Last Updated on March 14, 2013 by Jess
Situated by the Mediterranean sea and known for being a buzzing Spanish metropolis, Barcelona is a major European destination for holidaymakers during the summer time. For many, there is limited time to experience all of the city’s wonders. Here are some tips to help maximize your time in Barcelona without feeling rushed off your feet.
Visit Guinardó Bunker (Bunker del Carmelo) for breathtaking views
Most major cities have a place where you can obtain a great overall view of the city, whether it be a natural lookout on a hill or a man-made structure. There are plenty of spots for that in Barcelona, but for somewhere a bit different, make your way to Guinardó Bunker. It’s not surprising that this bunker was used during the Spanish Civil War in the 30s with its 360 degree panorama view of the city. Now abandoned and left to the hands of graffiti artists to practice their skills, Guinardó Bunker gives off a very ‘urban jungle’ feel.
Maximizing your time with great accommodation
Trying to cut costs on accommodation seems to be the way to go for many travelers as it takes up a major percent of the holiday budget. Affordable accommodation such as hostels are always a good way to go with the social advantage of having the ability to meet other short-term visitors. However, with Barcelona packed to the brim during its popular summer season, you really need to book in advance. For those wanting to make the most out of the Catalan culture or have the impression that they are really living in Barcelona, then global accommodation sites would be your best way to go in terms of making the most out of your time in Barcelona. With their aim to promote ‘social travel’ and Barcelona being very much a social city, the two go hand in hand. Some listings even have the option to stay with local hosts, which always make for an exciting time away.
Best places to chill out
Barcelona has more than enough incredible architecture to keep you awe-inspired, but with all the hustle and bustle of inner city life, it might seem difficult to find a place just sit and people watch in peace. Visit Park Güell during the evening, however, and you can do just that. A distinctly Gaudi masterpiece, the park is like walking into a children’s picture book with its eccentric colored buildings. Tourists thrive around the area in the day but few stay to admire the area all lit up at night. Other landmarks such as Montjuic during a week night is also recommended by locals. With such landmarks advised to be seen during the evening, this gives you more time to soak up that attractive beachy weather during the day.
Find foodie hotspots
Staying in local Barcelona accommodation can open up a whole new world of food. If you are lucky your local host might take you to some of the city’s hidden gems including Bar Tomás at Sarrià. This authentic Catalan bar serves some of the best tapas around – don’t forget to try “patatas bravas”, crispy fried potatoes in spicy tomato sauce. Another top local restaurant is La Paradeta del Born, dishing up platefuls of seafood. But don’t underestimate the pleasure to your palate provided by Barcelona street food favorites like paella and churros, either.
Nights in Barcelona are late and long, so take advantage of that midday siesta or you’ll be calling it quits just when the party is getting started. Having dinner and tapas around 9 – 10pm is common, with friends chattering and nibbling away till the early hours of the morning. Being seen in world famous clubs like Moog, Razzmatazz or Apolo are recommended. For something with a bit more Spanish flair, make your way to “Bar La Leo” in Barceloneta for Flamenco music played by spontaneous musicians.
For those short yet authentic trips to Barcelona, it is so easy to get carried away with all the major ‘must-see’ sites, making it an exhausting trip at the end of the day. Catalan people are very much laid back and getting into the flow of that way of thinking whilst there will really help visitors understand the city..