Oh My Gaud(í)- Barcelona Travel Tips
Ah Barcelona! The city of sangria and soccer (or futbol’ for everyone else in the world). By some miracle we were able to check off almost everything we wanted to see within our four day time frame. I must say that although there is a lot to see in this beautiful city, some of the attractions are quite similar. The architecture is BEAUTIFUL in this city- full of colorful tiles and mosaic covered buildings. Antoni Gaudi, architect extraordinaire, basically put his artistic touch to most of the main attractions in the city. With that being said, it starts to look a little similar after a while. Most of the casa’s and buildings have self-guided tours but they all cost MONEY, and entrance is not all that cheap. So it’s wise to do your research in advance and pick and choose the ones that appeal to you the most. But, seeing the outside of the buildings doesn’t cost a dime and luckily a few of his buildings are very close in distance.
Barcelona is SUPER touristy and with tourism comes pick pocketing. Make sure to keep your bag where you can always see it. I would recommend getting a money belt that you can beneath your pants or skirt such as this one. Although it could happen to even the most careful of people- it doesn’t hurt to take some extra precautions. ALSO, don’t walk around with a huge map folded out making yourself seem even more noticeable as a tourist- YOU ARE LOOKING FOR TROUBLE.
Barcelona is actually an autonomous community within the “Kingdom of Spain”. So what this means is that it is a little different than the rest of Spain. I have to say it did feel a little different from Spain, I would even say that it felt a lot less “Spanish” than Madrid. In Barcelona they technically speak Catalan (which is basically Spanish, but some words may differ). For example Bon Dia is Good Morning in Catalan instead of Buenos Dia in Spanish. You can check out some of the differences here if you’re interested. It is appreciated when you at least TRY to speak Catalan.
*Transportation: One of the best things about Barcelona is how EASY it is to get around. The metro and the bus are super efficient and people are very nice and always willing to help you and show you where to go. There is absolutely no reason in renting a car while in the city.
*Barcelona City Pass
Like with almost all tourist hotpots in Europe, Barcelona has a city-pass (a few different city-pass providers, but they all basically have the same things). They provide access into some of the main attractions and come with other benefits and discounts. Why it’s worth it: 1. You will most likely go to those attractions anyway and in some cases you may save a little money buying the pass then going to the attractions separately. 2. The pass allows you to skip long lines at some of the attractions. 3. Our pass (and I believe most others) include UNLIMITED transportation on all metros and buses. Due to the fact that Barcelona is basically a city that runs on public transportation-I would say that this is one of the biggest benefits of the card. You can have your pass mailed to you or pick it up at the airport (which is what we did). This was worth it for us- each person should make their own calculations and see if it makes sense for them to purchase it. BUT, not all the attractions are on the list so keep that in mind and know that you will have to pay for some places out of pocket.
Make reservations/ buy tickets for many of the places you want to go in advance because there is almost always a line to get into attractions. For example: Park Guell.
*Summer in Spain
We headed to Barcelona at the beginning of June and the weather was perfect, not too hot (Madrid was another story). But, an interesting thing to note it that the sun sets VERY late in Spain. It would start getting dark around 8:30/ 9 pm so you really can maximize your time in Spain and have many places to see and go before it gets dark, which is helpful if you only have a few days in each city.
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