Some news organizations recently stated that tourism numbers in Barcelona are skyrocketing. With that, the city’s mayor said he didn’t want Barcelona to become like Venice and The Guardian recently wrote that some locals don’t want tourists anymore.
Seasoned travelers may be turned off by the idea of visiting Barcelona because the city may seem like a tourist trap and all the streets could be packed with people donning selfie sticks.
While that may be true is some areas of every major tourist destination, there are places where you can enjoy the real Barcelona, like the locals do.
Here are some tips to see the area with A Local’s Look:
1. Take a quick peek at La Boqueria, but then shop at La Santa Caterina Market – La Boqueria is definitely a place to see, but since it is off La Rambla, it is often packed with tourists. La Santa Caterina Market is in the La Ribera neighborhood and is frequented by locals. It has great items to choose from and better prices than La Boqueria.
2. Walk down La Rambla once, but then check out La Rambla del Raval – The main La Rambla is definitely an interesting place. There are people everywhere and plenty of overpriced restaurants to walk by. If you want to see another street with great restaurants and more locals, check out La Rambla del Raval. This street is far less busy and offers visitors a moment to relax and check out the sights.
3. Rent an apartment in El Born, not a hotel room on La Rambla – If you really want to live like a local, rent an apartment through AirBnB in the El Born district. This history-filled neighborhood is perfect when staying for a night or for a week. There are plenty of restaurants to enjoy and sites to see…all while staying away from the noisy La Rambla corridor.
4. Go in Parc Guell, stay outside of La Sagrada Familia – This is just one way to save a bit of money and time while in Barcelona. Both landmarks in Barcelona were designed by Gaudi. Some parts of Parc Guell are free to enjoy, while a tour inside La Sagrada Familia is not.
5. Walk by La Barceloneta beach, enjoy La Nova Mar Bella – La Barceloneta is the closest beach to the city, which means that is where all the tourists gather. If you walk just a little further, there are plenty of other beach spaces where you can get some peace while staring out at the Mediterranean Sea.
6. Don’t just attempt to speak Spanish, try Catalan too – Spanish is the official language of Spain, but Barcelona is in Catalonia and the people speak Catalan. If you really want to live like a local and get some great advice from the people, try your hand at Catalan. It is quite different from Spanish, but even if you give it a try, the locals will appreciate it.
7. Don’t stay busy, take a siesta – Barcelona really comes alive at night when the locals are out enjoying dinner. If you stay busy all day without a siesta, it is quite difficult to stay out into the night. Unless you are only in Barcelona for one day, take a siesta one afternoon and then enjoy the nightlife.
As with any major tourist destination, you have to make an effort to see it like the locals do. These are just a few tips to do that.
If you have any others, please leave them in the comments below.