There’s definitely something magical about Barcelona. It’s a beautiful city, and a must-see if you’re visiting Spain. It was the first place that I traveled during my semester abroad, and we couldn’t have picked a better place to start out! And of course we spent the entire weekend singing the Cheetah Girls 😉
If you want to strut like you mean it in Barcelona, keep reading!
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Location: Northeastern Spain
Language spoken: Spanish
Electricity: Typical EU adapter will work just fine
Weather: Hot, hot, hot! I visited in late August when it was upwards of 90 degrees, but in the winter, it doesn’t get much colder than 50 degrees.
Sites to See
Note: there are SO many things to do in Barcelona. I didn’t get to see them all. In addition to the sites I discuss below, definitely Google a few other attractions you’d like to see – especially if you’re visiting for more than 2 days!
Time: 2-3 hours
Did you even go to Barcelona if you didn’t visit Park Güell? Park Güell was conceived by Eusebi Güell and architect Antoni Gaudí, and features tons of Gaudí’s unique mosaic artwork. It’s also where the Cheetah Girls filmed Strut. Not only does the park showcase beautiful artwork, but it also offers an incredible view of the city. There are lots of hills, so be prepared to climb.
Definitely buy tickets online ahead of time so that you can skip the lines. The tickets are 7 euro, which is quite a steal if you ask me. You can buy tickets to enter at a certain time – just make sure you’re on time! You can also visit Güell’s home on site, but honestly, I’d skip that unless you’re a die-hard fan or something.
Time: 1-2 hours
Another work by Gaudí (he preeeeettyy much designed all of Barcelona). Quite possible one of the most stunning basilicas I’ve ever seen. Just imagine this: you’re walking down the streets of Barcelona when BAM! Friggin’ Hogwarts hits you right in the face. It’s absolutely incredible. Believe it or not, it’s still under construction! It’s not expected to be finished until 2026. The cranes kind of take away from the magic of it all, but you get used to it.
You need to buy a ticket to go inside, but it’s a must-see. There’s tons of colorful stained glass and it’s absolutely beautiful when the light hits it. Again, I’d recommend buying your ticket online ahead of time. A standard ticket is 15 euro, but they have a student discount! There are also other packages that give you access to a tour, the towers, etc.
The Barcelona Cathedral & The Gothic Quarter
Time: 1-2 hours, depending on your interest level
This is one of the most famous areas of Barcelona, but honestly, I thought it was kind of forgettable. It’s the old city center of Barcelona, built in the 19th/20th century, and is home to famous Barcelona Cathedral. The cathedral is beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but it’s nothing compared to Sagrada Familia.
More Gaudí Sites
Time: 1-2 hours, depending on if you go inside or not
Remember how I said Gaudí pretty much designed all of Barcelona? Well, aside from Parc Güell and La Sagrada Familia, there are more Gaudí designs to see! Casa Batlló and La Pedrera are both located on Passeig de Gràcia (AKA a very short walk from each other). They’re two very unique houses designed by the famous architect. You can buy tickets for 25-30 Euro to go inside, but seeing them from the outside was just as cool.
Other things to do include:
- Football game at Camp Nou
- Picasso Museum
- Food and Wine tours
- A day at the beach
For the most part, we walked everywhere. Our Airbnb was in a very central location – about a 30 minute walk from each site. If you’re not into walking, there is very convenient transportation in Barcelona. One single pass will get you onto any bus or metro, and they’re pretty inexpensive.
Taxis are also pretty inexpensive. We called and reserved one to go out one night, which was super easy. But we did have issues getting a cab back to our Airbnb – not only was everyone in the club trying to get a taxi home, but drivers will refuse to drive you if they don’t want to drive too far. We eventually got one, but it took a solid 45 minutes. Just keep that in mind!
As I mentioned, we stayed in an Airbnb. There were four of us, and we stayed in a private room within someone’s apartment (so we didn’t have a totally private apartment – we shared it with the host). If you are interested in staying in the same Airbnb, contact me and I will provide you with the necessary information.
If Airbnb’s aren’t your thing, there are plenty of hostels and hotels. A quick Google search will help you out!
Just a quick note about dining in Spain: they typically do so at odd hours. Breakfast and lunch are more or less at the same time, but don’t expect to eat dinner until about 10pm!
Don’t forget that Spain practices siesta, as well. From about 1-6pm (hours may vary), most stores and restaurants are closed (this is a good time to visit some other attractions).
I don’t have any particular restaurant suggestions – we just kind of ate wherever we could find. BUT, when visiting Spain, you MUST eat some paella and drink sangria. It’s a must.
This is a big one! Barcelona is known for its insane nightlife. Even if you aren’t into clubbing, it’s something you have to do when visiting.
I used to think New York was the city that never slept, but I was wrong – Barcelona is. Don’t even BOTHER showing up to any clubs before 1am, because no one will be there. Take a nap during siesta and aim to show up by 2am.
I would definitely recommend the clubs in the beach and port area. It’s an entire strip of clubs right on the beach. We went to Opium, but there’s a ton of other clubs you can choose from on the same strip.
Now, this is crucial: GET ON A PROMOTER’S LIST! You can google “(club name) promoter (date)” and add your name on the list for FREE ENTRY! I’d recommend doing this at least the morning before you plan on going. Otherwise, you have to pay a cover charge. Be prepared to show ID, just in case.
Also, they can be picky about what you wear. None of us had an issue, but we were advised to wear something sexy but classy. Don’t dress like a total skank!!! In some clubs, they won’t allow open-toed shoes because of broken glass, so be aware of that as well.
Ladies, watch out for each other. Guys can be quite pushy and aggressive. Again, none of my friends had any issues with this, but you never really know. Don’t accept drinks from strangers, keep an eye on your drink at all time, etc.
P.S. it’s probably best to pregame, at least a little bit. Drinks can be pricey. Or you can just do what we did and somehow get invited to a VIP table – you never know what will happen 😉
Overall, I’d rate Barcelona as a 7/10. The only reason for this is because I had such high expectations that weren’t quite met. It’s a beautiful city with amazing art, and I enjoyed every second of it (except maybe walking up a steep hill in 90 degree weather), but it wasn’t my favorite place that I’ve been. It’s definitely a must-see, though!
Did you find my Barcelona travel guide helpful? Are you planning on using my suggestions? Have you visited Barcelona in the past? Leave a comment down below!