Barcelona is an amazing city with so much to offer for people with many different interests. I recently came back from a four day trip there and it has inspired me to write an article on things to do when in Barcelona in order to see and feel the best of this beautiful place.
Where to stay– My friend and I stayed in a backpackers hostel located in Placa Reial, which was an absolutely perfect location to make the most of everything Barcelona has to offer. It is next door to La Rambla (one of the main streets in Barcelona) it is surrounded by local stalls and shops as well as a great selection of bars and restaurants. It is walking distance from many of the local attractions and a 10 minute walk to a metro station. This area has many other hostels and hotels available suitable for all different budgets and tastes.
What to see– There is so much to see in this amazing city and these were my favourite places…
- Sagrada Familia- the Gaudi masterpiece that is still being completed. An impressive sight from a distance that is even more incredible close up, despite its incompleteness. Every time you look at this work of art you notice something different and every engraving tells a story. Visiting this basilica is one of those moments where you can’t quite believe your eyes.
- Parc Guell- Another Gaudi creation that is truly breathtaking and fairytale-like. On the hills, this Park has stunning views over Barcelona and as you walk down the hills you can see mosaic benches, houses, lizards and dragons landscaping the area. You can also gain entry to the house where Gaudi lived for 20 years and see some of his interior furniture designs, for around 5 euros.
- Mercat de Sant Josep/La Boqueria- located on La Rambla, this market is bustling from open until close. It is a food market where you can look, smell and taste local snacks, seafood, meat, bread, cheese, olives, wine, fruit, chocolate and sweets. It’s like Willy Wonka’s factory for adults and children alike with varying tastes and preferences on offer.
- Catedral- located in Barri Gotic, and impressive cathedral without the construction-work surroundings. A stunning building surrounded by art and history perfect for getting your cultural fix.
- Platja de la Barcelona- for those days when all the walking and sightseeing get too much, this sandy is beach is perfect for forgetting your worries and troubles, topping up on your vitamin D and relaxing with your feet in the sea.
What to eat– there is no shortage of local restaurants and cafes if you feel like trying some local delicacies. Mercat de Sant Josep offers places for freshly cooked seafood and an opportunity for oysters and muscles and lunchtime snacks of spring rolls, baked potatoes, pitas and fajitas topped with local meat, vegetables and cheeses. La Rambla also offers indoor and outdoor seating for Tapas, Paellas, Pizzas and Salads- as do many of the plazas. I would recommend trying some Tapas (particularly Patatas Bravas) and a Paella, to get a proper food experience.
Nights out– The hostel I stayed at organised the nights out for us free of charge, but generally to get into the most popular clubs there was around a 20 euro cover charge and drinks ranged from 4-12 euros. The nicest and most exciting clubs were on the beach and had different music themes each night.
Travel tips- Just like anywhere you go, you have to be really careful with certain things in Barcelona.
- La Rambla is one of the main pick pocket target areas in Europe and so you have to be really careful with your belongings.
- If you would like to visit anywhere religious make sure your shoulders and knees are covered.
- Only take the amount of money you need out, leave the rest in an accommodation safe. (As students we did plenty during the day on around 40 euros and a night out, minus cover charge, on 30 euros).
- Only take the official taxis out- they are black with a thick yellow stripe on each side.
I have never been to a place quite like Barcelona it just seems to have the right balance of art, culture, entertainment, fun, food and night life to be considered, in my opinion, to be one of the most perfect places.