Solo Travel in Barcelona
Types of Girls about the Globe – Beach GatG, Party GatG, Cultural GatG
Barcelona is such an amazing city. It's cultural, vibrant and with beaches and mountains there is plenty of nature too. After living here for over two years, I have put together a guide on how to travel solo in Barcelona as well as lots of practical information such as where to stay, which tour company to use and how to get around. Find out how to get from the airports and what to do in each place.
All companies included have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. Just choose the relevant section or read the full article.
- Solo Travel in Barcelona
- About Barcelona
- 48 Hours in Barcelona
- Top Must-Sees For Solos
- Activities For All Types of Solos
- Local Tours
- Where To Meet Others
- What To Do in The Evenings
- Party Girl about the Globe
- Accommodation in Barcelona
- Typical Food and Drink
- Where To Eat
- Enjoy a Coffee and Cake
- Where To Drink
- Getting Around
- From El Prat Airport
- Related Posts
Solo Travel in Barcelona
Barcelona is generally a safe city but it is known for pickpockets especially on the metro and La Rambla. The city is easily walkable but if you are choose to wear a day pack hang it from your front instead of your back, or put a padlock on your zip.
The city is safe at night to walk around with many other people doing the same every night of the week. Be careful in Raval at night and stick to the main roads instead of quiet back streets. La Rambla is one of the busiest tourist areas but if you walk along there after a night out you may be offered drugs by the sellers so just politely say no and they leave you alone.
Stay for: There is so much to see here that you'll need at least 3 nights. A week is ideal.
No visitor to Spain can possibly miss out on Barcelona. The second largest city in Spain, Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, a region of Spain. This beach city has so much to offer that you could easily spend a whole week here and still only have scratched the surface.
As far as art and architecture are concerned, Barcelona is the city of Gaudi, Dali and Miro. You don’t even have to make an effort to find their works as they are everywhere. Especially the distinctive curved and richly decorated buildings by Gaudi, including the famous cathedral Sagrada Familia which is yet to be completed.
Barcelona is flat with the exception of one mountain, Montjuic, which is 173 metres high. You can use the cable car but it’s much nicer to walk up to the top and visit the remains of Montjuic castle. The entire area was made famous during the 1992 Olympics and is home to the Olympic stadium. In addition there are plenty of parks and a Botanic garden. Art lovers will like the Foundation Juan Miro and the Pavillion Mies van der Rohe as well as the National Museum of Cataluña. The views over the city and the port are outstanding.
The Gothic Quarter is stunning and you could easily spend hours here tumbling upon architectural delights at each corner. Placa Reial is one of the most romantic spots in this city. This gorgeous square and elegant fountain surrounded by palm trees was once home to some of Barcelona’s most important families.
Explore the back streets of El Born, a trendy, historic neighbourhood with boutique shops, inviting bars and cafes and quirky little shops. Here’s where you’ll find the Picasso museum and the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, next to the Fossar de les Moreres – a curved monument for the fallen during the Siege of Barcelona in the early 18th century.
Shop for artisanal goods or homemade products in the neighbourhood area of Gracia which was once its own village before it became part of Barcelona in the 19th century. Or just stop for a coffee in one of the many coffee shops.
And then there’s the beach. Nine of them to be exact. Visit in the Spring or Autumn and you’ll still be sunning yourself on a sandy stretch of the Mediterranean or eating al fresco overlooking the sea. Stroll along the promenade up to the W Hotel, an iconic part of the beach’s landscape.
Torre Agbar is another one of the city’s landmarks. Only opened in 2005, this tower which resembles the Gherkin in London, is illuminated in a blue hue at night as part of Barcelona’s skyline.
There are lots of day trips you can do from here too. Visit the coastal town of Sitges with its seafront promenade, the medieval city of Girona or hike Montserrat mountain and see the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, one of the holiest sites in the region. With unique landmarks, history and beaches, what more could you ask for in a city?
Did you know? Catalan and Spanish are both the official languages in Barcelona.
48 Hours in Barcelona
Start at the Arc de Triomf; a large, beautiful archway which was built as a gateway to the Universal Exhibition held in 1888. Walking along its path you’ll see street performers, buskers and people selling goods. At the end of the pathway is the entrance to Parc de la Ciutadella which was once the city’s only green space. Inside is a huge, magnificent fountain which has some resemblance to the Trevi Fountain in Rome. You can walk up its steps for a lovely view. Walk through the other exit to the Estacio de Franca to admire its interior and its elegant clock.
Then cross to the El Born area to the Centre de Cultura. This archaeological site is in a restored former market. Underneath they have excavated city ruins dating back to the 18th century. The museum is free to enter.
Stop for lunch at one of the many bars and restaurants in El Born. Crepes al Born has a great atmosphere with the friendliest staff (and it serves the best crepes!)
As you meander through Barcelona’s medieval heart with remains of the Roman walls which stretch between The Rambla and Via Laietana, a network a small often cobble stoned streets which have some of the oldest and quirky shops. The most remarkable are marked with a small plaque in the pavement.
Spend time at the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar, and Placa del Fossar de les Moreres, before exploring more of the back streets of the Gothic Quarter and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, which dates back to the 13th century. This is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona and was named after a young girl called Santa Eulalia, who was said to be murdered because she refused to give up religion.
Stop at the Picasso museum which is home to an extensive collection of artwork by Pablo Picasso, the renowned Spanish artist.
From here head to Plaza del Pi with a church of the same name. On weekends the plaza turns into a fruit, vegetable and art market where local artists display and sell their paintings. You’ll find countless small cafes and restaurants where you can eat and drink at reasonable prices. Look out for the signs which will lead you to Spain’s oldest and smallest Synagogue in the Jewish district Call.
Then to the famous La Rambla. This broad avenue is famous for its flower stalls, cheese stalls and trinkets. It’s also a centre for pick pockets, so watch out. They also used to keep and sell livestock like chickens, but that’s not allowed anymore so La Rambla has lost some of its originality. You can still find plenty of people buying souvenirs along this famous rambla.
The Gran Teatre de Liceu – Barcelona’s most famous theatre and opera house is nearby. You can take a guided tour to see the wonderfully decorated theatre with a remarkable history because it burnt down three times. Just past the theatre is Barcelona’s oldest covered market. The art deco building is worth seeing all by itself, but the offer of the freshest and best products from all over Spain is nearly overwhelming. Smells and colours make an experience you cannot miss.
At the end of La Rambla is the Colombus Monument, a 60 metre high column which stands tall in homage to the famous explorer.
Then head to the marina to walk past the yachts down to the W Hotel, and along the beach, passing roller skaters, cyclists and joggers along the promenade. Pass the famous beachfront clubs such as Pacha and Opium and head to Port Olimpic passing the beaches to stop for dinner. Spend the evening at a flamenco show (see the tours section for recommended companies).
Spend your second day enjoying the architecture that Barcelona has to offer. Three best examples of art deco and Gaudi architecture are the Palacio de la Musica, Casa Milà and Palacio Guell.
Start at Passeig de Gracia for Casa Milà (also known as La Pedrera) which has a rippling stone facade and colourful spires to compliment its spiral staircases. Then there is Casa Batlló on Passeig de Gràcia. This fairytale house has a scaly roof and cave interiors and is a kaleidoscope of colours.
From here either walk or take the metro to Park Güell. Home to mosaic dragons and cute cottages, it is not only one of the iconic features in the city but it also offers great views. With forest walks, colourful ceramic walls, and beautifully landscaped trails, this area has been transformed into a garden city and was one of the largest projects of the city. Most of the park is free of charge but you need to buy tickets into the monumental zone. There are escalators which help on the steep climb to the park.
Stop for lunch at one of the cafes along Travessera de Dalt or anywhere else along the way to the Sagrada Familia (again you can walk or take the metro).
This famous Roman Catholic Church designed by Antonio Gaudi is in a neo- gothic style. Work began on the basilica in 1882 and is one of the longest ever construction projects with work due to be completed in 2030. Because it is still under construction you have to ignore the cranes. If you are on a budget just walk around its exterior and admire the artwork instead of paying to go inside.
Spend the late afternoon at Plaça d’Espanya, admiring the fountain in the middle of the roundabout and window shopping inside Las Arenas, a former bull ring turned shopping centre.
Then to the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. The building itself is a work of art and inside you’ll find sculptures amongst Romanesque murals as you are taken on a journey through Catalan art from the 10th century to the 20th century. Hike from here to Montjuic Hill and explore the old Olympic stadium, the castle and the Fundació Joan Miró before admiring views of the city at dusk. Stay in this area for dinner (there are restaurants inside Las Arenas) then watch the Magic Fountain at night which is in Plaça d’Espanya.
Tip – If you are staying in Barcelona for a few nights, consider purchasing the Barcelona Pass. It gives free entry to more than 20 top attractions as well as fast track entry and unlimited travel. * Buy the Barcelona Pass here
There are so many places to see here that it’s difficult to pick our top 5. You could stay for 5 days and be constantly doing and seeing something.
1. The Gothic Quarter
Barcelona’s medieval heart is so atmospheric, you’ll feel as though you have been transported into a fairytale especially when you see the gothic Barcelona Cathedral in all its towering glory.
Remains of the Roman walls stretch between La Rambla and Via Laietana, a network a small often cobble stoned streets which have some of the oldest and quirky shops. The most remarkable are marked with a small plaque in the pavement. (Time = 2 hours)
2. La Rambla de Cataluña
This broad avenue is famous for its flower stalls, cheese stalls and trinkets.
This 1.2 kilometre boulevard is also the place to find souvenirs with anything and everything stamped with “Barcelona.” They also used to keep and sell livestock like chickens, but that’s not allowed anymore so La Rambla has lost some of its originality. You’ll find painted human statues and overpriced cafes along the route which leads down to the marina. (Time = 1-2 hours)
3. Park Güell
This famous park is an insight into the imagination of the famous Gaudi. Home to mosaic dragons and cute cottages, it is not only one of the iconic features in the city but it also offers great views. With forest walks, colourful ceramic walls, and beautifully landscaped trails, this area has been transformed into a garden city and was one of the largest projects of the city. Most of the park is free of charge but you need to buy tickets into the monumental zone. There are escalators which help on the steep climb to the park. (Time = 2-3 hours)
* Check dates, prices and availability: Park Guell Admission Ticket
4. Sagrada Familia
Barcelona has to be best known for this famous Roman Catholic Church. Designed by Antonio Gaudi, the famous architect, in a neo-gothic style, work began on the basilica in 1882 and is one of the longest ever construction projects with work due to be completed in 2030. Once finished this amazing work of art will be the highest cathedral in Europe. Because it is still under construction you have to ignore the cranes. (Time = 2-3 hours)
* Check dates, prices and availability: Fast-Track Sagrada Familia Entrance Ticket
5. The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia
The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia dates back to the 13th century. This is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona and was named after a young girl called Santa Eulalia, who was said to be murdered because she refused to give up religion. The cathedral is beautiful and so spectacular from both the outside and in. You’ll often find musicians entertaining the crowd outside. (Time = 1-2 hours)
6. Casa Batlló
This man has definitely put Barcelona on the map as one of the most architectural striking cities. As well as Park Güell and the Sagrada Familia, one of his other famous works is Casa Batlló at Passeig de Gràcia, 43. Known as the of the Dragon (in reference to the legend of Saint George), this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a fairytale house with cave interiors and a kaleidoscope of colours. (Time = 2-3 hours)
Local’s Tip – “Granjas are cafes that serve both breakfasts and brunches. They haven’t changed since a century before and the experience of eating in one feels like it did way back when they were originally opened.”
Solo’s Tip – “Plan your itinerary before you get there and get skip the line tickets if you can. If you do miss out on the Sagrada Familia you can just admire the cathedral and its artwork from outside by walking around it.”
Escape the crowds
To be honest it’s hard to escape the crowds anywhere in Barcelona but if you go to Bunkers del Carmel early enough, you will have the amazing view for yourself.
Park Güell is one of the most loved tourist attractions here but just behind the park is a nature area where you can escape the tourists. Here the only people you’ll encounter are locals who walk their dogs.
In El Born. Wandering through the back streets past the cathedral and coming back round on yourself. Get lost in the romance of the gothic style architecture, historic balconies and alleyways which lead to another historic treasure.
At one of the gardens on Montjuic. Near to the pergola you’ll find beautiful gardens and terraces with a view of part of the city. Take a picnic and hike up to the top to lose yourself amongst the plants and watch the sunset over the city.
Get a great view at
- There are so many places to get a view of the city. Hill Montjuic is a great lookout. Either take the cable car or bus to the top or hike your way up.
- Hike up to Bunkers del Carmel in the district El Carmel to the viewpoint on Rovira’s hill for a great panorama.
- If you prefer to have a view with a glass of cava in your hand, Barceló Raval is a four star hotel with a 360 Bar, named so because of its 360 degree views. The drinks aren’t cheap but then again you pay for the views.
- Tibidabo is the highest point in Barcelona at 512 metres tall. This amusement park which overlooks the city not only offers the best views but also has a stunning church to venture into. Take the metro L7 to Avenida Tibidabo then Tramvia Blau to Placa Dr Andreu where the funicular leaves from. Check prices, dates and availability
Interact with the locals at
If you’re here during the summer months, any chiringuito on the beach is a good place to sit and strike up conversation with the locals (or tourists). The Catalans can be a bit closed but just smile and say “Bon dia.”
Places to enjoy the sun
The Catalonians and the Spanish aren’t shy about their beach bodies as you’ll find out on the nudist beaches dotted along the coast. (as they say, “when in Rome…”)
There are several beaches to choose from (nine in fact). The most touristy and closest to the city is Barceloneta up to the W Hotel (the hotel shaped in a curve). If you take the metro Line 4, you can virtually get off at any stop and walk down to one of the beaches. Most of the metro stops aren’t situated right on the beach though so you will need to walk. Marbella is a great beach with a pop up bar, restaurant and volleyball court. Here anything goes and it’s good spot to avoid the tourists. Or try Ciutadella – Vila Olimpica, a beach which also gets less tourists.
- Mercado de la Boqueria is Barcelona’s oldest covered market. The art deco building is worth seeing all by itself, but the offer of the freshest and best products from all over Spain is nearly overwhelming. Smells and colours make an experience you cannot miss.
- From a touristy market to a more local one. Mercat de la Llibertat is located in Gracia, a more local part of the city. Here you can see how the locals shop.
- Mercat de la Princesa is set in a 15th century palace. This is one of the city’s best kept secrets and you can watch the chefs as they cook all types of gastronomic delights from Spanish to Japanese food.
Activities For All Types of Solos
- Take part in a Thai Kickboxing class whilst you’re there. Everest Mindful ThaiBoxing offer classes several times a week and you can just say yes that you’re attending and pay for your class on the day. Classes cost €15 and they have a women’s only class on the first Tuesday morning of each month.
- Hire a bike and cycle along the coastline past the marina and north of Barcelona.
- Go running along the Carretera de les Aigües which has great views of the city too.
- An adventure of a different kind is a midnight walking tour which starts at the Arc de Triomf. A guide leads you through Barcelona’s dimly lit medieval streets all the while telling you stories about supernatural occurrences in the city.It truly gives you goose bumps.
- Being on the beach means that Barcelona is an ideal spot to try water sports. Try stand up paddle boarding, jet skiing or parasailing, or book a session at the surf school to make the most of the waves.
Arty & Museum GatG
- There are so many great museums here to choose from. If you are short on time, here are our favourites.
- One of the most beautiful museums here is the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, which is situated in Placa Espana with an amazing view from the higher levels. The building itself is a work of art and inside you’ll find sculptures amongst Romanesque murals as you are taken on a journey through Catalan art from the 10th century to the 20th century.
- The Picasso Museum is home to an extensive collection of artwork by Pablo Picasso, the renowned Spanish artist who spent time in Barcelona. The museum may be small but its worth visiting to explore the medieval halls and see his early works.
- The Foundation Joan Miró is situated on Montjuic hill and is a museum of modern art founded by Joan Miró, a visionary artist to inspire young artists to explore and experiment with contemporary art. Even the building itself is a giant piece of artwork.
Just inside the market building in El Born is the remains of an ancient city. Through the glass you can view this fascinating archeological discovery. And it’s free!
Indulge your sweet tooth at the Chocolate museum situated in old barracks in El Born. Whether you just want to buy chocolate or become a master chocolatier for the day, it’s a haven for chocolate lovers.
There always seems to be a festival or fiesta on in the city. Check the Guia Barcelona events page to see if any cultural event is on during your stay. From art events to wine festivals, there is something for any type of solo.
If you’ve ever seen the human towers, this is one of Catalonia’s traditions. It began approx 40 km in the small town of Valls and is still a tradition in Barcelona. The climbers known as castellers each have their own position in the tower and the climbing is usually accompanied by a flute. Check the website for performances
Gran Teatre de Liceu is Barcelona’s most famous theatre. You can take a guided tour to see the wonderfully decorated theatre with a remarkable history because it burnt down three times.
Gaudi Buildings – All within walking distance from the Gothic Quarter and La Rambla you’ll find the three best examples of art deco and Gaudi architecture. Palacio de la Musica, Casa Mila and Palacio Guell.
The Jardins del Teatre Grec is a Greek theatre on Montjuic mountain which is used during some of the cultural events.
Venture into El Born and the Gothic Quarter and history is all around you. Wind through the medieval streets and stumble upon historical churches and beautiful alleyways. Stop at Carrer del Bisbe to admire a neo-Gothic bridge with a skull face, which was constructed in the early 20th century.
El Fossar del les Moreres was once the site for the fallen during the Siege of Barcelona which took place in 1714. A tall curved monument stands in its place.
Inside El Born Centre de Cultura is an archaeological site in a restored former market. Underneath they have excavated city ruins dating back to the 18th century. The museum is free to enter.
Skip the Line and see inside the Barcelona Palau de la Música to admire the architecture and the rich history of this Art Nouveau icon.
Montjuic offers some nature respite from the city. You can either take the cable car up or walk up to the top to see this area, which is home to the Olympic Stadium used during the 1992 Olympics. You’ll also find an old military fortress on top.
Ciutadella park was once the city’s only green space. Inside is a huge, magnificent fountain which has some resemblance to the Trevi Fountain in Rome. You can walk up its steps for a lovely view. This park does get popular with locals and tourists so don’t be surprised if you find people doing yoga or playing bongo drums here. Anything goes.
- Barcelona has so many shops! From souvenir stalls in La Rambla and El Born to the posh high street shops at Passeig de Gracia, there is plenty to splurge your Euros on. You’ll find shops such as H&M and Zara in Placa Catalunya. For souvenirs of Barcelona or a tourist gift then La Rambla is the place to pick up a ‘Barcelona’ gift.
- Passeig de Gracia is worth window shopping along, even if just for the stunning architecture.
- Head to Placa Espana for the old bull ring which has been converted into a shopping arcade. Inside you’ll find restaurants and shops and a great view of the stunning fountain from the terrace on the top floor.
If you love football, pay a visit to Camp Nou, the largest stadium in Spain and home to FB Barcelona. Either watch a game during your trip here or take a tour around the stadium to see the European Cups and the area dedicated to Messi, one of the most famous football players. Pre-buy a ticket for a football stadium tour and the museum here.
You don’t have to go to a spa to enjoy a massage here. If you visit during May to October just lay on the beach and within minutes you will get approached by massage ladies offering you a massage for anything from €10 – €20 (much less than a salon and just as good). The ladies use suntan oil so you can still top up your tan afterwards.
If you do prefer to have an experience inside walls, Aire de Barcelona is a Hamman experience with a thermal bath. Enjoy a massage or scrub as an additional treatment. Located in El Born.
There are so many places here to enjoy a glass of vino but El Nacional is a fab place to order a glass or two. This huge industrial building was once a car dealership. It’s hard to imagine inside as it’s now one of the coolest places in Barcelona. Each section has a different speciality and has some of the finest wines, not to mention the best cavas in Spain.
Have a tourist moment
At Tibidabo Park – Brazil has the Christ de Redeemer and Barcelona has a big wheel overlooking the city. It may seem like a strange place to have a theme park but on top of Mount Tibidabo is where all the action is. Relieve your childhood on a big ferris wheel, scream with the kids on the rollercoaster or just eat as much pink candy floss as you can buy.
Don’t have much time?
If you are short on time and want to see as much of the city as you can, the Barcelona hop on hop off buses are worth doing. Buy a two day pass as there is so much to see. Buses are frequent all go all over the city.
Where to wear your heels
At one of the many rooftop bars. The W Hotel has to be the most famous and the poshest hotel here but head to any hotel with a rooftop especially at sunset for a glass of Vermouth and a fab view.
Where To Meet Others
At one of the Irish bars especially on Carrer de Ferran where you are guaranteed to meet other travellers or tourists.
Barcelona has more meet up groups than Gaudi buildings. Whether you are looking to meet others on a language exchange or hiking in the mountains, there is a meet up group for every type of activity. Just join Meet Up, look at the calendar of events for when you are there and join a group.
The Gothic Quarter is a great place for a walking tour. You can find out about the history of this area and wander pass the amazing cathedral.
Sandemans New Europe are a great way to see the city and offer free walking tours (you pay a donation at the end). There are several tours a day so check their site for times.
Runner Bean Tours offer sustainable tours around the city such as The Spanish Inquisition Story, and Dark Legends of the City with tales from the past. These walking tours are a great starting point when you first arrive in the city. You’ll get to know your bearings and also learn about its history especially in the old part of the city where you can follow the shadow of medieval punishments.
Take a Midnight ghost walking tour which leads you through the city’s dimly lit streets telling you tales of supernatural occurrences in the city. Enough to give any solo goosebumps.
Discover Catalonia’s culture as well as its cuisine on a Human Tower Tour with Food and Wine Tasting. If there are no castell performances (human towers) on during your visit, you are guaranteed a performance with this tour. A bonus is that you get to sample the tapas too.
Day Tours – Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated activities and day tours in worldwide destinations including Barcelona. Choose from a Sagrada Familia fast-track ticket, a Montjuic cable car ride with views of the city, or a flamenco show at Los Tarantos. There are so many to choose from and it’s really simple to use. Just check the reviews, price and availability then book online. With Barcelona being one of the most visited cities, I recommend buying fast-track tickets so you can skip the long queues.
What To Do in The Evenings
Head to Placa Espana and watch the Magic Fountain in an array of lights and colour as it dances at night.
Listen to a concert at Palau de la Música. This gorgeous hall decorated in colourful mosaics is UNESCO World Heritage.
During the summer months at the Fabra Observatory, you can have dinner under the stars. The evening isn’t that cheap but it combines great cuisine with astronomical observation served at dusk on the terrace. You can also visit the interior of the Observatory to observe more constellations.
If you love rooftop bars, you’re in for a treat. There are so many hotels here with a gorgeous rooftop. Our favourite ones are Barceló Raval which has a panoramic bar of 360 degrees. And Hotel Duquesa de Cardona has spectacular views over the marina and also a swimming pool on top.
Wander through the streets of the Gothic Quarter at dusk and listen to the buskers singing opera or playing some of most atmospheric music.
Barcelona has an Ice Bar which it claims is the first ice bar at the beach in the world! If you can handle hanging around at minus 5 degrees, go inside and shiver the night away (or 45 minutes of it anyway).
Join one of the Barcelona Meet Up groups to attend a nightly event. They also have meet ups for dancing such as bachata and salsa so that you can experience something different (or that you like) during your visit.
Whichever music you are into you’re guaranteed to find it in Barcelona. Along the beach is the place to be for nightlife. Here you’ll find the famous clubs such as Pacha, Opium and Carpe Diem. These beachfront clubs are swanky so you may have to adhere to a dress code to get in. They are generally frequented by tourists so you may even meet a fellow nationality inside.
During the summer months you can party from day through to night at Brunch in the Park, an electronic festival held every Sunday afternoon/ evening on Montjuic Hill. They have sprinklers for the warm weather and free sunscreen too. It’s a great atmosphere and partying with the cable car going overhead makes it even more special.
If you want to check out the bars of Barcelona with some company in tow, Bar Crawl Barcelona offers exactly what it says – a bar crawl around the city. The bar crawl goes to 3 different bars and finishes at one of the nightclubs. You can save money by booking it online.
Accommodation in Barcelona
Good areas to stay in
There is a good metro system so it’s easy to see all the sights no matter which area you stay in but for walking distance the Gothic Quarter is perfect. This area is close to La Rambla, the port and the beach and is ideal if you are staying for a few nights. It is the most touristy area though so you may prefer to stay near Plaza Catalunya which is at the top of La Rambla or more inland near the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell.
There are countless hostels in Barcelona but this one is one of the better ones. Close enough to La Rambla and near the edgy streets of Raval, it’s situated in a great location to be able to walk to the main sites. What I love about this place is the communal bar area, lounge and courtyard which are ideal to meet others when you are solo. They serve good food too. They also have female-only dorm rooms from 6 beds to 16 beds, or you can choose a bed in a mixed 4 dorm instead.
- Prices from €20 per night for a bed in a 16 bed dorm
- To book, check prices or availability for St Christophers Inn
Sant Jordi Hostel is in the Gracia neighbourhood. It is a great place to stay, very safe and with great nightlife. Everyone just hangs out in the plazas at night and you get to meet a lot of fun people. The hostel is also good about getting people together for meals to get to know each other and they're super helpful with getting around and what to do in Barcelona. There is a communal terrace and each dorm room has lockers for you too store your stuff. You don’t need to bring a hairdryer either as they have hairdryers in the bathroom.
- Prices from €23 for a bed in an 8 bed dorm
- To book, check prices or availability for Sant Jordi Gracia
This cosy pension is situated in the heart of the city in the Eixample district. The rooms are bright, clean and stylish and come with a flat-screen TV (some with a balcony too). There is access to a gym so you can keep in shape during your travels and it’s really close to La Pedrera (Casa Milà). Because it’s in the heart of the city it’s an idea to take ear plugs if you are a light sleeper. Choose from a single room (which is tiny) or opt for a double room for an extra €10 or so. Both rooms have a shared bathroom.
- Prices from €59 per night for a single room
- To book, check prices or availability for Bruc & Bruc
If you prefer a bit more comfort than a hostel and the privacy of your own room, Blue Barcelona is a lovely bed and breakfast to stay in. In the Gracia district you’ll find lots of bars, cafes and cosy restaurants on your doorstep. All rooms have a satellite TV and some also have a private bathroom. Breakfast is included in the price and you’ll be welcoming your morning with the relaxing colour blue.
- Prices from €63 for a single room with a shared bathroom
- To book, check prices or availability for Blue Barcelona
Typical Food and Drink
There are so many places to eat from Tapas restaurants to Walk to Wok. Whatever type of food you’re into you’ll find it here amongst the Peruvian, Italian, and Middle Eastern restaurants.
Some of the restaurants offer a ‘Menu’ during the weekdays where you can buy a 3 course meal for a good price (approx €12). Look for boards advertising the menu as you walk past restaurants.
Find seafood restaurants along Barceloneta and pop up bars in the summer season. These places are a bit pricey because of the location but eating food right on the beach is worth paying a bit extra. Avoid the tourist restaurants on La Rambla and head to the little side streets for better prices.
For a cheap and extraordinary filling meal make you way to one of Barcelona’s oldest restaurants La Bombeta. It’s name is also that of the specialty: a big ball of mashed potatoes mixed with diced mushrooms and ham, breaded and deep fried. It fills you for hours at a price of €5.
Where To Eat
$$ – SantaGula. Dine with the locals in this modern-looking restaurant which is one of the best in the city. Serving Mediterranean and European cuisine, it also has vegetarian friendly dishes. All of the food is great and presented well whether you choose tapas such as patatas bravas or tuna tataki. Located in Gracia, you’ll need to get there early to ensure you get a seat. Find at Plaza Narcis Oller, 3.
Restaurants for typical cuisine
$ – 100 Montaditos. This Spanish restaurant is ideal for the budget solo. With anything on the menu at €1 you can eat like a queen. The menu consists of small plates of tapas, sandwiches, salads and fries so it’s great for a quick bite to eat. It does has an informal atmosphere with a quick turnaround so expect it to get busy. Find at: They have several locations including one on Rambla de Catalunya 11, and Passeig de Sant Joan 77.
$ – Tasca I Vins. For Catalan food visit this family-run business with cooking traditions from decades ago. Although you may feel as though you are sitting in a wine cellar, there are stools at the bar which are perfect for solos. From sirloin steaks to salads, you’ll enjoy authentic food in a friendly environment. Find at Carrer Diputacio, 304.
$$ – El Nacional. This place is just amazing. Once an old car garage, it has been converted into four restaurants and bars with every Spanish dish you could want. Eat oysters at the oyster bar or sit at the bar and wait for the friendly waiter to come around shouting whichever type of tapas he is carrying. Then once you’ve chosen dish by dish, you can soak up the atmosphere before paying at the end. Even going inside and admiring the decor, and the high ceilings is worth a visit. Visit the bathroom for black and white pictures of how it used to look in bygone times. A real dining experience. Find at Paseo de Gracia 24.
$$$ – La Cova Fumada. Although this seafood restaurant is in the Barceloneta region of the city, an area known for hoards of tourists, it is mainly frequented by locals. You won’t find the name outside as it’s that hidden! It isn’t cheap though and not really fancy inside but its authentic Spanish food is what makes it so special. Order the bombas if you come here. Find at Calle Baluard, 56.
$ – Veggie Garden. This place basically does what it advertises – vegetarian and vegan dishes. Try a tofu burger or vegetarian samosa or opt for the €10 lunch menu. It offers more Indian dishes than typical Spanish options. Don’t forget to try one of their yummy juices too. Find at Carrrer Dels Angels 3.
$ – Maoz. Cheap, fast and good service, served in a buffet style. Maoz falafel is the best falafel in Barcelona and really good value. In a self-service style you can choose your own fillings and there are wholewheat bread options as a healthier option to white pitta. It is small though so you’ll be better to take away if it’s busy. Find at Carrer de Ferran, 13.
Enjoy a Coffee and Cake
Gracia is a lovely neighbourhood with narrow streets and a village charm. There are plenty of cafes and terraces to enjoy a coffee and a cake or two.
Located in a quieter square in the city, this funky cafe is a great place to enjoy a coffee and a cake. It’s also a popular spot for brunch and serves up a mean eggs benedict and pancakes. They also have a lounge area where you can relax into one of the sofas before planning your next spot to see in the city. Find at Roger de Lluria 23.
Chocolateria Valor Barcelona
You’ll find this chocolateria just steps away from the Gothic Cathedral. Valour is some of Spain’s best hot chocolate. Inside you can find fresh churros for dipping in your chocolate as well as plenty of other chocolate goodies to eat or take home as presents. You can even by fruit smoothies too if chocolate gets a bit too much. Find at Carrer de la Tapineria, 10.
If you don’t find wagons on the street selling churros or other goodies, then dive into the stalls at the Bouqueria Mercat for some cheap eats. You can sit on stools and choose something from the stall of your choice. There are also plenty of bakeries selling bocadillos (sandwiches) and bikinis (mini sandwiches) for a good price.
On the beaches you’ll see chiringuitos which are kiosks selling savoury snacks such as sandwiches or ice-creams.
Where To Drink
Being Spain you’ll find Sangria in most of the bars but if you do order it be prepared to be served it by the litre instead of by the glass. Catalonia produces its own champagne called cava which you can order practically anywhere, along with Vermout (Martini Rosso or Bianco). During the summer you’ll also be able to indulge in a verano de tinto (summer red wine) which is red wine mixed with Fanta and is surprisingly refreshing.
Lo Pinyol – This bar/bistro looks the same as it was one century ago and will take you back in time. It is known for its Vermut but the tapas is pretty good too. Find at Torrent de l'Olla, 7.
Creps al Born – This friendly bar has the perfect atmosphere in the evenings. It’s cosy and friendly and the barmen go out of their way to make you feel welcome. You may find yourself singing along to the music with a cocktail in hand as they swing the bar lights for entertainment. Find at Passeig del Born, 12.
Can Paixano – If you get a taste for cava then indulge in the cava bar, also known as La Xampanyeria. Inside are some of the cheapest glasses of cava that you can buy in Barcelona including some pink bubbles. Even though there isn’t a name on the front of this bar it always draws the crowds so be prepared for it to be busy. Find at Carrer de la Reina Cristina, 7.
Barcelona is walkable if you have the time. If not just go underground to one of the metro stations. The city has a great metro network. Instead of paying for each single journey, choose a 2,3,4 or 5 day pass. Or buy a T10 which gives you 10 journeys for €10. This allows travel on the buses, metro and tram. Just validate your ticket on the machine whichever mode of transport you choose. Metros run until at least midnight. Night buses run all night but take longer to get around. Use the TMB site to plan your Barcelona journey.
Official taxis are black and have yellow stripes. You can find them at taxi stands or hail a taxi from the side of the road. Some take cards if you don’t have cash. Look for taxis with a green light on top. Unlike other major cities the taxis here are affordable and shouldn’t cost more than €10. Find a Barcelona taxi through this site.
If you prefer to rent a car you can hire one from Barcelona airport. Once in the city though it can be slow moving and on street parking can be difficult. Use Avis to find car hire.
Barcelona is a good city to bike around with many bike lanes. There are several bike rental shops in the city. Green Bikes is located in the Gothic Quarter (one of the main tourist areas) and offer cheap bike hire. For other areas in the city try Barcelona Rent a Bike.
TIP – The Barcelona card offers cheap transport and discounts on admission into museums and attractions. Price from €40.
From El Prat Airport
There is a metro which runs through both terminal 1 and terminal 2. The R2 train runs from terminal 2 to Sants Estacio and takes 25 minutes (look for the Renfe sign). A ticket into the city will cost €5 one way for the train ticket or you can buy a 24/48/72 hour card and take the metro instead. The Aerobus is available from terminal 1 and 2 and runs to Placa Catalunya. It costs €5.75 for a single ticket. Taxis are available but they are the most expensive option costing approx €30 for the 30 minute journey.
Some low-cost airlines from into and out of Girona Airport. Near to the Costa Brava, Girona is approximately an hour away and reachable by bus from Estacio de Nord.
Barcelona is a main hub for transport and the airport is within easy reach for both domestic and international flights. Trains depart Sans Estacio, Passeig de Gràcia, and Estacio de Franca to other destinations in Spain and beyond.
Monbus departs from Plaza Catalunya (and other places in the city) and travels to Sant Pierre de Ribes and other towns outside of Barcelona. Check the timetables along the road as there are several stops.