Above: Afternoon at Platja Nova Icaria Beach
A friend I landed in Barcelona with about as many plans as the UK has hope of entering back into the EU. Despite this, it was agreed upon to be "the best holiday" of our lives! So we've carefully collaborated a bunch of activities that we partook in so that you, too, can chill, hike, rave, tan, eat and drink your way through this beautiful city like a pro.
You'll find below our personal picks which encompasses a wide variety of activities to suit everyone. Surprise your friends by being the one that knows what's up. Happy holidays.
1. Hike Up To Park Guell For A Beautiful View
Above: Checking out Barcelona from atop
Here, atop a small, rocky mountain you'll find a spectacular 360 degree view of Barcelona. Just a few metro stops from the city center, this reserve is certainly worth a visit. You'll climb what seems to be an endless amount of steps before even reaching the hill, so "you'll want to bring a big bottle of water for this one." Once up at the top at the lookout point, go off track to the highest point for a better view and less tourists. You'll thank yourself for it.
2. Get Lost In The Ancient Gothic Quarter
Above: Wandering the streets at dawn.
The Gothic Quarter is the centre of the old city of Barcelona. There's nothing in particular that I advise you to do here, just being here is enough. "You'll find yourself surrounded by classical Spanish street music and dancing, restaurants, clothing stores, nightlife, tattoo parlors and graffiti art." The architecture here is all of 19th century stone masonry which is extremely impressive to see, coming from a country that didn't even exist at this time.
3. Spend a Day Relaxing at the Beach
Above: Soaking up the sun
Take a stroll with some towels and some cash to Barcelona's beautiful beach. I'd advise against the beach right outside the city center, but to head west a little to a quieter location where you'll have some space. The water is warm and the current not too strong for swimming. "Don't worry about bringing beer, there are men strolling the sand all day selling beer for one euro a can." Fancy a massage? You can get one of them also for five euros. Don't be afraid to hustle prices! Also be ready to see nudity; and lots of it.
4. Eat Out at One of the City's Many Restaurants
Above: A quaint restaurant stumbled across in Gothic Quarter
The Spanish are well renown for their array of delicious cuisine with a seemingly endless host of choices. Try their tapas and paella for a taste of what the locals eat. "You won't have too much trouble finding a decent meal for less than ten euros." We discovered a great street full of restaurant terraces (location below) of which our Airbnb host recommended to us. The meals were of high quality, of reasonable price and the service friendly!
5. See the Street Scene at Universitat
Above: Action shot outside the university
Take a stroll away from the hustle and bustle of the inner city to check out the locals strutting their stuff. In this area we found some great places to perch up and watch some seriously talented skaters whilst sipping on local food and beverages. "If you're into graffiti art, alternative street fashion and tattoos then you'll fall in love with this district." There are also a multitude of pretty dope clothing labels located here, so keep your eyes peeled.
6. Watch a Magnificent Sunrise
Above: Free willy
Get up early or wait out the night to catch Spain's magnificent sun rise. The sky teased us for an hour or so before the sun in all its magnificence burst over the horizon and illuminated the sea and the beach. The perfect time for a dip! "We happened to stumble across this after a night out clubbing." So if you're not an early riser then don't fret over a 5.30am alarm, just charge on.
7. Cruise on an Electric Scooter
Above: Taking it all in
We rented a few of these bad boys on our last day and toured the entire stretch of the beach side. "Certainly a highlight of the trip!" They're surprisingly quick (go about 40kmph), are all terrain, and the battery lasts for three hours. If you follow the path along the beach westward you'll eventually reach a cool industrial area with wicked seaside views.
To hire you need:
- ID (passport, residence card or licence)
- Credit card
- Fifty euro deposit per scooter
- Cost of 20 euros for two hours
Check out their website here for more information.
8. Take in the View from Castell de Montjuic
Above: Well worth the hike
Lace up your boots and be ready to cat your walk on. Located on the outskirts of the west side of Barcelona is "an old military fortress, with roots dating back from 1640", currently serving as a museum. Here you'll find not only an impressive, heavily fortified (yes there are cannons) castle, but an outstanding view over the ports and ocean. From the bottom of the hill, it'll take you about an hour to reach the summit.
9. Experience The Crazy Nightlife
Above: Still pumping at 4.30am
It wouldn't quite be a trip to Barca without taking part in the nightlife. It's truly a city that never sleeps. The city has a wide range of clubs that cater to all music tastes and preferences, including a bunch right on the beach. Not into clubbing? A stroll through the streets at night brings with it a surprise around every corner. "From merchants selling their wares, to artists, to musicians and hookers." It's not uncommon to have dinner here at midnight, so be ready to say goodbye to any trace of a human sleeping pattern. See below the location of five story superclub Razzmatazz. Door entry was 17 euros.
10. Check Out Plac Reial
Above: Getting among the action
We passed through here a few times, and it was always humming! By day, people lining up for gourmet burger bars and tapas, taking photos and sipping on wine - "by night, a drastic transition to mojito sipping, music cranking madness." Expect to pay a pretty penny to take part in anything here (drinks around ten euros each) but it's certainly worth at least a visit. This is good spot to come to at night for clubbing. Clubs warm up at 2am.
- Get a T-10 transport card at any train station. It's ten metro/bus trips for ten euros.
- Keep an eye on your belongings at all times. Pick-pocketing is big here.
- Learn a few words of Spanish before going, the locals appreciate it!
- The tap water isn't too sanitary. I'd advise to buy bottled.
- Don't buy drugs from street dealers. Their gear is shit and cops are watching.
- Prostitutes will take your wallets. Don't let them get close!
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions about your trip to Barcelona, or if you've already been and think I've missed something out!
Peace - M
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