BARCELONA ♥ DIARY♥
This is one of my favorite cities! I lived here for almost a year while in a student exchange program. I know the city pretty well. I recently got the chance to go back after over 2 years since leaving and I wanted to share some of my favorite places to go:) If you are traveling to this city, I hope this post helps you plan your trip!
To Get Around:
Barcelona is a part of Catalunya. Spanish and Catalan are spoken here. A lot of the native Catalonians are trilingual with Catalan being their first language. A vast majority of people, especially the younger generation, speak English to some extent (if not fluently). If you speak French or Spanish, you may be able to pick up a few things here or there in Catalan too!
The apps below are some that I find really useful while traveling. Keep in mind that there is public wifi throughout the city so even if you can’t use an app you want to use offline, always remember to join the public Barcelona wifi.
- Spanishdict – This app can be used offline, conjugates verbs in all tenses and translates entire phrases or single words.
- Converter plus – If you’re not from a country that uses the euro and/or metric system, this is a great app. It can be used offline and it converts currencies, speed, distance, measurements and much more types of units.
- MyTaxi – Uber isn’t legal in Barcelona so you’ll have to use the yellow taxis if you don’t want to walk or use public transport. This app works just like the uber app. You can hail cabs through it and pay with it.
- Google maps – This works just as well in Spain as it does in the USA. Make sure you have the public transport features downloaded and turned on so that you can see the metro, bus and train options.
- TMB App– This is the official public transport app in Barcelona.
- Mobile Passport (for U.S. citizens) – This makes returning to the U.S. less frustrating because, at some airports, there will be a second (usually shorter) line for people who have their information on this app already filled out. You can even fill out the border and customs card on it.
Some Phrases You’ll Hear:
No Pasa Nada – Don’t worry
Vale – okay
Pasa – Go/Pass
Cuidado – Be Careful
Seguro – I’m sure
Perdon – Excuse me
Cuanto Cuesta? – How much does it cost?
Los Baños – The Bathrooms
Ocupado/Libre – Busy/Free
La Cuenta – The bill
Para Comer/Para Llevar – to dine in/to take away (to go)
Where to take your insta pics
All the cutest spots I've discovered.
To Take Your Insta Pics:
The lines for some these museums and attractions that require tickets can be very long. I suggest buying them online before you arrive. Keep in mind, there are discounts you may qualify for that can save you a few extra euros (EU student, Senior, a citizen of Spain Etc.). I will put an “*” by the names of attractions I suggest you buy tickets in advance for. The hop on hop off red and blue touristic buses will take you to almost all of the below locations. If you choose to take the bus, I suggest getting the 2-day ticket and waking up really early both days so you can fit it all in.
- *La Sagrada Familia – This is a must see and will have a long line on most days. The best place to take a picture of it is from behind the small pond in front of it.
- Barri de Gràcia – Cute district to have a stroll in
- *Parc Güell – An Antoni Gaudí Gem
- Passeig de Gràcia – In my opinion, this is one of the prettiest streets in the city. It’s very long and is lined with shops and restaurants. The street runs between Avenida Diagonal & Plaça de Catalunya. The tourist spots to note here are:
- Magic Fountain of Montjuic - Find out the times that the fountain music show is playing to plan accordingly.
- *National Art Museum of Catalunya – I suggested getting off at Placa Espanya and walking from there up to the Fountain of Montjuïc because the entrance leading up to it is beautiful. Also, in Placa Espanya, there is a round shaped building that is now a mall, but it used to be a bull fighting stadium (bullfighting is illegal now in Barcelona). It stands out so you can’t miss it if you are in Placa Espanya. Other places you might want to check out while you’re here are:
- Joan Miró Foundation – there are some really beautiful views from there
- Montjuïc Castle – Get there using the Teleférico de Montjuic
- Poble Espanyol
- The Olympic Stadium
- The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc Music & Light Show – This is located in front of the national museum of Catalunya. The Fountain only plays the show on certain days/times depending on the time of year you’re there so make sure you google it before planning the trip. It’s one of my favorite things about Montjuïc and its free so I highly suggest it. You might want to show up earlier than it starts, to get a good spot to sit and watch.
- Via Laietana (Ciutat Vella District) -This is an avenue that starts at Plaça Urquinaona to Plaça d’Antonio López, by the seafront. It separates neighborhoods of La Ribera/El Born and Barri Gotic. If you get off of the “Plaça Urquinaona” metro stop, you can walk from there all the way to the beach. Along the way, there are shops, restaurants (my favorite Rosa Negra Restaurant mentioned later), and more.
- La Ribera/El Born
- Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) – This is a gorgeous place to just stroll and soak in the pretty Spanish streets. There are tons of shops and places to eat. Special places to look for here:
- Las Ramblas – Although scenic and beautiful, Las Ramblas is notorious for pick pocketing. Always be aware of your belongings and surroundings here. Special Spots in this area:
- Mercat de Sant Josep – La Boqueria
- La Barceloneta (the beach)
- Port Olympic – there are a ton of restaurants here. There are also a lot of sailboats just parked on the dock and it’s really pretty.
- Arc de Triomf
- Parc de la Ciutadella – Located near to the Arc de Triumph
- Parque Del Laberinto De Horta – this isn’t a popular one with tourists, but I love it!
- Camp Nou – This is the Futbol Club Barcelona Stadium (“Soccer” for Americans). If you want to see a game, make sure you check to see if you’ll be in Barcelona while they’re playing! Drinking alcoholic beverages in the stadium isn’t permitted.
- Montserrat Monastery- This is where those “Instagram famous” blocks (click here for a picture) overlooking the mountains that everyone takes pictures of themselves standing on top of are located. It will be a day trip so allow yourself the time, but it’s worth it because it’s stunning. Once you get there you take a cable car up to Montserrat that is about 10 minutes. There is a beautiful cathedral at the top (definitely go inside if you can), little restaurants, touristic shops, and beautiful views and hiking pathways. Definitely, wear sneakers. If you are not comfortable with using the metro, I suggest looking into a tourist company to go with. If you’re on a budget, the trip will be much cheaper using public transport.
- Tibidabo – This is another half day trip. It’s located on top of the mountains. There is an amusement park on top and a beautiful Cathedral as well as a gorgeous view of the city!
- Bunker Del Carmel – another nice view
- El Nacional – This is a relatively new spot being only 2 years old. It’s sort of a Cafeteria filled with stations and restaurants to eat and drink. The bathroom is really pretty and a true “selfie gem spot”. I know some of the people on here would love to take a picture in it! (See below picture)
- Trips you can take if you have time:
- Cooking Classes: I didn’t do any while I was there, but I wish I would have. There are companies that teach you how to make things like sangria, tapas, and paella that I really would have loved. I suggest you look into it if it’s something that interests you.
To Chow Down:
It’s hard to know what to eat in a new country and there are so many options available to you from markets to restaurants in Barcelona. To make it easier, these are some of the places that I’ve tried and loved.
Note: Normally you don’t leave tips in restaurants or taxis. The no tipping rule doesn’t apply to tour guides (from “free” walking tours) or beauty professionals. If you get a beauty service done, tipping is encouraged.
- *Tickets – This is a Michelin star restaurant so if you know you want to go here make sure you make a reservation as far in advance as possible.
- Miu – The Yakisoba is so good!
- Ikibana Paralelo
- Negro Rojo(this restaurant is two-story. The top is called “negro” because it’s black and the lower floor is called “Rojo” because of its red. The lower floor, Rojo, serves amazing Sushi. I am sure Negro is good too, but I’ve never eaten there and they don’t serve sushi so I can’t say.
- Mordisco – located next door to Boca Grande
- Crep Nova – order the Jamon Iberico pizza
- Paella (Sundays)
- Bo de B
- More Expensive Dining
In Barcelona, Yelp isn’t very popular, but you can check out @chicaswhobrunch Instagram for more places to eat.
To Try while in Barcelona:
Disclaimer: If you are underage to legally drink, the suggestions below concerning what to drink are not for you.
Pan Con Tomate
Sangria (White or Red)
Crema Catalan (The dessert & The Drink)
Goat Cheese Salad
Disclaimer: If you are underage to legally drink/club in BCN, the suggestions below concerning where to drink/go clubbing are not for you(lol).
- Day Drinking
- For a Pregame
- Eclipse – This is in the W hotel and it’s fancier here so consider your attire. It has a gorgeous view of the beach. On Tuesdays, it’s ladies night and they have free champagne/wine and appetizers for ladies. Just make sure you put you and all your friend’s names on a promoter’s list to enter.
- Nuba – Fancier environment, also a good place to go for dinner
- The Room – Located near Pacha on Barceloneta
- Dow Jones
- George Payne – This is a good place to watch a Futbol game
- Espit Chupitos – Order the “Monica Lewinski” for someone you’d like to play a joke on. They have multiple locations.
- Rosa Negra – They have mojitos for 3 euro and 50 cents….=)
The official currency in Spain is the Euro. When paying with a credit card from the US, you will most likely be asked if you would like the bank to charge you in Euro or USD. Consult your bank to decide which currency is best to pay in.
Passeig De Gracia
El Corte Ingles (Dept. store)
Rambla de Catalunya
Barri de Gracia
La Roca Village
Since I lived in an apartment in Barcelona during my exchange program, I didn’t sleep in many hotels. The list below contains hotels that I have slept in on my returning trip and ones I have personally been in (from visiting friends or family staying in them). These places are expensive, but I don’t want to recommend places that I haven’t stayed in or have friends/family who stayed in them (where I physically went to and saw their rooms).
There you have it! My Barcelona Diaries! Do you have any recommendations for me to add to this guide? Let me know in the comments below!♥
City & Chic