Barcelona is the most famous Spanish city, in Europe and also the second most populated of Spain. In addition, everyone who had been there, tells a must-see due to its art, leisure, cuisine and story. So, you can imagine how I was thrilled when I found a flight offer: I called my boyfriend and asked: “I’ve found a cheap plane ticket, do you want to go to Barcelona?”. And the adventure began.
We didn’t stay there for a long time, so we planned the trip both with a guidebook and some blogs. But, once back, I feel those sources had been inaccurate. For this reason, I’d like to share some pieces of advice with you, things you should know to have a perfect trip to Barcelona!
1. Flight: choose El Prat airport
Although the flight price was a bargain, it led us to Girona Airport, which is 90km far from Barcelona. It took one hour and a half to get in the city, by the bus provided. It wouldn’t have been that bad if only the bus runs had been continuous. The last run from Barcelona is early in the afternoon, so that our return happened early than expected.
So, always prefer El Prat airport rather than Girona because it’s faster and it costs the same, considering the bus’ price.
2. Gaudì’s Art: book tickets
We spent the first day admiring Gaudì’s art: Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllò, Park Guell and Gaudì’s house.
For the whole day, we had been impressed not only by the marvelous art but also by the queues. There are so many visitors that it takes 30 minutes to buy a ticket. This happened to us at Casa Battlò, in October and imagine how it’s like during summertime!
Therefore, I suggest you to book tickets before going there. Not only it’s easy, but it fastens your visit and costs as much as buying tickets at the ticket office. For example, Sagrada Familia’s website offers different combined ticket, in order to pay a little less and visit more, skipping the queue.
The only exception I would consider to the previous tip, is the Monumental Zone of Park Guell. It’s the area built by Gaudì inside huge Park Guell and it needs ticket.
I still consider booking tickets the smartest thing to do, but the Monumental Zone is in the open air. So that, it can rain or be cloudy during your visit, ruining it. I mean, the zone is always splendid but it needs the sun on all those colors to be really appreciated.
Therefore, don’t buy ticket for the Monumental Zone of Park Guell but wait for the sun to visit it!
3. Avoid Gaudì’s house
Once visited Sagrada Familia, is pointless to go there: it’s quite small and it shows almost the same things you can find in the museum under the church. It only adds objects that owned to Gaudì.
4. La Rambla: visit with attention
La Rambla is well-known for being Barcelona’s main street. It’s 1.2 km long and it’s full of restaurants, kiosks with souvenirs and many people. Though it’s very crowded, it’s both charming and relaxing walking along there. For this reason, a stroll is a “must” but do it with a proper guide. It can be a book or a person, but it’s fundamental: La Rambla hosts many pieces of art or important places that can be unseen or not considered. For example, there’s Plaça Reial with street lights built by Gaudì; Casa Bruno Cuadros, with its dragon or Mercat de la Boqueria, the main market with local products and stands where you can have lunch. It would be a pity to lose all of them!
5. Eat in peculiar places
Walking along La Rambla, you can find many restaurants with fixed-price menus, which usually includes tapas, paella and sangria. Though it seems a bargain for such a suggestive place, it is not. Usually, the quality is low so that the meal doesn’t taste neither good nor Spanish. For this reason, look for a restaurant/bar outside the main road, in order to find something typical and tasty, though a little bit more expensive.
A place I can (and want to) suggest is Cervecerìa Taller de Tapas, in Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol. In a Barri Gotic’s narrow street, it has good beer, friendly environment and a wide selection of tapas, which you’ll totally love. Well, we did at all!
6. NO flamenco shows in Barcelona
I had already seen a flamenco show in Valencia but my boyfriend hadn’t. So, it was added in our “to do list” and we looked for one but it was shocking: the shows were as long as the one in Valencia, but the price was twice as much that. Therefore, we opted for the cheapest one and, though it was fascinating, it was a bit disappointing. Better see the next show in Andalusia!
Unfortunately, Barcelona is expensive and you have to be ready. There are ways to save money with some discounts but it doesn’t include the most important attractions. However, don’t save money on places to visit, because everything is totally worth the money you spend.
Are you getting ready to go to Barcelona? No?! Why are you temporising?
Hurry up, Barcelona is only waiting for you!