Savvy Barcelona Guides for Hip Travelers

Two Barcelona guidebooks as chic as the city itself. Learn about Catalan cuisine, history, art and architecture for your Barcelona travels.

The second largest city in Spain and the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is a mecca for architecture buffs, shoppers and, of course, revelers. The two guides reviewed here have pretty different agendas. The foldout Luxe Barcelona gives you the fast lowdown on what’s hot right now and not much else. TimeOut Barcelona details Barcelona’s long and complicated history, as well as extensive listings of where to stay, eat and tour. Armchair travelers and first-time visitors will no doubt prefer the TimeOut guide, while those in search of the coolest bars and shops will want to pack the Luxe.

Luxe City Guides, 2008; $9.99.

The tiny purse/pocket-sized accordion Luxe guides are loads of fun. The foldouts are pared down to the essentials, or rather the essentials of someone who is interested in trendy, higher-end shops and hotels. There is a surprising amount of information on where to eat, stay and play in Barcelona, and even a “Very Useful” page with suggestions for doctors, car (OK, limousine) rentals and pharmacies. A nice touch is that if you register with Luxe you can view updates on the Web site,


I love the witty, succinct writing of these guides. For example, on suggesting the “relaxed” Catalan restaurant El Magatzem del Port, the review reads: “The sun is shining, the boats are bobbing, you’re chilling on the terrace, the wine flows, the food is good and the passing parade looks on in envy.” It’s like poetry for travelers.

Great Tips

Somehow Luxe manages to fit in several differently themed shopping itineraries with loads of details, including directions. You can follow the “antiques/fashion/food/sights” path, the “yoof-ful fashion” advice, or the “beautiful things” itinerary, among others.


The font size of the text is small, and I mean small, and having it written in all capital letters doesn’t help.

Worth Buying?

Yes, but you’ll want a companion guide for any kind of in-depth history or price list. 


Read our review of TimeOut Barcelona

Destinations: Spain, Barcelona

Themes: Urban Endeavors

Activities: Sightseeing