For me, Spain was one of those places that I had learned about in high school Spanish that I had thought about how cool it would be to go, but never had a burning desire to go. When I decided to go to Europe the summer of 2016, I thought a trip to Barcelona would be a good time to go see what Spain was all about.
What’s there to do in Barcelona, Spain?
- View the architecture. Barcelona is famous for beautiful, ancient architecture. Probably the most notable is the Sagrada Familia. Built by Antoni Gaudi, it has been under construction for more than 130 years and is still not finished! Even though it’s not completed, the Sagrada Familia is open for tours to the public.
- Visit a museum. Barcelona is home to many cultural and art museums such as the Museu Nacional d’Arte de Cataluyna and the Museu d’Historia de Barcelona.
- Go to the beach. While I was there I visited Barceloneta Beach. It’s very touristy and pretty busy, but that’s because there is so much to do there. There are street performers, great restaurants, stores, and street vendors. There’s also a lot of happening nightlife along the beach, which makes it a lot of fun after dark.
Planning your Spanish Vacation
Where do you fly into?
El Prat (BCN)– This international airport is the closest one to the city’s center. This is the airport to choose when flying into Barcelona.
Where should you stay?
There are plenty of options for hotels in Barcelona, but I went the hostel route when I was there. I stayed in St. Christopher’s Inn and it was everything that I needed it to be. St. Christopher’s Inn is a chain of hostels in major cities across Europe. I have stayed in a couple of these hostels, and for the most part I have been pleased. While you have the option of a private room, I stayed in an 8-bed room with really comfortable “pods.” It was centrally located, a clean environment, and had a friendly staff. I highly recommend this hostel, especially if you are traveling on a budget.
If hostels aren’t for you, Barcelona is a modern city with many hotels for you to choose from.
Things to Know
- Language– Two languages are primarily spoken in Spain: Spanish and Catalan. If you’re in Barcelona, people will mostly be speaking Spanish. I found that many people speak English, as well. However, knowledge of basic Spanish phrases is always beneficial. Check out the Spanish language cheat sheet under the “Travel Tips” tab.
- Currency– Spain uses the Euro and currently the exchange rate is 1 Euro =1.18 USD. You can exchange your money at the airport.
- Weather– The weather in Barcelona is pretty similar to the weather here in the U.S. December-February are the coldest months, and June- September are the warmest months. Even during the summer the days are warm, but the evenings are cool, so a sweater or light jacket would come in handy.
- Transportation– Taxis are readily available around the city, but why ride when you can walk and enjoy the scenery? If you’re not into walking, there are bike rentals around the city that make it convenient to get around, also.
- Food– Food in Spain is great. Since Barcelona is on the water, seafood is a large part of the cuisine, so people with seafood allergies may struggle with food choices. But from the paella (pie-aye-yah) to the tapas, I was pleased with everything I had. But for goodness’ sake, please don’t leave Spain without trying some paella!