Despite the high prices and super touristy aspects of sites like the Sagrada Familia and Las Ramblas, there are plenty of ways to have an indie experience in Barcelona.
- Wander the streets of the Gothic Quarter, taking in the architecture and stopping for tapas and cava along the way.
- Many tour companies offer market and food tours of Barcelona. Explore the markets on your own, sampling the famous jamon, and make your own tapas crawl in El Born.
- Barcelona tour companies also offer expensive architecture tours, and while you should definitely not skip over the works of Gaudi and other famous architects who made their mark in Barcelona, head to the tourist office in Plaza Catalunya, buy a Ruta del Modernisme book, and plan your own architecture tour.
- If you’re there during the season, join 100,000 other Spaniards at the Nou Camp and see one of the world’s great futbol teams play in FC Barcelona.
Why you should add Barcelona to your RTW travel list
- You want a good fiesta? Look no further
- Amazing architecture by some chap named Gaudi, is anything but gaudy
- Gateway for Spain and the rest of Europe
- Easy to get to and into the Pyrenees Mountains
- Ramble La Rambla for buskers, performers and entrepreneurs of all wares and stripes
- Swim awesome beaches, worship religion fútbol
- The food is incredible – tapas, seafood, and some of the world’s most renowned chefs call Barcelona home.
- It’s perfectly acceptable, and encouraged, to drink multiple glasses of wine or cava during lunch. Best of all, it won’t cost you much more than buying a soda.
Read: Barcelona… or not.
Why you should not add Barcelona to your RTW travel list
- The high prices make it difficult to do Barcelona on a budget.
- There are some super touristy aspects of Barcelona – Las Ramblas, anything Gaudi related – which makes for high admission prices and lots of people.
Barcelona is one of the most popular tourist stops in Spain and all of Europe, and it’s easy to see why. With its well-known architecture, fantastic museums and top-notch football, not to mention its reputation for being a party city, it’s no wonder visitor flock to Barcelona.
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, and even if you speak Spanish you might be confused by the city’s signage. The two official languages are Spanish and Catalan, and most the signs you’ll see will be in Catalan. The work of Catalan Art Nouveau architect Antonio Gaudí is everywhere, including the Park Güell and the Sagrada Família (which remains unfinished to this day). He is also responsible for the street lights around the La Plaça Reial!
What to do
There’s no shortage of museums in Barcelona, including the Museu Nacional d’Art de Cataluyna (MNAC) in the Palau Nacional, which boasts the best collection of Romaneque art anywhere, the Museu d’Història de Catalunya (MHI), which explains Catalan history (very important to understand), a Joan Miró Museum, and a Picasso Museum, which is good if you prefer his pre-cubist work. For more of a living museum experience, check out L’Aquarium, Europe’s second-largest aquarium, where you can walk through a glass “tube” and have sea life swimming all around you without getting wet.
If you’re a sports fan, you’ll know that Barcelona boasts one of Europe’s great football clubs, FC Barcelona. Camp Nou, where they play, is the biggest stadium in Europe and also houses shops and a museum of the club’s history. Matches almost never sell out, and seeing one in Barcelona could make for a great story – as long as you don’t accidentally start chanting anything about rival team Madrid. Be sure to read up at The Offside before you go so as to prevent any mishaps.
Barcelona’s beaches aren’t what draw most people to the city, but the nightlife just might be. Be sure to get out and be seen on La Rambla, the most famous boulevard in Barcelona.
You can book a flight to Barcelona (code: BCN), and the airport is only 10 km away from the city. Once you’re there, getting around by train is hassle-free with a Eurail Pass that will be suited perfectly to your trip, no matter what countries or how many countries you’ll visit.
Read: 6 Days in Barcelona.
Where to stay
For more cheap hotels in Barcelona, visit our friends at EuroCheapo.