I just finished spending six days in Barcelona, Spain. Two friends and I decided to head to Barcelona for a few days before going to Morocco. All three of us love Spanish culture and we had not been to Barcelona before, though I did go to Madrid last year and loved it!
Barcelona is a very different city from Madrid. For one I found people to be friendlier in Madrid and I think prices in Madrid are a bit cheaper, not by a whole lot though. I’m not trying to bash Barcelona, but if asked to choose between Madrid and Barcelona, Madrid would definitely be my choice. Barcelona definitely has better public transportation, but I’ll cover that later on in this post.
If you decide to go to Barcelona make sure to visit all the attractions that I listed below. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or comment below and I will try my best to help out.
- Basilica de la Familia Sagrada (14.80 €, there is a student discount available)
- Park Güell (7 € online, 8 € at the door)
- The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
- Mercat de la Boqueria (Boqueria Market)
- Barceloneta Beach
- Watch a Flamenco Show
Where To Eat:
- L’Ovella Negra [€/€€]
- La Malandrina – El Uruguayo [€]
- Oviso [€]
- Focacceria Toscana [€]
- Milk (also known as Marmalade Milk) [€]
- Margarita Blue [€€]
Don’t fall for the advertised signs around La Rambla that say “8.95 € for 3 tapas + paella or pasta or pizza.” It is borderline a scam. They do offer you 3 tapas but the catch here is that you ONLY get 1 portion of each and you don’t even get a say in which ones. The paella is also very small in size (and not good) and the price of a drink at these places is almost half the price of the advertised meal! We ate at a place called Ideal Restaurant, who was advertising this offer, and it was pretty horrible. The food took forever to come, the portion were small, and the three tapas they give you are the cheapest of all their tapas. Not to mention that you get only 1 of each tapas, so not the full thing.
I stayed at the ‘Arc de la Rambla Hotel’ which I personally would not suggest. The hotel is very expensive and the rooms are quite tiny. They have a surcharge for extra people (exceeding 2) that they do not disclose until check-in time. They also charge you 2 € to hold your luggage and 5 € to borrow beach towels.
The metro/public transit system in Barcelona is very easy to use. I recommend purchasing a T-10 fare card for 10.30 €. The T-10 allows you 10 journeys anywhere around zone 1, which includes most of the touristy areas (all of the ones I’ve mentioned are covered). The T-10 card makes it very affordable to get around the city and it doesn’t expire until you’ve used up your 10 journeys. I suggest using Google maps to know how to switch lines and such. To go to/from the airport you cannot use T-10, you must pay in ‘cash’ (euros) at the bus station for the fare, which was 5.90 euros one-way.
The Basilica de la Familia Sagrada is beautiful. It’s gorgeous inside and it’s a definite must see. It is unfortunate that they charge so much to visit it, but if you can afford it then definitely see it. I suggest buying your tickets online and having the QR reader image on your phone to show at the door or print it out. To buy tickets at the door takes a while (30-45 minutes).
Park Güell is very neat. The columns and cave-like architecture is a beauty. You will have to go up quite a few steps or take an escalator most of the way up. I recommend buying your ticket online and using your phone to get in with the QR reader or printing out the tickets. You must show up at the time for which you purchased your ticket, otherwise, you will be standing in line for quite a bit. (Hint: If it rains, don’t buy the umbrellas at the bottom of the steps – they will sell them at the entrance gate for 2 € instead of 5 €).
Mercat de la Boqueria is a cute little market by La Rambla. They have 1 € smoothies and cheap fruits, meat/seafood, assorted chocolates and candy. The market gets very packed! Overall though, it is very cheap to shop there and they decorate their little boutiques quite nicely with an assortment of colors and designs.
Going to a Flamenco Show is a definite must do! I personally saw one called Palacio del Flamenco. The tickets to just see the show was 28 € and you can pay a little more for drinks and dinner. I don’t know what makes a good or bad flamenco show so I cannot tell you if it was great or horrible but I can say that I enjoyed it and the crowd seemed to as well.
I spent my first day in Barcelona recovering after a long day of traveling. I wasn’t able to sleep much on the plane due to a crying child on-board and a five hour drive from Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C. to catch my flight. I ate at Burger King on the first day, which is gross in my opinion. But it was quick and easy to get it – definitely not cheap in Europe though!
L’Ovella Negra has 5L of Sangria for 30 €, cheap isn’t it? After this trip, I learned there is such a thing as too much Sangria. That’s when we discovered Focacceria Toscana and had some pizza to recover from the Sangria. Very good pizza in Barcelona! I had a cheese pizza and water for 4.65 euros.
La Malandrina has really good steak and chicken. It is very cheap, almost everything is under 10 euros. They don’t accept credit cards so make sure to have euros on you. Oviso was a very nice place, it had Spanish carvings and artwork all over it. Oviso is mostly a brunch place just like Milk, although Oviso did have cheap drinks available for the night time. If you go to Milk make sure you are ready to wait, they usually take their sweet time in sitting you down and providing you with service. If you are looking for cheap and have time to spare then make sure to stop by Milk, it is a cool joint after all.
Margarita Blue was kind of expensive and not really worth it. We went there on our last night because it started to pour and we had taken our time at the Park Güell so we were a bit behind schedule.
Today I am off to Morocco where I will spend two days in Marrakesh and two days in Casablanca. I will have that review up as soon as I am done. Until then, have a good week!