So you call yourself a professional travel writer or blogger?
That’s exactly why we’ve made this post…for you, the professional travel blogger who is coming to Costa Brava to network, share ideas and find inspiration at TBEX Costa Brava, as well as for any bloggers planning on visiting Barcelona in the near future.
Enjoy the 15 tips in this post. We made them especially for you and your colleagues:
The Travel Bloggers Guide For Visiting Barcelona
1. Begin every conversation in Spanish, not English.
You might be tempted by the comforts of your native tongue. Barcelona is an international hub where most shop owners in the city center can speak a little bit of English. Don’t give in. Learn some basic Spanish phrases. Be humble. Try your best to use the native tongue. If you’re feeling adventurous, practice some Catalan phrases.
2. Use AirbnB or another apartment rental service.
Your time in Barcelona is probably limited yet you want a local experience. Ditch the usual comped hotel or hostel and find an Airbnb apartment. There’s no better way to experience the local culture than to live in the middle of it, even if for a night or two.
3. Eat at Burger King, KFC or McDonald’s.
Easy now. The common mantra of “I want the local experience” still applies here. The average Catalan and Spaniard love fast food just as much as you do. Taking in a meal at a fast-food joint outside of the city center will: 1. Keep you humble, and, 2. Remind you that local people, whether in Barcelona or Beijing, like Western culture.
4. Buy a T-10 metro card.
A T-10 metro card (10 trips) is the best way to get around the city. It will cost you €9.95 and give you access to trains, buses, the metro and more. It lasts three months, which gives you just enough time to use your leftover trips when you come back in a few months!
5. Walk Las Ramblas.
Another counter-intuitive tip. Las Ramblas is the city’s main tourist thoroughfare, but it’s important for you to see it because it will give you a more comprehensive understanding of Barcelona. Relishing the “hidden gems” of any city shields you from the full picture of its struggles and success with tourism’s influence.
6. Know your names, dates and places.
When you write about Barcelona during and after your trip, honor the city with your accuracy. Make sure you know how to spell the names of the city’s museums, artists and neighborhoods.
7. Enjoy the melting pot
Though you’ll find Catalan fare and the Catalan language throughout Barcelona, the city is a mix of many different Spanish (Andalusians came here in the 70’s to find work) and Latin cultures. Along with these cultures comes their food – empanadas, sangria and tacos are all imports from other parts of Spain and the world.
8. Eat calcots!
Springtime in Catalonia means the arrival of calcots, a local vegetable that looks and tastes like a cross between a leek and an onion. They’re served with romesco sauce, a Catalan creation dating back to Roman times. Grill the onions, dip them in your romesco, slide them into your mouth, y esta.
9. Choose a restaurant in Horta or Sant Andreu.
These two neighborhoods have a proud Catalan heritage. They’re also teeming with wonderful restaurants and devoid of tourists. That’s a win-win for anyone looking for an authentic experience.
10. Go to the Miró Foundation.
Picasso gets most of the love in Barcelona and Dalí gets most of the love in Catalonia, but it’s Joan Miró who was born in Barcelona. His mosaic adorns the airport’s Terminal 2 and his museum is an education in Catalan creativity, color and thought.
11. Take a tour of the Poble Sec bunkers.
These underground bomb shelters are remnants of the reign of Francisco Franco, Spain’s ruthless dictator who died in 1975. Taking a tour of the Poble Sec bunkers will keep you cognizant of Spain’s — and particularly Barcelona’s — very recent, very heart-wrenching past.
12. Buy your Sagrada Familia tix online.
Save yourself the headache of standing in long lines. Purchase your tickets on the cathedral’s website. Go for the audio guide/tower package at 24€. You’ll get the full experience and the full history.
13. Take in a brunch or breakfast at Pudding.
Visiting Pudding is like walking into a fairy tale. The food is great. The decor is magical. But more than that, Pudding is a reflection of the cultural shift in Barcelona — a brunch restaurant with American-English food influences, an international staff and a mix of Barcelona residents (often with their kids), exchange students and the occasional tourist.
14. Say your prayers at the church in Plaza Sant Just.
Barcelona’s famous churches are La Sagrada Familia, the Barcelona Cathedral, Santa Maria del Mar and Santa Maria del Pi. The Church of St. Just i Pastor is quiet, peaceful and set in a serene corner of the Old City. It’s a 14th-century gem.
15. Ride the Freixitren.
Barcelona’s regional train system (Roadalies) has a partnership with Freixinet, the Catalan winery whose black-bottle sparkling wine is one of the leading cavas (sparkling wine made from native grapes) in the world. A winery tour and round-trip train ride is only 10.80€. You have to book your tour first. Then, buy your Freixetren ticket at any of the orange Rodalies kiosks in Plaza Catalunya.
Pillars Photo Credit: Juanedc, Flickr Creative Commons
Metro Photo Credit: Ddohler, Flickr Creative Commons
Sangria Photo Credit: Divya Thakur, Flickr Creative Commons
Sagrada Familia Photo Credit: Adam Wyles, Flickr Creative Commons