There are few cities in the world which is known to almost everyone. Barcelona is one such mega city. Not only for the football fans, it is known for its architecture, city life, history, entertainment, warm weather, food, festivals, what not. So we’ll see some basics before moving over to what to see and things to do
Things to Know before you Go
Currency: The currency in Spain is Euro, the second most used currency in the world. 1 Euro is equivalent to about 80 Indian rupees. If you are on a Euro tour, you can easily use it in the majority of the Schengen countries.
Best way to travel in Barcelona: Metro is the best way to travel, the city is so big to explore. We got the three-day pass which was extremely handy and can be used in all public transportation
Use AIRBNB, it’s cheaper than the hotels. Since we were mostly outside, we rented a private room instead of the whole apartment. The prices are similar to a hostel, but more privacy.
Languages: Spanish & Catalonian is the official language of the city, but you can find English is widely spoken and boards/signs in English
We personally loved the Spanish food and keep it as a habit to try local delicacies. Plenty of Indian/Pakistani restaurants, take away and café’s, even if you are vegetarian there will not be any problem with the food.
Credit Cards and ATMs: Most restaurants and retailers in the big and small cities will accept credit cards as payment. If you need to draw cash, you can find ATMs in plenty. Do have some cash in hand, will be useful in small cafes.
How to get to Barcelona
We flew from Stavanger Airport, Norway to Barcelona Airport–El Prat (BCN) and it took 4 hours one way.
You have many options to get into city. The easiest/quickest of all is the Aerobus. It dropped us exactly in front of our Accommodation in Barcelona Plaça Catalunya. One-way ticket: € 5.90
The RENFE train service runs approximately every 30 minutes to and from Barcelona airport to the city centre
Metropolitan buses and Metro trains also runs services to city centre, but we chose the Aerobus, just to get quickly to our Accomodation
Surprisingly, Barcelona isn’t as expensive as we thought. You can spend big bucks, but we were traveling on a Budget.
Norwegian air flew us direct and costed us 1300 Norwegian kroner for 2 people return Journey
We found a private room in an Airbnb Accommodation, costed us 30 Euros per day for 3 people.
Eating out was again not expensive. 10 Euros/person/meal
If you are travelling in public transport all three days, we recommend getting a 3 day Travelcard @ 23 Euros/person. It includes airport travel as well
Where to Stay
As we mentioned earlier, we stayed in Hostels, Hotels, Resorts, Airbnb’s
Here are some of my favorite places to find accommodation options around the world:
If you’re traveling solo, we recommend staying in a hostel. You will meet fellow travellers and it’s a great way to have fun. It saves you money. If you prefer privacy, you can still get a private room, but you can also get to know people.
If you on a budget like us, try to move away from the premium areas. The Gothic quarter, old city, the La rambala., etc. We stayed in Barcelona central, just closer to the train station. Our Airbnb costed 30 Euros per night (for two people)
Barcelona is well connected with Metro & bus network. So you can easily reach the iconic spots irrespective of the place you stay.
We stayed closer to Pl.D.Espanya the main central metro Station
3 Days in Barcelona!!What to Do?
Barcelona is known for its Architecture, Warm weather, Food and Nightlife. Even if you are not interested in architecture, we suggest you to at least have a look at these amazing structures from outside. You will be mesmerized. There are many passes and combination passes available online and in tour shops all over Barcelona. Decide which one is best for you. If you are like us on a budget & going to use public transportation all the time, best to take only the public transportation 3-day pass. If not go for 2,3 and 5 day Barcelona pass.
The below is what we did and this is how our 3-day itinerary looked like.
This Map will give you the must see places in Barcelona. You’ll get an overall idea of what to do
Day 1: Mont Juic, La Ramblas
We landed in Barcelona airport in the morning of the 1st Day. So after checking in, we had the afternoon to go around.
The first place we visited in the morning hours is Mont Juic. We took the Funicular up and returned via bus. Mont juic is the best place to have a panoramic view of the city. Tickets were costing 12.5Euros return/person. Lot of photo opportunities
The most famous street in the city which is full of restaurants and bars, market stalls and street traders. It’s lively and typically full of tourists! We didn’t buy or eat anything over there. As you know its overpriced compared to the other areas. Also it was hard to get a seat, even if you have plenty of restaurants. We grabbed couple of pastries from the food stalls and walked away.
We still didn’t understand why people wanted to come here. Our advice will be avoiding this totally. You can easily waste couple of hours here.
Try the Paellas
Whenever you travel to a place, we recommend to try the local cuisine and it should be the way how local eat them. The best way to experience the top culinary masterpieces is with tapas in Barcelona.
Barcelona has too many restaurants, pubs and Night clubs to chose from. It is the city to party. Its safe to go out at night, just watch your mobile and wallet at all times, its a basic safety thing to keep it mind in all major cities
Day 2: Gothic Quarer, Sagrada Familia
The Gothic Quarter
We were extremely happy to have taken the walking tour with Joan. It was a casual walk, more of talking & photography around the Gothic quarter.
Spending Time with Locals Should be in Your Travel To-Do List It can be tempting to stay within the safe-zone of our tour group and eat where all the other tourists do. Whenever you get a chance, try interacting with a local and they'll be happy to answer any questions about their country, culture, politics, good & the bad, do's and don'ts.....many more. This exposure to different cultures, broadens the mind and gives us a better understanding of the world around us.
La Sagrada Familia
The most iconic building in Barcelona. The church has been under construction for over than 100 years (started in 1882 and is supposed to be done in 2030!). No one can miss it and can be easily seen from any view points across the city. With the popularity, comes the crowd. So best to book tickets in advance, at least a week before. You can skip going up the tower, like we did. The audio guide is worth purchasing as it covers the history of the church in great detail. Try to visit mid-morning to late afternoon so you can witness the sunlight cascade throughout all the stained glass.
Metro leaves you just at the doorstep.
Entry cost: 17 Euros and with the Audio guide 26 Euros
Day 3: Park Guell, Beach time
Wondering what is so special about the park, just have a look below. It is known for its design, footpaths & Gardens. We would say it is not a must unless you go inside the paid zone where you get to see all the architectonic pieces (stole this word from another blog)
The park is right near La Sagrada Familia so it’s easy to visit both. Tickets are €7.50 (there is a paid area inside the park)
We got a Metro and a Bus to reach the park
The Beach & Boardwalk
It was beginning of summer and Norway was still cold enough to hit the water. That’s the main reason for us to choose Barcelona. The beaches were fantastic and luckily we didn’t have much people around t time we went. But usually the beaches are packed.
Conclusion & Our Recommendation
Barcelona is a vibrant city and has got something for everyone. We had an awesome time and wish we had more time to go around Spain
If you are on a 5-day trip, you can move towards the regional areas and do a couple of day trips. But 3 days should be enough to cover the city trip. This is only form the traveler perspective, there is much more to do if you are going to stay in Barcelona for a longer duration.
Places which we wanted to see in future: Bull festival, Tomato festival & Madrid
Our Recommendation: Go for it