10 things to know before visiting Barcelona

Store Luggage and Make the Most of it

Don’t restrict your schedule of sightseeing around having a hotel room to keep your belongings in. You can squeeze a few more hours into your trip by taking advantage of a few places to drop off your things after you have checked out or your hotel.

  • Locker Barcelona operates a facility near Plaça Catalunya which allows easy access to the best attractions in Barcelona. Not to mention, there is an airport shuttle within walking distance.
  • If you find yourself visiting Born, the historic heart of Barcelona, then look into Lock & Be Free for luggage storage. The facility has 24-hour security with fair pricing and convenient perks such as a place to charge your phone, maps and free WIFI.
  • Should everything else fail, check out Stasher. This company works with local businesses such as hotels, shops and cafes to offer security options for storing luggage. This leaves tourists with more than 80 locations around Barcelona to pick from.

Get on Local Time

Be prepared for mealtimes to be later in the evening! Especially if you want to fill your belly with a traditional, savory Spanish meal. Most restaurants won’t open their kitchens for lunch until 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. each day. If you’re desperate, you might be able to grab a bite at a bar but if for a real Spanish meal, you might find yourself waiting until 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. 

If the old city center is high on your list to visit, keep in mind that most restaurants will not be open until 8:00 in the evening!

More than Spanish

Spanish is not the only language in Barcelona. While Spanish is one of the most common languages you may find in Spain, the locals tend to speak Catalan in day-to-day life. Learn a few phrases in Catalan and you will find locals might become more enticed to engage with you.

Visiting La Sagrada Familia

Buy your ticket in advance. This cannot be stressed enough since it is not unheard of for tickets to sell out fast. Don’t let yourself be turned away by showing up at the door expecting to buy a ticket. Save yourself the time and trouble and grab a ticket online for as much as 20 euros for basic entrance. You can even choose to upgrade for a guided tour for a few more euros.

Be Vigilant

While traveling can be exhilarating and you might find yourself overwhelmed with beautiful sights and interesting people, don’t forget to protect your belongings. Unfortunately, Barcelona is well-known for its skilled pickpockets. Pickpockets like to visit La Ramblas, rail stations, beaches and the metro stations. Some key tips:

  • Keep your phones and cameras in your pockets or bags. Do not leave them in the open even at restaurants.
  • Do not keep any expensive or important items in your back pockets.
  • If your purse or bag has a front pocket, leave it empty. For side bags, turn the bag so your front pocket is against your body.

Don’t Plan to Shop on Sundays

Save yourself the trouble and don’t bother shopping on Sundays. Most stores, markets and restaurants will be closed. You might get lucky with a few shops that target tourists as their customers. But if you’re a traveler that likes to visit more local destinations, expect to find shops closed.

Save the Tip

Speaking of going out, unlike some countries, tipping is almost unheard of in Barcelona. This doesn’t mean that tipping does not exist, but most wouldn’t go over 5 to 10 percent. Leaving a large payment for their service might have the server chasing you thinking it’s an error.

Save Money, Skip La Rambla

La Rambla is famous for its street performers and beautiful shops, so it’s not surprising that about every tour guide would recommend visiting La Rambla. This means that the street is overcrowded and much of the wares are overpriced. Not just that, but the number of pickpockets has increased with the number of tourists packed with cash to burn. Out of all the places to visit in Barcelona, this long street of shops is one to skip.

Unique Souvenirs

Don’t waste too much time prowling shops for one-of-a-kind souvenirs to bring home. Head over to Els Encants Vells flea market. Sellers line up near the Design Museum with wares that range from vintage clothes to paintings and even jewelry or silverware. This flea market is two floors and you might find yourself a few rare gems or a few things you might not find anywhere else.

Relax and Don’t Expect a Rush

If you find yourself waiting for a table at a busy restaurant, it is best to move along. Locals tend to live at a very relaxed pace and servers also carry the same mentality. While in other countries, servers often visit tables several times to check on customer, this isn’t always the case in Barcelona. It is best to be prepared to call to your service for refills or to request the check. Things move at a very leisurely pace so kick back and enjoy the ride.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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