After a year of being cooped up in our homes, many of us are jumping at the opportunity to travel again. A year ago, many of us thought it would be years until we were able to again. With increasing countries opening up for tourism, I decided it was time to finally step out of my bedroom that I had spent my summer in and venture to travelling to Barcelona in 2021. Why choose Barcelona, you may ask? A city that is notorious for their food, culture, beautiful views, beaches, and the general vibe, it was an easy choice.
I have been in Barcelona for a week now and no, I am not a local by any means, although I have developed a pretty good sense of how great this city is and why.
If you are curious about what your days might look like when visiting, I’ll give you a run down of what my personal day to day life looks like here. I wake up around 9:00 am and walk down the main street connected to my hotel. Lining the streets are small markets and cafes. Locals are already out with their friends and peers smoking cigarettes with a cappuccino in-hand and a chocolate croissant right in front of them. I usually will spend my morning walking in new and different parts of the city hopping in and out of stores and through the narrow beautiful alley ways.
One benefit of the stores and markets is the price. Europe is notorious for the expensive cost of food although Barcelona is another story. For example, a coffee and croissant in the morning will only cost you a couple euros. As long as you are staying off the main streets and tourist attractions, you will be in the clear cost wise.
After getting coffee and groceries for the day I will walk through the small colorful alleys in the city to find a place to eat lunch. Here, it is completely normal to sit down with a beer or a glass of wine at virtually any time of the day. Lunch here consists of a beer and a bocadillo (Spanish bread/a baguette filled with meat). After sitting down outside and people watching for a while, I will usually go visit some sort of attraction or museum. A personal favorite of mine has been Museu de Historia de Barcelona MUHBA. This museum displays medieval remains along with other stunning exhibits.
At this point in the day I will usually need a nap. Walking around in the humidity and heat can be fairly taxing (but worth it). Although the best part of the day still awaits; dinner. Dressing up for dinner and venturing out of the house to drink wine in golden hour accompanied by amazing tapas goes unchallenged when it comes to travel activities.
So what really is different here due to COVID? Well no, I have not been here before pandemic times, although the streets are less busy. At the moment, “tourists” are appreciated. Americans are not scowled at but instead appreciated and welcomed. The restaurants, markets, and attractions are less busy as well. With fewer tourists, there has been more room to learn and appreciate the culture of Barcelona. Everyone I have met has been more than welcoming and people want to meet you and learn about your life as long as you are open to the culture as well.
My favorite afternoon I have spent here involved going to a new friend’s house and grilling on their rooftop above the streets of Barcelona and looking out onto Sagrada Familia. I have noticed that many people here are eager to make friends and are more than willing to invite you to wherever they are going and to whatever they are doing. If you take one thing away from this blog, if you get the opportunity, take any invitation/recommendation you get! As long as it’s safe, you never know where you’ll end up and what new spots you’ll end up at.
At night, Barcelona turns into a whole new city. With the culture of late night dinners, your night won’t stop there. Late nights will turn into later nights when venturing out. Although not all clubs and bars are open, you will no doubt still have a good time. However there are many things to be cautious of when in the city nightlife scene. Wallets, phones, and purses are the main target for pickpockets. Sadly, Barcelona is known as one of the pick pocketing capitals of the world so it is crucial you keep your bag in sight. As long as you are mindful and keep your belongings secured and in insight, you should be fine. If nightlife isn’t your thing, a long night’s sleep will perfectly set you up for your next day full of strolling and activities.
Whether you’re into hiking, history, art/architecture, shopping, food, Barcelona will be the spot for you. The relaxed and go with the flow vibe is perfect for any vacationer looking for a relaxing yet upbeat energy and vibe. Due to the recent pandemic, many of the main tourist attractions that are usually crowded are now more a personal experience. Everything has been turned into a more personal experience. This opportunity will not present itself again most likely and if Barcelona has been on your bucket list, book it now; it won’t get better than this. If you’d like to book any tours and day trips in Catalonia or simply get recommendations, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Spanish Trails.