I never intended to go to Spain for 3 weeks, but there I was.
The first city on my list was Barcelona.
I knew a bit about the city before I arrived, but I learned so much more before I left.
Here’s my “10 Things To Know Before Going To Barcelona” List:
1. THERE’S TWO OFFICIAL LANGUAGES.
Most people think Barcelona is a Spanish-speaking city like the rest of Spain.
But Catalan is the other official language for this city and it is used proudly.
Although some words look and sound similar.
There are many that your average Spanish speaker will not know.
If you’re fluent in Spanish you still might want to ask a local Catalan speaker basic sayings.
Try “Please“, Where is…?“, and “Good morning“.
You might be surprised how different they are from Spanish.
2. THE BEACHES CAN BE ANNOYING.
OR go to a beach that is farthest away from La Rambla. I went to the beach with some fellow travelers and we all had to leave within an hour.
It was nonstop, one right after another.
Just shoo them away or ignore them.
But after a while you probably won’t be able to take it and you’ll leave.
Don’t buy any of the marijuana(mota) either.
I’ve heard some of those guys are undercover cops.
3. PARTYING STARTS LATE.
Dinner time in Spain is somewhere around 10 pm.
So that means the drinking, the dancing, and the partying starts even later.
1 am seems to be the average time most people start to go to the bars and clubs in Barna(hip little nickname for Barcelona).
If you’re already starting your night of drinking around 6 or 7, you’ll be lucky to last as long as the locals do.
Most people don’t start going home till 6 in the morning.
4. PREPARE FOR SIESTA and DON’T SHOP ON SUNDAY.
While most tourist shops, restaurants, and bars will usually stay open.
It’s time for rest or other chores to get done before finishing out the work day.Sundays though; that’s a different story.
Aside from attractions almost everything is closed on Sunday.
If you want snacks for a picnic or a nice lunch you better buy the stuff on Saturday.
5. EVERYTHING’S MORE EXPENSIVE ON LA RAMBLA.
So with that being said; Don’t Buy Things Here.
Travel off this street and explore some back streets farther away.
Your chances are good that you’ll find the same thing you were looking at for a few euros cheaper.
6. TRAIN STATIONS SCAN YOUR LUGGAGE.
When I was leaving Barcelona to go to Madrid everyone had to stop in a line at the train station.
Put their luggage on a belt and have it scanned just like at the airport.
At first that struck me as odd because I’ve never seen that in any other country.
Which killed 192 people and injured another 2000.
Luckily the line moved rather quickly.
But you should make sure to give yourself plenty of time when you’re going to the train station.
7. GAUDI ARCHITECTURE IS A MUST-SEE.
It is without a doubt one of the coolest buildings in the world.
He also designed Park Guell.
I’m not into architecture but these are some creatively built buildings.
Go on a scavenger hunt to find his other buildings.
8. PETTY THEFT.
Be ready to guard your pockets when you’re in crowded areas like La Rambla.
Petty theft is quite popular in Barcelona.
If you have pockets with zippers, wear them here.
If you have a purse, keep it in front of you with your hand on it at all times.
I doubt someone’s gonna run up on you and try to physically rip something from your grip.
But they will try to be sneaky about getting their hands into your stuff without you noticing.
Most of all; don’t bring anything of value with you to the beach.
If you want to take pictures try to have a waterproof camera so you can keep it on you while you swim.
The beach is an easy target with lots of people around.
If you take your eyes off your stuff for a second it could be gone.
9. BUY ATTRACTION TICKETS ONLINE WHEN POSSIBLE.
It’s the Mediterranean, the weather is great all year, and Barna is a huge tourist destination.
Expect there to be lines to most attractions.
The Picasso Museum, Sagrada Familia, and Park Guell are 3 places with horrible lines.
Sagrada Familia is actually most impressive from the outside and you don’t need a ticket for that.
The inside is not as impressive, so it might not even be worth your wait. Park Guell is free to roam around.
Those tickets can be bought online too.If you plan everything out in advance you can speed right into a lot of the attractions.
10. YOU MIGHT FALL IN LOVE WITH THIS CITY.
Like I said at the beginning of this post I wasn’t originally planning on going to Spain.
But plans changed and I had 3 weeks to visit somewhere else.
Spain was a great choice and Barcelona was a great city to start from.
I know when I go back through Europe, Barcelona is going to be on my list of cities to return to.
The city and the beaches might be crowded, and petty theft seems to be everywhere.
But the feeling from this city is very relaxed, free-spirited, and cutting-edge.
It’s also artsy(you’ll notice random statues and art pieces everywhere).
Great weather, sites, nightlife, and food are just the tip of the iceberg as far as Barcelona goes.
Do you have any tips for going to Barcelona?
Let’s hear about them below.
My name is Jeremiah and I'm a photographer from Arizona.
I'm always in search of picturesque landscapes and adrenaline pumping adventure.
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