Are you setting your sights on Barcelona for your next getaway? It’s natural to want to blend in with the locals and avoid the classic ‘tourist’ label. That said, remember that it’s perfectly fine to be a tourist—after all, you’re there to bask in the beauty of the city and immerse yourself in its culture!
Attempting to mimic the locals might be a tall task and could inadvertently remove some of the enjoyment from your trip. Comfort is key, so be yourself and immerse yourself in the experience. However, there’s a limit—walking around La Rambla with multiple cameras and sporting socks with sandals might be a step too far!
Looking like a tourist and acting like one are two separate things. We’re here to help you steer clear of common tourist pitfalls, from spending an excessive amount of time on La Rambla to trying to eat dinner at 6 p.m.
Are you ready to explore Barcelona like an insider? We’ve compiled a series of helpful tips and advice to have you traversing the city like a local. Let’s delve into the do’s and don’ts of Barcelona.
Do’s and Don’ts of Barcelona For A Fantastic Holiday
Starting with the Basics
- Make an effort to learn a few Spanish and Catalan phrases. Saying “Por favor” or “gracias” can make a huge difference.
- Adapt to the local schedule. Lunch is served late, and many establishments shut down for a midday siesta.
- Avoid engaging in heated political debates. Catalan independence is a delicate topic, so refrain from taking sides.
When Eating and Drinking
- Try not to eat at La Rambla if you can avoid it.
- Explore the local wine bars. They’re known for their excellent Spanish wines.
- Remember that tipping is not customary in Spain, so leaving a few euros or some change is sufficient.
- Consider taking a cooking class. You can learn how to make traditional Catalan dishes and Spanish favorites like paella.
- Dining at 6 p.m. is not the norm. Most restaurants don’t open until at least 8 p.m.
- Tapas are a great way to tide you over until dinner.
- Visit the renowned Boqueria Market, but also explore lesser-known markets like Santa Caterina.
- Paella is typically a lunch dish, so avoid ordering it for dinner.
- Ask for permission before taking pictures in shops or market stalls.
- Discover Spanish fashion. Brands like Zara and Mango are popular in the Gothic Quarter.
- Take advantage of city-wide sales in January/February and July/August.
- Avoid buying souvenirs on La Rambla. You can find locally made treasures on the side streets.
- Museum stores often have unique and artistic mementos.
- Paying the entry fee for La Sagrada Família is well worth it.
- If you’re short on time, skip Park Güell and visit other central Gaudí attractions instead.
- Renting a bike and exploring Barcelona’s beachfront boardwalk is a fantastic experience.
- Don’t spend all your time on La Rambla. Enjoy it, but don’t forget to explore other areas.
- Take a tour of the Gothic Quarter to learn about Barcelona’s Roman history.
- Venture beyond the city for day trips to locations like Girona, Figueres, or the Penedès wine region.
- Choosing a remote hotel to save money may backfire due to commuting costs.
- Ensure your hotel has a safe for storing valuables.
- Opt for local pastries and coffee at a nearby café over expensive hotel breakfasts.
- Arrive in Barcelona with an open mind and a flexible schedule. Embrace spontaneity—it could lead to the best parts of your trip!
That concludes our insider’s guide to Barcelona! Remember these tips to make the most of your journey. Be ready for unexpected surprises and, above all, enjoy your time. Wishing you safe travels and an unforgettable Barcelona adventure!