Barcelona was my very first city to visit abroad. I went with two of my best friends (married) and my boyfriend Shawn. We tried to budget our trip and be as cheap as possible, which meant only going out for dinner once or twice (maybe) per city. In Barcelona the night to go out had finally come. We all got in our best outfits our backpacks could hold and went out on the town. We decided to hit the Ramblas as it was the main strip with a ton of night life.
All dressed up in Barcelona
We wanted this night to be perfect. It was our only chance to have a real Spanish meal in Barcelona. When you walk down the Ramblas people stand outside the restaurants begging you to come in and shouting out the specials they had for the night. We passed probably 20 restaurants none really completely appealing to all of us. I look back and can see the night clubesk restaurant with good looking Spanish men convincing us that there restaurant would be the most fun with a tad bit of envy and regret.
After about 30 minutes of searching and never agreeing on a restaurant we went down one alley and found what looked like a perfect Spanish hole in the wall. It had the stuco look to it with old Spanish paintings to make it even better. We made our way upstairs to a room with only one other group in there. This was our probably first sign to run.
We ordered Sangrias (naturally right?) and we were delivered what tasted to me like overpriced Kool-Aid. Have you ever gotten a frozen margarita out of a machine? Too much sugar and not enough alcohol? Over flavored sugar water was our second sign.
Now the menu. I think at this point we were so hungry we didn’t care what was on this menu but if I could go back I would have chosen starvation. The menu had steak, chicken, and fish on it. Now my expertise in what a menu in Barcelona should look like was, well none however I should have known this was wayy to americanized to be close to the delicious Spanish food I was craving. Since we were starving we ordered our food and hoped the lack of people in the room plus the American-esk menu wouldn’t ruin our dreams of a perfect Spanish meal.
Now in my 25 ripe years of age I have cooked many interesting meals and burned a few as well. I also grew up with my grandfather, a widowed bachelor who did his best to cook for a picky teenager. Now in all my experience with tasteless meals that the dog won’t even eat, none I mean NONE compared to what was served to us. I ordered grilled chicken and potatoes which turned out to be tiny chicken fillets that tasted like they had been over cooked on a George foreman grill with no seasoning and french fries that just tasted like old potatoes, my friend Andie with her “Cuttle Fish” which I should have never taken a bite of and my boyfriend’s steak (the best meal on the table) which was so thin you could see through it. So let’s just say it made my grandfather’s meals look like a 5 star restaurant prepared them.
Although this expensive tasteless meal was probably the most disappointing part of our trip to Barcelona it gave me a valuable life lesson : be prepared. Google, read blogs, ask the hostel workers just please don’t walk out onto the street expecting the best meal of your life or you will end up hungry, sugar drunk, and 50 dollars poorer.
This is what “sugar drunk” look like in Barcelona
I know many of you may be feeling sorry for our sad little group thinking we shorted ourselves the perfect Spanish night we dreamed about. The universe as it turns out had not completely abandoned us. On our way home, still starving we found a bar with rotating tapas and delicious authentic sangria. We were able to get toasted and fill our bellies. It was definitely a night full of lessons, bad food, and random fun that can never be repeated.
A proper Sangria and Tapas
My time in Barcelona was rather short but I will give you a list of 5 things that I did while in Barcelona. Please feel free to add your favorite things about this great city!
So this was a big goal of my friend’s that I went on my first Eurotrip with. She wanted to be able to check off the list that she had dipped her toes in the Mediterranean and what a worthy goal it was. From our hostel we had to walk about 2 miles (I chose to wear sandals that day BIG mistake I later discovered) to make it to the beach. Barcelona is pretty pedestrian friendly and there were several signs that helped lead us to our destination.
It was cold but it is now checked off the list!
Take a Walk Down Las Ramblas
Las Ramblas is a main street in Barcelona filled with shops, beautiful architecture, and plenty to eat. It is the heart of the city and a main attraction.
Drink from the Fountain of La Font de Canaletes
Rumor has it anyone who drinks from the Fountain of La Font de Canaletes will one day return to Barcelona. So Naturally it was the first place we went. The fountain can be found in the Las Ramblas.
Visit one of Gaudi’s houses
Antoni Gaudi was a famous architect whose many works can be seen throughout the city. I highly suggest going to see at least one of his famous houses throughout your stay. The funky architecture is what makes Barcelona so unique and lovable.
You MUST Visit Gaudi’s Park
Even if you decide to skip out on Gaudi’s houses I am right now insisting that you visit Gaudi’s Park. The view alone is worth it. Barcelona is such a beautiful city and Gaudi’s Park gives you one of the best views. It is a bus ride so make sure you check out the website and plan your trip ahead.
Barcelona is an exciting city full of culture and tons of fun. Our time was so short that I must go back to fully enjoy all that it has to offer.
Barcelona was my first city to visit out of North America and my first chance at trying new food. Although we were on a pretty tight budget I still had the opportunity to try some fun new foods. Eating is my favorite way to experience a culture so always try to allow for some dining experiences!
Everywhere you turn in Barcelona there was a deli shop filled with delicious bread wafting through the air filling up the streets tempting you to come inside. The great thing is sandwiches are only about 5-6 euros and can easily be split between two people or saved for later. Although by the end of my trip I refused to eat anything resembling a sandwich It’s still a delicious cheap lunch!
*Quick Tip- Get your meal to go and find a bench or sidewalk to post up at and you can save 2-3 Euros per meal.
Jamon y Butter Sandwich paired with cherries bought for super cheap at the market!
Tapas & Sangria
So I am a little sad to say we only had one experience eating tapas in Barcelona and I wasn’t the biggest fan. However I have had tapas in the US and I fell in love. If you aren’t aware Tapas are small plates of a variety of foods. They are usually small bites of one item. It makes a meal really fun and gives you a chance to try different foods. If you have a Tapas restaurant to suggest please comment below!
De La Boqueria Mercat
If you have the opportunity take a stroll through the Mercat a huge outdoor farmer’s market inside the city of Barcelona. There are varieties of foods to choose from including fresh fruit and vegetables. One thing that helped with the budget was grabbing some cherries, apples, or oranges and adding it as a side for our lunches (sandwiches).
Tons of fruit and veggies to choose from
Meat stands in the La Boqueria
You will find throughout my blog that I stay in hostels. I actually LOVE staying in hostels. I think hostels are a great way to save money, meet people, and ensure you will have a safe clean place to stay. This is all thanks to my great friends Kit and Andie. They planned pretty much 100%(and by pretty much I mean 100%) of the Eurotrip we took together and that includes staying at hostels.
In Barcelona we found the Hostel “Equity Point” through a great website called Hostelworld.com. I highly suggest you use it to find your next hostel. The website will narrow hostels down by city and then by reviews or amenities you may need. It’s so easy to find the best hostel for your needs and it is yet to let me down.
These lucky people wouldn’t move, so they made it into my picture
Our hostel cost about 30 Euro’s per night per bed with breakfast included. The hostel it’s self it’s several stories tall including a kitchen, inside bar, and an outside bar with a breathtaking view of Barcelona.
View of the city from rooftop bar
Now to the room itself. The room was rather small but since there were 4 of us in a group it worked out because we got the room all to ourselves and only had to share the bathroom with one other room (which was a single). We also had fairly large lockers which you don’t often get in hostels. Don’t forget to bring a lock! The main downside to the room would be that WIFI isn’t available 🙁
Shawn wanted to demonstrate how roomy the lockers were.
Again I cannot reiterate the value of a kitchen inside a hostel. I am all for eating out as much as possible but it’s also so nice to be able to grab food from the market and cook a healthy cheap meal at your hostel so you can relax and unwind from the long day of sight seeing.
Overall I would highly recommend the Equity Point Centric in Barcelona! The beds were comfy, the hostel was clean, and they had a bar plus kitchen! Not to mention it was in a perfect part of Barcelona making it incredibly walkable. What more could you want out of life?