Why do I love Barcelona solo travel so much and a city whose thievery betrayed my trusting nature?
Barcelona is a magical city of possibility and fantasy; a perfect destination for any solo traveler who is looking for a world of wonder that is embodied within the multiple works of the architectural master of Catalan Modernism, Gaudi.
So as you stroll along the streets and admire the fantastical world of Gaudi, you inhale a hint the smell of ocean spray, mixed in with the exotic smells of the tapas cooking in a nearby Catalan kitchen.
Your ears perk up as you hear the sexy and exciting sounds of Flamenco in the air, as people all over La Ronda dance the night away in some of the best clubs in all of Europe.
The spices of the food, the evocativeness of the tango, the majesty of the Mediterranean, and the creativeness of the architecture all intertwine to create a beautiful, exciting world where anything is possible.
To appreciate Barcelona fully, you MUST plan to do some Barcelona solo travel and dedicate yourself fully to this magical, urban oasis of culture (and if my eternal praise isn’t one of the great reasons to visit Barcelona, Spain then I don’t know what is).
To help you enjoy traveling solo to Barcelona:
I’ve created this mildly riveting post, which details everything you need to know about Barcelona as a solo traveler. Not only will you receive expert tips on the best hostels in Barcelona for solo travelers, but you’ll also learn about eating alone in Barcelona (Barcelona seriously has some of the best Spanish food in Spain), how to stay safe in Barcelona, and the best things to do when exploring Barcelona on your own.
So buckle up because we’re about to kick ass and take names…solo travel Barcelona style.
Thinks about to get serious up in this Barcelona solo travel post!
***WARNING: If you’re considering solo travel in Barcelona then watch out for pickpockets because they are EVERYWHERE!!! I had my wallet stolen in the metro so be careful. Also note that Spain takes mostly debit cards and NOT credit cards, so plan accordingly. So be careful on the train when taking one of the best day trips from Barcelona. ***
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
***Looking for some of the best hostels in Barcelona for solo travelers? If you are then I highly recommend Hostel One Paralelo, Alternative Creative Youth Hostel, St. Christopher’s Inn, Pars Teatro Youth Hostel, and Be Sound Hostel. All of these hostels are clean, offer great service, and have a community atmosphere that is perfect for solo travelers in Barcelona.***
Going to Barcelona Alone: 10 Amazing Things to do Alone in Barcelona
1. La Sagrada Familia
Can you visit Barcelona without seeing La Sagrada Familia?
The answer is no, always no. Because if you’re traveling to Barcelona alone and only see one thing, this has to be it.
And yes, La Sagrada Familia lives up to all the hype, and then some.
But I’ll admit it:
When I ascended the metro stairs (take metro Lines 2 or 5 to Sagrada Familia Station) and set eyes upon this architectural masterpiece, I was super disappointed.
I wanted to throw an adult size temper tantrum and scream out:
“WTF? THIS is what everyone’s been raving about? (said dripping with sarcasm)”
Only later would I find out that the cranes and other, unattractive building instruments surrounding the church, were actually there because, after over 130 years, the building is still unfinished (AKA money problems).
And while the outside is impressive in scale and stature:
You only experience the true beauty of this building once you step inside and see the pure awesomeness of Gaudi’s genius.
Everywhere you turn:
You see vibrant, colorful facades that depict a multitude of religious motifs. Add in some swirling lines and bulging towers, inspired by the irregularities of nature, and you get a modernist masterpiece that is perfect for Barcelona solo travelers since well, you’re not really supposed to talk inside a church anyway. So it’s not like you’ll miss having a travel companion.
So even if you hate churches, you’ll love this one.
Because between the building’s color scheme, creativity, and modernity,r this place really is unlike any building that I have ever seen.
***If you’re planning to visit La Sagrada Familia, I highly recommend purchasing a ticket and tour in advance. Not only will you avoid a long queue, but you’ll get a better understanding and appreciation for the architectural beauty that you are looking at.***
2. Park Güell
This sprawling, urban center of nature, is where Gaudí experimented in the art of landscape gardening; creating a unique green space that enchants the mind and intrigues the senses.
Gaudi’s passion for natural forms transforms the artificial into something that appears more natural than anything actually found in nature
Crazy, but true!
The park is also heavily wooded, with intimate pathways that connect you to a multitude of buildings and museums that are worth a visiting, making Park Güell an easy place to spend the day.
Some park highlights include:
Turó del Calvari for the best views of Barcelona, the Centre d’Interpretaciò in the Pavelló de Consergeria (a curvaceous, porter’s house that displays an exhibition on Gaudí’s building methods), Sala Hipóstila (a Doric temple with 88 stone columns, with the Banc de Trencadís, is the centerpiece at the top, which is a tiled, meandering bench that snakes around the perimeter like a lazy river), Casa-Museu Gaudí (Gaudí spent his final years here), and more.
And with so much to see and do:
You won’t even miss having a travel companion. Plus, if you’re nervous about eating alone in Barcelona, you can pack a picnic and eat amidst the gorgeous views from Parc Guell.
*** Obviously, this veritable treasure trove of Gaudi architecture is a secret to n one. Therefore, I highly recommend buying your Park Güell Admission Ticket in advance.***
3. La Pedrera (AKA Casa Milà)
As you emerge from the Diagonal metro station:
La Pedrera will appear to undulate, like a series of waves lapping up against the shore.
Closer, Inspector Gadget level inspection reveals that this combined apartment and office building is yet another optical illusion of that architectural trickster, Gaudi.
Silly Gaudi, Trix are for kids!
Formally known as Casa Milà, after the businessman who commissioned the building, this top Barcelona attraction is now known as La Pedrera, since the rippling, grey, stone facade of the building resembles a rock quarry more than it does a dignified office and home of a Spanish Aristocrat.
The top-floor apartment, attic, and roof, to visitors. Personally, though, my favorite part is the roof, with awe-inspiring chimney stacks that resemble medieval, multi-colored knights, who appear to be warding off some unknown, invisible foe.
There is also an enchanting room, near the edge of the roof that contains a light and a small water fountain, both of which create a mesmerizing cascade of light that dances across the room’s interior; a truly enchanting sight that is not to be missed.
Once you’ve finished exploring the roof:
Descend one floor and enter a museum which will give you a better understanding of who Gaudi is and why he has this insane affinity for parabolic arches, which are EVERYWHERE.
The next floor down is an apartment that contains the furnishings of a well-to do, Spanish family in the 20th century. Allow yourself to be transported, back in time, to a world that is an exquisite fusing of the past, with Gaudi’s sensuously curved rooms of the future.
***Per usual, avoid lines and get your La Pedrera tickets in advance.***
4. Casa Batlló
This residential building, designed by Gaudi obviously, stands out because it mimics a sensational, aquatic hallucination, with explosions of blue, mauve and green tile along the exterior.
Wave-shaped window frames and balconies compliment this ocean-like motif, as the entire structure rises to an uneven, blue-tiled roof.
Upon closer inspection:
The exterior balconies resemble the bony jaws of a fearsome beast, while the roof resembles the bones in an animal’s back. The roof also has tiles that mimic shiny scales, that appear to change colour as color in the sunlight.
All this and we haven’t even gone inside.
Inside the building, you’ll see light shimmer against the many, deep sea blue tiles, complemented by a staircase that winds you up and around to the main floor, to at salon that overlooks the streets below.
Swirls or blue and green mesmerize you as everything twists into a sunlike lamp; an aesthetic that makes it appear as though the entire room is being sucked into one, enormous ball of light.
Pretty cool right?
Yeah, that’s why Casa Batlló gets REALLY crowded. Like, you and a hundred of your closest friends packed in one room crowded.
Save yourself a bit of aggravation and buy your tickets online. Also, avoid the grossness of an excessive amount of human interaction by either visiting early or staying late (If you really loathe crowds like me, you can even purchase early bird tickets and visit before the museum opens to the public (#adreamcometrue).
5. Museu Picasso
I told ya there’d be something on this list that didn’t involve Gouda’s architecture.
Keep in mind that I have not actually been here, since, epic travel fail, I tried to visit when the museum was closed.
I put this top, Barcelona museum on this Barcelona solo travel guide because I don’t want you to make the same mistake as me.
I mean, it’s Picasso!! How can you go wrong?
Just looking at the exterior of the building, with it’s five contiguous medieval stone mansions, you get the sense that the Museu Picasso is something special that deserves to be noticed.
And it is.
Between the scenic courtyards, open galleries and historically preserved, ornate staircases, this building is as interesting as the art collection held within.
The art collection here contains some of Picasso’s best work from his formative years, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t see his later, more famous works here.
If nothing else:
You’ll leave with a better appreciation of Picasso’s unique style and his never-ending search for innovative forms of artistic, self-expression.
***Warning, lame practical information ahead. The museum’s permanent collection is housed in Palau Aguilar, Palau del Baró de Castellet and Palau Mecca, while the temporary exhibits are kept in The Casa Mauri and the Palau Finestres.***
6. La Catedral
You’re probably thinking, “Oh wow. What a surprise. ANOTHER Spanish Church that I JUST have to see. Shocker. I have never seen one of those before.”
Yeah, I get it.
You can get pretty churched out in Spain. But I swear, this one is worth a visit.
Now is it La Sagrada Familia?
No. It’s definitely has a more classical style that is less innovative than La Sagrada Familia, but istill worth a look to admire the stunning neo-gothic architecture that abounds here.
Pretty good right? Sounds like I know what I’m talking about!
And if that architectural style means nothing to you:
Then think enormous domed ceilings, pillars galore, a cloister with a courtyard of palms, orange trees, and a gaggle of white geese (honk honk).
Visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon when it is FREE!
***This building is in the charming, medieval Barri Gòtic quarter. So take time to explore the neighborhood’s many bars, quirky shops, and quiet plaças. One of the great places to experience Barcelona nightlife alone. ***
7. Las Ramblas
Look, I’m not gonna lie to you:
Lass Rambla is crowded and touristy, with people constantly in your face, telling you to, “Go to this club, ” or “Eat at this restaurant.”
It’s also loaded with tourists and slightly devoid of Catalan culture; a glorified tourist trap where cars are prohibited so that they could fit as many suckers, I mean people, on the sidewalk as possible.
So why is it on this list?
Well first of all, and I know you won’t believe this but walking is something that you can easily enjoy as you travel Barcelona alone.
But aside from Las Ramblas being mildly enjoyable for solo travelers, this street is also emblematic of Barcelona.
It’s kind of every Barcelona tourist’s duty to stroll along this tree-lined, pedestrian highway. and enjoy 1.2 kilometers of heaven or hell, depending on how you feel about crowds and people hawking in general
It’s really not that bad and totally worth checking out since it is a true icon of Barcelona.
8. Font Màgica
I mean, it’s not like you’re paying for it.
And if water fountains, lights, and music work for Disney, then why not give it a shot here.
It’s s historical since it was created for the 1929 World Exposition. So if anyone gives you a hard time, just drop that nugget of knowledge on them.
And BOOM! Convo over.
9. Catalan Cuisine
Food, glorious food! My favorite topic in the whole wide world!
And Barcelona has no shortage of restaurants that have done an exceptional job of recreating traditional, Catalan cuisine, with a distinctive, modern twist.
Eateries throughout the city have reinvented such classic dishes as Pa amb tomaquèt (Bread with tomato rubbed on top. Can also be served with garlic, ham, and olive oil), Canelons (a pasta roll stuffed with codfish, minced meat, or spinach), Escudella (a hearty sausage, pasta, and vegetable stew), Bolets (mushrooms that people love and actually HUNT for), Embutidos and Butifarras (17 different types of meats and sausages), Fideuà (Noodle paella that is usually served with seafood and sometimes even black squid ink), Allioli (garlic based cream sauce), and calcots (spring onions that are charred on a barbecue and then dunked in a romesco sauce that is made with nuts and red peppers. Much better than it sounds).
So, meander around Barcelona and discover some modern interpretations of Catalan classics. Restaurants like Moments (Passeig de Gràcia, 38-40), Cera 23 (Carrer de la Cera, 23), and Tickets Bar (Av. del Paraŀlel, 164) are great examples of cuisine in Barcelona done right.
But what if you if feel awkward about dining alone in Barcelona?
Yeah, I feel yeah. Sometimes, dining alone can be a bit tricky and feel uber awkward. However, Paco Meralgo and La Taverna de Clinic are two great places for dining alone in Barcelona. Just sit at the bar and you’ll feel a bit less awkward about eating tapas alone.
Another option for dining alone in Barcelona is to eat at one of the city’s many food markets!
Not only do you get a literal taste for local Catalan culture, but dining alone at a market is never awkward since you can either eat on the go or take your food with you back to your hotel.
Some of my favorite food markets in Barcelona are Mercat de la Boqueria (a great spot for Barcelona Backpackers too), Mercat de Sant Antoni, Mercat de Santa Caterina, and Mercat de Sant Andreu.
10. Palau de la Música Catalana
This concert hall is known not only for its nightly flamenco performances but for its unique, Modernist architecture.
When you first notice the Palau de la Música Catalan
You’ll be amazed by the building’s principal facade, which has a series of mosaics, floral capitals, and sculptures that come together to create an exceptionally beautiful representation of Catalan music.
As you enter the main foyer though:
You’ll be wowed by an assortment of tiled pillars and a richly colored auditorium that is adorned with a blue-and-gold stained glass ceiling; a ceiling that glistens from above as it reflects the sunlight shining through the crystalline skylight.
A magnificent place to take in a show and get lost in the peace and quiet of solitude.