Food, bars, beaches, markets, spending, life in Barcelona and how to save money in the city, Free walking and cycling tours. What is a must to know before visiting Barcelona? Useful tips and much more.
1. Eating in the city
Eixample with its Gaudí buildings or the Gothic Quarter with its narrow streets and historic buildings would be a good starting point for lunch on this route. Tasty everywhere.
The best paella is at Xiringuito.
You can also eat it in the restaurants on Barceloneta beach, like the ones on Barraca or Can Majó. The paella prices are usually quoted per person, but they recommend ordering for two. The average price is between €15 and €30. A cold tomato gazpacho soup will cost between €7 and €10.
2. The Bars
Bars are part of the city's culture: everyone in Barcelona drinks wine and beer for a couple of Euros a glass. The best bars I can recommend are the unusually decorated La Cobra, the colourful La Xampanyeria and the bicentennial absinthe bar Marsella, which was featured in the film Vicky Cristina Barcelona. A shot of absinthe there costs €6.
3. Beaches in Barcelona
Bathing in Barcelona takes place from May to early October. Going to the popular beach
Barceloneta is a dubious idea. It's so crowded you can't get into the sea without elbowing someone.
If you have time, go to Bogatell or to the outskirts of Badalona for a cleaner, less crowded beach. Bogatell has bars and sun loungers for €10. The beach at Badalona is not equipped. It's worth grabbing a towel.
4. Markets in Barcelona
The Mercat del Encants is the main flea market located on Plaça Gloriez. The market is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Everything from old Chinese rashers to antique candlesticks, music records and souvenirs are sold there.
5. Barcelona from above
There are many viewpoints in the city. Excellent views from Gaudi's Park Guell. A 20-minute walk from the park: the derelict El Carmel bunker, where it is a pleasure to watch the sunset and the cruise ships in port.
El Carmel bunker
Tibidabo Amusement Park
The highest point in the city is the Tibidabo hill. It is home to an amusement park. A peek into the abyss beneath your feet: a ride on the Ferris wheel and roller coaster costs €28.5.
Close to Tibidabo is the Fabra Observatory. On night excursions you can observe the starry sky through an ancient telescope for €15 - 25.
6. Spending a day in Barcelona
Spending a day in Barcelona: €53.7
Ticket to Sagrada Familia: €17
Underground tickets from and to the airport: €9.2
Cinema in Montjuïc: €6.5
Tickets for the Columbus monument: €6.
7. Life in Barcelona and how to save money
To save money, you can try the local fast food. A portion of churros, for instance, costs €2 - €5 at any coffee shop. Another good tip is to try the 100 montaditos chain. The sandwiches are not huge, but they are €1 to €3.
On Wednesdays and Sundays, there's an Euromania promotion where you can buy everything on the menu for just €1.
8. What do you have to know before you go?
Make sure you buy your tickets for Sagrada Familia, Goel Park and Casa Mila before your trip: easy to do online, otherwise you risk simply missing out on the world-famous attraction (all tickets by a strict time limit). Tickets are expensive, but you can get a discount if you buy in several places. The audioguide is highly recommended.
9. Free walking & bike tours in Barcelona
There are plenty of free walking tours in Barcelona. Just ask google, and you'll be walking through the old town in the morning, leaving only a tip for the guide.
There's also a bed & bike hostel that offers free bike tours every morning. You rent a bike for 10 euros for the whole day: and you start the day with a ride through the city, with explanations and jokes from a charming guide.
10. More tips: save money on transport
By the way, you can take the T10 pass from Terminal 2 of El Pret Airport to the city center by train for 1-2 euros and also transfer to the metro for free. For 30 minutes you can change to another mode of transportation in Barcelona for free with the same pass.
And yes, don't go into the old town with any valuables!