How to see Barcelona (without hopping on the tourist bus)

Barcelona solo travel

There’s nothing wrong with the hop-on hop-off tourist bus, of course – it will take you to the well-known sites and save your feet on a hot day – but if you want to take things more slowly, save your money, or see the quirky and beautiful city of Barcelona from a different perspective, here are some ideas for you to try…

Take a free walking tour
I’m on about those walking tours again! But they really are a great way to get to know the city. I went with Travel Bound Free Walking Tours who offer daily tours of the Gothic Quarter in English and Spanish. Our guide showed us the sights, told us about the history of the city, gave us some tips on what to visit and when (i.e. how to get into things for free!), and even taught us some flamenco (I did make a video to demonstrate this to you all, but decided against sharing it in the end!), all for the price of whatever tip we wanted to give at the end. An added bonus was some pleasant conversation with some other travellers along the way.

Barcelona solo travel

Take a boat trip
Wander down Las Ramblas past the Christopher Columbus statue to the port, and you’ll find a number of boat trips on offer. It’s not the cheapest of activities, but being out on the water provides a welcome break from the frenetic pace of the city, and allows you to see the harbour and the coastline from an alternative perspective.

Barcelona solo travel

Take the cable car between La Barceloneta and Montjuic
Again, this isn’t particularly cheap, but offers spectacular views as you dangle in the air above the water. There is the option to go just one way if you want to save a few euros.

Barcelona solo travel

Hire a bicycle
I didn’t actually do this but I wish I had, as Barcelona looked to be a friendly place for even the most novice of riders like me! You’ll see red bicycle stations all over the city, but these are only for locals to use – however you’ll find plenty of places to rent a bike for a few euros, especially down by the beach. There are cycle lanes on the main roads and I spotted many bike tours whilst I was there. I wish I’d rented a bike and ridden along the promenade – there are 5 kilometres of beach to explore which was a bit too far to walk in the heat.

Barcelona solo travel

Use the Metro
OK, so you won’t actually see anything whilst you’re riding on the underground…but it’s a cheap, easy and efficient way to get around the city and to the famous sites quickly. For maximum cost-effectiveness, avoid the one day/three day/five day tickets and go for the T-10, which offers 10 journeys for 9 euros 95 with no time limits, so you’re getting the discount on journeys you’re actually making.

Have you been to Barcelona? Are there any other ways to see the city that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!

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