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Visiting Barcelona

Everybody falls in love with Barcelona, and it's easy to see why: blue skies, city beaches, delicious paella, late-night bars, whimsical art, and architecture that makes you smile. The perfect city-break destination? It may just be.

Icelandair offers flight deals to Barcelona for tapas grazing and Gaudí gazing. Learn more about what this fantastic Spanish city has to offer below.

Best time to fly to Barcelona

Barcelona is the most visited city in Spain, and the high season of July to August sees thousands of tourists flock to the city to enjoy the hot weather and various events. During this time, most locals choose to get out of town to vacation in cooler, less humid spots.

In the fall, things cool off a bit and tourist crowds scatter. But October brings the promise of increased rainfall so don’t forget your waterproofs if you plan to travel to Barcelona at this time.

Christmas and New Year are celebrated enthusiastically in the city. Although crowds are fewer then compared to during the high season, the rates of hotels in Barcelona are still elevated to account for Spanish and European vacationers.

The ideal time to book flights to Barcelona, Spain, is probably in the short spring season of May to June. It’s still warm but not too hot or humid, and there are fewer tourists than in summer, manifesting the perfect conditions for sightseeing.

Alternatively, if you don’t mind nippier temperatures, then between January and April is the best time to visit for touring the city on a budget. You can typically find cheap flights to Barcelona during these winter months because it’s the quietest time of year.

Things to do in Barcelona

Barcelona is synonymous with art and architecture, and the eccentric genius of Antoni Gaudí put a unique stamp on the city. His treasures are numerous, ranging from the fantastical Casa Batlló to the joyously whimsical Park Güell, a riot of curves and colorful tile work. His greatest legacy is La Sagrada Familia, the inspired yet unfinished cathedral. 

Gaudí is not the only brilliant artist with deep connections to Barcelona. How about names like Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, or Salvador Dalí? It's not all head-turning surrealist artworks either.
There's incredible history and the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) is packed with ancient treasures to be discovered anew. For modern-day pilgrimages, you can't beat Camp Nou, home to the legendary Barcelona Football Club.

Spanish high-street fashion brands (like Zara, Mango, and Massimo Dutti) are well-known around the world. But there's a load more to uncover in the small streets of Barcelona that are worthy of both your budget and baggage allowance. Shoppers will be thrilled to discover boutiques of emerging designers, shiny waterfront malls, and local street markets selling gourmet delicacies.

Hit the prime retail district of Passeig de Gracia and the streets to its south west, browse the workshops and small boutiques of El Born, and wander the laneways of Barri Gòtic to unearth the city’s best treasures.

If you're after under-one-roof ease, Las Arenas is a unique city feature. A former bullring turned mall, visitors won’t want to miss the promenade on its roof, where you can take in brilliant city panoramas.

And it would be remiss of us not to mention one of the main attractions for European and American travelers to Barcelona: the beaches. Barceloneta beach is the best known in the city, but both Llevant and Sant Sebastià beaches are also popular for good reason.

Tasty tapas and market munches

There's no denying: Barcelona is one of the world's best food destinations. You may find it hard to resist the call of the tapas (bite-sized snacks), the fresh seafood, the jamón (ham), and the sangria, and we could hardly blame you. 

And that’s not even to mention the long list of Michelin-starred eateries. Start at Mercat de la Boqueria, Barcelona’s most central produce market, which can be found on landmark Las Ramblas (or La Rambla) boulevard. It’s a sensory riot of local color and flavor, and there are tapas bars here that make excellent refueling stops.

But there's good food to be enjoyed all over the city. The waterfront is a logical choice for seafood and paella. Elegant L'Eixample is home to upmarket gems. Whereas Gràcia has a hip, youthful vibe with good eating and drinking spots sprinkling its squares.

Getting around Barcelona

Barcelona and its metropolitan area are well connected by its extensive network of public transport options, including the metro, buses, trams, and public rail service (FGC). The metro is probably the easiest way to get around the city. It stops near the majority of popular sights and attractions, and there’s even a line that goes to BCN Barcelona El Prat Airport.

The city is home to over 120 miles of cycle lanes and offers a public bike share scheme. You can also get around most of Barcelona city’s individual neighborhoods on foot quite easily.

There are numerous taxi operators with a choice of traditional, hybrid, and electric-powered cabs. While you can grab a taxi fairly effortlessly, we wouldn’t recommend hiring a car to get around Barcelona due to the tricky parking and congestion.

FAQs about travel to Barcelona

Helpful information for travelers to Barcelona

When can you get the cheapest flights to Barcelona, Spain?

You’re most likely to find cheap flights to Barcelona in the off-season (January to April). However, Barcelona is a top tourist destination all year-round, so it’s still advised to book your flight tickets in advance.

What cities in the US offer flights to Barcelona?

When you fly to Barcelona with Icelandair, you have a choice of traveling from 12 US airports including New York, Chicago, and Portland. Use the booking tool above to view the latest Barcelona Spain flights from your nearest city.

Which airport do you fly into for Barcelona?

Barcelona El Prat Airport (BCN) is the largest international airport servicing the city. Most direct flights to Barcelona from the US will touch down at El-Prat.

How do I get from Barcelona airport to the city center?

You can travel from BCN airport to central Barcelona via taxi, bus, train, or metro. The 9 mile journey takes between 30-40 minutes. A taxi is the quickest but most expensive mode of transport, typically costing around $35 and $40.