The other day I read that Barcelona was a victim of its success, too many tourists! Each time I go I discover new places, I was back in Barcelona, in May this year. I love wandering on the shaded streets of the city, away from the big boulevards. This town has a lot to offer. It would be a shame not to go because of the crowds, the old city has the quaint charm of Havana, the food is fantastic and the beach just a stroll away from the city centre. I understand why Barcelona is a tourist magnet! Here is how to make the best of your trip to Barcelona escaping the crowds
- Chose a midweek trip, you will avoid the hen nights and stag parties which usually take place on weekends, Monday-Wednesday sounds a safe bet, this does not mean that the place will be empty, hopefully, less overcrowded.
- Book your museum tickets online, Park Guell, The Sagrada Familia are major landmarks which mean big queues, be the clever one and book ahead. Park Guell only sells a maximum of 400 tickets for every half hour. You can buy your ticket here up to 3 months in advance with a maximum of 9 tickets per person if you are more than 9 buy a group ticket. Most of the park is free of access you will need tickets for the monumental zone. For the Sagrada Famiglia book your ticket here,
- Book a hotel with an outside pool and enjoy an early morning swim before the midday rush, or walk to the beach early morning to enjoy the beach for yourself, as an early riser, you will avoid all the party goers who are still in bed.
- Plan your trip ahead, research the areas you want to visit, leading landmarks, restaurants but also give yourself time to wonder out of the old city towards the Olympic Park and the main boulevards to get a feel of the real Barcelona. To get a feel for the city as a local stay in a B&B or hire a place via Airbnb, get in touch with the owners and ask them for recommendations about places to eat and visit.
- Avoid the Ramblas; this must be the central meeting point for tourists, if you mention Barcelona, the first thing that comes to minds are the Ramblas. If you can avoid the place, as it feels having to fight your way through the crowd to move forward. There's a lot to be seen in the small streets nearby, be adventurous and take a step out of the Ramblas.
- If you want to avoid the stress of driving, take the tube, use taxis or walk, everything is in the walkable distance; there is a car cable bringing you down from Montjuic back down to the port. Cities are best discovered walking, take your trainers and set yourself for a good walk. Why not take a 2 hour guided tour in the life of Picasso, how does that sound?
A place to stay: If you want to experience life in Barcelona like a local stay at Sant Antoni Market. The flat is in a great location close to lots of cafés and excellent places to eat with easy access to transport.
Places to eat: Barcelona is a paradise for fresh, tasteful, locally produced food! Don't be afraid to explore, try one of the food stalls at La Boqueria market; I enjoyed the food experience so much that I went twice to Ramblero. Another day I stumbled across excellent restaurants promoting locally produced slow food try Somorrostro in Barcelonata but there are plenty of other slow food restaurants in Barcelona!
Stay tuned as next week I will publish the personal branding photo shoot I did in Barcelona with the charming Marta a Catalonia Based fitness and personal trainer!