Anyone who tries to do and see all there is in Barcelona in one day is in for a surprise – a rather rude one – because this is a city that cannot be condensed. It just can’t! Regardless of your plans, budget or preconceived notions about what Barcelona has to offer, you cannot get a feel for the city without spending at least a week here, so you might as well get comfortable!
I would recommend getting a great hostel booked through Hostel Bookers as soon as possible as these places have the tendency to fill up fast. The last time I visited Barcelona I thought I could just walk into the first place I found and get a room no problem – no vacancies for a week, I found out. You would think I would’ve learned my lesson from the last time I was here and had to spend it on the beach but no – I’m not a fast learner. Turns out, many hostels now prefer to deal through sites like Hostel Bookers and don’t take people just off the streets, which is really a huge change from how things used to be even just a few short years ago.
So as long as you’re smart and not a moron like me, you’ll have a place to crash, preferably a private room, downtown where you can explore by day and party hard at night. The reason I say go for a private room is because people have a tendency to be super annoying in hostels, only thinking of themselves and being on their own schedules – and you want to be free to be one of those people too without suffering the consequences. If you want to sleep until noon and not be disturbed, or pop a quick nap in during the afternoon before heading out for the night, you’re more likely to be able to do so in a private room… so don’t cheap out!
This will leave you free to wander the streets and find adventures. There’s nothing like Barcelona when the streets are packed and the energy of the city is flowing. Visit the markets and just wander around looking at all the crazy stuff from food to clothing and everything in between. The first time I went to Barcelona I had no idea where I was going until I got there and picked up a map, and only then did I realize how many places there were to see and how little time I gave myself.
One entire day really needs to be devoted to the beach and all the amazing sights around it, from the fabulous bodies to the scary looking ones. Buy a cerveza from the vendors that wander along all day, take a dip in the sea and just generally love life. Even if you aren’t religious, you won’t be able to take your eyes off Sagrada Familia, the church that has been being built for well over a century and is truly ridiculous in design. Couple this with walking through the old quarters and grabbing a few tapas and you’ll have a great day planned right there.
Another day needs to be sacrificed to the night because if you haven’t experienced Barcelona at night, you are missing out hugely. The clubs are insane and everyone loves having a good time – so don’t feel bad about sleeping an entire day, which you’ll be able to if you took my first piece of advice!
Seriously though, Barcelona needs more than one day. It’s a fabulous city you’ll want to revisit as soon as you can.