Barcelona is definitely a hot destination during the summer as it’s the perfect beach + culture holiday combination. There’s tons to see in this popular Spanish city, but you need to make sure you’re prepared as things can get hectic during the months of June, July, and August. Planning a trip? Then check out these 5 things you should know for your first visit to Barcelona!
- Book your tickets ahead of time
Yes, even for free events you need to book tickets one or two days beforehand if you even want to stand a chance of getting inside some of Barcelona’s most popular sites. I made the mistake of thinking that, since the Picasso Museum is free on Sunday’s after 3pm, I would just have to show up, wait in a long-ass queue, and waltz in. Definitely not the case. The Picasso Museum and La Sagrada Familia are two of Barcelona’s most well-known spots and they tend to cap ticket sales at a certain amount of people so there aren’t too many inside the buildings at one time. This can make for an unfortunate experience (I never got to see the Picasso Museum) if you’re not prepared, so make a plan and book your tickets for everything, just in case!
- Be wary of pickpockets
Barcelona is a pretty safe city, as far as huge metropolises go, but my Airbnb host did inform me that I should keep an extra good eye out on my stuff whenever hanging out in areas where there’s huge amounts of tourists. There’s no need to be too paranoid, but just be careful whenever you’re at one of the city’s big hot-spots. Better to be safe than to regret losing your wallet and passport!
- The beach is crowded
You’ll probably want to head to the beach one of the days you’re in town, so here’s a couple things you should know. First of all, the beaches get really, really crowded. It seems like everyone heads out to bask in the sun as soon as the summer months roll around. For this reason, be careful about leaving your stuff unattended and going for a swim. It’s actually a lot easier to get robbed in a crowd of people because there’s so much going on. Secondly, despite being the Mediterranean, the water off of Barcelona’s coast is actually quite cold! You may only want to take a dip if the weather is unbearably hot, otherwise I think this is one activity you can skip for something else more worthwhile in Barcelona.
- Public transportation is great
Don’t waste money on taxis because Barcelona has an excellent public transportation system. You can buy a one-day, two-day, or three-day pass at your nearest metro station and this will give you access to the metros as well as buses. That being said, plan out what you’re going to do and where you’ll be staying so that you have an idea of whether or not you actually need a public transportation pass. Most of the main attractions are within walking distance of each other and Barcelona is an extremely pedestrian-friendly city. So if you’re staying near the city center you may just opt for walking everywhere instead of worrying about paying for bus or metro tickets.
- The Miró Museum is a must
Picasso is a more globally known name which is why the work of the equally fantastic Joan Miró tends to get overlooked when people visit Barcelona for the first time. Honestly, visiting the Miró Museum was one of the most memorable experiences for me in Barcelona and something I’m not likely to forget anytime soon. The museum is located high on a hill that overlooks the city so you can kill two birds with one stone: see some great art AND get an awesome view of Barcelona! When I was there I didn’t need to book my tickets ahead of time either, I just arrived, waited in line for 10 minutes or so, then bought my ticket. However, if possible, I would still recommend booking your ticket ahead of time just to make sure you get one!
Do you have any tips for someone visiting Barcelona for the first time? Share them below!