Barcelona has long been known for their unique architecture, parks and history, and has become synonymous with the famous architect, Antoni Gaudi. Barcelona has become one of the hot spots for digital nomads from all around the world. Here you’ll find an incredibly diverse multicultural population, similar to Lisbon. The tapas are out of this world, there are endless options for highly rated food, excellent museums, beautiful parks, and endless things to do and see in this city!
Barcelona was city #5 on our six-month digital nomad travels throughout Europe. In this blog post I’ll cover the following topics:
- How to get around Barcelona
- Language in Barcelona
- Where to find specialty coffee in Barcelona
- 10 quintessential things to do in Barcelona
HOW TO GET AROUND BARCELONA
Before we dive in, let’s talk about how to get around in Barcelona. Uber does not exist in Barcelona, however, they do have their own similar app called Cabify. I recommend that you download the app prior to arrival. Taxis are also widely available, and walking is very easy (and fun!) Barcelona is a large city, so some distances you may find to be a bit too far to walk. E-scooters and bike rentals are also available on the street.
WHICH LANGUAGES ARE SPOKEN IN BARCELONA?
Besides Castilian Spanish, the native language of the region in which Barcelona is located (Catalunya), is Catalan. You will see most signs and menus in both Catalan and Spanish. English is also widely spoken in Barcelona.
WHERE CAN I FIND SPECIALTY COFFEE IN BARCELONA?
If you’re a coffee lover like us, you probably want to know where all the great specialty coffee shops are located in Barcelona! I’ll let you in on a fun little secret: as digital nomads who love coffee and good food, we actually search for top-rated restaurants and coffee shops on Googlemaps, and then plan which neighborhood we’re going to stay based on that! Some brilliant coffee-lover developed an app called BCN Coffee Guide – your guide to finding the best speciality coffee in the city!
10 QUINTESSENTIAL THINGS TO DO IN BARCELONA
- Visit La Sagrada Familia
- Stroll Through Park Güell
- Go on a Gaudi Architecture Hunt
- Watch the Sunset at Turo de la Rovira
- Photograph the Palau de la Musica Catalana
- Take a Cable Car up Montjuïc
- Stroll La Rambla and visit Plaza Catalunya & The Gothic Quarter
- Stroll the Waterfront
- Visit the Museo Picasso
- Eat Tapas!
VISIT LA SAGRADA FAMILIA
If you only have time to do or see ONE thing in Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia should be it! And not just from the outside – the kaleidoscope rainbow magic is on the inside. I wrote an entire blog post dedicated to Gaudi, the architecture and the meaning behind this awe-striking basilica. You can find the post here: Why La Sagrada Familia is One of the Most Magical Basilicas in the World.
STROLL THROUGH PARK GUELL
This artistic park filled with organic shapes and colors, is another one of Gaudi’s brilliant creations. This is a public park, but the section with Gaudi’s work requires a paid entry fee.
GO ON A GAUDI ARCHITECTURE HUNT
Gaudi’s work is apparent all around the city of Barcelona, as he designed and constructed on parks, the famed Sagrada Familia, and even apartment buildings. It’s fun to go on a “treasure hunt” to search for his style, which is characterized by whimsical, flowy shapes and no 90-degree angles. Be sure to also visit Casa Batllo and Casa Mila (bottom right).
WATCH THE SUNSET AT THE TURO DE LA ROVIRA
There are a few good places to watch the sunset in Barcelona, and Turo de la Rovira is one of the best because of how high up it is on the mountain. This is a great place to view La Sagrada Familia, or enjoy a drink with friends.
PHOTOGRAPH THE PALAU DE LA MUSICA CATALANA
TAKE A CABLE CAR UP MONTJUIC
Montjuïc is the highest point in Barcelona, and you can go either by foot or by cable car! There are beautiful gardens surrounding the area, and a giant stadium overlooking the city. On the other side you will find the industrial side of Barcelona, with colorful containers and cargo ships.
STROLL LA RAMBLA AND VISIT PLAZA CATALUNYA
La Rambla is the main tourist district; a wide pedestrian foot path in the median of two roads, lined with green trees and vendor stalls selling arts, crafts, coffee, ice cream and more. This pathway leads to the Plaza Catalunya, the city center where the Gothic District meets the old town.
STROLL THE WATERFRONT
Barcelona is a port city, but also harbors a marina filled with fancy yachts. In fact, there’s even a pedestrian drawbridge where tall sailboats can pass through.
VISIT THE MUSEU PICASSO
The Picasso Museum is a wonderful collection of famous artist, Pablo Picasso, from his early works to his most recognizable pieces. The museum tells a sequential story of the events that occurred in Picasso’s life, which led him to the style he is so known for today, including his somber “blue period”.
Okay, so I know that I told you earlier that if you were to choose only one thing to do in Barcelona, it should be to visit La Sagrada Familia, but if you left Barcelona without trying tapas, it would be equivalent to visiting Hawaii (my home) without trying kalua pork. There are so many incredible regional specialties to try, including manchego cheese with olives, venison (deer meat), pan con tomate (bread brushed with the simple rub of a tomato on top), and you’d better believe Spain is known for their tasty olive oil. Spain produces some of the best olive oil in the world, and it’s served with just about anything. Also, you must try sangria! There are both the red and white varieties, served with various types of seasonal summer fruits, including pineapple, melon, kiwi and strawberry. (And I may or may not be writing this blog post at 1:00 AM on a Friday night under the influence of two glasses of sangria.) 😉
So there you have it! Barcelona and the top 10 quintessential things to do in this wonderful cultural city.
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