Trying to choose somewhere to stay in Barcelona as a solo traveller took me ages; the choice of accommodation and areas was overwhelming, and it wasn’t looking cheap. Eventually I settled on La Isla Hostal, a small guesthouse on the edge of the city centre. Here’s why I enjoyed my stay here.
The location is good. Barcelona is one of those cities where you have to balance being in the centre of things against how much you’re willing and able to pay. La Isla Hostal is right next to the Arc de Triomf (and its metro station), a few minutes’ walk from the Parc de la Ciutadella and the Sant Pere neighbourhood, around 20 minutes’ walk from the Gothic Quarter and around 40 minutes’ walk (or a short trip on the metro) from the beach, so everything is easily reachable.
It offers single rooms with shared bathrooms for the budget-conscious traveller. I saved around £90 (140 USD) on my week-long stay by selecting this option. My room was small but had everything I needed – bed, sink, towels, clothes rail and fan (there is no air-conditioning, so if you’re coming in the summer months, be prepared to sleep with the fan on and/or the window open). The shared bathrooms were spacious and clean, the showers were hot and powerful, and I only had to wait for a shower to become free on one occasion.
It feels like staying in someone’s home. Something I really love about small guesthouses and hostels in European cities is that they’re often located in residential blocks – this is the case with La Isla, and, having been given my own keys for the front doors, I felt almost as if I was living in the city. It’s a small place – I think I counted seven or eight rooms – and the staff are friendly, and I felt comfortable there straight away.
There are kitchen facilities. The shared kettle, tea and coffee, fridge and microwave were invaluable in saving me money on food – I was able to prepare breakfast and packed lunches. There were all sorts of yummy-looking goodies available too – sadly I couldn’t avail myself due to my food intolerances!
There’s a cute little outside terrace. This is a lovely spot to sit and have a drink in the evening (perfect for those who feel nervous about going out alone, or for those nights where you don’t want to spend too much money). This could potentially be somewhere to get chatting to other guests too, although I had the place to myself every time I went out there.
It felt safe and secure. I felt at ease alone both inside the hotel, and when walking around the surrounding area – and that is so important when travelling solo.
If you’re heading to Barcelona alone on a budget, I highly recommend La Isla Hostal. The single rooms with shared facilities allow you some privacy without breaking the bank, the location is ideal, and you’ll enjoy a friendly welcome.