Heading to Barcelona and wondering which guide book will give you the best insights? With so many options out there, it can be tricky to choose the one that’ll suit your travel needs.
Well, I live in Spain and have spent quite a bit of time in Barcelona, and during my explorations, I’ve got to know everything about this city – and so I know just what a book on Barcelona needs to shine in the travel guide space.
But what are the top Barcelona travel guide books that can really enhance your visit? Well, whether you’re into discovering hidden historical spots, seeking out the tastiest tapas, or just wanting to immerse yourself in the local culture, there’s a guide book out there for you.
A fantastic guide with everything you need for a great trip to Barcelona. Includes local perspectives on must-visit attractions and hidden gems, plus its size makes it super easy to carry around during your vacation.
Great for those wanting all the details on your Barcelona vacation. Offers incredibly in-depth information on the major attractions, while also highlighting lesser-known spots that will make your trip truly memorable.
Best Barcelona travel guide books
1. Rick Steves Pocket Barcelona Travel Guide
As someone who knows Barcelona inside out, it’s really impressive how Rick Steves’ Pocket Barcelona Travel Guide manages to cram so much valuable information into a small package.
And I mean that literally – this book is super easy to carry around, which means you’ll never have any trouble fitting it into your bag as you explore this incredible city.
But what I particularly like is how the guide is organized, making it a breeze to navigate through the different sections and find the information you need. The maps provided are also a big plus, as they help you get your bearings and make the most of your time in Barcelona.
The real highlight though is that the guide features Rick’s personal travel tips for Barcelona, giving you a local’s perspective on must-visit attractions and hidden gems. For anyone who knows Rick Steves, you know just how invaluable his tips are – I honestly read some of them and realized they were exactly what I wish I had known before visiting Barcelona.
Of course, it’s important to remember that this is a pocket-sized guide. While it covers the main tourist attractions and popular sites, it may not provide the in-depth information you’re looking for if you prefer to explore well off the beaten path.
But, overall, Rick Steves Pocket Barcelona is an excellent choice for first-time visitors to Barcelona. It provides the key information needed to enjoy your trip, making it very easy for you to take in the fantastic sights, sounds, and tastes this city has to offer.
Planning a trip to Barcelona last minute?
If you’re booking your trip to Barcelona last minute, I’ve got you covered. Below are some of the top tours, hotels, and more!
⭐ Most popular sights in Barcelona
- Sagrada Familia – tickets often sell out weeks in advance so get your entry ticket here (or entry tickets AND a guided tour here)
- Park Güell – grab your skip-the-line entry
- Casa Batlló – click here for tickets and audio guide
🌍 Top tours in Barcelona
- Montserrat Tour, Monastery and Winery (great day trip!)
- Flamenco Show at Tablao Flamenco Cordobes (incredible night out)
- Tapas Walking Tour with Food, Wine, and History (all the highlights at once)
🛏️ Top hotels in Barcelona
- Ohla Barcelona (5-star luxury with an amazing rooftop pool)
- Seventy Barcelona (boutique hotel with beautiful décor)
- Àmfores Boutique Guest House (great budget option with superb location)
🚌 Want free public transport while you’re in Barcelona? Check out the Hola Barcelona travel card!
2. DK Eyewitness Top 10 Barcelona Pocket Travel Guide
When wandering the streets of Barcelona, having the DK Eyewitness Top 10 Barcelona Pocket Travel Guide by your side is definitely a good idea. This handy guidebook is perfect for getting around and exploring the vibrant city, with top 10 lists catering to diverse tastes and interests.
From Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces to the buzzing markets, you’ll have a fantastic time discovering what this cultural hub has to offer.
I’d still suggest supplementing the guide’s maps with Google Maps on your phone for easier navigation. Additionally, if you’re an avid traveler who prefers to venture off the beaten path, this guide might not have as much information on those lesser-known spots.
But for most people, the DK Eyewitness Top 10 Barcelona Pocket Travel Guide is going to be a great companion for your first time traveling to Barcelona. With its compact size and useful information, you’ll be set to create incredible memories in Barcelona.
3. Lonely Planet Barcelona Travel Guide
The Lonely Planet Barcelona Travel Guide is like having a local friend guiding you through Barcelona’s hidden gems and enchanting corners. Not only does it provide you with in-depth information on the major attractions, but it also highlights the lesser-known spots that will make your trip truly memorable.
One of the features that sets this guide apart is the map and airport card at the back of the book. This handy addition includes helpful Spanish phrases, ATM locations, and terminal information – essential for making your arrival in Barcelona stress-free.
Moreover, the guide’s insider tips on where to eat and when to visit popular places helps to make sure that you can experience the city as authentically as possible.
All this information is almost a downside, as the guide is packed with details that could almost be overwhelming for a short trip. While this is good if you’re planning an extended visit, it could be a lot for a briefer stopover.
Despite this point, the Lonely Planet Barcelona Travel Guide remains an invaluable resource for travelers wanting a comprehensive and engaging guide to make the most of their Barcelona adventure.
4. National Geographic Walking Barcelona, 2nd Edition
The National Geographic Walking Barcelona guide book is perfect for those who want to explore Barcelona on foot and discover its hidden gems.. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll learn about this incredible city and its districts, with each page offering a new discovery.
I’m a huge fan of encouraging people to explore Barcelona on foot, as there’s so much to discover here between each of the main sights, rather than just going from A to B to C. So this book is exactly what you need if that’s what you plan to do.
It offers a variety of themed walks, such as “Barcelona for Foodies” and “Barcelona in a Weekend”, so you can tailor your trip to your interests and schedule. The included map also makes navigation a breeze, allowing you to focus on soaking in the sights and energy of Barcelona.
Like the one above, I’d still suggest loading up Google Maps to give you some more detail. But even with that, the National Geographic Walking Barcelona guide remains an excellent choice for anyone looking to experience the exciting city on foot.
5. Frommer’s Barcelona Day by Day
Frommer’s Barcelona Day by Day is an essential guide for your Barcelona trip, offering great insights and detailed information for an unforgettable experience.
In particular, it has your back whether you’re planning to spend one, two, or three days in Barcelona. With the information being based on your specific schedule, the day-by-day tours help to maximize however amount of time you have available to spend in the city.
Presenting the information in this way is a great feature that takes all the stress of planning out of your trip. Plus, the book’s compact size makes it easy to slip into your bag or pocket as you head out to explore the city.
It’s true that this book focuses primarily on popular attractions, so if you’re looking for less touristy or budget-friendly options, you might need to dig a little deeper on your own.
That said, Frommer’s Barcelona Day by Day is an excellent resource for anyone visiting Barcelona and looking to make the most of their time in this vibrant city.
6. Pocket Rough Guide Barcelona Travel Guide
It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time visiting or you’re a seasoned traveler, the Pocket Rough Guide Barcelona is an excellent choice for your trip. This guide covers the city extensively, with great tips and practical advice to help you navigate the streets of Barcelona.
Rough Guide travel guides pride themselves on their “tell it like it is” attitude and the same is definitely true here. You’ll get the good and the bad, letting you know what’s worth seeing and what you can skip.
I would, however, suggest that you double check any recommendation that’s very off the beaten track, as some of them seem to have unfortunately closed due to the pandemic.
At the same time, this is balanced out by the quality of info you’ll get here. Plus the free eBook is a fantastic bonus for digital reference when you’re on the go.
7. Fodor’s Barcelona With Highlights of Catalonia
Fodor’s is a huge name in the travel niche and this Fodor’s Barcelona travel guide shows exactly why. It offers detailed information on the must-visit spots throughout the city, while also covering some of the highlights of Catalonia more broadly.
This makes it perfect if you’re considering doing some side trips from Barcelona to the wider region. You’ll get all the info you need for Barcelona itself and the extra details you need to enjoy your trips out of the city!
The guide is organized in a way that makes it incredibly user-friendly, so you’ll never feel lost while exploring the lively streets of Barcelona. Sure, it can be a bit bulky – all that detail has to go somewhere, after all – but the great array of images really helps you to get a feel of the sights you truly want to see while you’re here.
The cherry on top is that a lot of this book is written by local writers, so you know you’re getting insider info. From Gaudi’s masterpieces to delicious tapas and bustling markets, you’ll feel like a local in no time with this travel guide by your side.
8. The 500 Hidden Secrets of Barcelona
The 500 Hidden Secrets of Barcelona does exactly what its title suggests: it takes you beyond the usual tourist spots and into the heart of this amazing city. This guidebook is perfect for those travelers who want to truly experience Barcelona as the locals do.
Written by Mark Cloostermans, a Belgian journalist living in Barcelona, this guide is packed with insider tips and suggestions. From the best places for tapas, cocktails, and vegetarian food to Barcelona’s festivals and offbeat museums, this book will have you exploring corners of the city that many tourists miss.
What makes this guide stand out is its dedication to unveiling the layers of Barcelona. It doesn’t just guide you around the city, but rather, it helps you understand and appreciate the city’s, well, hidden secrets – its name has to come from somewhere, after all!
9. Frommer’s EasyGuide to Barcelona and Madrid
Barcelona and Madrid are the two most-visited cities in Spain, and Frommer’s EasyGuide to Barcelona and Madrid is just the right companion to help you explore both cities with ease.
That said, the book doesn’t only provide a comprehensive look at those two cities. It also shares insights on day trips, including some great ones from Barcelona like Montserrat and Girona.
This guide takes you beyond the obvious attractions, delving deeper into both cities’ most compelling locations. It offers updated and newly researched advice to help you make the most of your travel experience.
Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced traveler, this guide gives you a broad understanding of Spain’s culture and history. Sure, some people have commented that there’s not quite enough detail for their liking, but when it comes to knowing just what you need to see, this book is like having a local friend showing you around and sharing their personal favorites.
10. Kids’ Travel Guide – Spain
Travel guides don’t just have to be limited to informing the adults in your group – and your Spanish family trip just got more exciting with this Kids’ Travel Guide on Spain!
This interactive and educational book is designed especially for kids aged 8-12, ensuring they have a blast while learning about the country’s rich history and culture. It’s the perfect companion to make sure they understand and appreciate everything they’re seeing while in Barcelona and the rest of the country.
The guide has a range of great activities, such as word searches and quizzes, that’ll keep your little travelers hooked. The content is simple enough for kids to understand, providing interesting facts about Spanish history, customs, and must-visit spots in various cities.
While this guide offers an excellent introduction to Spain, it does have limited information on certain cities – although I have to say that it covers Barcelona incredibly well. In fact, it’s ideal for kids who are discovering Spain for the first time, especially for those who are constantly curious about the world around them.
(And let’s be honest: anything that keeps them entertained and out of your hair for more than a few minutes while you’re on vacation is going to be a win!)