Why You Need To Visit Barcelona - The Pros And Cons

Barcelona Park Guell

Situated in Catalonia Region, on the Eastern Coast of Spain, Barcelona is a vibrant city famed for its exceptional architecture, quirky arts and delicious culinary scene.
For a few years now I’ve been meaning to check out Gaudi’s work, and this year I finally got the chance to travel to Barcelona. I visited during spring because the weather was already able to offer plenty of sunshine, yet still relatively offseason, which meant fewer tourists and more secluded photographic opportunities.

The first thing I would say about Barcelona is to forget anything you think you know about this city. When I arrived, I had plenty of ideas of what to expect, based on reviews, travel guides and word of mouth. My experience proved to be totally different than anything I imagined. There are plenty of good things as well as bad things about Barcelona. As an informed traveller, I believe you should be made aware of all pros and cons about visiting the Catalan Region.

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Pros - What I loved about Barcelona

Barcelona's Quirky Architecture

If you too love Gaudi’s extraordinary work then you should most certainly visit Barcelona. There are plenty of beautiful building facades, interiors and decors. I was most impressed with the interior of the Sagrada Familia. If you think it looks amazing from the outside, wait until you go inside and see all the playful colours. Walk around spacious boulevards and feel the French influence on the place, or make your way around the Old Town where you can breathe in Italian love through the small streets. When it comes to architecture, Barcelona just doesn't stop giving. If cultural travel is your thing, then don't forget to add this 3 days in Barcelona itinerary to your bucket list.

Cory Sagrada Familia Passion-Tower

Barcelona's seaside

If you want to escape Barcelona’s agitation, what’s better than a day by the beach? Featuring its own sandy shores, the seaside is almost always busy during the summer months when visitors and locals alike soak up the Spanish sun and sip on cocktail till twilight. Grab a beach towel and forget about the dins of the world.

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Why You Need To Visit Barcelona - The Pros And Cons

Barcelona has amazing fresh seafood

Being a seafood lover this was most certainly one of the best things about Barcelona. I enjoyed tons of prawns, fresh lobster, octopus legs and squid ring. The only downside is that Spanish food tends to be a little oilier than I like. That’s ok though, as you can buy lots of food from the supermarket (or seafood market) and cook the best dinner on the planet. You can also go for a food tour in Barcelona.

Dinner Barcelona

Barcelona's shopping boutiques

It’s been a while since I’ve been seen of shopping boutiques with incredibly decent prices. Although we have plenty of independent shops here, in the UK, the prices are unapproachable and usually, the clothes are not well fitted. It was difficult to find my small size in Spain too, but the really low prices were well worth the search. You can find a ton of fashionable dresses, cute accessories and really comfortable shoes. I strongly recommend abandoning the mainstream brands and searching for the perfect outfit hidden in a boutique somewhere, through the quaint streets of Barcelona.

Barcelona's weather

With 2,524 hours of sunshine a year, it’s no surprise Barcelona attracts so many tourists from all over the world. Coming from rainy England, seeing the sunshine is one of the great reasons why I love visiting a warm city such as Barcelona. I visited in April, which was perfect weather for walking around in a skirt and t-shirt.

Old Town Barcelona

Most people in Barcelona speak English

Although I perfectly understand written and spoken Spanish, I’m not that great at speaking it myself. I can get by, but since I haven’t practised it much, I don’t feel comfortable having a full conversation (yet). It most certainly made my life easier knowing I can just speak English. Everyone spoke English and their language skills were really good.

Barcelona is full of pet lovers

I love being in a city where people love pets. I found so many pet-friendly establishments, including eateries and hotels. People don’t seem annoyed if you bring your dog in the subway or you allow it to chill with you whilst enjoying a sangria somewhere. I saw a lot of pet owners and all pets look well taken care of. This made Barcelona an awesome place to me.

Can't get bored in Barcelona

There is so much to do in Barcelona, you simply can't get bored around here. Whether you visit a museum, check out an art gallery, shop or just wander around, Barcelona is a great place to be. I really loved seeing so many of Barcelona's dimensions, from the gothic to the hipster.

Chocolate Barcelona

Accommodation in the heart of Barcelona

We have put together our recommended hotels based on distance from the city centre, quality and price. Enjoy the many outstanding restaurants and bars in the old town and of course, don't forget to visit La Sagrada Familia.

Praktik Garden
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Praktik Garden

Praktik Garden is located 450 yards from Barcelona’s fashionable Passeig de Gracia Boulevard. Fully refurbished in 2015, its chic rooms feature colourful mosaic floors, a flat-screen TV and free WiFi.

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Cami Gallery Barcelona

Set in the heart of Barcelona, Cami Bed&Gallery offers daily breakfasts with local products. Located 3 minutes’ walk from Plaza Catalunya, the air-conditioned property has free Wi-Fi.

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Hotel Reding Croma

Situated 100 yards from Universitat Metro Station, this boutique hotel offers stylish rooms with free tea and coffee making facilities. Plaza Catalunya is just 450 yards away. Each air-conditioned room comes with a minibar, a trouser press and a modern bathroom with a hairdryer, a magnifying mirror and toiletries.

Hotel Reding Croma has a business centre with a computer and printer. The hotel has free internet connection points. Staff at the 24-hour reception can provide visitor information and help to arrange restaurant reservations or car rental.

Hotel Reding Croma is a 5-minute walk from the famous Las Ramblas. Direct buses to Barcelona Airport stop just 500 yards away, in Plaza Catalunya.

Ciutat Vella is a great choice for travellers interested in shopping, food and culture.

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Cons - Areas of improvement

Barcelona's streets

For the sensitive, may appear to be quite dusty. If you pay attention, the streets can look a little dirty. Some small streets can get smelly when it’s really hot.

The customer service needs improvement

Comparing to Japan or the UK, Barcelona needs a bit of improvement when it comes to engaging with customers. This applies to hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions.

Barcelona is pricey

The prices in Barcelona are quite high and this can put a lot of people off. This applies to food, accommodation, tickets for tourist attractions and public transport. I actually found Barcelona pretty much as expensive as London. As mentioned before, the only exception are the prices for clothes.

Marcado Chocolate Barcelona

There is a pickpocket problem in Barcelona

This is a serious issue in Barcelona and unfortunately, the police don’t seem to do much about it. Luckily this wasn’t an issue for us, but we were very vigilant and tried to keep out of small and dark streets as much as humanly possible. Being worried that you might lose your belongings or you can’t set up your tripod for an epic shot, it’s not great whilst on holiday. Don't forget to check how to avoid pickpockets in Barcelona.

Barcelona gets very crowded

I visited during April which is kinda off season, yet Barcelona was already crazy busy and full of tourists. There were long queues for all attractions and plenty of school groups with kids running around everywhere. I expected the city to be a bit slower paced.

Boutiques Barcelona

In conclusion I think Barcelona is definitely a brilliant city which has to be visited at least once. Understanding its history, admiring its architecture and strolling through its streets can make anyone fall in love with it. I loved Park Guell the most as well as the great variety of fresh seafood available at Marcado de La Boqueria and all local supermarkets.

Cory Sagrada Familia Barcelona

Tell me about your experiences in Barcelona. What did you like most?


Alice Eduardo Enrile
28 Aug 2019

Your article really gives me a lot of tips for my incoming trip with my friends. Please continue sharing your experience to us

15 Jul 2016

I agree with your list! I lived there for three months after having lived 6 months in Paris and I found it almost as pricy, add the fact that the touristy stuff is expensive whereas in Paris most every attraction was free (I'm a french-american dual-citizen, so everything is free for citizens 26 and under)! And the crowding. I definitely got tired of the swarms of people especially at Las Ramblas and Rambla Catalunya which I would try to avoid. It's a small city with a lot to see so it's no wonder it's so crowded!