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How to best spend a weekend in Barcelona

Why is it that Barcelona leaves you madly in love?

Barcelona, the city that everyone loves. “Why is that?” you might wonder. Once you’ve been there, you will understand. Meanwhile I will try to explain it to you… Imagine a perfect cocktail. Sweet enough to seduce you and cool enough to make you want more. It’s like taking the best ingredients of every country and putting them into one dish. That is Barcelona. It has everything you can ever ask for. Mountains, beaches and parks. But also plenty of museums, restaurants, magnificent architecture and food markets. And not to forget… a crazy nightlife!

Ask the Italians, French and Russians, some of the biggest foreign groups living there. You can also find Indians, Africans and Scandinavians. Everyone loves Barcelona. It’s no doubt a vivid, dynamic and charming city.

"Castellers de Barcelona" impressive human towers.
“Castellers de Barcelona” impressive human towers.

When one of the numerous yearly festivals takes place the city’s pulse raises to an even higher level. Especially on September 24th, when “La Mercè” is celebrated, known to be the biggest festival of the year. The celebration begins a couple of days in advance and there are plenty of activities to choose from. You will get to see the “gegants i capgrossos” (giant costumed figures) parade the streets, “the Sardana”, a popular circle dance typical of Catalan culture. And if you’re lucky you might get to witness the “Castellers de Barcelona”, the impressive human towers. And you know what? The best thing about the festival is that all entertainment is free and that the subway is running all night!

If you happen to be there the 24th of September, don’t miss the closing ceremony of La Mercè at Plaza Espanya/Montjuïc. Colourful fireworks will paint the sky synchronised with a music and laser show. It will leave you speechless.

How to get the best of Barcelona, for FREE!          

A lot of money is not necessarily what you need in order to enjoy the city of Barcelona. There are many nice things you can do, totally for free. Like having a nice walk in “Parc de la Ciutadella”, with the monument “Arco del Triumfo” situated right outside. Once you get inside the park you might end up staying there for a while, watching people entertaining themselves. Doing acrobats, playing instruments, having picnic, singing or exercising in groups.

When you feel you’ve had enough of the entertainments in the park you can have a short walk to the old town, “el Borne”, the city’s favourite spot among locals. Walking along the narrow streets and beautiful small plazas you will find yourself surrounded by small designer shops, cafes and bars. At night the bars get packed serving you the best mojitos in town! While you are strolling around you will feel a constant presence of old Barcelona’s history.



El Borne is known for its beautiful medieval architecture. It’s also in this neighbourhood where you will find the famous Picasso museum, El Born Centre Cultural and The Modern Art Museum – no entrance fees on Sundays! If this doesn’t sound appealing enough, you might consider a visit to Palau de la Música Catalana, an impressive UNESCO World Heritage concert hall building, designed in the Catalan modernista style. Beautiful right? Ok, by now you will probably be starving. Head to “The Market of Santa Caterina” and grab a bite of some seafood and fresh fruits!

Barcelona at night

When the night has come but it’s still too early to head to the clubs you might wonder what to do. Don’t worry because I have something really nice in store for you. The Magic Fountain show at Montjuïc! Without having to reveal too much, I will leave you with saying… it’s absolutely amazing… sorry, makes no justice describing it in words 😉

Ok, now it’s finally time to explore the nightlife! The club scene in Barcelona is big and diverse. Electronic music and rock is popular among the locals but you can also find some really good salsa clubs. If you feel like getting lost, Razzmatazz is the place to be. You get five clubs in one, housing different djs every weekend. If you still got some energy left on Monday, join the party at Apolo. “Nasty Mondays” and “Crappy Tuesdays” are always crowded with both locals and expats.

Ok, festivals, parks, museums and clubbing. Have I missed something? Of course! How could we forget about the beaches?! Spending a lazy day at the beach is mandatory in Barcelona. There are numerous fine sandy beaches to choose from where you can enjoy a drink at one of the many “chiringuitos” (beach cafes), take the opportunity to surf or play volleyball. Below you will find a small guide to help you out.

And not to forget… Even if you’re not a soccer lover you can’t miss when FC Barcelona wins a game – literally the whole city is celebrating. Even the traffic goes crazy!

As you can see there is more than one reason to visit Barcelona. So why wait? 😉

Marbella Beach
Marbella Beach

√ Beaches in Barcelona

Barceloneta – metro yellow Line, L4, stop “Barceloneta”

Icària Beach – metro yellow Line, L4, stop “Ciutadella Vila Olimpica”

Marbella Beach (unofficially a nudist beach) – metro yellow Line, L4, stop “Poblenou”

The beaches in Barcelona get pretty crowded, especially during the summer months. But don’t you worry, if you want to avoid the crowds there a several close beaches to choose from outside Barcelona. All with easy access by metro or train.

√ Beaches outside of Barcelona

Badalona – metro purple line, L2, stop “Pep Ventura”, approximate 15 minutes

Ocata – catch the Renfe train, stop “Ocata”, approximate 30 minutes

Sitges (known for its gay and nudist beaches) – Renfe, stop “Sitges”, approximate 30 minutes

Castelldefels Renfe, stop “Platja de Castelldefels”, approximate 25 minutes

If you have time to book a tour or rent a car find your way to Costa Brava, north of Barcelona. There you will find a stunning landscape with amazing views at a 250 km long coastline full of beautiful beaches. No public transport can take you all the way to the beaches so the best option to get there is by car.

Autor del artículo
Sandra Wasserman
Escritora, viajera y amante de la naturaleza. Sandra nació en Suecia y es Licenciada en Periodismo por la Universidad de Lund. En 2014 decidió mudarse a España en busca del sol y la playa. Le gusta cuestionarse cosas “normales”, estar despierta por las noches cuando todos duermen, incluso girar a la izquierda cuando todos van por la derecha. Su pasión por los viajes le llevo a conocer Asia, entre otros países, y a encontrar su propio propósito de la vida: aprender y seguir aprendiendo.

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