You might be surprised to see me do a top 5 of a really popular city and one that has ben covered so much on travel blogs, but it was my first time to tour Barcelona this year and I was quite impressed by it so I thought I’d get a top 5 typed up anyway!
One thing to note is that Barcelona is in Catalonia and locals hate it being referred to as Spain. The language is Catalan and the region is Catalonia, plus you’ll see the famous red and yellow Catalonia flags flying from almost every corner of every street.
Barcelona is a massive city with immense art, culture and historic relevance. I only had 4 days that and admit that wasn’t even but I bunged a top 5 sights in, plus I had a fantastic reunion with my cousin Paul, met up with my old ice cream selling buddy Marc Torrents (a local) and stayed in the best hostel in the city.
Here are my personal top 5 sights in Barcelona when backpacking in Catalonia.
1. Gracia Neighbourhood Tour
As well as being a “separate village”, the truth is that Gracia is part of Barcelona these days and is only a few metro stops north of La Rambla. So get in touch with Devour Barcelona and do their Gracia Neighbourhood Food Tour and get ready for an incredible unique tour taking in this often neglected part of Barcelona.
Aside from the actual food and drink aspect of the tour, you also get to see the culture and architecture, especially Gaudi’s first building, some of these things I included in my Gracia Top 5.
2. La Sagrada Familia
One of the most famous religious buildings in the world, La Sagrada Familia is a must. It’s a church designed by the artist Gaudi and is still not complete. Every day, more work is going on with this church to try and finish it off. It’s just one of those striking buildings that you won’t forget. It’s 13 Euros entry and there are massive queues.
3. Camp Nou
I shouldn’t be obvious here and realistically speaking it would have made more sense for me to visit Espanyol’s stadium instead of Barcelona’s world famous Nou Camp. But you know what my excuse is? The Espanyol stadium is hard to find, not listed on any obvious routes and even worse – there website doesn’t have a map on it. So rather than spend all day trying to locate it (time is tight for me and getting to the Camp Nou was easy), I hopped on a metro to the Camp Nou for the textbook tour that everyone does.
The tour costs 24 Euros and you get onto the pitch, down into the dressing rooms, into the stands and get to see the massive trophy room of one of the most decorated football clubs in the world. If you’re even luckier than me – you might be there for a match and can watch the likes of Messi, Iniesta and Suarez.
Basically this is a backpacker tip, as Monjuic is a free and elevated place to get great views of the city of Barcelona. Simply head to Paral.el metro station and just keep walking up high until you reach the vantage point. You can of course pay extra and get the cable car, but it’s an easy walk.
5. La Rambla
The final sight on this list is again an obvious one – the street of La Rambla just has a great vibe about it and deserves at least a half day exploring. Check out the market, the theatre, the harbour and venture into the Gothic and Born districts for some really cool architecture. Once you’ve done all that – hit the bars and restaurants for some tapas and cerveza. Superb city to relax and watch the world go by in and wander around at leisure.
Since my trip to Barcelona, Monarch Airlines have released a cool traveller’s tips map that helps travellers with some handy tips from all sorts of European and African destinations, with Barcelona one of the most popular places on it. Aside from my top 5 they have some other cool tips on there such as the City Bus Tour, a nice restaurant called Can Paixano to try out and a good tip about buying Metro card tickets in a 10 journey ticket to save money and hassle. What is even cooler is that the tips are written by the Monarch crew, all from their first hand knowledge of checking these cities out in between flights. I was pleasantly surprised by Barcelona and recommend it to everyone out there.
Here are my videos from my time exploring Barcelona while backpacking in Catalonia: