Maybe I’m picky about beaches because I live in California, but La Barceloneta was just awful. With brown sand and trash everywhere, this is possibly the worst beach in Europe. Not to mention the hundreds of tourists occupying every square inch of the place. Then there are the street vendors pestering you to buy their souvenirs. Well, people have to make a living so I’ll give them a pass. My point is that La Barceloneta is neither a beautiful nor relaxing beach.
There are a couple of alternatives to La Barceloneta. First up is Mar Bella Beach, which takes 40 minutes to get to if you board the tram from the city center. The only issue is that this is a nudist beach mostly filled with couples. As a solo traveler who likes to wear clothes, that might be sort of awkward.
There are four other options remaining: San Sebastiá, Bogatell, Nova Icária, and Sant Miquel. San Sebastiá and Bogatell are frequented by older people while Sant Miquel is overcrowded. That leaves Nova Icaria as the best option. It’s calm, relatively clean, and just 25 minutes away from the city center. No nudists there either.
You can plan your trip for late September in order to experience the five-day Festes de la Mercè. During the festival, the whole city lights up with fireworks, dancing, free concerts, and the famous correfoc, a procession of men people blasting fireworks into the air.
Another festival you may want to catch is the Festa Major de Gràcia, which takes place in the Gracia neighborhood eery August. There is a competition to see which street can create the most elaborate decorations. You’ll also find free concerts and outdoor events.
The Picasso Museum and the Barcelona City History Museum are both free on Sunday afternoons and evenings. If you can save money on museum tickets, why not? That’s more money for food and souvenirs. Time your trip so you can be around on a Sunday to take advantage of this freebie. The museums are free from 3 pm to 8 pm.
This is a concert hall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is not only stunning, but it also hosts some of the most talented musicians from Spain and beyond. You can watch Flamenco dancers, singers, and musicians. Check their website to see upcoming shows
Las Ramblas is the main pedestrian street in the city, where you’ll find the popular La Boqueria Market. The problem is that this street is packed with tourist traps like the paella stands you’ll find in the middle of the passageway. I wouldn’t buy anything on this street, whether it be food or souvenirs. I also wouldn’t spend much time here because it’s really just a long street with shops. Not much to see honestly.