Hold up, Vicky and Christina (does anyone get this reference anymore?), you only have a few days in Barcelona and while some cities can be fun to take on without a plan, Barcelona is one of the places where you could spend a week and still only scratch the surface. It’s best to think this one through.
Last week, some of us from the TEFL Team spent a few days in this flavorful city for the launch of our Destination TEFL course in Barcelona. We’re already in love.
If you’re only working with a few days, sight-seeing an entire city can be overwhelming. For any tourist type, this guide will give you a good place to start.
Morning: Walking Tour
I’ll be honest: most walking tours drive me crazy. I don’t like being talked at or walking in a group of people whose outfits just scream “Rob me, I’m a tourist.” But the walking tour I went on in Barcelona was actually great! Even in spite of the rain showers and camera-happy tourists, I enjoyed myself and felt well oriented afterwards. I recommend going with Free Walking Tours - they have a lot of experienced locals as tour guides.
Afternoon: Food (duh)
I always like to take it easy in the afternoon, especially after a lot of walking. I recommend pulling up to a cozy tapas bar and sipping on some Sangria in the El Born district, a quainter part of town that might have you feeling less like a tourist. Your feet will thank you and so will your taste buds!
Night: La Rambla
It’s a rite of passage for any tourist to wander aimlessly along La Rambla, the famous main drag of Barcelona. Your tour, which starts at Plaza Catalunya will stop somewhere along La Rambla so you can show off some Barcelona trivia as you stroll down the main strip and take in the boisterous Catalonian culture.
If you’re a history buff, Barcelona will have you geeking out. Hit up the museums in the morning when you’re well rested and hyped up on Spanish cortado (a shot of espresso with steamed milk). As far as museums go, I would recommend the Picasso Museum Barcelona. The exhibits are fascinating, and the space that houses them will have you feeling like you’re back in time—rustic, spacious, and a little bit eerie.
Afternoon: Park Guell.
When you Google images of Barcelona, this park is what you will see. Park Guell is an icon of the city and one that totally live up to the hype. You can explore a lot of the park without a ticket, but I would recommend spending the seven euros to access the Monumental Zone and check out the stunning mosaics (tip: skip the tour for this one).
Evening: La Boqueria Market
If you couldn’t tell by now, I love food and drink. So it was love at first sight for me at this market and could be for you as well. Take your time strolling through, feasting your senses, and tasting everything—juicy olives, spicy chorizo, and fresh veggies. For dinner, snag a seat at El Quim De La Boqueria—best salmon I’ve ever had in my life (and that’s coming from a Portland, Maine native).
Morning: Montjuic Castle
Get up early (that’s in Spanish time), grab a coffee, and head over to the Montjuic Cable Car. Honestly, the views from the ride up to the castle might be better than the castle itself—to put to scale, the castle is stunning. From there, you can see all of Barcelona and gaze out over that beautiful blue Mediterranean. Bring some snacks and something cold to sip on at the top.
Afternoon: Beach & Siesta
Since you’re running out of time, go ahead and kill two birds with one stone: Siesta on the beach! If you really want to blend in with the locals, you should crush a nap between the hours of two and five in the afternoon. And why not do it in style on the beach (don’t forget the sunscreen).
Evening: Food and Fun
Savor your last night in Barcelona. Take it slow, find some yummy paella, and try a craftily concocted mojitos at Mamaine. If you still have the energy and enjoy nightlife, there are certainly no shortages of bars and clubs where you can listen to music, chat with locals, and maybe even try your hand at dancing!
Whether you’re a student in the Destination TEFL course, a teacher on vacation from Madrid program, a study abroad student, or just a regular old tourist, Barcelona definitely will not disappoint. As the perfect get-away spot or temporary home base, Barcelona will have you dreaming of tapas and vibrant mosaics for days.
Have you been to Barcelona? What’s on your “must-do” list?