Country: Spain
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Peak Season: March-August
Shoulder Season: September-November
Median Temperature: 16.60 C / 61.88 F
Main Languages: Catalan, Spanish, English
Primary Modes of Transportation: Metro, bus, taxi
Recommended Duration of Stay: 4 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $200.00/day
Tourist Passes: Barcelona
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There could be no livelier city in Europe than Barcelona. Yes, the capital of Catalonia – Barcelona, has it all: great people, seafaring ports, two millennia of explosive culture, renowned universities, relaxing beaches, exquisite Mediterranean cuisine and architectural wonders acclaimed the world over. Barcelona is indeed a bustling backpacker city, and it doesn’t shy away from giving its patrons and first-time guests an authentic European experience. And if you’re not used to crowded walkways, be awestruck on how densely populated and proactive Barcelona is.

The Barcelonese like it quaint, relaxing—and creative. The term “siesta” or afternoon naps and late evening revelries are all observed here, meaning the downright punctual won’t enjoy the laid-back profile of the city. Modernism by the late Antonio Gaudi is the prevalent architecture in many historical sites. Graffiti and street artists employ surreal, avant-garde designs that compliment Gaudi’s and Picasso’s omnipresence. Capitalizing on the creative elements of Catalan art and incorporating them into its three key industries: textile, publishing and fashion, Barcelona remains one of the wealthiest, most promising European destinations.

Today, Barcelona is a leader in information technology and a host of other modern trades—offshoots of its relatively stellar economic magnitude. The confluence of historical preservation and urban living always complement one another. Visit Barcelona for its deep historical value and its splendid way of life.

Packing List

  • A credit/debit card, since you might be forced to buy premium handmade, genuine leather products for a relatively cheaper price there; plus, Spanish goods are known for their durability
  • Fashionable and seasonal dresses, such as a cardigan for summer/sweater for winter; pants are more common, favor a backpack over a handbag/satchel to avoid jostling through crowded streets
  • A (preferably SLR) camera and a lot of film roll/memory to snap panoramic street views; a GPS device/street map helps a lot due to the number of tourists blocking street signs
  • Sandals or walking shoes; Barcelona is one of the few cities that will drive even young people exhausted due to hour-long walks
  • Beachwear, sunblock, shades and a volleyball if you want to hit the shores; note that there are nudist beaches accessible to clothed guests

Things to Do

  • Visiting the Sagrada Familia, a massive cathedral designed by Antonio Gaudi, known for its distinct architecture made apparent by its eighteen towering spires
  • Visiting the Sagrada Familia, a massive cathedral designed by Antonio Gaudi, known for its distinct architecture made apparent by its eighteen towering spires
  • Revitalizing yourself inside Park Guell, another one of Gaudi’s masterpieces; this garden complex heavily uses the mosaics, tiles and whole buildings ornate with mystic themes
  • Buying fresh fruits, snacks and spirits at La Boqueria, one of the country’s largest and most popular public markets
  • Appreciating world-famous artworks inside Museu Picasso, containing more than 3,500 items on display, many of which are personal collections he conceived before his mainstream success

DON'T

  • Forget that Barcelona is a hotbed for felons that prey on tourists; dress sharp, act smart and don’t bring a lot of stuff with you outside; confidence crime is rampant, so don’t indulge strangers
  • Take the taxis; take the cheaper metro instead, it runs on a comprehensive network that serves almost every area of the city
  • Get discouraged by the crowds occupying all the beach/park space and attractions, as queues tend to get scruffy; plan your itineraries and don’t be compelled go inside a tourist attraction given limited time in the city
  • Take Barcelona as overly “liberated”; locals like to dress conservatively and stylishly; unlike most cosmopolitan cities, Barcelona favors modern and simple over avant-garde couture
  • Ignore city culture; tipping a few dollars, making fun of their language, forcing them to be punctual, or trying to look posh when you’re really not—all of those will garner a sneer or two