Where to stay: When I traveled to Barcelona, I stayed in the Alberguinn Youth Hostel, found on Hostelworld.com. The hostel was in a great, fairly quiet location, but really close to the bus stop and a metro, so it was super easy to get around the city from there. It wasn’t particularly close to the centre of the city or the beach, but I wasn’t bothered at all by that, especially since you will pay for the privilege of being in those places. The hostel was very clean, and it felt really secure despite the fact that we were staying in a 14-bed mixed dorm.
Where to eat: I don’t have any specific restaurant recommendations for Barcelona, but I will suggest staying far away from the restaurants that target tourists on the main pedestrian street. They’re extremely overpriced, and in my experience, a total rip off. I think I paid something like 14 euros for a glass of Sangria, which was very big, and mostly water. I would definitely recommend finding a side street and searching out a tapas bar in this city. Or anywhere on a side street. Stay away from tourist areas!
What to do: I absolutely loved visiting Gaudí’s buildings when I was in Barcelona. They’re so unique compared to any other architecture I’ve ever seen, and there are so many things to see! An obvious stop is the Sagrada Familia, which I really don’t think anyone should miss. Although it isn’t technically complete, it is still totally awe-inspiring. I also really enjoyed Park Güell, it’s definitely a must-see, especially if you have good weather! The park sits basically above the city, so you’ll get great views, and you’ll also be able to see the famous mosaic lizard and the gingerbread-looking buildings. When I visited, there were also a lot of musicians around playing, so that was pretty cool as well. The last piece of Gaudí’s that I saw was Casa Batlló, mostly because it was raining that day and we wanted to see something that was inside. Well, it was a really good choice, because this house is one of the most unique structures I’ve ever seen! I’d also recommend checking to see which markets are running while you’re there, because market crawling is also a really great thing to do, especially in that part of the world. We went and saw a flamenco dance performance in Barcelona, and it was really incredible. A bunch of different shows are advertised, so I would definitely recommend seeing one; flamenco has long been a cultural symbol of Spain, and it’s seriously beautiful. There are great free walking tours around the city that give you a good feel for what there is to see, so be sure to check those out!
Overall Opinion: Barcelona is a seriously incredible city, it was once the cultural capital of Spain, and is now the cultural and political capital of Catalonia, and you can tell as soon as you step foot on the streets. My only regret about my visit to Barcelona is that it rained during the first day and a half we were there, so I don’t feel like I got to properly experience it! This is one city that I’m going to be sure to keep on my list to visit again, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to experience a very special place in Spain and Catalonia.