Millions of tourists visit Barcelona each year to enjoy the culture, architecture and to soak up the sun and relax on the beaches. Those who come often fall in love with the city and many others return to spend more time in the future. If you want to visit in style, Barcelona has some of the most beautiful villas for rent in Spain at affordable prices. But visiting this top destination in Catalonia can cause a few difficulties and complications when you’re not careful. Here are our top travel tips for Barcelona to help you have a smooth trip.
Book Tickets in Advance
Almost every tourist wants to visit the Sagrada Familia or the Palau Güell to experience the best of Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces. But when more than 30 million tourists visit the city each year and many having the same idea as you, the lines tend to be long and you need to expect long waiting times. If you search online, you should be able to find discounts and skip the line tickets. Booking online to visit the must-see attractions saves money and time. You might also get lucky and find excellent deals to visit various sights.
Take a Tour
Barcelona is a large city with each neighbourhood having their own styles and attractions. Most people head to Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter or spend their time at the beach. But if you want to soak up the culture and find the city’s hidden gems, having a tour guide may be a better option. Typical ones range from the Free Walking Tour to half-day trips to nearby Montserrat and Salsa lessons.
Don’t Try to See Everything
Tourists often spend a few days in Barcelona. The number of activities, museums, attractions and entertainment would keep you busy for weeks. Trying to cram it all into a small trip isn’t a good idea. You don’t want to rush around in a futile attempt to experience everything. This will just burn you out and increase the chances of missing out on Barcelona’s serendipity. Instead, plan your daily activities and leave time to be spontaneous.
Try to Catch a Football Game
The world’s most famous football team has supporters in probably every country in the world. Head to rural Africa or speak to the Sherpas on Everest and they all know FC Barcelona. Some might even wear a jersey to show their affection. So, when you visit the city, why not try to watch a game at the Camp Nou? Tickets tend to be expensive and sell out fast, but if you plan a few weeks in advance, you might get lucky. After all, the stadium holds almost 100,000 supporters. Watching a game and enjoying the electric atmosphere is sure to be a once in a lifetime experience. And if you can’t get a ticket, visit the stadium and museum instead.
Be Careful When Paying with Your Credit Card
One of the current trends in Spanish cities is to offer tourists who pay with their credit card the choice between their local currency and Euros. Knowing that bank charge fees for overseas transaction may make this seem like an appealing option. It’s not. You should always pay in Euros. Always. The practice is called dynamic currency conversion, and you’ll almost always end up paying more. The retailer sets the conversion rate, which is worse than the bank back at home along with charging a hefty processing fee. If the Brits pay in pounds or the Americans with dollars, you’re going to lose out.
Don’t Be a Victim of Pickpockets
Unfortunately, Barcelona has a reputation for pickpockets operating in certain parts of the city. Tourists get warnings before they visit from friends and family and expect the worst. It’s not as bad as some make it out to be. Sure, gangs target tourists in the Gothic Quarter, Las Ramblas and on the crowded metro and you should be very careful with your possessions. A little common sense helps. Wear a money belt rather than putting your wallet in your back pocket. And keep your eyes on your bags in the café. If you’re not an easy target, why would someone target you?
Know What Time to Eat
This may sound a little silly. We eat when we feel hungry, right? But, the Spaniards may not have the same eating habits at the same time as you. Lunch is often the largest meal and locals usually eat dinner around 9:00 pm. Someone who’s familiar with having a light lunch and their main meal at 6:00 pm may find this a problem. Restaurants open late, and if you do find a spot for an early dinner, you may be eating the leftovers from lunch. Be prepared and adjust your eating habits.
Be Careful When You Practice Your Spanish
If you’re fluent in Spanish and want to practice when you’re in Barcelona, you may not get the reaction you’re looking for with the locals. Standard Spanish from Madrid is different to Catalonian Spanish. And given the recent drive for independence, the locals may not appreciate it when you use Castilian Spanish. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to the beginner or those who know a few words. Just keep it in mind.
The Top Travel Tips
After following these travel tips, you should be able to have a better trip to Barcelona. Remember to book attraction tickets in advance and try to take advantage of special promotions. Expect to eat later than usual and be more sensitive when you practice your Spanish. And don’t forget to check out Camp Nou for an unforgettable experience.