Ahhh Barcelona… Déu n’hi do!
This Catalan phrase that expresses amazement and the ‘wow’ effect, is best to use when describing this beautiful seaside city. I have been to Barcelona time and time again, as this city has a way of pulling people in its mesmerizing embrace. The beautiful streets, the walks along the shore, the energetic people around!
I love the vibe and the history that surrounds this place. If you haven’t been there before, this is a destination that you must see! The sooner, the better!
Here are some of my tips for your trip!
Best time to go
Well, Barcelona is nice to visit all year round. But in my experience the best time is either in spring (march to May) or early autumn (September to October). In early autumn you are also lucky! The water is still warm and a swim in the sea should definitely be on your to do list.
August, in my experience , is a no-go! Not only that the city is overcrowded with tourists, but it’s also the vacation months of the Catalan people. So its only going to be you and the rest of the tourists wondering where all the locals went?!
Yes, you read a lot about petty theft in Barcelona, especially on the La Rambla street. I my experience it’s not so bad… use normal precautions and you’ll be fine. I am usually keeping my backpack in the front, where I can see if. However, I would strongly suggest to never put your phone on the table. The old ‘Newspaper switch’ is quite trending now, especially in crowded places. This places out usually like this: somebody puts ‘unintentionally’ a newspaper over your phone on the table, and then picks it up, apologizes and leaves (with your phone as well). Also stay alert from overly friendly strangers…. Pocket thieves are masters in distracting your attention with conversation and then making a magical disappearance (with your stuff! ).
Also Barcelona is fairly safe at night. It is kind off a party city so you will always have some people going around, you’ll never be alone (unless you go out in very remote locations…). I walked several times alone at night and felt pretty safe. Of course, do not overdue it with the buzz…but I am sure this you already knew.
Walk on La Rambla… but DO NOT eat there
Las Ramblas is a very famous pedestrian street, connecting Placa de Catalunya with Christopher Columbus Monument, in Port Vell. The street stretches over 1.2 km and is full with small kiosks selling news papers and souvenirs. You can also find street performers and bars and restaurants. However, the prices of bars and restaurants are relay over the top and there are much better places to drink Sangria and eat Paella than in La Rambla. In the top season you might even have to wait for a table and the area is generally very crowded. You can do better.. trust me! Here is an article where I describe the best places t eat and drink (not La Rambla).
The land of Sangria and… GIN
Yes…not many people know that but Barcelona is not only known for its Sangria, but also for the very interesting combinations between gin and bittersweet tonics. Although cocktail ‘culture’ has not reached its peak in Barcelona, gin bars devote themselves exclusively to the craft of mixing your perfect gin and tonic. My favorites? Old Fashion, located in 1 Carrer de Santa Teresa, mixes presentation and taste! Its stylish atmosphere will definitely transpose you in a different time.. maybe late 1920s?
Also La Confiteria, located in 128 Carrer de Sant Pau is definitely something for someone with a bit of sweet tooth, like mine! It used to be a candy shop and it still preserves some of the authentic decorations, including the chic façade.
When is lunch and dinner time? I’m confused…
I was a bit confused too… whenever I went somewhere to eat the places where quite empty, even after I have done my research and chosen good and well rated restaurants. I was afraid that the reviews where misleading and a bit disappointed that I was eating in a disserted place. But no worries! You will know better than me!
Lunch time goes between 1:30 and 3:30. Spaniards like to hit it big during lunch time! Three course meals and a bottle of wine is not unheard off!
Dinner time is usually between 9 pm and 11:30 pm… so don’t be surprised if bars are quite empty before midnight…the people haven’t finished eating yet.
You can get into Barcelona museums for FREE
Please, please book your tickets before you go, preferably online!! Read my article to find out when you can get FREE tickets—for budgeters and not only!
How to get from place to place in Barcelona
Barcelona public transportation is quite good, especially if you want to travel mainly to touristic attractions. Check out here how to get travel through Barcelona and from the Airport to city center.