By: Monica Manrique (@monicamnrq)
When I visited Barcelona for the first time as a tourist, I did many things that, although I do not regret it, with the time I have been living here, I could better recommend it to my friends and colleagues who visit the city.
I will write 10 typical things for tourists that many do, versus the option that I recommend the most. I also invite my traveling colleagues, who were once tourists in the cities they inhabit today, to encourage themselves and share it so that we can learn a little, how to make better use of those cities, as tourists.
- don’t take the Aerobus. There is a metro from El Prat Airport, which takes less than 40 minutes to get to stations with several metro connections to the different lines in the city. The metro ticket from the airport usually costs a little more than the normal ticket, but it is still the cheapest option. You also have the option of the train.
- If you have to go to the airport at dawn and don’t want to spend €30-40 on a taxi, one option is to take a night bus to Gran Vía, and from there take the night route to the airport. Keep in mind that the metro works from Monday to Thursday, and on Sundays, from 5:00 a.m. to midnight, on Fridays until 2:00 a.m. and on Saturdays it does not close overnight. Outside these hours there are night buses, although there are far fewer routes.
- Avoid intermediaries in tickets for visits to museums and houses of Gaudí. Search directly on the official website of the sites you want to visit.
- There are alternatives to turibus. If you don’t want to go by the metro, which in Barcelona is underground, there are many bus route options for you to move around the city, contemplating it. It is the same subway ticket, and also includes transfers. Anyway, the city is very walking-friendly. So if what you want is to enjoy its landscapes, the best thing to do is to walk or ride a bike.
- The popular Rambla Catalunya, has many restaurants that have their tables on the central sidewalk, where they offer typical dishes of Catalan and Spanish food. The truth is that these are restaurants for tourists, locals would rarely, if ever, choose these places. Try to inform yourself a little better so you don’t have to look for options at your own pace and get upset.
- To eat well and at good prices, it is always best to look for local foodies on Instagram with the best recommendations. On my Instagram account I have shared some of them, whom I particularly recommend to my visitors and they do not fail.
- The hotel does not need to include breakfast. Better if you go out on your own and eat something there. The locals only drink a coffee early in the morning, and around 10-11 a.m., they have lunch, which is eating a sandwich with a drink. The city is full of bars, and in general Spain is the country with the most bars per m2 in all of Europe, so it is a good opportunity to learn more about this culture.
- Churches. You can visit the Barcelona Cathedral for free if you enter the masses, as well as the Santa María del Mar Cathedral. The Sagrada Familia is one of those places that I particularly loved visiting, although you have to pay for it. It is better that you book the visit during the hours when the sun is at its highest point, so that you can better see the lighting through the stained glass windows. Please note that these hours vary throughout the year. *In the Sagrada Familia you can also go to mass, but this is done in the crypt, so you will not enter the basilica as such.
- A vermouth and some bravas. Be sure to make one of the most typical plans among locals. For vermouth, the best time is after 12:00. The bravas, meanwhile, come in handy at any time. IG accounts like @bravasbarcelona and @lavermutista have various suggestions about these sites.
- Take advantage of free walking tour. At the end you must leave a tip for those who dedicated their time to show you the city, but honestly it is an activity that is very worthwhile. Although if you get up late or prefer to go at your own pace, it is best to unload explorins App and do one of their guided tours of the city. Although several are paid, you can find some for free. I have created one free route to take you on a romantic tour from the Arc de Triomphe until the Ciutadella parkgetting to know the entire park and pieces of its history.
I would like this not to end here and that my friends, from every corner of the planet, report with lists of hacks to better understand the cities they inhabit. Either way, in my account I will be putting together the guide with Instagram posts from those who are encouraged to share their tricks with us. And finally, if you visit Barcelona and want a recommendation of something, do not hesitate to write to me at @monicamnrq on Twitter and Instagram.
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