10 Random Things About Barcelona.
How to find food, fashion and fun in the crazy city of Barcelona, Spain.
With beautiful scenery, delicious food and adorable stores, you could never be bored in Barcelona! After only being in Barcelona for a short time, I’ve managed to navigate my way to the places I want to go and made my best attempt to live like a local. Although I have a lot left to learn, here are a few random facts I’ve learned about the city.
1. Neighborhoods: I was placed in a neighborhood called Gracia, which is right in the center of Barcelona. It is a nice and quiet residential area, with plenty of restaurants, bars and boutiques to keep you busy for weeks. What’s nice about living in the residential area is that you get a chance to live like a local. Shops are moderately cheaper than other stores located in busy areas and it gives you a better opportunity to learn to navigate yourself around the city. If you are able to choose where you want to live when you study abroad, I would strongly suggest living in an apartment. It really teaches you how to be independent in any situation.
2. Apps: I’ve discovered a few apps that are crucial to have when studying abroad. The first is to download a money converter app, so you are always able to calculate how much you are actually spending. Next, I downloaded Yelp, because it gives me the names, locations and reviews of restaurants in my area — very helpful for people who have never been to their host country and don’t even know what to look for. Another crucial app to download is the Barcelona Metro app. This gives you a map of what metros go where, and the times they are open.
3. Local food: The local food is amazing, but many meals come in tiny portions. I was never hesitant to try any type of food, but I was curious to how tapas could be considered a meal. I’ve eaten tapas almost everyday now, and while they are small portions, they are surprisingly filling. They can also be very cheap depending on where you purchase them. Most people can order 3-4 and it will be a satisfying meal. If you are looking for delicious yet inexpensive food, take a trip away from the touristy areas such as La Rambla. Many restaurants offer deals where you can get a drink and tapas for only a few euros!
4. Best attraction: Although this is a very popular tourist attraction, the Magic Fountain of Montjuic show is worth seeing! It is a beautiful show with colorful water and lights, and is extremely easy to access by metro. In the summer, the show goes on from Thursday through Sunday and is always free!
5. Random and interesting historical fact: When most people think of flamenco dancing they think of Spain, but flamenco is not specifically popular in Barcelona. Although Barcelona is not historically related to Flamenco, they do offer shows in La Rambla.
6. Cultural difference: Many people in Barcelona walk their dogs without leashes. This was a surprise to me, because walking through the city I kept thinking I was seeing stray dogs, but they are actually just following their owners around town. Most of the dogs are well behaved and do not travel very far from their owners. Although some dogs are walked on leashes, majority of the pets are kept in no restraints.
6. Shopping: Although it can be pricey, La Rambla has the best stores for women’s clothing. They have the very popular stores such as Mango, Zara and El Corte de Ingles. La Rambla also has smaller boutique stores with adorable jewelry, purses and shoes. Just take a walk through La Rambla and you will find whatever you are looking for!
7. Fun for free: Go to the beach, obviously! Barcelona has some of the most beautiful beaches, and it is always nice to lie outside and get a little sun. Barceloneta Beach is a very busy and touristy beach, but it offers all different types of entertainment. It is also the closest to the city center, so other common tourist attractions are easily accessible.
8. To appease your sweet tooth: You can’t go wrong with gelato! Every few blocks has a gelateria and nothing beats the delicious flavors. My favorites are the vanilla cookie and the kinder bueno bar gelato. If your not much of a gelato fan, I would suggest checking out the bakery in La Rambla called Escriba. The bakery itself is beautifully set up and the cupcakes are so delicious!
9. Favorite tour: Although it is a bit of a hike, the best place to tour is Mount Tibidabo, a beautiful mountain overlooking all of Barcelona. Nothing beats the amazing view of the entire city. The hike up the mountain has a nice trail, perfect for touring or going for a run. If you travel to the top of the mountain you can take a trip to the amusement park, or view the church.
10. Best day trip from Barcelona: If you are looking to get away from Barcelona for a few hours, I would strongly suggest taking a day trip to Tarragona. The city is breathtaking and has so much history! You can take a bus to and from the city, and go check out the beautiful architecture, shops and beaches. The city is much calmer than Barcelona, and is a great adventure if you are hoping to see other parts of Spain.