Barcelona is an incredible city to explore with friends, family or on your own. While solo travel in Barcelona might seem intimidating at first, don’t worry – you’re going to love it! Check out my top tips for travelling alone in Barcelona so you can have the best experience of Barcelona solo!
Stay in a Good Area
Finding accommodation in Barcelona can be a minefield, and while I usually recommend staying somewhere close to the centre of Barcelona, for solo travellers in Barcelona I would suggest avoiding La Rambla and the streets around the Gothic and Raval quarters.
The streets here are narrow and at night if you are alone in Barcelona you could be a target for pickpockets or thieves, especially if you have had a few drinks. Have a look at places to stay in Gracia or the Eixample, where you are still close to the action but can enjoy wider avenues and hop easily hop in a taxi to get home if needed.
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Don’t Get Too Drunk
OK I’m not your mother, and I’m all for enjoying Barcelona’s epic nightlife, but if you get so drunk you can’t stand up then you are an easy target for anyone wanting to take advantage of you. That is my general travel advice for solo travellers anywhere in the world, so don’t take it personally, but do be careful to stay aware of what’s going on.
Keep A Close Eye on Your Belongings
Unfortunately, Barcelona is notorious for pickpockets, and while groups of people chatting could be easy targets as they aren’t paying attention, you could be singled out as a target for being alone as there are fewer eyes to watch your back.
Be especially careful in busy areas like La Rambla and on the metro, where pickpockets work in teams to deprive tourists and locals of their wallets and phones. Use clothing with hidden pockets where you can safely stash your valuables, and don’t take out anything you wouldn’t mind losing!
Stay in a Hostel
If you enjoy travelling alone but also like to make friends, then staying in a hostel is an easy way to get to know fellow travellers. Budget travellers can stay in dorm rooms (there are some female-only dorms at most of the hostels in Barcelona) or you can book a private room for yourself so you can socialize when you want, and still get a good night’s sleep!
Another bonus of staying in hostels is that they often arrange free or cheap tours, especially walking tours around the city and nighttime activities like bar crawls which aren’t as much fun alone!
Join a Tour
While I love travelling alone, sometimes it’s nice to join in a group activity, especially for mealtimes in the evening or for places that are difficult to get to or less fun to visit alone. Food tours or cooking classes are great alternatives to dining alone, so you can enjoy some of the incredible food in Barcelona with new friends.
Other places such as a trip to Montserrat can be more difficult to arrange on your own, so joining a tour is often easier and even cheaper than trying to get there on your own. I recommend GetYourGuide for finding awesome tours and activities to join.
Don’t Be Shy
One of my top tips for anyone travelling alone in Barcelona or anywhere for that matter is to step out of your comfort zone and talk to people. These days it is harder if everyone is wearing a mask, but you can still see if someone is smiling with their eyes, you’ll just need to talk a bit louder!
Have a chat with a taxi driver, shopkeeper, a fellow traveller at the airport, anyone who looks like they have time to speak to you, and even just exchanging a few words can help you to feel less alone – and get some great tips for exploring Barcelona!
Learn Some Catalan or Spanish
Following on from the previous point, if you are chatting to local people then it really helps if you can speak their language. Hello, please, thank you and other basic phrases in Spanish or Catalan will help break the ice!
Have a Plan & a Plan B
One of the best things about travelling alone is that you get to make all of the decisions. However, that can also be one of the worst things about solo travel, as having to decide everything all the time gets tiring!
One way to save you the hassle of decision making while you are in Barcelona is to plan your trip before you go. Some people love to plan everything down to the last detail, but personally, I prefer to have a vague plan which can change as I go.
I make a note of where I want to go and what I definitely want to see and find a couple of options for food in that area. Then I see what else is nearby in case something is closed or too busy to visit. Flexible planning works best for me!
Trust Your Gut
While most people you meet in Barcelona will be friendly or at least indifferent to your presence, if you get that tingling feeling that something isn’t right, then get out of the situation immediately. Whether that is feeling like someone is following you, someone is getting too close to you or a stranger brings you a free drink, usually, you know something isn’t right.
Don’t worry about offending anyone, your safety is your top priority, not anyone else – so just leave or ask someone you trust for help.
Barcelona is a fabulous city and a lot of fun. While these tips might suggest I’m paranoid about solo travel in Barcelona, actually I adore it. I lived here for several years on my own and had an absolute blast. I definitely recommend travelling alone in Barcelona, and all around the world if you can! With a bit of research and a bit of planning, you can’t help but fall in love with this beautiful city.
General Barcelona Travel Tips
- Use Skyscanner to find cheap flights to Barcelona. Barcelona El Prat (BCN) is the closest airport to the city.
- Public transport is the cheapest way to get around Barcelona, buy the Hola Barcelona transport ticket for unlimited use of the metro, buses, trams and local trains, including the train from the airport to Barcelona.
Where to Stay in Barcelona
- Use Hostelworld to find the best prices for hostels in Barcelona. Take a look at these recommended hostels:
- For hotels in Barcelona, check out Booking.com or Hotels.com for the best deals. Recommended hotels include:
Barcelona Tours and Activities
- If you're staying in a hostel, check out their tours and activities which are usually free or very cheap - and a great way to meet people!
- I use GetYourGuide to book skip the line entry tickets and tours in Barcelona
- Recommended Tours and Attractions in Barcelona:
Beware of pickpockets
- Although Barcelona is a safe city, pickpockets are a problem here, particularly in popular tourist areas and on the metro. Do not keep your wallet or cash in trouser pockets and keep your hand on your bags at all times.
- When you are eating at a restaurant or café, keep your bag on your lap, not hanging over your chair and avoid leaving your wallet or phone on the table – especially if eating outdoors. It only takes a second for someone to distract you and grab it!
Buy Travel Insurance
- Travel insurance will help if you do have something stolen, and it is more important than ever, with frequent changes in rules and regulations meaning cancellations are more likely. I use SafetyWing, which even includes some cover for costs related to COVID, or check a comparison site like Travel Insurance Master to find the best cover for you.
Check Your Travel Documents
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