Follow these easy tips to get a little more out of your Barcelona vacation. These tips will save you time and money and show you things you might not have seen otherwise.
1. Keep Your Eye on Your Wallet
Starting off with a serious one - be extra vigilant with your personal belongings, particularly on the Ramblas and on the beach. Pickpockets are common in Barcelona. Wear a moneybelt or keep your hand on your wallet or purse at all times and you should be fine - don't let the risk of being robbed stop you from enjoying your time in Barcelona!
To learn about the most common thieves tricks in Barcelona, see Barcelona Safety.
The best day trip from Barcelona for art lovers is to Figueres, a small town of little consequence other than the fact it was the birthplace of Salvador Dali and is now host to a fabulous museum in his honor.
If you're visiting in the summer months, you can expect incredibly long lines to get in - having to wait an hour is quite common. But if you take the guided tour, just a couple of euros more expensive than the normal entry, you don't have to stand in line and you get an expert to show you around the museum. Perfect!
My tip is to instead go up to the Hospital de Sant Pau (just one stop further on the metro, at Sant Pau Dos de Maig). Not only is the hospital a spectacular and rarely visited attraction in itself (the sight of amazing modernist architecture in a still-in-use hospital is quite memorable), but the walk down Avinguda de Gaudi to La Sagrada Familia is a much more impressive way of approaching the basilica.
How many airports do you have to choose from when visiting Barcelona? Only one, really - Barcelona International Airport. But that doesn't stop some airlines (well, Ryanair) from advertising Girona and Reus airports as 'Barcelona' airports.
Girona and Reus have their merits as destinations, but the hour-and-a-half journey to Barcelona makes them impractical if your destination is the Catalan capital.
The Picasso Museum and the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya are both free on the first Sunday of the month, while the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona is free on the first Wednesday. Find out when the museum you want to visit is free if you're short of money or are only mildly curious about the exhibits and don't want to fork out on the full price admission. But arrive early, especially in summer, as lots of people will have the same idea as you.
On the other hand, if you want the time and space to enjoy Barcelona's museums properly, make sure you avoid these days. Either way, it's worth being informed.