Since I spent a week in Barcelona, which is quite long for a citytrip, I thought it might be fun to share my tips and tricks for a visit to this beautiful city with you. I’ve had some help as well. You, my lovely readers, gave me a lot of tips. But I also got a couple of very good tips from an ex-local: Natascha, who lived in Barcelona for three years. She shared some very good (mostly food-related, haha) tips with me, which I’m now sharing with you.
I divided this Barcelona Guide in three categories: TO VISIT, TO EAT/DRINK, TO MOVE, TO GO and TO STAY
Where to start?! There’s just so much to see and do in Barcelona! Well, let’s start with the most obvious one:
– Park Guell: You can’t leave Barcelona and say you didn’t visit Park Guell. It’s a big citypark situated at a steep hill designed by Gaudí, which was meant to become a residential area. Luckily it didn’t so we can now visit it for free, since it’s a park. In this park you’ll find the beautiful (and colorful) architecture Gaudí is known for, but also a lot of different vegetation: Beautiful purple flowers next to big cactus plants. To get there you can start at the main entrance and walk the (steep) way up, like most of the tourists do. But you can also choose to begin at the end and easily walk your way down. We found this great route at this website. This route is still quite secret, so it’s very peacefull. First go to metrostation (El Coll de La Teixonera), which is one of the deepest metrostations in Europa. First take the Exit called ‘Mare de Deu del Col’l and take the elevator. When you’ve left the elevator take the Exit called ‘Beat Almato’. You’ll see some a science finction like tunnel with flat moving escelators and light at the end (See first pic). When you left the tunnel, turn all the way around and take the moving escallators up hill right next to the tunnel. Afterwards go left. You’ll soon come accross a church, afterwards go right to the Carrer Ceuta. You’ll see three streets, take the middle one. You’re now at the Cami de Can Mora. After a five minute walk the road will go very straight up, go right to the flat surface and enjoy the beautiful sight of one of the highest spots of Barcelona (second photo). After approximately 200 meters (going slightly downhill) you’ll pass two metal doors: You’ve reached Park Guell!
– La Ramblas: You just had to be there. This is one of the most famous streets of Barcelona and therefore very touristic as well, people are trying to sell you everything. Wandering through the streets next to the Ramblas is actually much more fun.
– La Mercat de La Boqueira: Located at a side-street of the Ramblas is the Boquiera; a supercute market where you can score a lot of fruit (and vegetables, fish, meat and candy) for a little money. Really tasty are the fruit drinks they sell for one euro each or the fruit salads. The boyfriend and I were regular visitors of the Boquiera.
– Barceloneta Beach (and Passeig de Joan de Borbo): This is Barcelona’s most famous beach. The well-known W hotel is situated at this beach. If you don’t mind a crowdy beach, you should really visit this one. Passeig de Joan de Borbo, the street that leads to the beach, is covered with nice beach bars (more about my favorites later). Take a hike along the boulevard at sundown and watch Barcelona’s sporty (and good-looking) inhabitants skating and running.
– Port de Barcelona: Enjoy the beautiful view at the harbour of Barcelona and visit the Mare Magnum shopping centre.
– Aquarium de Barcelona: Located near the harbour is the Barcelona Aquarium. Although it is a bit too expensive (20 euros pp), we had a lot of fun. We saw the whole cast of Finding Nemo: Nemo himself, Dory and of course the sharks. Those were so cool! I got such a lucky shot of my bf and a shark!
– Passeig de Gracia: Shop ’till you drop at Passeig de Gracia. Big Zara (which is cheaper in spain) stores at every streat cornor. Also don’t forget to visit the H&M with the disco-like escalotors, where they sell a lot of H&M trend. I was there during sale, loved all those 50% off stickers ;) Unfortunately the bf didn’t want to visit a lot of stores, but I happen to know there’s a Topshop and a & Other Stories store as well! Guess I will have to go back for a shopping trip once!
– Camp Nou: Are you going with your boyfriend? Visiting Camp Nou, the home base of famous soccer club FC Barcelona, is a must-do. Your boyfriend will transform in the happiest kid alife. Promise! Take him shopping afterwards, since he now is in a good mood ;)
– El Born: El Born is a neighbourhood of Barcelona consisting of cute small streets and cosy little shops and bakeries. Just wander around in El Born, it won’t bore you! Take metrostation Jaume 1 to get there immediately.
– Parc de la Ciutadella: Close to El Born you’ll find Parc de la Ciutadella: A beautiful big city park in the middle of Barcelona with gorgeous lakes, vegetation and architecture: The citadel where the parc is named after. The bf and I spent almost a whole day just chilling in this parc, like many locals do.
– Arc de Triomf: Right in front of the Parc de la Ciutadella you’ll find the very impressive Arc de Triomf. If you’re a fashion blogger, you should really take some outfit pictures here like I did, haha.
– Parc de l’Espanya Industrial: Not your average kind of park! In stead of lots of green, you’ll find lots of conrete in this park. Doesn’t sound very appealing? Well, they did it in a manor it looks really cool. Plus they made several ‘pools’ with very clear water and fountains in the middle, where many children were swimming. I was just relaxing by putting my feet in the cool water. I also took some outfit pictures at this interesting park, which will be featured on the blog very soon!
– Font Màgica: An enormous fountain located at the foot of the mountain Montjuïc. Visit the fountains at night, because the lights combined with the water ballet are quite spectacular!
Every day we had breakfast at the mall located next to our hotel called Diagonal Mar and wel also had dinner at the mall quite often. But I’m not going to talk to you about the (touristic) mall. I’m going to tell you about some ‘hidden gems’.
– Rosa del Raval: The most delicious Mexican food (their Nachos are amazing) ánd even better; Mojitos and Margaritas for only 3,50 euros. The personnel is really kind and the bar/restaurant itself looks really cosy. It’s located at a side-street of the Ramblas. Check their website for the address and more.
– Zahara: This lounge/cocktail club is very popular among the locals (you’ll feel it when you’re there) and situated at the Passeig de Joan de Borbo (the street you’ll cross when going to the beach). Besides the most delicious cocktails, they also serve some great food, like burgers. We really enjoyed this place. A little note: It once belonged to Dutch owners, they even serve ‘Dutch’ tapas like bitterballen. Funny, but of course we didn’t opt for that, since we’re not in Holland, right? ;)
– Makamaka beach burger café: Right across Zahara you’ll find Makamaka, which also belongs/belonged (not sure) to Dutch owners. I love the interior and up-beat summer music at Makamaka, but more important: Those burgers were insane! The bf and I took the Big Maka, which was DE-LI-CIOUS!
– Eyescream and friends: We ‘accidentaly’ bumped into the cutest icecream store we’ve ever seen when on our way from the Beach to the metrostation, at Passeig de Joan de Borbo. The idea is to pick two toppings yourself and tell the personnel your choice of flavor. You’ll get your icecream in a very handy cardboard tray. As a final touch they add a pair of eyes on top of it: Eyescream!
You can go everywhere you want (even to Camp Nou) by the Zone 1 Metro. Barcelona has a very extensive, but easy, metronet. In less than 5 minutes (most of the time only 2 minutes) a new metro will arrive at every station. All of the metro lines have their own numbers (L1, L2, L3 etc.), but also their own color. Just follow your color on the map (shown at every metro station) to your destination and check if you need to change to another color to reach your destination. Travelling by metro is quite cheap. Just buy a T10 card (you can use coins or your debet card/Pinpas) which is valid for 10 metro rides. It also allows you to change to another metro (just don’t leave the gates by doing so) at the same ride, so it will count for one. You can also use it for multiple persons. Easy like that! We didn’t want to move our bagage from the Airport to the hotel and back, so for those two rides we used a taxi. This is more expensive, but it just was easier. From the Airport to the Barcelona Princess Hotel will cost you 30-40 euros.
Are you already feeling it and ready to plan your vacation to Barcelona? Well, as a Dutchie, you’ve got several options: By plane, by car or even by train. Those last two were no options for us. We’re not going to drive approximately 18 hours for a one week trip. Besides going by car probably is even more expensive when you’re going with just two persons. It will cost you A LOT of gas, not to mention the many toll roads you’ll cross. Nope, we were sure about flying to Barcelona. So we started searching several booking sites for different fly+hotel combos. We eventually booked our trip via booking site Expedia, which offered us the best fly and stay combo for the hotel we wanted to stay in: The Barcelona Princess Hotel. We booked a flight at a Spanish company called Vueling. I never heard of Vueling before, but I read good stuff about them on the internet. Besided that it was our cheapest option ánd we got to fly at normal times. Bagage was not included, only handbagage for 10 kg, so we booked one additional coffer for 23 kg. This was very easy, we booked it online. Just like checking in. You can check in online and you even get chair numbers, which I didn’t expect from a budget company. Apparently in Spain Vueling is quite a respected company and is situated at terminal one. We left at the estimated time and the flight personnel was very kind. The plane was a little bit small (especially for my boyfriend, who luckily sat at the aisle), but I couldn’t care less for such a short flight.
We decided to stay at quite a luxe hotel, because after all it’s vacation and we want to anjoy it to the fullest. We were willing to pay a bit more for a great stay, so we booked a room at the Barcelona Princess Hotel. The Hotel is situated very near to the beach (not the most amazing beach though) and has two pools. One on the 23rd floor (featuring an incredible sight) and one accompanied by a bar at the 3rd floor. We got a room at the 17th floor, which also featured a breathtaking sight. The room itself was beautiful: Very modern and open (only divided by glass walls) with some luxe features (the rainshower was so good!). We didn’t book breakfast, since it was quite expensive and there’s a big mall (including Zara, Mango, H&M and Primark) with a lot of places to eat, like Dunkin Donuts, Subway, McDonald’s, Burger King, Starbucks, but also sushi and tapas bars. This way we were also allowed to stay in bed as long as we wanted (you can afford this if you stay a week), since we didn’t have to get breakfast before 10AM or something like that. The mall (Diagonal Mar) was really great. There was so much too choose that we could eat something else for breakfast everyday. We also went to the mall for dinner several times: There’s a steakhouse, which my boyfriend loved, and a Tapas bar (with a terrace outside), which I loved. As a dessert we loved to get some frozen yoghurt with (crazy unhealthy) toppings at Yogolove.
The hotel is situated at a very good location: Next to one of Barcelona’s mainroads: Diagonal. And next to a metro station: El Maresme Fórum, which brings you straight to Barceloneta or Jaume 1. I could really recommend this hotel for your stay in Barcelona!
TO KEEP IN MIND
Barcelona is famous for her beautiful architecture, parks, beaches and of course the weater. But that’s not all. Unfortunately Barcelona is also very well-known for pickpockets. They especially are very active on crowded places like the very tourtistic La Ramblas and the metro. They’ve got several tricks to get to your money, just search the internet (like I did) for a couple of well-known tricks, so you can prepare yourself for these. How do you prevent yourself from getting robbed? Well, first of all: Don’t dress up like the typical toursit. It’s warm, but that doesn’t mean you have to walk around like a clown. Also don’t ever wear a backpack, that’s just asking to get robbed. The boyfriend and I bought a money belt at the ANWB (a Dutch travelling organisation), which seriously is the best tip I can give you. You wear it just underneath your pants (like the girl in this video does). In front of your crotch actually. Well, no one is going to touch your crotch without you noticing it. It gave us a very safe feeling. Most of the time I even left my bag at the hotel and only brought my camera (which I wore accross my body) and the money belt. To be honest: Although Barcelona is so well-known for pickpockets, we never ever seen a potential pickpocket. They probably don’t wear a T-shit saying ‘I’m a pickpocket’, but still. I think we were just not worth it, since we didn’t seem like easy targets. Just get the money belt and I promise you’ll walk around at ease. I hope I didn’t scare you, because really: After reading so much stuff about the Barcelona pickpockets I really thought I would get harrassed by many of them, but eventually I didn’t even get harrassed once! And like I told you: I didn’t even see any potential ones. So don’t worry too much. Just keep them in mind, wear a money belt and enjoy your stay in Barcelona. It’s really worth the visit!
ENJOY BEAUTIFUL BARCELONA!
Lots of love,