Everything you need to know before your trip to Barcelona
One of the fun things about traveling is discovering new things. You go to a different country, and to experience different weather, languages, habits, and culture. Part of the traveling experience is dealing with these differences, and overcome difficulties, discover new exciting things to see and dive into an unforgettable experience. It’s important to be prepared for your trip to the Catalan capital, and instead of listing the top attractions we want to give you some more insights on Barcelona before your trip to Barcelona. We are not talking about spoiling your holiday by pre-planning every step of the trip, but to provide you with that useful information to find your adventure.
Barcelona is a city with its own particularities. It’s a good idea to know a little bit about the local habits and what you are going to find, so it doesn’t catch you unprepared. Nothing complicated, just little tips, everything you need to know before your trip to Barcelona. Here we go!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- 1. Eating schedules are quite different
- 2. Go to El Mercat de La Boquería if you want Catalan food
- 3. The city as an open-air museum
- 4. Barcelona has a sweet tooth
- 5. The cultural atmosphere of Barcelona
- 6. Events pop-up in Barcelona when spring has sprung
- 7. Locals love neighborhood festivals in Barcelona
- 8. Vintage Barcelona
- 9. Barcelona is the European New York
- 10. Those little great “Terrazas” in the city
- 11. Getting directions around Barcelona
- 12. Barcelona never sleeps
1. Eating schedules are quite different
In Spain, we have a different pace of life. We are just as stressed as anybody else, but our daily schedule is entirely different. We usually have lunch at 2 or 3 PM, sometimes even later. It’s not strange seeing a group of locals ordering food in a restaurant at 4 PM when people from some European countries are starting to think about dinner at that time. Spanish dinner is at around 9 PM at the earliest, especially if we go for some tapas. In that case, we don’t finish our dinners until late at night, in extreme cases and if you are a lovely group of people, this can last until 1 AM. But you don’t have to worry since many of the bars and restaurants in Barcelona have open kitchens for tourists who want to eat in the European time frame.
2. Go to El Mercat de La Boquería if you want Catalan food
The Sant Josep Market, better known as La Boquería, is the largest one in Catalonia. It’s the ideal place to taste the typical Catalan food cooked in their most traditional fashion. We recommend you make a short route through the Market making a stop in the Pinotxo Bar, specializing in traditional Catalan food. La Boquería opens from Monday to Saturday from 8 in the morning until 8:30 p.m. but the restaurants close around 4 p.m. Don´t miss it!!
3. The city as an open-air museum
If the Catalan capital stands out for something, it is for its modernist architecture. And what is the best way to discover the architecture of a city? Not from a moving vehicle, that’s for sure. Walking! Therefore, walking through Barcelona becomes indispensable. We assure you: every time you take the metro, you are missing amazing things. Of course, it’s essential to manage your energy, so we recommend you set routes, for example, from Paseo de Gracia to Parc Güell. And every time you want to go somewhere that is not that far, go walking and enjoy the fascinating views! You can also choose one of our e-bike tours. You’ll enjoy the experience!
4. Barcelona has a sweet tooth
In Barcelona, there are lots of candy stores. Spanish people love pastry, candy and everything that is sweet, and there are lots of famous Spanish candy-makers such as Escribà, Foix de Sarrià, Hofmann, Bubó, Canal, Turris or La Farga, among many others. Make your trip so much sweeter making a stop now and then in some of the multiple chocolate stores you will bump into during your trip. And don´t worry about your shape, if you follow the advice n.3, you will burn it all!
5. The cultural atmosphere of Barcelona
Barcelona has an official cultural offer that is enormous, in addition to the fact that the city has always been characterized by its “underground” label as it is related to independent culture. From large museums such as MACBA or MNAC or big foundations like Joan Miro´s too obscure and underground art galleries, coworking and DIY events. So many cool things to see.
6. Events pop-up in Barcelona when spring has sprung
Barcelona hosts several unmissable events that take place starting spring and attract thousands of people from all over the world. Every year Barcelona hosts the Mobile World Congress (in February), Primavera Sound (between May and June) and Sónar (middle of June). In 2018 Shakira, Bruno Mars, Pearl Jam and the Gun’s & Roses will be hosting their shows in Barcelona. Music Festivals usually display remarkable line-ups, composed not only by famous artists but also numerous emerging music bands on the rise, and if you want to be the first knowing them and brag later with your friends, mark the dates on your calendar.
7. Locals love neighborhood festivals in Barcelona
The best thing about Barcelona is that it is a city, but inside there are lots of small villages: Sant Martí, Sants, Sarrià, Sant Andreu, Gràcia, Les Corts. And we are not talking figuratively here; these Barcelona neighborhoods were real villages, physically and emotionally separated from the city of Barcelona until recently. That’s something you can feel in their streets, talking to its people and enjoying their neighborhood festivals. Which one is the best?
8. Vintage Barcelona
The past is a trend. The boom of old, vintage products in the last years has empowered a world of second-hand markets, both for sale and barter. They are fun, cool and allow us to find different and original things at very affordable prices. We recommend that you visit the Sant Antoni Sunday market or the Two market, which is held every second Sunday of the month.
9. Barcelona is the European New York
Some people say that Barcelona is the European New York because of its cosmopolitan ambiance, diverse society, and cultural atmosphere. And especially for its contrasts: economic, social, spiritual, traditions, architectural. From the ethnic Raval to the posh neighborhood of Sarrià- Pedralbes, Barcelona has a lot of different faces. Our recommendation is to get out the touristic zone and get into the real city.
10. Those little great “Terrazas” in the city
When the warm weather starts, the “terrazas” (bar tables planted in the street) flourish across the country. From vermouth to a mid-morning appetizer, copious meals, lunch or dinner, a terraza is suitable for every meal. There is nothing better than spending a Sunday morning in a terraza in front of the sea, watching the waves and enjoying the sun. Try it!
11. Getting directions around Barcelona
In Barcelona, it is easy to get directions. There are four directions: north, south, east and west. In Barcelona, the directions are the beach, the mountain, Besós and Llobregat (the two Barcelona rivers, located east and west of the city). If you want to look like a local, when you refer to a location, it is also common to use two crossing streets to exactly state a position. As the inner cities streets are long and structured like a perfect grid, you usually say the road you want to go to and the nearest crossing street to your location. So to come to our office, you would ask the taxi driver to bring you to Passeig Lluís Company, 10 and to let him instantly know where precisely it’s located on the long street you let him know which one is the crossing street.
“Passeig de Lluís Companys con Buenaventura Muñoz” – Explanation: “Passeig de Lluís Companys con (with) Buenaventura Muñoz” (name of the crossing street next to our address, number 10.)
12. Barcelona never sleeps
The Barcelona is alive 24 hours a day. Whether during the day or at night, there is always something to do and see in this beautiful city. Of course, you can find quieter neighborhoods than others, but there are many bars, restaurants, pubs, lounges and clubs in Barcelona where you can enjoy time during the whole day long. The offer is wide and diverse. And even if you have been too late, there are always options for an early breakfast before going to sleep or small shops that are open 24/7. Barcelona is a beautiful and entertaining city also at night.