Metro and buses:
It is super easy to travel by public transport in Barcelona. I would recommend getting the T-10 Pass for zone 1. This will allow you to make 10 journeys in the city center (where all the main sites are situated). The T 10 costs € 9.95 and can be used on the metro and buses. you can buy the ticket at any metro station at the self service machines (you can even chose an English language option)
If going further afield to the mountains or a town outside of Barcelona you will need a separate ticket as these areas are not in zone 1. It is easy enough to buy a ticket at the station for other zones. It will be cheaper to buy a one use ticket as you will not be travelling out of zone 1 that many times.
Taxis in Barcelona are pretty reliable and reasonable (obviously cost more than the metro) but still are not too extortionate. To get from the airport to Barcelona city should cost between €30 and €40 euros. It is all measured on a meter (so just keep an eye on it to check it starts at the base fare and is not tampered with.
You can take a cable car from the port to various parks in Barcelona. This is a scenic way to get around. The cable car costs around €8 each way.
Where to stay:
There are tonnes of hotel and hostel options in Barcelona so choosing can be tricky. My advice here is think about what you want most from your holiday (beach lazy days or city exploration days or both). As seen above getting around is super easy. I would recommend choosing somewhere near a metro station, so you can travel around at ease.
I stayed in Catalonia Atenas (this was across the road from the metro station Clot, so super easy to get into town to the Ramblas). The hotel was very nice, clean and had air con, TV’s and en-suites in the rooms. There was a gym downstairs which was handy after pigging out all day and also had a fantastic buffet breakfast ( €13). Well worth indulging, every few days. There was a small pool on the roof top which was lovely and a spa downstairs (not included in the hotel price €10 each day you wanted to use it). The hotel was a good, comfortable,option and had free apples at the reception – free food is always a bonus!
Check out booking.com, airbandb and hostel world for other options and deals.
Barcelona is known for its pickpockets – like any busy city. Just keep your rucksack on your front, zipped up and you should be fine. When musicians come to play you music do not get distracted because it is when you are not watching your belongings that they may be stolen. Having said this I had no problems as long as you are street wise, carry only the money you need for the day, I am sure you will not encounter any problems.
If not used to the heat (like me) make sure to bring plenty of water and sun-cream. There are water fountains along the ramblas (main street) and in some of the parks, so you can refill for free. The tap water is fine to drink in Barcelona. If you want to double check tap water in Spanish is portable. So say … ‘es portable esta bein?’.
Night time adventures:
Like in any city you will have sketchy looking characters roaming around at night, but as Barcelona is so touristic there is always someone around. So just be street wise and stick with the crowds and you will be absolutely fine.
Safety is not an issue in Barcelona as long as you are sensible.
There are lots of restaurants to chose from catering to all needs. The famous market on the Ramblas also provides a eclectic array of foods and has some restaurant stalls in the middle. Famous must try dishes are; paella, Spanish omelets and tapas. The sea food and fish is all fresh and delicious in Barcelona. Restaurants in the center are more touristic and expensive whereas restaurants away from the Ramblas are more authentic. Follow the Spanish speaking people. It is best to go out a bit later for food as this is when most Spanish people go out for food.
Dont forget to try out the Sangria, fresh fruit juices and thick hot chocolate.