Most of the nicest streets in Barcelona are pedestrian and parking seems to be impossible, so driving is probably not the best option.
I have been told the metro system is quite efficient, but I think the city is very walkable.
If you take Plaza Catalunya as a starting point, you can get to the Columbus statue the end of "Las Ramblas" in 10 minutes. You can also get to "Casa Batllo" in less than that and "La Pedrera" is not much further away.
"La Sagrada Familia" seems very far away on the map, but if the weather is nice, it can also be reached on foot.
In order to see all the interesting things, walking is probably the best option.
Of course, if you are going to "Park Guell" it is better to take the bus.
Despite of Barcelona’s quite big size, it is easily explored by foot. We needed to use public transportation only to Guell park, that was worth it, as walking distance here is already quite long. Other places, as Rambla, Citadel park, Montjuic, so on are quite in walkable distance, but church of Saint Family and Hospital Sant Pau I guess could be harder to reach by older people or simply at very hot days, so when needed to use metro or bus from Catalonia square.
Walking is always my favourite way to see cities in Europe. So that was the same as well here in Barcelona. It was very easy to navigate around the city and to find the attraction sites just by walking. Of course, visiting during the middle of the summer, we had our outdoor gear that is needed, that is shorts and sandals :)
If there's only a short distance between places, walking is the best way to get around. It lets you see more of the city. Places like Las Ramblas and the area with the beaches, are made for walking. So be sure to wear comfortable shoes!
Just remember to be careful at night, and don't travel alone or take unnecessary risks during the night.
Barcelona has for sure an excellent net of public transports, for me though, the best way to enjoy this city(as the most that i visited), is walking around.The walk from Plaza catalunya through the ramblas and Barrio gotico, to the sea and the Barceloneta is a great experience and let you enjoy views and particulars that you would obviously miss with a cab or underground.
Barcelona is a city that can be seen on foot, at least the majority of tourist areas. Walking the Ramblas is a must- about a 1 mile walk which lands you at the beautiful harbor. You can easily walk to the Barri Gòtic neighborhood from here as well as other quarters. We felt pretty safe walking around during the day and really did not have any problems at night although I didn't feel as secure outside the touristy area as some of the other European cities I have been to.
We went by plane: we were lucky to find VERY cheap tickets!!!
The first days we mainly took the bus but as soon as we descovered the subway, we knew better!!! The metro is very fast and easy.
The best way to discover the center of Barcelona is by food, just wander around through the narrow streets.
Overall viewing of Barcelona city. Underground of Barcelona metro system operates from Monday through Friday 5am to 11pm, Saturday 5am to 1am, and Sunday and holidays 6am to 1am. One-way fare is 145 ptas. Metro station entrance has a red diamond-sign. Main station for all subway lines is Plaça de Catalunya.Buses are color-coded. red ones cut through the city center during the day, and yellow ones do the job at night, one-way fare is 145 ptas.
To me, I prefer walking with my own legs because Barcelona is easier to walk than other city in Europe.
By airplane, well, if your not from Spain originally. Otherwise, a train is perfect.
First thing: walk when you are in a city! That way, you can see more of it, than with other transportation. We did also a lot by metro, nice things there. It does not travel wery late or very far, but it's fast and comfortable. Remember to take a 10-pass cart or a day-cart, allways cheaper than a single trip.
When going to the beach-citys like Sitges, do ALWAYS go by train, this is very fast, comfortable and with air conditioning. It is also very cheap (350 pesetas!)
On a warm but not to warm day, do take the touristbus for a ride. It takes 2 or 3 hours, you can go off and on the bus when and where you want and it drives you to all the major places in Barcelona.
An excellent way to see Barcelona is to walk. This way you can stop and look at, or into, places that interest you. You can take as much time as you want, and you are able to see everything at your own pace. The streets of central Barcelona are often very crowded, but the narrow streets of the gothic quarter, and the streets outside the city centre, are usually calm and not too busy. There are a number of very interesting lttle shops to browse into, and you can catch the sun!
When in Barcelona, it may seem tiring and sometimes boring, but the best way to get around is by foot. Otherwise, there is a chance of missing small tihngs, that you may remember for a long itme to come. On foot you can get lost to your own pleasure, and wander round all day in the alleyways and small roads all round the city. There is always something new to see, that may not be in any guide books, so you can't plan a trip. It's cheap, and convenient as you can stop whenever and wherever you like, and is generally all fun! To go further in hot weather, busses or the train system is needed, especially to get to some of the parks like Parc Guell, but on unplanned trips-just walk!!!
Barcelona is a nice city to walk by, if you have time to do so. Wide sidewalks and pleasant weather invite to just get lost by the city. This way also gives you a better impression of the place, as there are many details everywhere, that can only be observed stopping at them...
Walking also lets you enjoy the visit, being relaxed and then more confortable with the environment.
As no way is perfect, sometimes you'd better don't walk, like those hot summer days at midday time... but then is time to have a nap!
Okay, this might not be for everyone, and having heard that the average American now thinks that a long way is about 600 meters, I'm thinking really not for you guys, but here is my tip anyway. Try walking. You can walk from one side of Barcelona to the other in about one and a half hours - from the beach to the hills. The center is so easy to find your way around - if its going downhill its heading towards the sea. The whole center chunk is a grid iron. And its so much nicer outisde and theres so much to see. It has to be worth it. So take a chance - buy a map and just walk. Ticket price = 0 euros. Online map in the link.
Walking around Barcelona, you will see more of the undiscovered things here.
Have a look at the pavement too once in a while, because it can be beautifull.