This wasn’t my first time in Barcelona. During my first trip around the world, I came here after deciding Amsterdam was getting too cold for me. I heard only good things about the city, and with cheap flights to the city, it seemed like the best place to go. I was only there for three days but I fell in love with the city. It had such atmosphere. I knew I would come back. A few weeks ago, I did.
Barcelona is one of my favorite cities in Spain, second only to Granada. Barcelona has a lively atmosphere, great food, a long history, amazing museums, decent beaches, and an incredible nightlife. It’s busy, it’s energetic, it “feels” very Spanish. The city barely starts before noon. People don’t eat dinner until 10 and don’t go out until 2am, which is clearly why they spend most of their day sleeping. It’s not a city for early risers, which is great because I’m not.
I left Barcelona the first time with a lot to do and it was my intention during this visit to do all I missed. I had hoped to stay at my favorite hostel, Kabul, located on La Rambla but, as usual, it was booked solid. Instead, HelloBCN was my home. It’s an O.K. hostel with a decent bar, comfy beds, free wi-fi, and a big common room. With me were a few people from my time in Valencia, and together, we took Barcelona by storm. Barcelona has a lot to offer and no visitor should miss:
La Sagrada Familia – I was more impressed with this the second time around but I’m still not a huge Gaudi fan. Antoni Gaudi is Barcelona’s most famous architect and you’ll see his work all over the city. This church is his most famous work, which after over 100 years, is still not done. They say by 2020. It must be all those siestas the Spanish take.
Barcelona History Museum – Barcelona has one of the best city history museums I’ve ever been too. It does a great, great job of explaining the history and importance of this city. Moreover, there are 4,000 square meters of roman ruins located beneath the museum that you can walk through. There is a free, detailed audio guide and detailed explanations of what you are seeing. They do a great and through job. This is a must see.
Picasso Museum– Picasso was a great artist. While I’m not a huge fan of most of his later work, it’s still interesting to learn about the life and work of one of the most influential artists in the 20th century. With over 3,000 pieces of art, there is a lot to see here.
La Rambla – This famous street in Barcelona where all the tourists go. You’ll find over priced shops, restaurants, and camera toting tourists all over this long street. However, despite that, there is a great energy throughout the street. It’s a great place to people watch, it’s central, and it is filled with the best street performers in Europe. Looking for the guy pretending he’s on the toilet.
Bari Gotic – This is the name given to the old area of Barcelona with its windy streets and historic buildings. Spend a few hours getting lost through this area, stumbling upon old buildings, churches, and plazas. The deeper you go into this area, the more local and interesting it becomes.
Historic Cathedral – Located in the heart of the Bari Gotic, this Gothic cathedral was built on the top of an 11th century church. There is a cool cloister to walk around in. The real highlight of this church is the roof. You can take an elevator up to the top where you can get stunning views of the surrounding area.
Gaudi Fountain – Gaudi out did himself with this huge fountain located in the Parc de la Ciutadella. It’s a huge tribute to the god Neptune. There are huge griffins spouting water, Neptune on his chariot, and a gold statue on top. With benches and an ice cream place nearby, it’s a good place to relax.
Looking to do Barcelona on the cheap? Well, for starters, all city museums are free in the afternoon. This is a great deal because the museums here are top notch. Buying a 10 trip metro card will save you 5 Euros. Additionally, head down to the beaches during the day for seafood. The restaurants in this area are really expensive but during the day, you can get a good plate for 8-10 Euros.
Barcelona has so much to offer that even my combined six days barely scratched the surface. I love the city and getting lost in the Bari Gotic and people watching around the squares makes me happy. I’m sure to be back there again. Hopefully, next time, it will be longer than three days.