No Planning Trip: Bienvenidos a mi Barcelona!
Right after our class trip to Freiburg, we got back and immediately started packing for our fall break trip. Our first stop was Barcelona. My first visit to Barcelona was when I was very young, and I honestly do not remember much except seeing the Sagrada Familia cathedral from afar and thinking it was super weird looking. That’s it. This time around, I planned on seeing more. Of course things never go as planned, and the only event that I had bought a ticket for was the Barcelona vs. Eidibar game. Of course we wanted to check out other tourist attractions but we failed to realize that we have to make reservations for everything in Barcelona. Also, all museums and things to see in Barcelona are very expensive. So my advice when visiting Barcelona is to plan it all out. But in case you are already in Barcelona and you didn’t plan it out here are 5 tips to get the most out of this amazing city.
5. Meet a local and visit some more local areas, think Gracia.
We were lucky enough to stay with my friends cousin, who has been living in Barcelona for sometime now. She showed us around her neighborhood and took us out to some of her favorite spots, including a party from a local student organization at “La Felpa”. Here we got to socialize and meet some interesting people and get into the rhythm of Barcelona. We knew right away that the pace here was relaxed and it got us in the perfect mood to get our vacation week started.
4. Try to get tickets to one tourist attraction you really want to see.
My personal pick? La Sagrada Familia! This is probably the one site I actually remember from my previous visit to Barcelona, and the one site I really wanted to visit. So we bought tickets online and headed over in the afternoon. The waiting time was short because they let people in according to the reservation time. I would strongly recommend getting the audio tour as well, so you can get information on all the different aspects of the cathedral. I really enjoyed walking through the inside and observing the stained glass and all the colors it formed on the cathedrals floor. I give this monument a 5 stars! The architecture is definitely something to admire at this UNESCO site.
3. Do a super touristy thing like visiting Las Ramblas or seeing the Magic fountain.
I mean it! While you might hate doing these super touristy things, they are free and need no real planning. Las Ramblas is a road with many small souvenir shops on both sides, so its perfect if you need to get some presents for your family. In this area, you can also find a market with many fresh and prepared foods. Disclaimer: just like with any other tourist areas, you should be careful and always be aware of your surroundings; always keep an eye out for pickpockets.
2. Visit some of Gaudí’s masterpieces like “La Pedrera” or Park Guell.
Barcelona is known for being home to Gaudi and thus having many of his architectural masterpieces. Walk to these and just admire how complex and beautiful each of these are. Park Guell, for example, also has the house where Gaudi lived during his time in Barcelona. A lot of the park is free to the public, however, if you want to enter the main area you have to make a reservation ahead of time (this could be the one tourist attraction you do but its very small so to me it’s wasn’t worth the money). Many of the houses that Gaudi built around Barcelona can be appreciated from outside; each one different from the next and uniquely beautiful.
1. Drink wine and eat tapas.
I mean if all else fails just enjoy the Spanish food and drink some Spanish wine. Just find a restaurant and order away. The road to happiness is paved with great food trust me! (Maybe I think that because I love food, but that might not be the case for you). Either way, you really get to know a culture through their food, talk to the restaurant owner, ask for a wine recommendation and above all, HAVE FUN! Even though nothing was planned, I had an unforgettable time in Barcelona and I learned so much about this magic city the second time around.
P.S. In case anyone is wondering “what about the F.C. Barcelona game?” It was absolutely amazing and surreal to watch a team of that caliber play. I went to watch the game with my friend Suzzanna Gamboa and we were lucky enough to have seats right behind the goal post. We watched Suarez score his second and third goal and couldn’t believe our luck. If you have the chance to go to a game, even if you don’t like soccer, go! The atmosphere is out of this world.