If the Catalan Independence movement prevails, Barcelona may not be considered a part of Spain forever. But it is for the moment, and it is one of those Spanish cities that simply everyone has to visit. It has a unique vibe, blessed with wonderful people and culture. If you are going to visit this region, though, you need to make it comfortable.
Here are 10 simple tricks that I believe will work wonders for your trip to Barcelona.
Fly to El Prat de Llobregat Aeropuerto.
This might not always be possible due to your point of origin. However, with Girona and Reus both over 120km away from the city itself, El Prato is the preference. It’ll save valuable time on both journeys while you can also avoid the stress of that return leg during the course of your stay.
Pick comfortable accommodation.
My review of Monrooms Guesthouse should provide a great starting point. Even if you opt for somewhere else, though, somewhere comfortable and in a good location is key. After all, the city of Barcelona has so many adventures waiting to be explored. A poor foundation will make things very tough indeed.
Download a translator App.
I firmly believe in trying to communicate with the locals, and making an effort with a few memorized stock phrases is great. Unless you are fluent, though, having an App that can turn your words into Spanish will save you a lot of stress. Besides, quicker interactions and fewer mishaps will allow you to enjoy the trip to the max.
Exchange some money before departure.
The current conversion rate is around 0.8 euros for $1. Transferring some money prior to arriving in Barcelona can help you for two main reasons. Firstly, not everywhere has card reading machines. Secondly, the banks are shut down over weekends, which can cause major problems if your card fails to work.
Invest in a recharging cell phone case.
This tip is far from restricted to Barcelona. Nonetheless, the amount of sightseeing you’ll do means there’s a good chance you’ll be taking many photographs during the days. Knowing that you have the power reserves to handle those trips will prevent having to go back to your room for charging purposes.
Avoid car rentals unless pivotal to your trip.
Barcelona’s Metro service is very good while you’ll probably do a lot of exploring by foot too. A car gives you the added hassle of finding parking spaces, and won't save you much time either. I actually went to rent a car and wasted so many hours trying to get one that I walked out and stuckl to public transportation. Invest in a stylish backpack suited for public transport and you’ll be all set. No more worries about car damage either!
Pack a good pair of walking boots.
When walking around Las Ramblas and the surrounding area, any footwear will suffice. However, climbing Tibidabo to see Sagrat Cor church, you’ll want a decent pair of walking shoes. There are a variety of other attractions where having comfortable shoes that prevent blisters will serve you well.
Book the big three attractions online.
Most visitors to Barcelona will want to take in Park Guell, La Sagrada Familia, and La Pedrera at Casa Mila. Booking online doesn’t only allow you to use Google translate for easier bookings, but it helps you save time by avoiding the big lines at those attractions. Besides, advance tickets are often a little cheaper too.
Utilize taxis at nighttime.
Barcelona is a great party city and many travelers enjoy this part of the adventure. As with many cities, there is a problem with pickpocketing, especially in the wrong places. Meanwhile, some areas of the city aren’t particularly well lit, so I definitely advise for solo travelers and small groups to book a taxi when returning to their accommodation.
Prepare to eat later in the day in Barcelona.
Now this one really got me! Barcelona is home to many great restaurants and cafes, but it’s important to remember that they eat lunch between 1 pm and 4 pm, while dinner begins around 9 pm. With siestas taken into account, finding a great place to eat at the times you’re used to may be very tough indeed. If nothing else, this will give you a better shot at mixing with the locals.
Barcelona is a brilliant place, and I’ve not even mentioned the vast majority of attractions. From the Camp Nou to neighboring places like Barcelonetta, they are sure to fill you with joy. Still, with the practical tips above, your adventures are sure to live up to their expectations. When taking all of that fun into account, the whole Spain/Catalan arguments seem redundant :)