If you are anything like me, you can never go too long before experiencing your next adventure. If you have the winter blues, need to de-stress from a hectic work schedule, or just want to go somewhere fun with friends, Barcelona is the perfect weekend getaway.
My first time in Barcelona was in the Fall of 2014 and I was lucky enough to get to go back a few weekends ago for a second time. Let me just say, I absolutely LOVE Barcelona. Unlike some cities where you go once and feel like you have seen it all, Barca always has something new and exciting to offer. You never have to stress about fitting all of your site seeing into one trip because lets be real, you will probably visit many more times in the future!
While I am still getting over post-vacation withdrawals, I thought I would share some of my favorite spots, tips, and money savers if you are looking into a weekend trip to this magical city.
MONEY SAVERS & TIPS
1. Try to fly with a cheap airline. If you are on a budget/waiting on your next paycheck to pay for your trip (like me), try to book with RyanAir. Although RyanAir doesn’t fly out of Stockholm’s main international airport Arlanda, they do fly out of Skavsta. Although it is a bit farther to get to, it is so worth it to save the extra buck. If you book at least a month in advance, you can easily find a round-trip ticket for 500-1000kr. You do have to pay extra to check in luggage but if you are just going for a weekend, you can easily pack tight a backpack as a carry-on and be set! Even if you have reservations about flying with airlines such as RyanAir, the flight to Barcelona is only 3 hours so it is definitely bearable!
2. The hostel life. Contrary to some beliefs, staying in a hostel is so much fun – especially if you are traveling alone. They are not only cheap but you often can meet many new people from all over the world! I stayed in a hostel my first time in Barcelona at Kabul Backpackers. Although it was the only hostel I have been to in the city, I would definitely recommend it! Prices range from 20-40 euro a night depending on what type of room you stay in – which is nothing given the facilities and the location! It’s less then a 10 min walk to the beach and right off the vibrant Las Ramblas in beautiful Placa Reial.
3. Shop at the local markets – my favorite is La Boqueria. Situated on Las Ramblas, La Boqueria has amazingly fresh fruits and fish. It usually is quite busy but it is definitely a must see if you are in the area. When I am on a budget, I always like to source food from the local markets like La Boqueria as eating out every meal can add up quickly.
4. Don’t be scared to use public transportation! If you are from Stockholm then you are probably comfortable using the public transportation system. Although Barcelona’s system isn’t as “nice looking,” it is pretty easy to figure out and is a cheaper alternative then to taking cabs. Plus, it isn’t uncommon for taxi drivers in Barca to try and skim tourists so I would only use them after a night out!
FAVORITE SPOTS & ACTIVITIES
1. Chupitos. Even though Chupitos is the ultimate tourist spot, you HAVE to go – especially if it is your first time in Barcelona. They have 200+ shots on the menu, most only costing 1 or 2 euro. Now, these aren’t your average shots – most come with an elaborate setup from the bartenders and involve crazy elements. I would recommend the “Willy Wonka” shot if you have a sweet tooth or the “Harry Potter” shot if you want some fire. Beware of the Monica Lewinski…
2. Maka Maka Beach Burger Cafe. Being a savory person, I am always down for a juicy burger. I discovered Maka Maka while walking to the beach and boy am I glad I did! The burgers are on point! Add the Parmesan cheese fries and pitchers of white sangria and you are in for a fantastic lunch.
3. The Gaudi Tour. One of my favorite things to do in a new city is the guided tours. Yes they are a bit cheesy but I think knowing the history behind a city makes the experience visiting much much better. I did the Gaudi Tour (if you don’t know who Gaudi is, definitely research him before visiting Barcelona). The tour was free (bonus if you are on a budget) and takes you around to all of Gaudi’s creations while giving you the history of his life and the backstory of the buildings. The tour ends at La Sagrada Familia – one of Barcelona’s main attractions. You can either take some quick photos of the outside of the building (which is what I did) or spend a little more time and money to go inside.
4. Nightlife. I have been to quite a few of the clubs in Barcelona and I must admit that they surpass the clubs in Stockholm by a landslide. If you are going down to the beach clubs (which tends to be the popular thing to do), I would recommend Opium. The venue is so chic and opens right up onto the beach. It’s on the classier side so make sure you dress a bit nicer and also be sure to get on the VIP list so you can enter for free! If you are looking for something more urban, I would recommend Razzmatazz. The club is located in a huge warehouse and has about 5 “clubs within the club,” each with different music and vibes. The venue is absolutely massive though so make sure to travel in the buddy system if you don’t want to lose your group.
5. The Beach. Barcelona’s best selling point – the white sand and clear Mediterranean sea are irresistible. To be honest, I would fly to Barca just to be able to lay on the beach for 3 days, haha! Bring some snacks/water and prepare for ultimate relaxation.
So there you have it folks – some of my best tips and spots for a weekend trip to Barcelona! I hope this was helpful and of course, please don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Until next time, XO