Guest blog by Ndidi Enyinnia
Located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona is not only Spain 2nd largest city, but it is also home to breezy beaches, incredible food finds, breathtaking architecture and warm sunshine. In short, Barcelona offers everything a 20-something wanderluster would want in a vacation. Here’s a guide to a one of a kind city:
Where to Stay & Sleep
Airbnb: Airbnb is my new go-to! There are plenty of Airbnb selections in Barcelona. You can book one near the beach, in the heart of Las Ramblas, the Gothic Quarter, and so on. More importantly, you can book a shared room, a private room (you will most likely share the common spaces with the host or other Airbnb guest), or an entire apartment. My travel buddy and I booked a private room and shared the common area (bathroom, living room, and kitchen) with our host who turned out to be a travel guide so we got the inside scoop on where to eat, sights to see, how to get around, and just about anything we wanted to know about Barcelona. I highly recommend booking an Airbnb, but before doing so, you should do a thorough search based on your price range, ideal location, and ideal room type; and don’t forget to read Airbnb host reviews (seriously, read the reviews!).
Hotels: Barcelona has quite a vast hotel selection. Many of the hotels are located near beaches or the city’s hotspots with chic rooftop bars overlooking gorgeous city views. So, if you choose to stay in a hotel, there are a ton of affordable and attractive accommodations.
How to Get Around
While Barcelona has an abundance of taxis and even Ubers, these two options can get expensive pretty quickly, especially if you’re visiting multiple sites in one day. However, Barcelona has a great public transport system, and you can easily get around the city using the bus and metro. Depending on how long you will be staying, I would suggest buying a multi-journey ticket which can be used on all public transport in Barcelona, and you can select the number of journeys you would like. I chose to purchase a “T-10” ticket allowing 10 journeys for around $12. This ticket lasted me about 5 days and was extremely easy to use. Just be sure to keep it in a secure and easily accessible place so you can effortlessly hop on the train or bus to your next destination!
What to see
La Sagrada Família
The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (aka La Sagrada Família): You will be in awe as you approach this large and absolutely stunning Roman Catholic Church designed by Antoni Gaudí. If you want to continue marveling Gaudí’s work, you can purchase tickets to tour the interior on your own, through a guided tour, or with an audio guide. Just be mindful that ticket lines can be long, so it might be a good idea to book in advance or even purchase a skip-the-line-ticket. While ticket prices may range from around 15 Euro to 29 Euro, your ticket purchase will be used to fund the completion of this historical beauty. Even if you don’t purchase a ticket, take walk around and learn about this church’s and area’s rich history!
If you’re still interested in seeing more of Gaudí’s work, venture on to Park Güell. Orginiating in 1900, this park is notably one of the most beautiful assets of Barcelona. Not only is this park full of spacious green spaces, beautiful sights, and a rich history, but it also has breathtaking views of the city.
Access to parts of Park Güell is limited to a certain amount of people and to certain parts, and can only be accessed with a ticket purchase. Trust me when I say Park Güell is worth the ticket prices and the wait. So, be sure to map out which parts of this massive space you want to visit!
If you don’t mind navigating through crowds, then you should step onto one of Barcelona’s famous streets. La Ramblas is home to dozens of restaurants and shops, magnificent architecture, and an incredibly lively atmosphere. While on this street, you can admire various mosaics, taste traditional eats, and purchase several souvenirs.
While you’re in the Las Ramblas area, you MUST visit La Boqueria. Not only is this one of the most famous markets in the city, it is home to an incredible array of good eats. When you first walk in, you may experience a sensory overload just from the sights of the perfectly arranged food stands and scents of fresh seafood, flowers, baked good, and fruit. This market will not disappoint, so carve out some time and money to truly experience one of Barcelona’s amazing landmarks.
This area contains several landmarks, such as Church of Santa Maria del Pi with its beautifully crafted Romanesque features, restaurants, shops. I particularly like the Gothic Quarter with its narrow and traffic free streets, which allowed me to roam around and discover some of the quarter’s wonders. I highly recommend visiting the Gothic Quarter to shop, eat, and wander around.
Although this beach can be a bit crowded at times, it still has a generally calm atmosphere and is a beautiful sight. Be mindful that there is a nude part of the beach, which you may come across as you walk towards the less crowded areas. While at Barceloneta Beach, make sure to enjoy some authentic paella, bask in the sun, and see some amazing views from a rooftop bar, such as The W Barcelona’s Wet Bar.