Two weeks from now, I’ll be traveling for the first time (while studying abroad) outside beloved France to Barcelona ! For a while, I was unsure whether I would be making the trip there because in a month, I will be heading back to Spain to visit Madrid.
Am I making too many trips to Spain? I thought. Eventually, I decided to go ahead and purchase—with closed eyes. I’ve heard Barcelona and Madrid have very different feels; I’m already here and I’m yearning for more adventure. Marseille really whetted my appetite !
Apparently, throwing my money around is exactly what the universe wanted me to do because even two weeks before departure, EasyJet had roundtrip tickets for about 55€. All I have to do now is to starve myself for a week, am I right?
So, I hit the books, yet again. Hopefully my previous experience of traveling has taught me how to straddle being spontaneous and thought-out. But this time, there will be yet another challenge: I will be traveling with friends. Which probably means I will get to 10% of the things on my Barcelona bucket list but have maybe 30% more fun.
Barcelona | A Bucket List
- Las Ramblas: Spain’s most famous pedestrian street.
- Plaça Reial: a 19th-century square surrounded by arcades and restaurants
- Monument a Colom: statue of Columbus. There is a lift here that will take you to the top for panoramic views ! They know what this girl likes.
- Barri Gòtic: a cathedral
- Plaça del Rei: excavated site of Roman Barcelona under the plaza
- Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar: Catalan Gothic
- Port Vell, Port Olímpic, La Barceloneta
- UNESCO sites: Antoni Gaudi works, Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau
- Montjuïc: stroll overlooking the city, take the funicular railway
- Beaches, if it’s warm enough. Barcelona has been named #1 beach city in the world, according to NatGeo.
- Cable car
- Free walking tour
- GET ON ANOTHER BOAT. Yacht this time. Now I want to go to Yacht Week.
- all the clubs.
- MOPED AROUND TOWN!!
So I decided I was being too vague and too list-y with what I had up there. But Michelle, you like vague. That way you’re happy with whatever happens! Especially when you’re traveling with friends. Yes, that’s true, but, who knows if I can accomplish all of that within the 5 days that I’m there? And, since I have dreams of being a travel planner, let’s try breaking this down by day.
First, I plotted out all the general areas that I wanted to see. And then, for efficiency, I’m grouping them into days via proximity. This is especially important since one-way rides with Barcelona’s transit system is 1,20€ and a 10-pass is 6,65€.
The first and last day are set because there time restrictions. However, the three days in between—and their events—can be done in any order.
To help me with understanding Spanish culture and how they tend to spend their 24 hours, I visited this site. A few friends that have studied abroad have also told me this was pretty accurate. The 4-8 gap makes it hard to plan around and will result in more trips via public transportation.
- 5 PM: arrive in Barcelona. Take Aerobus to hostel.
- 6 PM: after settling things and paying, orient yourself—know where all the supermarkets and cafés are. Wander.
- 9 PM: eat
- 11 PM: get ready to go out clubbing!
Day A (no particular order): Gaudi architectural tour + UNESCO hunt
- 11PM: 2.5 hour Gaudi architectural tour, where I will see: Plaça Reial, Casa Mila, Casa Batllo, Sagrada Familia, Palau Guell
- UNESCO hunt (aka one more sight, since I will have seen all Gaudis)
- La Rambla
- Monument a Colomb, hike to the top
- Port Vell
- Palau de la Musica Catalana
Day B (not Saturday): Port & Beach day (if warm enough)
- Old City walking tour (2.5 hours): Plaça Reial, Plaça del Pi, Old Jewish Quarter, Plaça Sant Jaume, The Cathedral Cloister, Plaça Sant Felip Neri, The Roman City, The Medieval City and Plaça del Rei, Santa Maria del Mar
- Port Olímpic
- La Barceloneta (fishermen’s quarter—good seafood)
- Barri Gòtic
- Montserrat (3-4 hours; wake up super early?, 26,60€ all-inclusive ticket; buy tickets in advance at Plaça de Catalunya)
Take the cable car ride—it has better views. But is less comfortable.
Go to the peak of Montserrat on top of the Monastery. Beautiful views there.
Watch the boys’ choir, which performs every day except Saturday
- Beaches, if possible
Day C: Hiking & Yacht-ing
- Hike up to Montjuïc (Magic Fountain)
- Take cable car to the Ports (11€)
- Find a yacht and go out on it (49€)
- Beachfront boardwalk (sunset?)
Last day: Saying goodbye
- Cure hangover
- Revisit favorite places, have brunch
- Arrive at airport by 1:30 PM.
- Hostel: 44€
- Roundtrip bus from Grenoble to Lyon: 35€
- Rountrip plane: 55€
- Two “free” tours: at most 10€
- Food: 20€/day, one day 40€
- Yacht: 49€
- Cable car: 11€
- Montserrat: 26,60€
- 10-pass (hoping to use only 1!!): 6,65€; look into day passes if things end up being further apart than you thought. In regards to clubbing, the train runs until 2AM on Fridays and all throughout the night on Saturdays!
- Cooltra motorbike rental: 26,00€/day !!!
Total: 376€ if I do everything. Chances are, I will not do the Yacht or motorbike rental (depending on what my friends want to do), which will give me an even total of 307€, which roughly comes out to 60€/day. I’m going to try to make it 50€ day, which means saving 50€ someway or another to give me a total of 257€ for the entire trip.