This break, I was lucky enough to visit several European countries, one being beautiful, Barcelona! This gorgeous metropolitan (that feels surprisingly relaxed) city is most commonly known for it’s art and architecture. Tourists come from all over the world to experience unique buildings and cuisine alike, all while enjoying a mild Mediterranean climate. I’d love to share with you some of the basic things to keep in mind when visiting Barcelona and some stops you should definitely make along the way. Gaudeix!
Before you go:
Language: I’m a student of Spanish, and was hoping to use that during my trip, however the native language there is actually Catalan. It’s close enough to Spanish that the people living there will likely understand you, but you may have a hard time understanding them even if you know Spanish. It seemed to me that mostly everyone spoke English as well.
Currency: Exchange your dollars for Euros. Current exchange rate as of March 2019: 1 Dollar = 0.89 Euros.
Transportation: Uber was surprisingly not the transportation of choice here. Taxis in Barcelona are relatively inexpensive and easy to come by. Other than that, their public transit is quite simple. Buy a pass from a ticket machine to get 10 one-way trips for $11. Or you can buy individual tickets for $2.30 a piece. The passes are valid on all metros, buses, trains and trams. For me, I mostly walked everywhere as the city is only 40 sq. miles and our AirBnB was in a great location.
Miscellaneous: The power outlets are different there. Be sure to buy a couple Type E two-prong plugs so that you can keep your phone charged and ready to take pics!
When you get there:
Where to stay: I can only speak to where I stayed, and luckily I only have praise for this cute apartment and stellar location, known as the Eixample district. Just 25 minutes driving from the airport, I found this apartment through AirBnB and it ended up being somewhere around $140 a night for 2 bedrooms (and also had a pull out couch). Every morning I woke up and enjoyed sipping my coffee and looking out over the balcony to the quaint street below and it was a dream! It was located 10 minutes walking away from the main city center, Plaça Catalunya, and Las Ramblas, and only 15 minutes walking from famous Sagrada Familia. Plus, there was a 24-hour concierge, which made it easy to check in and out at any time in case of delayed flights.
Where to eat: Before I talk about where to eat, it’s important to understand the time people eat in Barcelona is much different than the US. Restaurants are usually open from 1:30 p.m. to 4.:00 p.m. for lunch, and from 8:30 p.m. until 11 p.m. for dinner. So, be prepared to eat much later than you are likely used to. I’m no food critic, and was looking to try Spain’s famous tapas, so I was more partial to picking a restaurant based on location. If you’re looking to people watch, try any of the hundred tapas joints lining the streets of Las Ramblas. If you’re looking for a quieter night, I had a great dinner at Taverna del Bisbe. Make sure to try a croqueta de jamón!
What to see:
The absolute musts… and What I wish I had time for…
Sagrada Familia * Park Güell
Las Ramblas * A football game at Camp Nou
Gothic Quarter * Flamenco dancing at Tablao Cordobes
Plaça de Catalunya * Trip to the beach