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Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in the entire world. I mean, how could you not fall immediately in love with the Mediterranean Sea, Modernista architecture on every corner, tangled streets of the Gothic Quarter, adorable shops and squares in Gracia, and amazing food and wine?
I mean, yeeeeeah, it’s very little wonder that tourists from around the world are drawn to this majestic seaside city on the Spanish coast.
Needless to say, Barcelona is very popular with couples seeking a romantic getaway and groups of friends hoping to party all night at the clubs.
But what about solo travelers, though? Is solo travel in Barcelona easy or difficult? Affordable or expensive? And is a massive tourist destination like Barcelona an accessible city for first time solo travelers?
So many questions, so little time.
Never fear, though! I’m here to help you!
Solo Travel in Barcelona: My Experience
Okay, spoiler alert, I absolutely loved Barcelona. Loved Barcelona.
I had a similar stunning experience traveling alone in Madrid, and to tell you the truth, Spain is rapidly turning into one of my favorite countries to visit in Europe, especially as a solo traveler. Spain solo travel is heaven.
Furthermore, Barcelona has earned a cherished spot among my favorite cities in the world. Not even kidding. I spent more than 5 days in Barcelona, which wasn’t enough,
In Barcelona, my soul and heart felt rejuvenated and happy. A perfect afternoon for me was simply getting lost in Gracia or El Born, and discovering small tapas bars and local shops. I even found myself looking at real estate and contemplating purchasing an apartment here (or any of the nearby cities in Catalonia!).
Barcelona has so much to see and do that I wanted to book another week here. I mean, La Sagrada Familia and Palau de la Música Catalana both made me cry due to the architecture’s colorful beauty and intricate designs. The tiles, the stained glass, the majestic arched ceilings, oh be still my beating heart.
Most importantly, I didn’t once feel lonely. Instead Barcelona made me content and happy at my very core. I can’t say enough good things about it.
Should You Travel Alone to Barcelona?
If you’re wondering if you should travel alone to Barcelona, I would say “yes.”
Actually, I would say a very emphatic yes. Yes, yes, yes, and more yes!
At the same time, though, I think new solo travelers will have a much different experience in Barcelona than visitors who already have a few international trips under their belts.
New Solo Travelers
I think new solo travelers would be just fine picking Barcelona as their first destination.
However, for new solo travelers, I personally recommend staying in a good quality hostel that offers tours around the city, so you’re able to build up a small group of friends when you’re visiting this fantastic place. Companions are awesome!
You might be thinking, “but wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of traveling alone?” Eh, not really.
I promise Barcelona isn’t dangerous at all (violent crime is very low). Yet, at the same time, I think it’s good to have a few friends who can also keep an eye for pickpockets and other nuisances.
Furthermore, you ought to select a centrally located hostel so you’re not constantly moving around either. You’ll have an easier time staying close to the big sights in Barcelona.
Experienced Solo Travelers
Experienced solo travelers, on the other hand, would benefit staying in a more local or residential neighborhood, and immersing themselves in their new environment rather than staying somewhere super close to the biggest tourist attractions.
For example, as someone whose traveled alone to Europe many times, it was easy for me to feel annoyed with crowds on Las Ramblas and the more popular Gaudi attractions. I don’t have much patience for “obnoxious tourist behavior” anymore, haha.
On the other hand, I love the Gracia neighborhood, and could easily spend hours wandering the local shops and eating at all the tapas bars and bakeries. Just perfect!
Reasons to Travel Alone to Barcelona
I highly doubt you need me to explain all the reasons you need to travel alone to Barcelona. Buuuut in case you do, here’s some of the best reasons why you ought to consider Barcelona for your next solo trip to Spain.
Time to take notes. And hopefully book your next plane ticket to Catalonia!
English is Spoken Here
First and foremost, English speakers will have no issues in Barcelona. Most of the younger people speak some English, as well as individuals who work in the tourism industry. I had no problems getting around on English and a few snippets of Spanish (although, remember, the native and most important language is Catalan here).
Of course, I recommend learning a couple phrases of Catalan, but if you need to use English, you seriously won’t have any problems. Barcelona is very used to tourists, after all, and as long as you’re polite, you will be able to get anything you need here.
Tapas Culture Makes Dining Alone Easy
Are you like me and feel major anxiety eating alone on your solo travels? Never fear, because Barcelona is perfect for solo dining, thanks to tapas culture!
I was so relieved about solo dining in Barcelona. I could eat all the delicious food and consume all the best Cava wines without worrying about pitying looks of judgement being tossed in my direction. Nope. Not here, friends.
Simply stroll into any tapas joint and sit down at the bar. You got this! I promise a lot of other solo diners are doing the same exact thing that you are. No need to feel awkward about asking for a “table for one.”
And if you need friends? At the bar, people will make friendly conversations with you!
Plenty of Day Trips Close to the City
Barcelona has an abundance of day trips. Honestly, it’s impossible to see them all in a single trip here (alas). But the good news is that you’ll have no problems exploring beyond Barcelona’s city center to see more of the beautiful region of Catalonia.
Cities, such as Girona and Figueres, are easily reachable on the train. Stunning Montserrat Monastery is also a short distance and not too difficult for solo travelers to visit for a half day.
Organized group tours also exist to take visitors to more difficult small village gems in Catalonia, as well as along Costa Brava.
Solo travel in Barcelona is not limited to Barcelona. Go out. Explore.
Multiple Attractions Make It Impossible to Feel Lonely
Solo travel sometimes feels super lonely. Loneliness happens to the best of us, I’m afraid. But the good news is that Barcelona has so much to see and do that you don’t need to worry about loneliness creeping on you too much!
For instance, I spent literally all day exploring Barcelona from early in the morning until the evening. And I usually wouldn’t even come close to seeing everything that I wanted to! My feet hurt and my stomach was full and my camera was exploding with great photos. Not much time for self-pity in Barcelona.
Ultimately, your days will be busy. You won’t have much time to sit around. Which is wonderful for a solo traveler who loves to feel occupied on her journey!
Lots of “Solo Travel” Friendly Accommodation
Still concerned about feeling isolated in Barcelona? Don’t worry much. Why?
Barcelona is packed with fantastic hostels if you want to make fast friends. Solo travel in Barcelona doesn’t mean you’ll always be alone.
However, if you don’t want to share dorms, most of Barcelona’s hostels offer private rooms, too. You can also easily book apartments and hotel rooms rather than hostels. On my trip in Barcelona, I had a studio in the Gracia neighborhood and absolutely loved the little patio, garden, and compact kitchen.
Keep in mind that Barcelona’s prices are high in summer and holiday weeks. Book well in advance to score the best prices on rooms!
Reliable and Safe Tourist Infrastructure
Barcelona’s infrastructure is awesome. Streets are clearly labeled, as are signs directing visitors to the most popular attractions, such as Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell.
Solo travelers won’t get lost (unless, of course, you want to get lost in the back lanes of the Gothic Quarter). The tourist infrastructure ensures that you know where you are going at all times. And honestly, if you’re lost, duck into a tapas bar, buy a Cava, and ask the bartender where you next stop is.
And don’t worry about using the expansive metro either. All metro stops are clearly visible on the sides of trains.
As a bonus, free maps are available at every single accommodation, too.
Easy Connections to the Rest of Spain
Do you want to do a longer trip in Spain? Do you want to perhaps spend 5 days in Madrid and then make your way down to Barcelona? No worries! Barcelona Sants, the city’s largest train station, has fast connections all over the country.
I personally don’t recommend zipping through Spain at a break neck pace. Part of the joy of visiting Spain is immersing yourself in a few cities or one region. But I also know everyone’s travel priorities are different!
So, for those of you who want to “see a lot of Spain,” then Barcelona is a very good stop to include on your trip. Book a AVE for a high-speed train to cover those enormous distances in record speed to save time on your trip.
Practical Advice for Solo Travel in Barcelona
Last but not least, I wanted to include some suggestions for solo travel in Barcelona. These tips include how to get around Barcelona, safety when exploring on your own, accommodation ideas, and much more!
Be sure to take some notes!
Safety Tips for Barcelona
Let’s address the elephant in the room: Barcelona has a massive pickpocketing problem. As a solo traveler, you would be naive to ignore it and let your phone and wallet hang out of your backpack within easy reach of roaming hands.
I’m not saying that Barcelona is dangerous. Not at all. As you can see, I absolutely adore Barcelona and would plan another trip there in the near future. The entire region of Catalonia fascinates me.
However, you really need to keep your eyes open at pickpocketing “hot spots,” especially areas such as Las Ramblas and La Boqueria. These pickpockets are skilled. Don’t underestimate them. Keep your hand on your bag.
How to Get Around Barcelona
Good news for solo travelers coming to Barcelona. This city is really easy to navigate!
Personally, I cannot say enough good things about Barcelona’s metro system, which is big and goes all over the city, but at the same time, is not too hard to figure out! If you’re staying in Barcelona for a few days, then you should buy a T-Casual ticket, which will give you ten rides on the metro. You don’t want to waste time at the ticket machine every time that you need a metro ride.
You’ll also walk a lot in Barcelona. Most of Barcelona’s most popular neighborhoods, such as the Gothic Quarter, El Born, and La Barceloneta, are within walking distance of one another. Plus it’s beautiful seeing the cities posh and winding streets on foot. You’ll never know what you may discover.
So, luckily, solo travel in Barcelona isn’t difficult, especially when it comes to getting around the city.
What to Pack as a Solo Traveler in Barcelona
When you travel alone to Barcelona, you can find anything you desperately need in the city. Barcelona is a huge metropolitan area, so I promise you won’t suffer too much if you forget shampoo or something. However, I recommend not leaving the following items at home!
- Barcelona Guidebook: Barcelona is a massive city, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything to see and do here. My advice is to buy a great guidebook ahead of time. Lonely Planet produces my favorite guidebooks — and they have a guidebook dedicated to Barcelona!
- EU Adapter Plug: If you’re coming from the US, Canada, or UK, then you need the appropriate plug if you want your devices to work in Barcelona. An EU adapter plug is super important to bring with you. Sure, some hotels and hostels have USB plugs available, but this is far from guaranteed.
- Pacsafe Bag: Like I said, pickpockets are a huge pain in Barcelona. If you want extra protection, then invest in a Pacsafe backpack or crossbody bag. You’ll have the extra peace of mind.
- Portable Cellphone Charger: God, trust me when I say that you’ll take fifty million photos and videos as you explore Barcelona’s colorful streets. Your devices will die unless you have a portable charger with you.
- Spanish Phrasebook: As a FYI, people speak Catalan in Barcelona. If you truly want to make some friends, learn a couple of Catalan phrases before you go to Barcelona. However, if you’re taking a longer trip to Spain, most people in Barcelona also speak Spanish, so a Spanish phrasebook would definitely help you on your trip too!
- Travel Insurance: Never, ever, ever leave home without proper travel insurance. I love World Nomads Travel Insurance, because the policies are reasonable and cover everything. I use them on all my solo trips and never had an issue!
Where to Stay in Barcelona
Barcelona has plenty of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and hostels that are perfect for solo travelers! Actually, so much accommodation is available in this city that it’s super easy to feel overwhelmed. I’ve listed a few ideas below to help you!
- Casa Gracia: This delightful and modern hostel is located at the top of the famous and beautiful Passeig de Gràcia. You couldn’t ask for a swankier address for your stay in Barcelona! See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Yeah Barcelona Hostel: If you want to make new friends in Barcelona, then you ought to go to this trendy hostel, which offers plenty of activities such as pub crawls to connect you with other people. See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Zero Barcelona: This brand new hostel is located only six minutes from the beach! Prepare to catch some sun rays! See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
Did this guide for solo travel in Barcelona help you? Do you want to visit Barcelona sometime soon? I promise you will love it! As always, feel free to reach out to me, or check out my solo travel planning services for more help!