I spent a lot of time in Spain while walking the Camino de Santiago and one of my favorite cities in the country was, hands down, Barcelona. What makes Barcelona so great is its location- it’s a major metropolitan city but it’s located right on the Baltic Sea and its history- the medieval Gothic Quarter and quirky architecture of Gaudi.
The first step towards visiting Barcelona is to find a place to stay. There are many hotels in Barcelona from HCC chain that are affordable and in great locations. Barcelona is very walker-friendly, and the public transportation is good, so you will not be limited in your choice of hotel location.
Once you’ve settled in its time to get out and explore Barcelona! There’s so much to do in the city that you could stay for a month and not see everything, but if you’ve only got a week or even less these are the things I recommend that you take time to see.
Walk the Boardwalk
Make sure to take the time to walk the boardwalk along Barcelona’s waterfront. Not only will the walk take you along Barcelona’s vibrant downtown area, but it will afford you a view of the beautiful beach (it’s a perfect place to watch the sun set). There are many restaurants along the waterfront, so make sure to pop in to sample the tapas or have a glass of wine.
Go on the Barcelona Free Walking Tour
Barcelona’s free walking tour will give you an insiders look at the beautiful Gothic Quarter and help you to understand the rich history of Barcelona and the current political state. Just remember that, though the tour is free, your tour guides will deserve a tip!
Visit La Sagrada Familia
There are many tourist destinations that don’t live up to the hype (in my opinion) but La Sagrada Familia did the opposite- it blew my expectations out of the water. Gaudi’s masterpiece cathedral, he worked on this stunning piece of art and architecture for 43 years until his death. La Sagrada Familia has been under construction for over 100 years and is not slated to be finished until 2026 (though you can still visit now- and you should!)
Eat and Drink
Barcelona is known for it’s food and drink- from the Mediterranean dishes of the coast like Paella to the big hunks of ham hanging from the windows, there’s something for everyone in Barcelona. And don’t forget the wine- it’s affordable and delicious, much of it locally grown in the vineyards throughout the country.