Planning a solo trip to Barcelona? Here’s everything you need to know for your visit:
- Capital of Catalonia and second largest city in Spain, with 5.6 million residents.
- Home to the world famous football club FC Barcelona (Barca).
- A leading tourist destination, Barcelona has had a history of at least 2000 years.
- Nicknames: Ciutat Comtal (City of Counts), Barca, BCN.
- Currency: Euro (EUR).
- Spoken languages: Catalan, Spanish, Aranese.
- Best time to visit: early summer and fall are ideal, but a pleasant Mediterranean climate year-round.
- Arriving via airport: Airport to Placa de Catalunya by Express Bus Service – Aerobus is available from Terminal 1 and 2 and costs €5.90 for a single ticket and €10.20 for return. Taxi is around €30-40 (extra€1 surcharge for every item in the trunk.)
WHERE TO STAY
- Best Barcelona hostel for solo travelers: One Ramblas. One of the best in Europe – comfortable beds, clean rooms/facilities, and hard working, friendly staff that work to make sure you have a great time. Lots of activities and events organized for guests. Walking distance to the most popular attractions and sights. Book ahead, as this one fills up fast!
- The (in)famous Las Ramblas is the place to be. It is a 1.2 km long boulevard which cuts through the centre – the most lively and vibrant part of the city, with plenty of cafes, restaurants, artists, street buskers and tourists. It’s truly Barcelona in action!
- The Metro (subway): to make things simple, get the T-Casual ticket (10 journeys, each with a duration of 75 minutes) for €11.35. You can make up to three transfers per journey. Note: if you make a return journey (exactly in reverse) during the 75 minute period, it will count as a separate journey.
- If you need a taxi, consider using one of the two big apps: Cabify or Free Now. Overall, these are better than Uber or other ride-sharing services.
- Drinking age is 18, last call is 2 AM. Barcelona is nightlife central!
- Hip/local scene: traditional Spanish bars to chic night clubs are spread all over the city. There are cool lounge clubs right on the beach.
- Trendy scene: lounges and clubs on Barceloneta Beach.
- College crowd: bars along the Gothic District (Barri Gotic), Raval and Born.
- Great bars for solo travelers: Bar Marsella (absinthe), Absenta del Raval, Old Fashioned (cocktails), Penny Banger, The Michael Collins Irish Pub (budget option), The George Payne Irish Bar (great place to watch the game).
- Clubbing? Head to Sala Apolo, Undead Dark Club (Gothic, electro, wave), or Moog Barcelona (techno).
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- The Sagrada Familia is a must-see. A yet unfinished masterpiece (under construction since 1882), it is a famous Roman Catholic Church designed in a neo-gothic style by Antonio Gaudi.
- See some of the other renowned Gaudi Buildings, including: Casa Vicens, Park Guell, Casa Mila, and Casa Batllo.
- Check out the wide range of species inside the L’Aquarium de Barcelona.
- Take a chance to see the Picasso Museum, which houses the most extensive collection of artwork by the renowned Spanish artist.
- Treat yourself to a view of the city from the Montjuic, a hill located near the port of Barcelona. There is also a fountain featuring spectacular displays of light, color, motion and water acrobatics.
- Check out the shops and cafes along Las Ramblas.
- Walk through the Gothic Quarters and the Barri Gotic area. There are tour organizations which offer free walking tours around this area.
- Walk the entire stretch of Las Ramblas, starting from the north of Liceu Theatre to Port Vell. Check out the city’s famous street buskers performing all along the promenade.
- Tapas are a must try in Barcelona. This classic Catalan appetizer is usually served with beer or wine. For some of the best tapas in town, head to Cervecería Catalana orCiudad Condal.
- Other great Catalan / Spanish restaurants: La Pubilla, Bar Pirineus Gràcia 1931 (tapas), El Quim de la Boquería (tapas), Restaurant Agua (on the beach), Petit Comitè ($$$), Botafumeiro ($$$$ – for true foodies), La Balsa ($$$).
- More restaurant suggestions (other cuisines): Big Al’s (burgers), Kiosko Universal (burgers), Shunka ($$$ – Japanese), Kibuka ($$ – Japanese), Restaurante Rincón Persa (Persian), San Kil (Korean), Thai Gràcia, Raffaelli Ristorante Italiano, Murivecchi (Italian0, Pampero Asador Argentino, Habana Vieja (Cuban), SESAMO (vegan).
- Where to find good cheap eats: Conesa Entrepans (sandwiches) and Bo de B (can be a long wait). Budget Chinese food: Chen Ji or Shanghai Bund. Kebabs: Bismillah Kebabish. Ethiopian: Addis Abeba. Vegan option: Restaurant l’Hortet.
- Dangerous areas: Incidents of violent crime are rare, but pickpocketing is quite common. The Barcelona metro is a haven for petty thieves.
Recommended trip duration: 2-3 days