Not often I go for a city trip. This time I wanted to surprise my beloved one with some sun and palm trees during our depressing Dutch winter. As Barcelona is a very popular destination, tickets are cheeeaaap and there are plenty of options. Here my experience on a city trip to wintery Barcelona.
What to expect?
I believe Barcelona is similar to Amsterdam in many ways. This city is well developed, modern, but also has the ancient core. There are many restaurants, clubs and shops. There is the beach to cool down and nice parks to relax. Tourism is huge though! Travelling in weekends mean long lines at attractions and people every where. Something locals aren’t so happy about either 😉
What to see, being in Barcelona?
There’s so much! take a look at the map for almost all the interesting sides. Out of those, I recommend the following:
Never heard of this fella? This man is Barcelona. He designed super pretty and cheerful buildings all over the city. You can visit them for a big fee, or gaze at them from the outside. The most popular ones being Casa Battlo (€24,50pp), Casa Mila/La Pedrera (€22), Park Guell (€7,50) and of course the most impressive church you will ever see in your entire life….
The Sagrada Familia
You can miss all of Barcelona, but not this basilisk. Even on a Saturday in February it was crazy busy with tourists as well as people who try to sell crap (going on a photo with a clown?). Luckily this building is huge, so still everyone can see it. To get inside the church, prices range from €15 – €50, depending if you take a guide and visit the towers. I ate my sandwich in the little park next to it (busy as hell here as well).
Super super pretty area to wander endlessly through, find your favourite restaurant or boutique shop. Don’t miss the Ramblas, the tourist street of Barcelona. It’s dotted with stalls who sell seeds, plants and mini cactuses (last ones being good as a souvenir!). Also don’t miss one of the prettiest squares of Barca: Placa Real.
Barcelonetta and Eixample Quarter
This is where you find the locals. Barcelonetta is next to the beach and full with little cosey restaurants. You feel a completely different vibe here. Eixample is a more up scale area where you find many designer shops and the more fancy restaurants.
Read on for the best tips about the Barcelona Highlights.
What do you need to know before travelling to Barcelona?
Here are some facts that will help you:
- the airport shuttle bus aerobus goes on and off to the centre every 5 minutes. Buy your return ticket with the driver for €10,20 pp. Go of at Placa Catalunya and walk from there to your accommodation.
- Bicycle rent is a very good idea in summer season (it was too freezing cold in winter in my opinion). You can cycle to the clubs and all highlights. Don’t go to Park Guell or Poble Espanyol though, as this is UP hill
- Try not to travel to Barcelona on any weekend. It’s so busy… all the charm disappears
- The Aquarium doesn’t have a big white shark and also no penguins! I was deeply disappointed after my visit 🙁
- Most kitchens of restaurants close after lunchtime to open again around 20:00. Most local restaurants even close completely until 20:00. Make reservations to guarantee your seat
- The more popular beach Barcelonetta is already full with people during winter, would not recommend to choose this one in summer
How to save money visiting Barcelona?
Popularity raises prices. I would have loved to visit all Gaudi’s houses and many museums, but couldn’t bring myself buying those insanely expensive tickets. I have some tips for you to see Barcelona on a budget:
- Rent a bike to get around and visit all that you like. You can rent them from €10/day
- Don’t go for the Barcelona Pass or Barcelona card. It’s not worth it
- Visit the Palau Guell museum (€12) or Casa Vicens (€16) as an alternative for Casa Battlo (€24) and Mila (€22)
- Read about the the Sagrada Familia on Wikipedia to safe on a guide. Works perfectly
- Many museums are free the first Sunday of the month or every Sunday afternoon!
- Visit Park Guell without a ticket for the ‘Monumental Core’ (€7,50). The rest of the park is beautiful and within the small monumental core visitors are literally waiting to take pics of the mosaic.
- Buy some cheese and baguettes in a supermarket to create your own on road lunch (works in every country)
- Gaze at Gaudi’s Casa’s and the Sagrada Familia from the outside. Already major impressive