This blog post is a round up of tips and tricks for a perfect weekend in Barcelona. This year, I finally decided not to return from Europe without travelling to Barcelona. Although it was a very long bus ride with a one-day stop in Geneva, it was the best possible option in terms of time, budget and convenience.
I reached Barcelona early in the morning and I was so excited to see Sagrada Familia that I decided to walk with my backpack to see it even before checking in my hostel. It is not too far from the main bus station, so if you want to do this as the first thing when you hit Barcelona. I decided to book a preferred slot online for the next day. I spent a few minutes near Sagrada Familia and then took a metro to my hostel. I was staying in a hostel very close to Paral-lel metro station, which had great connectivity everywhere. Here is the first tip: buy yourself a Hola Barcelona travel card. It gives you unlimited metro/bus rides. It will be a great deal!
Here is the list of places to visit in Barcelona:
1. La Rambla
I checked into the hostel and had good breakfast and ventured out to La Rambla. It is the most happening street for Barcelona but also quite infamous for pickpocketing, so beware! It is a very good place for hanging out, eating good food and souvenir shopping!
2. Mirador de Colom
It is just at the end of La Rambla Street towards the seaport. It is a statue dedicated to Christopher Columbus to honour his first voyage to the Americas. It is a good architecture to spend some time around the area.
3. Gothic Quarters
It is not only the centre of the city but also the oldest part of Barcelona. It runs parallel to La Rambla Street. There are quite a lot of old walls and structures, which were a part of the Roman village. I found Gothic village very charming, although even with such an off-season, it was full of tourists. It is worth spending a few hours, slowly walking, getting lost and eating out in the cafes. Few notable places to look up are: Cathedral de Santa Eulalia, Placa del Rei, Picasso Museum, Iglesia de Santa Maria del Pi.
4. Placa de Catalunya
After this much of walking, you can relax your feet while sipping on some coffee at this place. It is quite a big square where the old city of gothic quarter meets the new Barcelona. It is known for its fountains and statues. It is quite a busy square with a big metro station underneath. A good place to spend some evening time or while you are deciding where to go next.
5. Sagrada Familia
Or Should I say ‘The Sagrada Familia’? First things first – please book the ticket with preferred slot online from the official website. It was the building for which I travelled to Barcelona. I wanted to witness the grandeur of the basilica, which is under construction from 1882 and is set to complete with 2026 – in 144 years; marking Antoni Gaudi’s 100th death anniversary. This is the number one place to see in Barcelona. The architecture is based on the forest as a theme. With brilliant use of natural light on painted glass windows, the whole experience is enchanting. The pillars are depicted as trees reaching out to the sky. Opting to the option of entrance ticket to the basilica, tower along with audio guide is recommended; which costs 32 euros.
6. Park Guell
This is a beautiful park, which is again a very famous tourist destination in Barcelona. An exemplary example of Catalan modernism, this UNESCO world heritage site doesn’t fail to impress how basic things are used/recycled to create beautiful structures. Entering to the paid area of the park is optional but I bet you would be tempted. The entry ticket to Park Guell is 8 euros. Again online booking with the preferred slot is recommended. I would suggest visiting the park in the morning so that you can beat the crowd and enjoy the greenery of the park.
7. Aquarium Barcelona
I think it is quite an underrated place in Barcelona. It is located in the Port Vell. It has a lot of different species of fishes, sharks, penguins etc. It also has an oceanarium with a moving walkway. It will take around 2 – 3 hours and will cost 20 euros. I found this place very interesting to know the marine life. Don’t miss watching the short documentary by National Geographic.
8. Barcelona Beach
Every day is a beach day! Barcelona also offers nice and clean beaches for a day of relaxing. It is a long stretch of white sand and clean water. It is one of the top attractions among locals and tourists, especially in summers. It is easily accessible with buses and metro and is perfect to spend some time since it is next to all major attractions of Barcelona.
9. Dig into Spanish Food
Go local! Dig into Batata Bravas, gulp as much as Sangria you can along with Spanish Paella. There is a wide variety of Tapas aka bar finger food that is served in the Spanish pubs. Join the evening pub crawls that happen at many places in the city.
Honestly, I fell in love with Barcelona. This place has so much to offer – be it backpackers, history junkies, beach bums, and families with children. There is something for everyone.