Don’t Be A Tourist in Barcelona

Barcelona, the land of Catalonia, diversity, Anthony Gaudí, and The Cheetah Girls! I spent five days in this beautiful city exploring the different neighborhoods and learning what Catalonia meant to its people. Each day was discovering a new neighbored or museum.

In reality spending six days in Barcelona was a bit too much, after a while you start running out of touristy things to do. While I loved my time in Barcelona and it’s by far one of my favorite cities, it’s easily the most expensive city I have been to. For example, a one way bus ticket was 2.20 but in Madrid it’s 1.40. I know it doesn’t sound like much but it’s a small example to show how expensive the city is.

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The gardens of Park Güell.

I also ended up staying in three hostels while I was there, which ended up being quite tedious. Every few days, in the same damn city, I kept having to pack up and move to a new hostel. However that wasn’t the original plan. I left a few days early before my roommates because another friend of mine lives about 30 minutes outside of Barcelona, I was supposed to stay with him for a few days and go to Girona. Unfortunately on the bus ride over he texted me saying that plans had changed and I should just stay in a hostel in Barcelona instead. Now keep in mind I already had a hostel booked for when my roommates came and I was hoping that I would be able to stay with him for free. As per my last post, I had a budget of 600 euros for the week, and sadly Barcelona ABSOLUTELY killed that budget starting with having to book an unplanned hostel. Luckily it was only 17 euros, next to Park Güell and ended up being one of the better decisions I made.

You see, even though I could have stayed with my friend I was able to stay in a smaller hostel, stay in a less touristy area and meet people who knew Barcelona really well. My first full day was spent in Park Güell, and it’s a total tourist trap! The garden itself is free to walk around but to enter the main attractions cost about 10 euros, each attraction. Not even all together, but individually! Plus since it’s so crowded you have to buy tickets online and have a certain time slot you can go in. When I was there it was under construction, so half of the main attractions were unaccessible but people still paid full price. As you walk around the park you can see the attractions from above, and that was sufficient for me, but keep in mind I am quite cheap.

The park itself is quite lively though, they’re tons of street performers throughout the park and multiple languages being spoken. It’s another embodiment of how I think of Barcelona, a hub of cultures. On top of Park Guell are the bunkers. Now there are two different sites to visit. The first one we visited had a 360 degree view of Barcelona and most of the people up there were hiking or doing yoga.

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View from the bunkers.

The girl who took us on the bunker tour warned us that the next site would be different. Not in a bad way but that the vibe would be different. When we got to the second site I saw what she had mean’t. Still beautiful but you only got a 180 degree view, there were places to sit, and there were many young people smoking and drinking. Not that it’s a bad thing, but it was more Bob Marley than Bear Grilles if you know what I mean. Both were beautiful and gave great views of the city and I went back two more times during my stay. I would recommend visiting each around sunset.

 

The one thing I do recommend anyone doing is visiting La Sagrada Familia. It’s the Most exquisite church in all of Europe, and it’s not even finished yet. There is so much history behind it and each piece tells a different story. The entrance is a tad high but it’s worth. I too was on the fence about entering, but I met someone who has been three times. Unfortunately my procrastination got the best of me and I was unable to buy a ticket in time. It’s my goal to go back and see the inside for myself. Antoni Gaudí was a genius and it shows on intricacy of the design. A historical figure for Catalonia and an architectural  genius way ahead of his time.

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Outside La Sagrada Familia

I could rave on and on about this city and all it has to offer. The design capital of the world, in my opinion, with so much life your heart could burst. What are some other places you recommend to see in Barcelona? Let me know!

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