We knew we didn’t have all the time in the world, so once we got to our accommodation, we quickly gathered at a small plaza to get started. Just from walking by the numerous skateboard parks and pesky vendors, we knew this short trip to Barcelona was going to be a whole new experience.
To begin, one option to get from the airport to Barcelona center and back is the Aerobus. You can buy a return ticket for only € 10.20, and the buses run about every 10 minutes from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. There’s no Uber in Barcelona, so this is likely your best bet besides taxis.
Check out the Gothic Quarter
One of the first things we did was wander around Central Barcelona, which is packed with stores, restaurants, and impressive buildings. We started off walking down La Rambla, a street that serves as a pedestrian mall close to a mile long. From there, we delved into the narrow, winding streets of the Gothic Quarter. It may have been raining at the time, but that didn’t stop us from gazing at the impressive architecture and taking it all in.
There are plenty of squares, or plaças, throughout the Gothic Quarter, where residents will either be resting and taking in the sights, or throwing a party. Yet the main attraction is Barcelona Cathedral, one of my personal favorite sights. Built in the 14th century, Barcelona Cathedral is free early in the morning and in the late afternoon, so definitely get your group over there to take it all in.
Great food spots
Luckily for us, we stumbled upon some great food and drink places during our short stay in Barcelona. For drinks, I recommend Dow Jones, a small bar just outside central Barcelona. At Dow Jones, the price of each drink goes up and down based on how many people are buying it. Every 45 minutes or so, all the prices will suddenly drop, causing a rush to the bar. If you’re looking for drinks and a good time with your friends, you could do a lot worse than Dow Jones.
For those looking for good breakfast spots, Bloom Bcn is a good place to start. A short walk from downtown, this restaurant’s calling card is their eggs, cracked to order. I got the Shakshouka, which were middle eastern eggs spiced with cumin. They had the right amount of spice and melted in my mouth. A quick stop at Bloom Bcn was just what the group needed to get the day started.
After a lot of walking around the Gothic Quarter, the group needed a quick boost, and we got one at El Drac de Sant Jordi, a cafe specializing in tapas. Located just five minutes from the Barcelona Cathedral, El Drac offered four tapas, a glass of Sangria, and a dessert for just 10 euros. My favorite tapa had a mini chorizo sausage on top of lettuce and tomato, as simple as it sounds. There were plenty more delicious tapas, so El Drac is definitely worth checking out!
Where to Stay
My friends and I stayed in a couple of different hostels, as I made my flight reservations to Barcelona a little later than everyone else. I stayed in Bcn Urbany Go, right in the middle of the city. My eight person co-ed dorm featured card-accessible lockers and two showers, and even a nightlight over my bed. The hostel also has a € 4 breakfast buffet until 10:30 a.m. for those interested.
On top of that, Bcn Urbany Go features a bar, a game room, and even free entries to certain clubs each night. This hostel definitely caters to young adults, but is still a reliable, clean place to stay at night.
For those looking for a more elegant place to stay with your group, you can find quality hotels in the heart of Barcelona, such as Catalonia Square, the Olivia Plaza Hotel or Hotel Diagonal Zero.
We left Barcelona wishing we had more time to see and do everything. If you’re planning on visiting this great city, make sure you have enough time to take it all in.