When it comes to European city breaks, Barcelona has to be right up there at the top of the list. A city that is close enough to beaches to allow you a day away from the fast-pace of a metropolitan area, but also charming and almost quaint-like in its feel in general, giving it a real authentic Spanish vibe, perfect for those wanting to experience the way of life in its most traditional way.
On the whole, Barcelona is a very safe city, and one that is easy to get around, especially on foot, which allows you to see more. Of course, like any city in the world, you have to keep your wits about you, and listen to your common sense, especially if you are a solo female traveller. Las Ramblas is notorious for pick-pockets, however if you just be aware of this and don’t flash the valuables, you should be fine.
So, you’re heading to Barcelona for a long weekend, what can you do to fill your precious time?
We’re going to mention Las Ramblas a lot, but that’s with good cause; this part of the city is the heartbeat, and the central area where people meet. You will find street performers to entertain you, countless cafes to watch the world go by, winding streets, and plenty of stalls and quaint stores to explore. We mentioned pickpockets in this part of the city, so just be aware of that, but on the whole, Las Ramblas may be touristic, but it’s certainly authentic too.
From Las Ramblas you can have a wander into the Gothic Quarter, after a coffee at one of the laid-back cafes along the way of course! Gaudi is a famous artist who lovingly created many different architectural wonders in Barcelona, and you’ll see countless examples of his work in this part of the city. Of course, the cathedral is the main pull and it has to be seen, a totally different kind of style to what you might be expecting!
You did a lot of walking and sightseeing yesterday, so today you get to save your feet but still see plenty! Barcelona has the obligatory hop on and off tourist bus, and whilst you might want to shun something so literally touristic, don’t be a snob about it because it allows you to see a lot in a short space of time, and really focus on what you want to see, whilst getting around easier. This will also save you money, and help you find your feet a bit easier. A good bit of advice is to go around the circuit once, and then identify what you want to see, then on the next run, get off at the stops you found interesting. Don’t forget your camera!
Because you’ve managed to successfully save yourself blisters, you can treat yourself to a night out on the town, and Barcelona certainly has some vibrant choices. Las Ramblas is again the most focal point, and for early on in the evening this is where you will find bars and restaurants. As the night wears on however, clubs may be on your mind, and then you will want to go to El Born, where the most colourful nightlife can be found.
Shopping is the order of the day for your final bit of time in Barcelona. Whilst you’re en-route to the shops, don’t forget to visit the Nou Camp. You don’t have to be a major football fan to enjoy the sheer size and scale of this stadium, and it’s definitely worth a visit, so if you’re into your sport, make this a priority. If you’re preferring to head to the shops however, make sure that credit card is handy! You will find a choice of high street stores, sitting next to more designer names and Passeig de Gracia is a good place to start. The more designer labels tend to be on Carrer de la Boqueria too, but you will find a blend on most central shopping streets.
Finish your time in the city by trying some authentic Spanish cuisine, and head to Las Ramblas for one final time to try paella or tapas. You’ve earned it with all that sightseeing!
Photo Credit: Lutor44