarter

A right-hand turn from Carrer de Ferran will take you through Plaça Reial, an immaculate, classy square which lives up to its “royal” billing.

The basic advice here would be to follow your nose: this is Barri Gòtic, which is an area designed to get lost in.

As long as you basically go in the same direction as the Rambla, you won’t mess with our itinerary, and the essential magic of this area is the sensation of the unexpected.

Here, streets wind in unpredictable directions, and the most elegant boutiques occupy cave-like holes in the wall.

Your mission is simply to soak it in!

Visit the Passeig de Colón and the Port.

Passeig de Colom street and The Columbus monument (or The Colon) in Barcelona, Spain with amazing palms and clear blue sky.

Whether you make it back to the Rambla or not, making your way downtown will spit you out on Passeig de Colón, which is Catalan for Columbus.

Christopher came to Barcelona after his first voyage to the new world, to report his findings.

Today, he is honored with a huge statue at the foot of Las Ramblas, with the mountain Montjuïc providing an equally photogenic backdrop.

Crossing the road from Passeig de Colón takes you to Barcelona’s main port, Port Vell.

View of the Port Vell in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, on a sunny day

If you follow the port around to the left, you will come across a strip of fancy restaurants in front of the Museum of the History of Catalonia.

This part of town is great for people-watching – and yacht-watching!

Some of the biggest vessels in the world – improbably luxurious, huge things – moor here.

Enjoy some beach time.

the w hotel in barcelona with the barceloneta beach in the foreground

Continue in the same direction, downtown as from Las Ramblas, and you will arrive at the beach.

To the right you will see the sail-like W Hotel, and in that direction there is a growing number of posers doing Venice Beach-like shows of strength if that’s your scene.

However, apart from a few high-end beach bars, there is nothing more to see at this end.

Behind the hotel is the more functional end of the port, so I recommend you focus most of your energies heading in the opposite direction.

view of people out on the sand enjoying the beach of barcelona

The beach in Barcelona is largely artificial, but it still makes for a pretty killer view!

Sandy and wide and full of people, just walking along the seafront is a pleasure.

If you are looking for a dip or a sunbathe, as a general rule the further you get away from the port, the better – for both water quality and space.

Seafood paella with glass of wine in seaside cafe,port of Barcelona

Or alternatively, if your stomach is starting to grumble, a paella by the beach is a bit of a tradition!

Paella is actually an invention from Valencia, further south on Spain’s east coast.

Technicalities aside, it’s still popular in Barcelona, and you can find some good (if pricey) places just a sea breeze away from the sand.

View at the towers and the Peix (Fish by Frank Gehry) in Port Olimpic, the Olympic harbor in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

One landmark to help you out in your search is Frank Gehry’s El Peix sculpture.

You will find some famous paella spots before (Marina Bay and Agua) and after (La Fonda, Barnabier and El Cangrejo Loco) Gehry’s loveable, larger than life rendering of a goldfish.

Visit the famous Sagrada Familia.

the sagrada familia of barcelona with water in the front

Time to head to one of Barcelona’s most famous sights, the Sagrada Familia.

Tip — any bus with a V in the name refers to the vertical routes that take you up and downtown!

From the beach, we are going to the Passeig Maritim bus stop and taking the V21 to La Sagrada Familia.

Even if churches aren’t really your thing, this basilica is a must-see, not least because it is a constantly changing monument. 

vaulted ceiling of the la sagrada familia church

Indeed, if this is not your first visit to Barcelona, some of the wow-factor comes with noting how much it has been altered over time.

Tickets to go inside are steep (see skip-the-line ticket costs here), so it’s worth doing a Google image search before splashing out.

If you do want to check out the interiors – which, to be fair, are pretty stunning – make sure you book in advance.

Explore the Diagonal area and have dinner.

casa de pedrera in barcelona with its wavy facade and stone roof

From Sagrada Familia, take the blue metro line to Diagonal and head for the Passeig de Gràcia exit.

This street is as graceful as its name suggests – you will find any number of designer stores down here, and more importantly, two of Gaudí’s masterpieces.

Not far from the metro station is Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera (“The Stone Quarry”), on the left-hand side.

Far more sensual than the name suggests, this corner-building is impossibly curvy and sinuous, as though it was melted before being kneaded into shape.

Casa Batlló, just three blocks down, is totally different.

Casa Batlló whimsical architecture on a sunny day with no clouds in the sky in late afternoon with mosaic walls

This was Gaudí’s overhaul of a tall, narrow building and its colorful motifs are much more reminiscent of the architect’s work at Park Güell.

For dinner, this area offers a ton of options.

For tapas, I would recommend Cervecería Catalana, a right-hand turn off Passeig de Gràcia in Carrer de Mallorca 236.

It gets busy, so you might have more luck at its sister restaurant, Ciutat Condal, located at the bottom of Rambla Catalunya, which runs parallel to Passeig de Gràcia.

Spain Restaurant Bar Coffee shop sign Tapas restaurant

Another glamorous option on Passeig de Gràcia itself is El Nacional (Passeig de Gràcia 24), a self-styled “gastronomic multi-space” where you can try specialities from all different parts of Spain.

Its vibe at nighttime also makes it a fine spot for a cocktail after you’ve had dinner elsewhere.

Talking of drinks, the high-end option to finish the night would be to head to the rooftop bar of one of the city’s hotels, such as Hotel Majestic on the corner of Passeig de Gràcia and Carrer de Valencia. 

But don’t feel obliged to blow your budget in a fancy place – one of the glories about this area (and indeed Barcelona in general) is stumbling across a bar.

Wherever you go, you are likely to find beer and wine for a reasonable price, and mind-blowingly large shots of liquor in any mixer you order! Cheers!

10 Epic Gaudí Buildings in Barcelona: Map + List of Best Sites

rooftop detail of gaudi house in Barcelona

Perhaps no architect in the world is identified with one city as much as Antoni Gaudí is with Barcelona.

His iconic style gives the city much of its unique character, and it’s impossible to talk about its architectural history without paying tribute to his work

His works are dotted throughout the city – both world-famous masterpieces, and lesser-known early contributions just waiting to be found.

Most Interesting Gaudí Buildings in Barcelona

Sagrada Família

The exterior of the Sagrada Familia church with towers and beautiful plants in the gardens outside of the church in Barcelona on a sunny summer day at one of the most famous Gaudi buildings in Barcelona

Let’s start with the most obvious Gaudí site, the Sagrada Família.

This basilica – not a Cathedral, by the way – is arguably the most iconic building in all of Spain. 

Set to finally be completed in 2026, exactly 100 years after Gaudí’s untimely death in a traffic accident, La Sagrada Familia is an ever-changing masterpiece.

That means that even if you have seen it before, a repeat viewing will never disappoint!

The interior stain glass work of Gaudi's Barcelona church, a basilica in Barcelona

Its exterior can be admired in comfort, with parks either side of it affording plenty of opportunities for photographs and leisurely contemplation, but its interior is just as arresting.

A trip inside is a must for architecture fans (as well as aesthetes, photographers, and anyone who likes color).

The colorful rays of light from the stained glass mixed with undulating architecture is like nothing you’ve ever seen before!

The interior colorful lights of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia Church with orange, yellow, reddish tones lighting up the church walls

Tickets are not cheap – €26 for individuals – but in spite of the price, they’re in high demand, so book in advance on the official website.

Tickets to climb the basilica’s vertiginous towers cost more, but for anyone looking for an amazing climb and view, it’s definitely worth considering!

Casa Calvet

View of the facade of Casa Calvet, a lesser-known Gaudi building, with orange balconies that bulge from the facade of the building, on a sunny day with an airplane trail in the sky

A visit to Sagrada Família can also be combined with a visit to Casa Calvet, a lesser-known Gaudí sight in Barcelona.

About a 25-minute walk south from La Sagrada Família, or a block north from Urquinaona metro, Casa Calvet is an early work by Gaudí.

It’s not often visited, and it’s vastly overlooked by the majority of tourists who walk past it each year, blissfully unaware of its significance. 

The building is attractive and sinuous in the way that hundreds of moderniste buildings are in Barcelona. 

However, this is testament to its influence on where Barcelona’s architecture would later go: a trend-setter, so to speak.

Several of the motifs here – sensuously bulging balconies, ornate rooftops and imagery from the natural world – went on to become staples of the city’s most upscale architecture at the time!

Park Güell

View of the balcony of Park Guell with lots of mosaics and building colors and gingerbread-looking architecture with funky towers, view of the city of Barcelona below it and even down to the beaches

Speaking of upscale, Park Güell has a very curious history, quite different from its current status as the city’s most visited public park.

Time for a little history lesson!

Eusebi Güell was an entrepreneur who commissioned a number of works by Gaudí, and this park was originally conceived as a British-style retreat from the city – hence the English spelling of “park”.

This origin also explains why it is a little bit removed from the city center: to be remote, away from the crowds.

Brace yourselves: it’s at the top of a hill, which means you either want to take a taxi from a nearby metro (Lesseps or Vallcarca) or hail the cute 116 Bus from Plaça de Lesseps.

To get some steps in, put on a pair of decent sneakers and haul yourself up the San Francisco-steep Baixada de la Gloria (with a little much-appreciated help from the available escalators).

the elevator of baixada de gloria in Barcelona with very steep  hill cityscape below it, and an elevator with a small narrow opening here

The park’s entrance is straight out of a fairy tale: two buildings, originally gate houses for the park, look like they have been carved out of gingerbread.

Today, they house a gift shop and restaurant: convenient, since you can sneak a peek at its interiors for free while you pick up a couple souvenirs or grab a quick bite.

Once inside the park, you can keep going up, taking the stairs past the park’s famous salamander sculpture, to the shaded marketplace-like space under the Plaza de la Naturaleza terrace.

Buskers often play here, taking advantage of the amazing acoustics and inspiring views.

If you take the winding stairs uphill you will get to the plaza itself, which is dominated by an endless winding mosaic bench.

Entrance to this area costs €10, but it’s worth it for the photo opportunity!

the gaudi house museum in the park guell complex area, a reddish house with a steep tower, high on a hill in Barcelona

Still further uphill, you’ll find the Gaudí House Museum, where Gaudí lived until his death.

Fascinatingly, the park never really worked out as a commercial concern.

It was handed over to the city to become a public park, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Palau Güell

the taupe stone and ornate wrought-iron entryway of the Palau Guell building by gaudi in Barcelona

Güell’s collaborations with Gaudí don’t end there.

In 1886, Güell commissioned Gaudí to design Palau Güell, a mansion just off the Rambla and a stone’s throw from the famous La Boqueria market.

As an earlier work, it’s not as identifiable as Gaudí’s major pieces.

Perhaps its interior has more examples of Gaudí’s touch and flair than the outside, which is grand and imposing.

That said, in a part of town where many buildings are grand and imposing, it’s easy to miss.

Güell Pavilions

The Guell Pavilions a part of the palace royal built by gaudi with moorish influence
Photo Credit: Canaan – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikiamedia Commons

Uptown, in an entirely more serene area, you find the Güell Pavilions, a series of small buildings at the top end of the gorgeous Palau Reial park.

These buildings showcase a mixture of influences, with some parts resembling Gaudí’s trademark style and others demonstrating an interest in Eastern, Gothic and Moorish architecture. 

Palau Reial is a bit out of the way for most tourists, but I think it’s worth it.

the Palau reial palace where there is also another gaudi building

Especially if you’re considering making the journey to Camp Nou, this is a nearby attraction worth combining.

Palau Reial has a totally different feel from the rest of the city, tranquil and – as the name suggests – regal.

Casa Milà

the ornate, undulating wave-y pattern of a gaudi building called casa mila, one of the most beautiful gaudi sites in the city

Next, our tour of Gaudí’s Barcelona moves on to Passeig de Gracia, one of the city’s most elegant high streets.

At the Diagonal Metro station end of the street, you’ll find Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera.

Like Güell, Pere Milà was a Catalan big-shot.

He commissioned Gaudí to design a show-stopping residential building, with the idea being that the Milà family would occupy one floor while renting out the others.

“La Pedrera” means “the quarry” and is a very apt name: even by today’s standards the building looks totally unique, as though it has been hewn out of the face of a cliff and sanded into its audaciously winding shape.

The rooftop is particularly unique too, and definitely worth a visit.

The strange and fantastical stone-colored roof of Gaudi's casa mila building which looks like a stone quarry

At the time of its completion, it was so revolutionary that it was the target of heavy criticism.

It has passed through periods of neglect since then – at one time it even served as a bingo hall!

Since 1986, it has been owned by the Catalan building society Caixa Catalunya, which has restored Casa Milà and turned it into a fully-fledged tourist attraction. 

Entry costs €25, and though the building can be enjoyed from outside, a quick Google Image Search will give you an idea of how special a tour of the interior can be.

Casa Batlló

The colorful architecture of Casa Battlo in Barcelona, one of the more whimsical gaudi buildings in Barcelona

Still in Passeig de Gracia, a few blocks down from Casa Milà, is Casa Batlló

In 1906 – around the same time he was designing La Pedrera – Gaudí was approached by industrial magnate Josep Batlló.

He wanted to convert his unremarkable family home into something more suited to a man of his status. (Are you noting the common theme here?)

Gaudí actually talked Batlló out of demolishing the site and starting over.

the strange, fairytale like rooftop of gaudi's casa battle with what looks like a dragon back

Instead, he totally renovated the building, and today its colorful façade, curvaceous windows and fairytale rooftop are all unmistakably Gaudí.

What exactly the rooftop resembles is up to your personal interpretation, but I see the shape of a dragon’s back!

Tickets cost €29 for adults, with children under 12 admitted free of charge.

Hidden Gem Gaudí Sites in Barcelona

The rest of this article is written for those travelers among you who just love to seek out destinations off the beaten path, so get ready for some hidden gems.

Yes, even with a name as recognizable as Gaudí, he does have some buildings that still fly under the radar: here they are.

Casa Vicens

upwards angled view of the casa vicens house in Barcelona which was also designed by Gaudi

The beautiful Gaudí construction, Casa Vicens, is not far from the action.

It’s a few minutes’ walk from Fontana, the metro station which serves the lovely Gracia neighborhood.

That said, it’s often missed because it is tucked away on an otherwise unremarkable street, Carrer de les Carolines.

Considered to be Gaudí’s first major project, Casa Vicens is quite different from his more famous pieces.

primary colors in geometric print to create a unique pattern in a gaudi window scene

While the use of vibrant colors is certainly eye-catching, the design is dominated by straight lines and geometric patterns, just like the window detailing seen in the above photo.

More than his other works, this particular Gaudí building is perhaps more remniscent of the Muslim-influenced architecture of southern Spain.

The building has changed hands many times and was used as a family home as recently as 2014, but it is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

College of Saint Teresa-Ganduxer

ornate facade of the college that Gaudi designed in barcelona with moorish detailing and palm trees

Photo Credit: By Enfo – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Further uptown is the Bonanova neighborhood, where the city meets the foot of the Tibidabo mountain range. 

This area is full of huge, extravagant mansions, which gives it a ghostly charm of its own.

This atmosphere might be why it is the setting for much of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s thriller The Shadow of the Wind!

The College of Saint Teresa-Ganduxer, a private Catholic school completed in 1889, certainly contributes to that atmosphere. 

Gaudí’s commission was to build an economical base for the city’s Teresian nuns, and that sense of austere function is reflected in the form of the resulting building.

Despite its otherworldly austerity, the building still features some of Gaudí’s lighter touches, especially in the ornamentation of the rooftops.


plant with blue and white azulejo-style tile reminiscent of Portuguese tile with lots of greenery

About a mile uptown from the college, you will find Bellesguard, a mansion house also known as Casa Figueres.

Meaning “beautiful view” in Catalan, Bellesguard was commissioned in 1900 by the Figueres family.

They wanted Gaudí to take inspiration from the ruins of the medieval castle located on their land.

More recognizably a Gaudí work than the College of Saint Teresa-Ganduxer, Bellesguard has elements which call to mind the college’s classical lines.

However, it also more characteristic flourishes on the windows and tower, foreshadowing what Gaudí would go on to do in the later works that made him famous.

A visit inside is recommended, mostly to see the building’s quite idiosyncratic roof! 

The story of Saint George is very important in Catalonia, and Catalans actually exchange books and roses on Saint George’s Day every year.

Gaudí makes a playful nod to this tradition here, with the roof and windows specially formed to resemble the snout of a (hopefully benevolent) dragon. 

The 15 Best Cafes to Work at in Barcelona: Coworking & Laptop-Friendly!

Empty coffee table over defocused coffee shop background, no one in the coffee shop, empty with brick wall and industrial-style hanging lamps

If you are looking to get some work done in Barcelona, rest assured: there are plenty of start-ups, co-working spaces and – what we’re covering in this blog post – work-friendly cafés in Barcelona. 

The phrase “Barcelona doesn’t have enough cafés” has never been uttered in human history.

The good news is that pretty much any café in any neighborhood is likely to have good Wi-Fi and a relaxed attitude to you using your laptop while you are there.

Locals will happily nurse a small coffee at their leisure, and you are much more likely to have trouble getting the waiter’s attention to the pay the check than to have anyone grumble about how little you are ordering!

We’ll get into the best cafés to work in Barcelona in just a moment, but first, just a word about Barcelonian coffee culture.

Barcelona Coffee Shop Terminology

Cortado, a favorite Spanish coffee with espresso with a small amount of foamed milk in the cup.

There’s one key thing to bear in mind if you do venture into your local Barcelona café for some remote work.

It’s important to know that the established coffee culture in Spain means that the Italian terms that reign supreme in the United States and elsewhere aren’t necessarily the most common here.

The two most common coffee drinks in Spain are cortado (a shot of espresso with a dash of milk) and café con leche (two shots of espresso in a small cupful of warm milk).

While other types of Italian espresso-style drinks, such as cappuccino or americano will be understood, you might not get exactly what you expect.

If you are looking for some serious volume of coffee (we’re talking brewed coffee here as opposed to espresso drinks), then likely, chains are the way to go.

For those fiending for the largest cup of coffee possible, don’t worry: we’ll get into the remote-work friendly coffee shop chains first, and then we’ll cover some more local options.

Work-Friendly Barcelona Coffee Shop Chains

closeup of a cup of coffee at coffee shop, with blurred background

Beyond the neighborhood cafés, there are a number of chains throughout the city, such as Sandwichez and Buenas Migas.

These chain cafés offer more international food options than your typical local place – although the prices are a little higher too.

Here are my two favorite picks for local chain coffee shops in Barcelona that won’t give you the side-eye while you do some remote work (and don’t worry, we wouldn’t so something as wrong as send you to Starbucks while you’re in Barcelona).

Federal Café

Federal Café has three locations in Barcelona (as well as other cities in Spain) and was at the forefront of the brunch craze that has taken over the city in the last decade.

It has caught on to the co-working market now, with two power outlets around each table, and a larger table area for group work, making it a great coffee shop to work at in Barcelona.

  • Sant Antoni: Carrer del Parlament, 39, 08015 Barcelona, Spain
  • Barri Gòtic: Ptge. de la Pau, 11, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
  • Pobleneu: Carrer del Taulat, 109, 08005 Barcelona, Spain

Flax & Kale

Another chain option would be Flax & Kale, an organic café/restaurant with a few outlets throughout the city.

If you are looking to take inspiration from the studious vibe of the Universitat area, the one on Carrer dels Tallers would be a good option.

  • Universitat: Carrer dels Tallers, 74b, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
  • Eixample: Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt, 31, 33, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

Most Beautiful Work-Friendly Cafes in Barcelona

Talking of studious vibes, a lot of beautiful cafes in Barcelona can be found in bookshops and museums.

After all, who doesn’t get inspired by their surroundings?

Laie Libreria Café

The Laie Libreria Café just off Passeig de Gràcia is charming inside and out.

Its interior is light and airy, with walls lined with books, while its terrace offers a simple space for when you need a little fresh air or sunshine.

  • Carrer de Pau Claris, 85, 08010 Barcelona, Spain

La Terracita at the CCCB

The CCCB is a cultural center in the Raval District, but it’s more than just that!

Its archive is home not just to 10,00 multimedia references, but also offers a workspace.

The center’s café, La Terracita, is on hand for coffees and snacks, and it makes for a good spot to do a little work.

  • Carrer de Montalegre, 5, 08001 Barcelona, Spain

Filmoteca de Catalunya

A ten-minute walk downtown through El Raval will take you to a similar spot, the Filmoteca de Catalunya, a film archive run by the local government.

Showing classic films for free, this place is often busy at night, but during office hours this open-plan café offers long tables and very reasonable food, making it a great laptop-friendly coffee shop in Barcelona.

  • Plaça de Salvador Seguí, 1, 08001 Barcelona, Spain

Corte Inglés

And now a somewhat unexpected addition: the top-floor café in Corte Inglés is much groovier than its rather clinical department store image might lead you to expect.

While not designed as a workspace, the café is enormous, and has an unbeatable inspirational view of the square, Passeig de Gràcia and the top of the Rambla.

It’s worth a least a visit to change up your working routine, and it’s also a place where there are myriad lunch options if you get peckish.

  • Plaça de Catalunya, 14, 08002 Barcelona, Spain

Espai Joliu (temporarily closed)

Espai Joliu is something completely different. A plant store/café (yes, you read that right), it also offers tea and coffee, vegan-friendly treats and fast Wi-Fi.

From the outside you could be forgiven for thinking it has been abandoned (this is shabby chic turned up to ten), and even inside we are talking unplastered walls and eclectic furniture.

However, for anyone looking for something different or a rustic never-more-Spanish feel, this is a great option.

  • Carrer de Badajoz, 95, 08005 Barcelona, Spain

Black Remedy

Black Remedy has a bit more of a bar vibe, and so it not the place if you want peace and quiet.

On the other hand, if it’s energy and hustle and bustle you want, it’s a great choice.

We’re talking decent Wi-Fi speed, OK access to power outlets (sit at the end of tables for best results) and excellent coffee, food and service.

Right in the center of the Gothic Quarter, it’s also ideal for anyone new in town who would like to combine some work time with sightseeing.

  • Carrer de la Ciutat 5, 08002 Barcelona, Spain


On the other end of the spectrum, Taranna is away from the tourist attractions in the lesser-visited side of Poblenou.

As well as the café on the first floor, there is a walkdown area where the creatives descend to.

Once upon a time the area had an abundance of power outlets, but on my last visit they had been covered, so it’s perhaps a good spot for a quick work session in peace and quiet.

  • Carrer de Fluvià, 47, 08019 Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona Co-Working Coffee Shops

If you are after a more serious space, some cafés have positioned themselves as quasi-coworking spaces.

These are the more serious coffee shops to work at in Barcelona, so come to one of these when you’re ready to put your nose to the grindstone.


A great co-working option is FabCafe, near the Arc de Trimof.

This is an ideal option for anyone who wants a little more access to the latest technology alongside their cup of joe.

3D scanners, 3D printers, laser cutters and cloud printers are all on hand, perfect for creatives!

  • Carrer de Bailèn, 11, 08010 Barcelona, Spain


Coworkidea is another paid space, a very bright and airy coworking spot nestled between Plaça Catalunya and Plaça Universitat.

As well as the coffee, it offers three meeting rooms, an events room and – if you want to pretend you work for Google – a chill-out area complete with a hammock.

  • Carrer de Torres i Amat, 21, 1º, 08001 Barcelona, Spain

Espai Born

Espai Born has a really groovy vibe to it that makes it a fun choice for a place to work remotely in Barcelona.

Fun fact: it’s in a renovated old bakery!

Set in a basement area, this spot embraces its cellar aesthetic with eclectic touches from distressed bookshelves to vintage arcade machines.

It’s the perfect atmosphere for a buzzy, creative professional.

  • Carrer dels Vigatans, 11, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

Aticco Urquinaona

As the name suggests, Aticco Urquinaona gives you access to the high life.

Set in a penthouse with access to a roof terrace, a gym and even financial consultants and marketing experts on hand, this is ideal for anyone taking the next step towards a serious co-working space.

  • Ronda de Sant Pere, 52, 08010 Barcelona, Spain


imaginCafé is something different, a free intitiative launched by CaixaBank.

The décor here is something akin to an Apple Store, drastically sparse and professional, but for that reason it can get busy – and one area is reserved for CaixaBank cardholders.

  • Carrer de Pelai, 11, 08001 Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona Work-Friendly Coffee Shops (With Actually Great Coffee)

Alternatively, if your priority is to find great coffee in a place where it’s possible to work, rather than a dedicated space, there are a number of options.

These spaces may not specifically prioritize co-working, but it’s doable. Come with your laptop and devices charged for best results, as outlet usage isn’t guaranteed.


SlowMov in Gràcia offers speciality coffees and a variety of roasted options, along with a suitably quiet atmosphere allowing you to get some stuff done.

While it’s place that is featured in a lot of “top 10 Barcelona café”-type articles, it’s worth the hype.

The coffee shop is rather small, so it’s better for a quick cup of coffee and a brief sprint of work rather than an all-day slog.

  • Carrer de Luis Antúnez, 18, 08006 Barcelona, Spain

Satan’s Coffee Corner

Satan’s Coffee Corner is another classic Barcelona coffee shop for expats and visitors.

While there are few outlets, there are plenty of spaces both at the bar as well as around the larger tables, probably big enough for a group of eight.

Wi-Fi speeds are excellent for an open network, and the Right Side Coffee they serve has earned it glowing reviews since it opened in 2012.

Best of all, there is also some unconventional food on offer, including traditional Japanese breakfasts.

  • Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 700, 08010 Barcelona, Spain

Brew Coffee

A little further downtown, just off the Tetuan metro stop, is Brew Coffee.

Along with the speciality coffees here, you can pick up some Asian-influenced pastries, and work in this friendly, inviting space.

  • Carrer de Roger de Flor, 102, 08013 Barcelona, Spain