Eco-friendly travel guide to Barcelona advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Barcelona, Spain.
- Air quality: 2.75 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 4 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 4 / 5
- Public transportation: 4 / 5
- Parks: 4 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 4 / 5
- Locals' English level: 3 / 5
- Safety: 4 / 5
- Accommodation: US$80 - $450
- Budget per day: US$60 - $250
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Barcelona is a major city located in the northeastern coast of Spain. It is the largest and capital city of Catalonia, which is an autonomous community in Spain. The city is one of Europe's most popular tourist cities and the favourite F.C. Barcelona football team's home. As a tourist, there are several duties and responsibilities that you need to fulfil to travel responsibly.
Prefer visiting the city during the low season as over-tourism is a significant problem in Barcelona. You will not be able to get the best experience out of your travel in the peak season. The fall, winter, and early spring seasons are ideal for visiting the city as the influx of tourists is relatively less, and you will enjoy it.
With high tourism rates, the demand for accommodation is relatively high, which has resulted in many unregistered accommodation properties. To avoid such places, always see to it if the property is registered for tourism or not. Always prefer staying at green hotels, hostels, and guesthouses as they use eco-friendly measures to minimize their impact on the environment and are also quite affordable.
While exploring the local culture and food in Barcelona, prefer local businesses over big business chains as they serve better quality dishes that are sourced locally. These local businesses offer the same services as the big business chains at a lower rate and better quality. Doing so will help you maintain your budget and support these local businesses to grow.
Air Quality and Pollution
The country Spain, is marked as one of the worst ozone polluters in the world. Spain's major cities like Madrid, Seville, Valencia, and Barcelona are the worst offenders that exceed the government's guidelines and limits of air pollution. Barcelona City is the most significant contributor to the alarming figures of air pollution. The pollution levels are so bad that the city became a host of a jellyfish plague in 2005, resulting in the closing of many beaches in Barcelona. The city has witnessed a rapid increase in heart problems, cancer, asthma, allergies, and many other cardiovascular complications in the locals.
The Barcelona municipality and the Catalonia government have taken specific measures to solve the pollution issue. Here are some statistics as of September 2020, from the World Health Organization regarding the air pollution in Barcelona;
PM10 – 24 PM2.5 – 15 PM10 Pollution Level – Low to Moderate Pollution Index – 64.62 Pollution Exp Scale – 112.90
Respect the Culture
Barcelona is a hub of many political, financial, educational, and cultural activities in Spain. The city has a rich history and cultural heritage that attracts a large number of tourists. While visiting the city and exploring it, you need to be respectful towards the local people, environment, and sites to be responsible tourists. By doing this, you will be able to get a good Barcelona experience.
Top 10 Places to Visit
- Basilica of the Sagrada Familia: Under construction for over 100 years, it is one of the most popular attractions in Spain. Antoni Gaudí designed it as Europe's most unconventional church. The church is a colossal structure surrounded by 18 spindly towers that give it a gothic charm. Located in Carrer de Mallorca, it is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the entry charges start from 14 Euro.
- Casa Batlló: Another modernist marvel was created by Antoni Gaudí, initially constructed in the 19th century for the Batlló family. It has a unique design and structure that gives off fairytale vibes. The nickname Casa del Drac in Spanish has been given in Spanish, which means House of Dragon because of the quasi reptile-like tile façade. It can be found on Passeig de Gracia and is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The entry fees start from 22 Euros and ranges according to the age groups of the visitors.
- Palau de la Música Catalana: It is a 19th-century opera hall created by a Catalan architect, Lluis Domenech I Montaner, who is considered the embodiment of Catalan Modernism. The exterior of the opera hall has detailed mosaic work along with decorative columns. The interior of the gallery exhibits a glass ceiling that is made with stained-glass. It is from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every day, and the entry fee starts from 16 Euros.
- Casa Milà: Also called La Pedrera in Spanish, which means 'the stone quarry,' it is the last private residence building designed by Antoni Gaudí. It has a rough façade with chimneys designed like the storm-trooper helmets in Star Wars. Currently, the residence houses Fundacio Catalunya, a cultural centre that organizes many events throughout the year. Casa Milà is located on Carrer de Provenca. It is usually open for tourists and the general public from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with an entry fee of 21 Euro per head.
- Camp Nou: Home of the F.C. Barcelona football team, it is the largest football stadium in Europe. It was first opened in 1957 and has been the home stadium of F.C. Barcelona since. A trip to Barcelona is incomplete without visiting Camp Nou as it has hosted many notable matches. Like concerts and cultural events, many other activities are also held at the stadium, and it is a great place to learn about the local culture.
- Torre Glòries: It a recent addition to the city's landscape; it was opened in 2005 and is a modern-styled office building. The tower houses Aigües de Barcelona, the water company in Barcelona. It was designed by a French architect named Jean Nouvel, and it features an intelligent temperature control system that operates using automatic sensors. The tower is a 38-story skyscraper covered with about 4,500 LED lights that feature a nocturnal illumination.
- Tibidabo Amusement Park: It is a must-visit place that gives beautiful views of the city Barcelona. It is one of the oldest and still working amusement parks built in 1899 by Salvadir Andreu and opened in 1905. The amusement park's Ferris wheel sits alongside Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor (or Sacred Heart Church), at the top of Mount Tibidabo. The park offers two roller coasters, a water ride, bumper cars, and other traditional rides.
- Mirador de Colom: Built as a homage to Christopher Columbus, it is a monument that stands at the end of La Rambla Street. It offers panoramic views of the city and the sea from the elevation points that can be accessed through an elevator. It is about 60 meters tall and consists of a base, plinth, pedestal, and a bronze statue of Christopher Columbus at the top. It is open throughout the year from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Port Vell Aerial Tramway: It is an essential part of the city's iconic landscape that dates back to 1931. It is an aerial tramway that starts from Barceloneta's neighbourhood and ends at Montjuïc hill. It provides fantastic views of the city and is a great way to discover the city’s beauty. It is open throughout the year and is usually accessible from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Many historical and culturally significant places in Barcelona are worth exploring. These places will give you valuable insights into the local culture, history, livelihood, and traditions of the Spanish communities in Barcelona.
- Park Güell: It is another renowned architecture project of Antoni Gaudí with his patron, Eusebi Güell. Originally a model home was going to be built. It was abandoned and later donated to Barcelona's local council that transformed it into a public park because of no investment. It is quite popular amongst locals and tourists as a peaceful park devoid of smoke and city noise. It is located in Carrer d’Olot area and is accessible to everyone with a small entry fee of 10 Euro. It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. every day throughout the year.
- Parc De La Ciutadella: It is located in the heart of the city and is often considered as Barcelona's central park. It was built in 1877 and has been a place for recreational and group activities since. It houses the famous Barcelona Zoo and the Catalan Parliament as well. It is located in Passeig de Picasso and is free to access to all. It is open for the public from 10 a.m. every morning to 10:30 p.m.
- Doctor Pla i Armengol Gardens: It is a great place to get away from the city's hustle-bustle and enjoy some peaceful time in the lap of nature. These gardens cover about 4 hectares of land and feature diverse biodiversity of plants and small animals such as frogs, turtles, birds, bats, and insects. You can spend some peaceful time in these gardens and explore, observe, and learn about the variety of vegetables growing in the urban playground. You can also visit the public swimming pool next door to cool off in the summer season.
- Cervantes Park: Located in the Les Corts district, it is a beautiful park with stretched out green spaces with slopes. The park's main attraction is the rose garden that homes over 10,000 types of roses from spring to autumn. It is the ideal place for those who seek for some peaceful time and relax. Athletes often use the broad paths of the park while training.
- Turó de la Peira Park: It is located in the Nou Barris neighbourhood with an elevation point of 140 meters that gives fantastic scenic views of Barcelona's northwestern neighbourhoods. The park offers many picnic areas, open spaces, playgrounds for children. You can take part in bocce ball, table tennis, basketball, volleyball, and football games with the locals in the park and spend some fantastic time with them.
- Poblenou Central Park: Designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel, it is a Mediterranean vegetation garden with playgrounds and ping-pong tables for kids. It is a popular city park in Barcelona that offers a getaway from the city's crowded spaces. The beautifully designed green spaces amplify the beauty of the park.
- Parc del Laberint d’Horta: It is Barcelona’s one of the historic and oldest parks that features a Labyrinth made with cypress trees. The maze also has numerous sculptures from Greek mythology that surrounds the terraces. It is located in the former estate of the Desvallas family and covers over 9 hectares in land area. It is divided into two parts; the neoclassical garden and the romantic garden. It is accessible to all from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day with a small entry fee starting from 1.42 to 2.23 Euro.
- Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera: It is one of Barcelona's lesser-known gardens and is home to over 800 varieties of cactus and other desert and sub-tropical plants. You will find comparatively fewer visitors in the gardens and a great place to get some peaceful time without any interference. It is located in the Montjuïc region close to the seafront and on the hill's southern side.
- Serra de Collserola Natural Park: It is one of the largest metropolitan parks in the world, with an area of 84.65-kilometer square. The park is home to thousands of plants such as Aleppo pines, nut pines, maquis, evergreen oak-lands, and riverside copses. It also homes rich wildlife, including wild boars, genets, badgers, rabbits, salamanders, newts, green tree frogs, doves, woodpeckers, tree-creepers, blue tits, the giant turtle, and snakes. The locals often use recreational activities such as walking, cycling, and bird watching.
- Vallvidrera Reservoir: It is an ideal park for nature lovers and those who like to spend some peaceful time. It is best to be visited during spring or autumn as it is filled with greenery and enables you to enjoy some quality time in nature. You will find that it is a family-friendly and can be a little crowded in the peak seasons. It is easily accessible by taking a short walk from the Baixador de Vallvidrera station.
- Natural del Garraf Park: Located between the Baix Llobregat, el Alt Penedès, and El Garraf ranges in the Catalan Coastal Range region is a haven for nature lovers. It is filled with endless trails that can be accessed by walking and biking. It is divided into two parts where one part consists of chalky rocks or dolomites, and the second part, which is a smaller one, has reddish sandstones. The park has an astronomy observatory and a Buddhist Temple that are must-visit places if you see the park.
- Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park: This National Park is a four hour ride from Barcelona and is located in Lleida. The trip is definitely worth it and if you take a train it will only cost you 25€. This park is known for a scenic mix of glacial lakes, waterfalls, and rushing streams, spiked by towering granite peaks with flanks clad in fir and pine forests. On the high pastures, carpets of wildflowers roll out in spring.
- Barceloneta Beach: It is the most popular beach in Barcelona that shares its name with La Barceloneta neighbourhood. It is usually bustling with tourists and is the most crowded beach. There are many restaurants and cafes nearby that serve fresh seafood. You can indulge in various water sports as well as windsurfing, kite-surfing, swimming, etc.
- Nova Icaria Beach: With about 400 kilometres of sandy beaches and sea, it is the most peaceful beach in Barcelona. Unlike the Barceloneta beach, it offers a vast area where families can enjoy some quiet time, and people can indulge in beach games such as volleyball. It is also packed with great restaurants that serve a vast range of cuisines.
- Ocata Beach: Located outside the city, it is ideal for those people that prefer fewer crowds. It is a long and spacious beach with pristine golden white sand. Because of the privacy aspect, it is a kind of luxury beach, especially in the summers. You spend some peaceful time and even indulge in some water sport activities or visit the nearby eateries to eat mouthwatering Spanish foods.
- Mar Bella: Twice the size of Nova Icaria Beach and built during the restoration of the Olympic Games in Barcelona, offers a peaceful time even though it is located inside the city. Unlike other city beaches like Barceloneta Beach and Sant Sebastia, which are crowded with both tourists and restaurants, Mar Bella Beach has fewer restaurants. It offers excellent opportunities for water sports such as kayaking, windsurfing, swimming, etc.
- Sant Sebastia: Similar to the environment of Barceloneta Beach, it is located close to the eastern end of the city. Many land and water sports occur at the beach, such as volleyball, extreme sports, windsurfing, swimming, boating, surfing, etc. It is usually packed with tourists and locals during the peak season and is a great way to experience Barcelona's local culture.
- La Rambla: It is one of Barcelona's most iconic streets that stretches from Plaça de Catalunya to the seafront. As a tourist, it is a must-visit place as it is lined with various cafes, shops, restaurants, and the La Boqueria food market to get the best experience of the local culture and food.
- Passeig de Gràcia: It is a historic route that wasn't part of the city before the 19th century and was an independent town designed similar to the Champs-Élysées area in Paris. It is a bustling area where you will find various clothing, designer shops, and luxury boutiques. It is an integral part of Barcelona, where you can explore and learn about the city's fashion.
- Arc de Triomf: It is an important heritage site in Barcelona where various cultural fairs, markets, and parades occur. Built as the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition, its structure is similar to the eponymous triumphal arch in Paris. It was made by Josep Vilaseca I Casanovas, a modernist architect.
- Carrer de Blai: Located at the base of Montjuïc, it is a long pedestrian street that is famous for the bars that serve pintxos, which are bite-sized Basque morsels. The neighbourhood serves cold caña or draft beer that attracts both locals and tourists. It is a popular spot after work hours as a lot of crowd visits the bars to grab the beer and snacks on their way home.
- Museu d’Art Contemporani De Barcelona: It is one of the best contemporary art museums in Barcelona and showcases exquisite pieces of modern art. It was built in 1995 by an American architect named Richard Meier. The museum is located on Placa dels Angels and is a must-visit place on your trip to Barcelona. It is accessible for everyone from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a small entry fee of
11 Euro per head.
- Picasso Museum: It is built as a testimony to Pablo Picasso as the city was an essential part of the artist's life. The museum showcases some of the rare and early works by Picasso that depict his relationship with Barcelona. It is located in the Carrer Montcada region that is open to the general public from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. with an entry fee starting from 7 Euro.
- Barcelona City History Museum: The museum showcases the Gothic Quarter's well-preserved Roman sites, including Augustus's temple, the Funeral Way, and Placa Del Rei. The Placa del Rei is considered the ideal place where the city's ancient history is depicted in complex layers. The museum covers about 4,000 square meters that are accessible through elevated walkways. The museum is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a break at 2 p.m. every day with an entry fee starting from 7 Euro.
- Barcelona Chocolate Museum: A haven for chocoholics is a museum that showcases Barcelona's close and long relationship with cacao-based things. The museum exhibits many chocolate sculptures and can blow your mind away with their intricate designs. The museum also offers the visitors to learn about making chocolate and taking part in a workshop where they can be chocolatiers for the day.
- Montjuïc Castle& Poble Espanyol: The Montjuïc castle sits at the top of Montjuïc, constructed in the 17th century as a military fortress. It has served as an army base and a prison during the Spanish Civil War and is currently a public museum. Poble Espanyol is an outdoor museum that sits alongside Montjuïc castle. It showcases all of Spain’s unique regions. The museum features 117 buildings to showcase Spanish villages. The place often holds large cultural events that depict Spain’s history, culture, and food.
Barcelona has a reputation for being a culinary hotspot because of the availability of fresh food markets and gourmet restaurants in abundance. Your trip to Barcelona is incomplete without indulging in the mouthwatering Spanish delicacies and street food.
Traditional Local Restaurants
These restaurants are some of those restaurants in Barcelona that continue to serve traditional Spanish food made in traditional ways. They are must-visit places to get a good Barcelona experience.
- Nou Cellar: It is one of those restaurants that serve authentic Catalan cuisines in an affordable menu during the week. It is located on Carrer Princesa in El Born neighbourhood and is quite popular amongst tourists. The restaurant’s menu features Catan dishes such as braised pork cheeks, crema Catalana, and roast chicken.
- L’Antic Magatzem: A popular restaurant amongst the locals, it serves simple home-cooked Catalan dishes at low and affordable prices. It is located on Carrer d’Aldana, and more locals can be found here than tourists as it does not have any website. It is an ideal place to indulge in local Catalan food that is pocket friendly.
- 7 Portes: One of the oldest restaurants in Barcelona, 7 Portes, has provided services for over 180 years since its opening in 1836. As the name suggests, the restaurant is located by the port and is quite popular amongst locals and tourists. It serves fresh and high-quality seafood as well as other Catalan cuisines.
- Can Pineda: Located in the El Clot neighbourhood was opened in 1904 that serves some traditional Catalan dishes. Because of the location, not many tourists can be found but is quite renowned amongst the locals. The menu includes seafood dishes, Jamon Iberico, meat stews, and other Catalan cuisines at their finest.
- Ca I’lsidre: Opened by a couple in 1970, it has been operation for nearly 50 years. The restaurant serves dishes of Catalan tradition while keeping up with modern tastes. You will find both rustic dishes and contemporary dishes. The restaurant is located on Carrer de Les Flors and is more on the expensive side.
Vegetarian and Vegan
For those tourists who are health and diet conscious, various vegetarian and vegan restaurants are also available to taste local Spanish flavors.
- Vegetalia: It is one of the most popular vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona that is famous for the vegan carrot cake. Located on Carrer dels Escudellers, the restaurant serves vegetarian and vegan dishes for the diet and health-conscious people. The ingredients are grown in the restaurant’s local urban eco-garden.
- Quinoa Bar Vegetarià: It is a small vegan café that serves plant-based vegan dishes. The menu of the café changes according to the season and serves some of the most irresistible vegan cakes. It also offers a Sicilian bio wine and local craft beer to the customers. It is located on Travessera de Gràcia and often offers live music to the customers on its outdoor terrace.
- Aguaribay: Located in the Poble Nou district, it is a haven for vegans. The restaurant serves dishes with a fusion of Mexican, Japanese and Spanish flavours that give an unpredictable edge. The main attraction of the restaurant is the quality and authenticity of the ingredients.
- The Blue Project: A restaurant/café located near the Ciutadella Park is famous for its dish 'Pizza Cósmica,' a dehydrated pizza base made with buckwheat and carrot with a generous layer juicy tomato puree and is topped with cashew cheese, rocket, and olives.
- Rasoterra: It is a popular vegetarian restaurant in the Gothic Quarter that serves dishes made with local ingredients such as mushrooms, seaweeds, wasabi, cabbage, almonds, etc. It is quite popular amongst diet and health-conscious people, and the pricing is quite reasonable.
Barcelona's street vendors serve many unique and delicious foods that are part of Spain's cultural heritage. These food items are must-eat ones to get proper exposure to the city's culture.
- Bocadillo: It is a Spanish lunch sandwich that is made with Spanish bread, which is sweet to taste. It is a widespread street food amongst the locals for lunch. You can choose the seasoning to put in your sandwiches like mustard, tomato sauce, or just mayonnaise. The best place to try Bocadillo in Barcelona is Pearlyn Min, which offers its customers beer, wine, and coffee to go with the sandwich.
- Patatas Bravas: It is a Spanish version of potato fries that is a super deep-fried and irregularly cut potato. It is seasoned with spicy sauces and herbs and is usually served in bars. It is a cheap and simple street food that goes exceptionally well with alcohol. You can try this street food in Tomas Bar in Barcelona, which serves the best quality patatas bravas.
- Churros: Not many people know that churros are Spanish originated. You will find that churros are available on nearly every street, café, and restaurant in Spain because of the worldwide popularity. Barcelona's street food shops serve it with melted chocolate that makes it comfort food for most people.
- Paella: The world-famous paella is another Spanish street food dish made with simple ingredients such as prawns, vegetables, and rice. It is also served with rabbit meat and chicken meat. Some of the best-tasting paellas can only be found in Spain and easily found at street food shops and restaurants near the Mediterranean coast.
- Chorizo: It is one of the most famous street foods in Spain and is a major attraction for locals and tourists. It is a unique type of sausage fermented, smoked, and cured, which gives it a distinct red colour from paprika. It is used in sandwiches as fillings and also eaten alone with simmered liquids.
- Empanada: It is traditional Spanish street food, a thick dough pastry with various types of fillings such as cheese, vegetables, minced meat, and even fruits. The dish originated from the Galicia region in the 1500s, and, because of its popularity, it is now available in all restaurants, cafes, and street food stalls in Spain. The place that serves this traditional pastry in Barcelona is La Fabrica, which has branches in all city significant areas.
- Pinchitos: It is a Spanish version of the world-famous street food; kebabs. It is skewered meat of lamb or chicken that is cooked over a brazier of charcoal. It is seasoned with spicy herbs and spices and served hot. Its popularity can be found in almost all street food stalls, bars, and even restaurants, and are often eaten with rice.
- Jamon Iberico: Made with pork from Iberian black pig found in Spain, it is a novelty food in Spain. The dish is a variety of cured ham made of pork and is popular street food in Spain. This cured ham is also used as a filling in bocadillo by some locals. This dish can be found in almost every street food stall and is loved by locals and tourists.
People in Barcelona love to drink, especially in gatherings and special occasions. The locals are simple and laid-back ones that prefer enjoying the time they have. Spain is the third-largest producer of wine in the world and the capital city of Catalonia region; Barcelona offers a wide variety of wines from the different areas of Spain. Some popular drinks in Barcelona are;
- Cava: The city’s famous liquor, it is officially produced in the Catalonia region only. It is a sparkling wine that is available in white and rosé flavour. It is quite popular amongst both locals and tourists.
- Coffee: Unlike other places where coffee is served in large-sized cups and is usually consumed in a rush, Barcelona's people are quite laid back and prefer to drink their coffee at the café or bar even if they need to go somewhere. Café con Leche (coffee with steamed milk), café solo (Spanish expresso), and café cortado (coffee with a little amount of milk) are the most common coffee variants in Barcelona and cost less than 2 Euro.
- Vermut: Usually drunk between lunch and dinner, it is a sweet fortified wine served in a small tumbler with ice cubes, orange slice, and olives. It is quite a popular drink amongst the locals and is common in group meets and hangouts.
- Gin & Tonic: The Spanish version of gin & tonic is quite different than in other countries. It is served in a large glass with premium gins. It is a potent drink and has attractive garnishes and unique flavours.
- Horchata: Originated from Valencia City, it is a drink made with tiger nuts. It is often considered as a refreshing drink and is expected during the summers in Barcelona. A lot of the lactose-intolerant people in Barcelona use Horchata as an alternative to milk.
Barcelona's tap water meets all international standards, even E.U. and WHO, and is considered perfectly safe to drink. Barcelona's local water company, Aigües de Barcelona, governs tap water supply in the city. The primary sources of tap water in Barcelona are the Ter and Llobregat rivers, which are very high in magnesium and potassium. The river Llobregat’s water is often considered a bit on the salty side because it passes through a very salty region on Barcelona's northwest side.
The city also has a desalinization plant set up to reduce the level of salts in the water but can only meet 20% of the city's demand. Drinking water is also available in plastic bottles and is considered to taste better than tap water but is very harmful to the local environment and costly as well.
Barcelona offers many fine dining options and a fantastic tapas scene that serve a wide variety of Spanish and international delicacies. Those people who prefer healthier foods and are more on the conscious side, the organic cafes and restaurants are ideal places to detox your body. These places serve vegetarian and vegan dishes with 100% organic ingredients that are quite mouthwatering and pocket friendly. Some popular organic cafes in Barcelona are:
- Woki Organic Market Plaça Catalunya
- Petit Brot – Cold Press
- Restaurante OhBo
- OBBIO Supermercat Ecològic
The majority of the breweries in Barcelona produce craft beer popularized by a Brit named Steve Huxley. Many craft breweries produce this particular beer, and they also have shops in the city where these beers are sold. These brewery shops are trendy amongst the locals for an after-work drink. These local breweries traditionally make the craft beers with creative choices that often include lager, stout, wheat, pilsner, ALE, and even IPA. Some of the most popular craft beer breweries in Barcelona are;
- Tibidabo Brewing
- Edge Brewing
- Cyclic Beer Farm C.L.
- Barna Brew
- Garage Beer Co.
- Cervesa R115
Other than the many tourist spots, there are many thrilling activities in which you can indulge in full exposure to Barcelona's Spanish culture. These activities will not only help you create a memorable time in Barcelona but will also make your heart race. These activities are the best way to experience the local culture and be a part of it. You may even come across hidden gems of the culture and make your trip even more fantastic than you planned. These activities include;
- Eating Tapas and Flamenco Dance
- Ride a Steel Donkey
- Chill at Sub-Zero Beach Bar
- Spanish cooking class with a Spanish chef
- Create your own Cava
- Play your wits against the puzzles and challenges of an Escape Room
- Take a food tour of Sant Antoni
- Sea Kayaking on Costa Brava
- Learn local Lingo
Yoga and Retreats
With the increasing popularity of wellbeing with yoga, many yoga centres have opened up in Barcelona. These places offer their customers inner harmony and wellbeing. There are many yoga and recreational centres in Barcelona, but only a few have an experienced and proper yoga teacher. Here are some yoga places in Barcelona that are quite reputed and often organize their members' wellbeing.
- Cal Pau Cruset
- Surya Retreats
- Yoga Weeks
- Yoga Ret
Although Barcelona is quite famous amongst the tourists, the accommodation options are not very expensive. There are many hotels, hostels, and guest houses that offer various rooms according to your budget's affordability. These places help the tourists to have a comfortable and convenient stay in Barcelona. There are many green hotels, camping sites, and couch-surfing hosts that offer accommodation at much cheaper rates and are ideal for those with a tight budget.
You can opt for booking a hotel room or set a deal with a couch-surfing host before visiting Barcelona to make your trip even more convenient. Although couch-surfing is a recent concept of accommodation, it is gaining a lot of popularity in Barcelona. The minimum cost of living per night at a hotel or guesthouse is about $25.
These are eco-friendly hotels that use sustainable measures to reduce their impact on the local environment.
- Casa Camper: Located near MACBA, the museum of contemporary art in the Raval neighbourhood, it is a modern and stylish hotel. The hotel uses a water recycling system to reduce its impact on the local environment. The water recycling system helps lower the water consumption by 50%, and the water is re-used in the hotel's toilets.
- Hotel Andante: It is another eco-friendly hotel that offers different affordable accommodation options according to their guests' budget. It is located on Av. De Les Drassanes and follows specific measures to reduce their impact on the environment, such as solar panels and LED lighting.
- Mas Salagros Eco-Resort: Located outside the city, that has earned the tag of 100% eco-friendly hotel. Situated in the Riera de Vallromanes area, it uses locally produced bio-fuels to recycle the collected rainwater. The beds and mattresses in the rooms are made using natural and sustainable wood sourced materials.
- Hotel Yurbban: Member of the Barcelona Sustainable Tourism Association, the hotel promotes sustainable tourism in Barcelona. It is located in the El Born district and offers various rooms according to its guests' affordability. It has also awarded a Class A building certificate for using a thermal insulation system and a smart climate-control system with efficient lighting and machinery.
- The W Hotel: Located in a prime located near the Barceloneta beach, it is a luxurious but sustainable hotel. The hotel uses measures to reduce water wastage in rooms, LED lighting with motion sensors to reduce energy consumption, and green packaging for meetings. It is ideal for people who prefer enjoying 5-star luxury without a guilty conscience.
- Sixty-two Hotel: Located on Passeig de Gracià, it is a modern hotel that provides its guests with dishes prepared using KMO products. KMO products are products produced within 100 kilometres that promote local products' use to develop the local communities. The hotel also offers easy access to Barcelona's designer stores and boutiques, making it a convenient option for most tourists.
Hostels and Guest Houses
Ideal for solo travellers or those with a tight budget, these are quite common accommodations amongst tourists.
- Hostal Twentytú: It is a green hostel in Barcelona that is ideal for solo travellers and doesn't mind sharing other travellers' rooms. It is awarded many prized and accreditations for its sustainable measures such as gray water recovery, pneumatic waste collection, and Smartwatt devices to reduce energy consumption. It is located on Carrer de Pamplina and is the best green hostel for solo travellers.
- Hostal Grau: It is another green hostel of Barcelona that provides rooms designed and furnished using sustainably sourced materials like coco-mat mattresses and banana wood bedside tables. The hostel offers its guests an 'Off Room' where they can enjoy some quality time without disturbance from mobile phones and other electronic gadgets and devices.
- Hostel One Paralelo: Ideal for solo travellers is located in the Poble Sec area and offers a home-cooked meal to its guests. It also provides a communal living area where the guests can eat home-cooked meals and share their Barcelona experiences. It organizes various activities everyday and proper security to the guests.
- St Christopher’s Inn:Located in the heart of Barcelona, it is a guesthouse that offers the guests their pod bed that has a USB socket, reading lamp, plug for electronic devices, and secure storage under the bed. It has its restaurant on the ground floor that offers an excellent environment for its guests to socialize and share their experiences.
- Bed and Bike Barcelona: It is an ideal accommodation option for those who prefer active tourism. It offers not only a clean and quiet environment but also bikes rental services. It is located near Arc de Triomf and Estació del Nord and hosts various special events to entertain their guests.
- TOC Hostel Barcelona: Ideal place for couples or groups, it offers shared dorms, suites, and even private rooms. It is located near the central Plaça de la Universitat and provides a terrace pool with a sun deck where you can lounge with your partner or friends. It also gives free access to Wi-Fi, washing machines, and computers to its guests.
Hotels are often the number one choice for tourists as they are usually cheaper and convenient, but tourists visiting the city for a longer time should always prefer renting out an apartment. There are many affordable apartment options for tourists. A lot of these places are located near the prime locations and are the best ones to rent. Before renting out an apartment, inspect the site properly and get reviews from the other residents.
Apartments are usually cheaper when rented with a group of friends. A new concept called 'Aparthotel' has started gaining popularity in Barcelona. It is a small apartment within a hotel ideal for families and groups. These apartments have an en-suite kitchen with the required appliances and utensils.
Couch-surfing is a new accommodation where a tourist can stay at a local person's house for a particular time. This type of practice is usually done by young college students to earn a little money at the side. It is a legal concept and has its website where you can search for couch-surfing hosts in the city you are going to town. You need to contact these hosts and set a deal with mutual consent for a particular time stay before visiting the city.
- Camping Barcelona: Located in Barcelona's northern region, it is a popular campsite that offers various services such as a swimming pool, supermarket, restaurant, internet café, animal farm, special workshops, and free transport to Mataró Beach. You can also rent a bicycle to explore the nearby areas by yourself.
- Camping Tres Estrellas: Situated about 12 kilometres outside Barcelona, the campsite offers a wide range of activities to give the campers a proper exposure to the local food, lifestyle, and culture of the local communities. The camp also offers volleyball nets, flamenco shows, clowns, and movies for children. The campsite is situated on the beach, which can give a great camping experience.
- Camping Masnou: Located in Masnou town about 15 kilometres north of Barcelona, the campsite doesn't have a good website but is quite popular in the region amongst campers. It offers various amenities such as a pool, supermarket, showers, laundry area, etc. It is open throughout the year, even during the cold winter of Barcelona.
How to Get There
Like many major cities in [[Europe[[, Barcelona also possesses a well-planned transportation network that helps the locals and tourists to travel inside and outside the city. Many facilities are depending upon where you want to travel. The public transport is the most affordable and convenient one, and you should opt for those modes of vehicles to maintain your budget. Also, public transports like buses, trains, bicycles, subway, etc. have a more comprehensive range than private transportation.
Josep Tarradellas Barcelona El-Prat Airport is the only airport in the city and the second-largest in Spain. It is located about 12 kilometers away from the city center and comes under the El Prat de Llobregat, Viladecans, and Sant Boi municipalities. The airport serves over 50 million passengers every year and is considered the busiest airport in Europe. It offers many international and domestic flights to various major cities.
The Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona is the public agency that manages transportation through buses in Barcelona. Buses are the cheapest mode of transport, and a lot of them offer excellent tours of the city and are pocket-friendly. Many private tour buses provide a great trip to the city's best sites and provide a local, knowledgeable guide.
Barcelona's central railway station is the Estació de Sants railway station, the most crucial transportation hub. It is located in Rodalies de Catalunya and provides regional, inter-city, national, and even international destination trains. This public mode of transport is quite popular amongst the locals as a cheap and convenient mode. The railway station also includes a metro line and a tram line used daily by locals and tourists to reach different city areas.
A lot of hitchhikers consider hitchhiking immensely challenging in Spain because it is not easy. If you want to hitch in Spain, all you need to do is find the right spot for hitchhiking; the better the location, the better the hitchhiking experience. The local Spanish people are amicable and welcoming.
Although not all of them will be able to give you a ride, they will offer you money, food, directions to stations, and even salute you. It is not the most convenient way of transportation but is common among solo travelers and people with a low budget.
Other than these standard modes of transportation, different ways include boats, cruise ships, taxis, and rented cars. These are not the most convenient modes, as they are not affordable and harmful to the environment. Even if you are not on a tight budget, you should avoid these modes of transportations as they result in a lot of wastage of natural resources. Also, these transportations are often overcharged and do not provide much exposure to the local culture.
Moving around in Barcelona is relatively easy as there is a wide variety of transportation services to help you explore even the city's most remote areas. The most common way to explore is by renting a bicycle. Bicycles in Spain are called as 'steel donkeys' and are very popular amongst the tourists.
The local Spanish people are amicable, and you will be able to explore and learn about the local culture on a first-hand basis. You may face the language barrier as Spanish is the most prominent language, but you can always overcome that by using translating applications, sign languages, or learning some Spanish words.
Walking is the best way of exploring a city as it costs nothing. You will be able to access even the most remote areas of the city where vehicles cannot reach or don't have a proper road. While walking, you will be able to learn about the local culture by observing the local people. The local people are amicable and love to help out tourists.
You can ask them for directions, and they will help you out without a second thought. You will find that walking is a common way of travel even by the locals as it is a healthy activity that helps in keeping in shape.
The Spanish people call bicycles 'Steel Donkeys' and are a popular mode of transport. You might face some problems because of the popularity while renting them out as they often get out-of-stock. You might need to book them in advance to avoid any trouble. These bicycles are a great way to explore the narrow streets and pathways of Barcelona. As compared to walking, bikes are a faster and less exhausting way of travel and can also help you keep in shape.
More than 40% of total electronic vehicles are in the Catalonia area, and Barcelona is a leading city with about 15% of electronic cars in the total in Spain. Because of such popularity of electronic vehicles, there are about 11 charging stations for Barcelona's electric vehicles. There are many electric motorbikes, cars, and bicycles in Barcelona for locals and tourists with a reasonable charge for renting.
To help save the environment and promote the use of electronic vehicles, Barcelona's government charges no fee for parking in blue and green zone spaces. With lower charging prices and about 75% tax bonus, these vehicles have become quite popular in Barcelona. While exploring the city, these vehicles are the best eco-friendly and pocket-friendly mode of transportation.
Public buses in Barcelona are the cheapest mode of public transportation. It is a standard mode of transport amongst the locals, and they use it daily to go to and fro from home to the workplace. These buses are a convenient way of getting to destinations inside the city.
Tram, Train and Subway
People use these transports for a faster way of moving around the city. You will find that trains and subways help you reach destinations inside and outside the city as they have a more comprehensive range than trams. On the other side, trams work only in some particular areas inside the city and are a great way of experiencing the local culture.
Sustainable shopping refers to buying products that have less impact on the environment and society. This type of shopping is done to promote eco-friendly and recyclable products while emphasizing local businesses' use. These businesses sell a wide range of everyday items that are cheaper and environmentally friendly. Some of the best sustainable shops in Barcelona are;
- Back to Eco
- Orígens Craft & Design
- Home on Earth
- El Petit Rusc
Barcelona's food markets are popular amongst the locals and the tourists as they are packed with fresh and high quality produce. These places provide visitors with an authentic taste of Spanish food while promoting local businesses. Here are some of the popular food markets in Barcelona;
- La Boqueria
- Mercat de Santa Caterina
- Mercat de la Barceloneta
- La Llibertat Market
- Mercat de Sant Antoni
Flea markets are markets that sell low priced products by local traders. These markets often consist of used or second-hand items in good condition and can be used again. Some of these markets operate daily, whereas some markets operate on special days or fixed days of the week.
- Rastro de la Virgen
- Dominical de Sant Antoni
- Mercat del Encants
Second Hand Stores
These stores sell used items at a lower rate and are popular amongst inferior income group peoples as they cannot afford them at their retail price. These stores sell a wide variety of items such as clothes, furniture, books, and other reusable items.
- Lost & Found
- Texas Thrift Store
- Love Vintage
With the widespread need for eco-friendly practices, eco-fashion or sustainable fashion has started to gain huge popularity because they are environment-friendly and pocket-friendly. Many eco-friendly fashion stores in Barcelona offers a wide range of sustainable and organic fashion collections. These clothes are made with organic fabrics and recycled materials with the use of sustainable practices. Here are some popular eco-fashion stores in Barcelona;
- GreenLifeStyle EcoFashion
- Humus Barcelona
- Velvet Bcn
With the growing awareness of the need for environmental protection, Spain has the highest recycling rate in Europe. Barcelona's government has adopted various measures for the proper disposal of trash, and about 70% of the population follows these measures. The municipalities have allotted multiple containers for different types of garbage items, such as the yellow boxes are used for plastic, cans, milk cartons, metal lids, and other recyclable items. The green containers are used for the disposal of glass items. Because of such extensive measures for proper recycling, Barcelona has started to become the cleanest city in Spain.
The local municipalities and garbage disposal agencies in Barcelona follow proper disposal measures to keep the city clean. There are different containers allotted for the different types of waste. The yellow and green boxes are for recyclable items, blue containers are used for disposal of printed items, brown containers are used to remove organic substances, and the grey containers are used for non-recyclable items. The local municipality makes sure that both locals and tourists follow the proper waste management measure, and whoever fails to follow is fined.
Work and Study Abroad
The city of Barcelona offers some of the best opportunities in education and professional fields. Many international students study in universities and colleges as the city offers some of the best education facilities. As the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean Sea, the town also offers excellent career opportunities that attract many foreign professionals.
Because of the city's cultural and historical significance, many foreign exchange students study in Barcelona's national and international universities. These institutions provide various scholarship opportunities to many students enrolled in the student exchange program.
- University of Barcelona
- Open University of Catalonia
- Barcelona College of Chiropractic
- Pompeu Febra University
- Harbour Space University
Au Pairing is a widespread practice in Barcelona where a foreign person helps out a family take care of their children's education or help out in the finances. In return, the au pair gets some monetary allowances that they can use for their personal use. This type of practice is common in Barcelona with low-income families as they cannot provide proper education facilities to their children.
To play your role as a responsible tourist, the best thing you can do to help the local Spanish communities is by taking part in volunteering activities. There are many agencies, NGOs, and businesses that are involved in such activities. Some of them include;
- Hacesfalta – for humanitarian help
- Amics de la gent gran – for senior citizens
- Fundació Banc dels Aliments Barcelona – for gathering and distribution of surplus food
- Liga per a la protecció d’animals I plantes de Barcelona – for abandoned or mistreated dogs
- Fundación Ana Bella | Red de Mujeres Superviventes – for women suffering from gender-related violence
As a tourist, it is essential to give back something to the community of the city you are visiting. Volunteering is one of the best ways of learning about the deep-rooted problems and needs of the town.