This feels like a terribly self-indulgent thing for me to do – you know, who cares about what the piddling CMO from a middling youth travel company has to say…
The Chosen One: A 5X5 Of Everything Barcelona
Editor’s note: over the winter we ran a competition to find the “Chosen One”, a one-of-a-kind, absolutely average, everyday hero who would win our Most Ordinary Extraordinary Job In The World — a summer of back-to-back Stoke Travel trips, where not only would they be expected to have the time of their life, but to also much in and set up tents/serve you heathens your beer. Well, our old mate Ryan is the winner, the Chosen One, and this is his blog about his time with Stoke Travel. Three trips down, who knows how many to go, get ready for the most fun of your life, Ryno.
Like any proper city, there are an unlimited amount of things to do while abroad in Barcelona. Whether you’re a study-abroad student, first-time world traveler, an experienced backpacker, or an absolute nomad, finding something in your wheelhouse is definitely possible in this almost magical city; but just in case you need a quick guide, I’ve done a pretty thorough walking tour of the city. These twenty-five items, neatly categorised for your convenience, just break the surface of activities you can participate in. Whether you want to have as much fun as I did though will be entirely up to you.
No surprises here, these are beautiful parts of the city for candid tourist shots where you can ball on a budget.
Arc de Triomf & Parc de la Ciutadella
Big archway, and quaint park. If you want to look like you know Barcelona isn’t only about the club scene, you’ll find a way sit down for a few hours after the walk there.
Sun rises on the ocean and sun sets behind the hill. Make the right option with the proper people (read: person), and have yourself a real life panographic view (which you can easily put on social media later).
The Gothic Quarter is the center of city. From here you can find a plethora of things to do, or otherwise marvel at the architecture. Cheap places to eat are everywhere, you can find every type of shop you can imagine, and it’s a short walk to the beach.
Travessera de Gràcia
Speaking of shopping, any chance you’re feeling thrifty? This strip on the outskirts of town has a little bit of everything. Just don’t forget that there will be a siesta otherwise the window shopping will be closed too.
Beach and Broadwalk
Barcelona is a coast town, baby. Hit the beach and walk along the piers. Features include stunning photo opportunities, the location of clubs, and being solicited to purchase something every twenty minutes.
You pay a little more, you get a little more. These are some of the tourist attractions that are marvels, but have an option to upgrade.
Basilica de lady Sagrada Familia
You know that giant church that’s taken forever to construct in Spain? The outside of it hosts the stages of the cross, it’s over five-hundred feet tall, and will be the second in line vis-à-vis construction time to The Great Wall of China. As you can probably imagine, the inside is astounding, but that’s where the character should be. The guy who created the concept? Antoni Gaudí. Buried beneath the tile. Not a bad way of honoring someone, I’d say.
We can thank Gaudí again for this one. Thinking about the children running around while their families watched overhead from the naturalistic Spanish influence of the terrain surrounding Barcelona, Park Güell seems to grow out of the mountain. If you want to put down a little extra, you can take a look inside to see the Gaudí House Museum and some pretty boss mosaics. Lucky for us it didn’t turn into a series of high-rises, huh?
And since we’re in the mind of places to climb up to look over the things below it, from an entirely different side of the city we find ourselves at castle of all things. To fit into the theme of the category though, the view over the port and the gothic quarter are marvel all their own.
Brunch in the Park
A little off topic, but do you like bottomless mimosas and eggs benedict? Because if you do, you are in the wrong place. Again we visit Montjuïcu, which still offers a wonderful hike and view, but hosts a rave every Sunday. Cash kiosks, kegs, and heavy electronic beats. Pray it rains, the audience goes mad.
If you like art, porn, or weed, I’ve got good news for you. If you need to get your cultural appropriation game stronger, you’ll want grab an audio tour and get your knowledge on.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Every place has watering holes. Some are better than others. These are some of the proper niche places to go in Barcelona that are worthy of a mention if you’re looking to chill with a drink in your hand.
There is an actual skateboard ramp in the bar. Make a pitstop to grab a one-euro-fifty Heineken, play some foosball, and headbang to the grunge rock. That’s where fifteen-year-old you always dreamed you’d wind up anyway.
Tasca el Corral
The inside of this looks, to me, like the inside of an old-style inn, where the innkeeper will have dinner ready at such-and-such time whether you’re there or not. Grab a friend and go bottle for bottle of leche de pantera for ten euro a piece.
Different than the other options, this is probably the closest you’ll get to Brooklyn in Barcelona. You’re going to walk in and the dimly-lit, open area has a bar against the back wall. Look immediately to the left and there’s an archway under which leads you to a large sitting area. Stay hipster, my friends.
Dow Jones Bar
Feeling lucky? I walked into this place once and wanted to franchise it (and if the owners see this, contact me directly; I’ve got developmental ideas). You buy a beer, price goes up on it. The other beers go down. Be ready for when the alarm goes off though; stocks are crashing and there’s a chance you can come away ahead by the buy.
Walking down any street is an experience, but I simply remember turning a corner, looking into the windows of coffeeshops, and heard someone half-yelling in my ear, “Hey, man, coffeeshop? Smoke weed?” At any given point, you can hear these fellas out and they can direct you to the “coffeeshop” they’re promoting. It stands the same across the city; if you want to get in, you have to know somebody.
I hear how much you eat directly effects how long you live. Now, I’m no doctor, but I figured I’d give it a try.
Made in Sicily
I’m an Italian-American from New Jersey whose father worked in a pizzeria for over a decade. Go eat a slice of this pizza.
Pizza & Kebab
I know, I know, we covered pizza. In all fairness to me, I can’t speak for it. This shop happens to be very conveniently placed near the clubs in Barcelona. The gyro (kebab) is absolutely clutch.
I hate to recommend a chain, but you cannot miss this burger. Definitely more on the expensive side, but a relatively quick bite to eat and incredibly satisfying.
Brunch & Cake
Again, expensive, but with vegan and gluten-free options, you could have expected that anyway. Every plate is a masterpiece, not only in taste, but in presentation. Worth sitting down for a coffee at.
The Stoke Bar
How could I pass up on this gem? Not just a cool place to grab a beer, once upstairs, this is definitely a place you can go to look out over a veranda into the streets of Barcelona, break out the laptop and get working on that novel concept, or just converse with a few friends.
And if somehow you’re still having trouble finding something to do, Stoke always has an idea.
One hour of salsa dancing followed by an open bar and beer pong. If you can find out a better way to shake off a case of the Monday, I’m all ears.
Stoke rents out a boat on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday so that you have a two-hour all-you-can-drink dance party while sailing along the Barcelona coastline. Or there’s a second boat on Friday with free guest list club entry. Watch the sunset, and the sunrise.
Walking along the port, there will be no doubt a chance you see the seemingly endless line of clubs. The hookah will be open well into the night, so make certain to hit Stoke’s Barcelona Party Pack. Unless three hour open bar and burlesque dancers aren’t your thing. No judgement.
On any given day you can find yourself in the Gothic Quarter by noon, right? Skip the tourist stitch for a day and sign up for a day trip out of city. Our guide, driver, photographer, and new friend Tasos guided us across the waves to several small inlets of water where we could explore cave, snorkel, and jump off the natural rock formations. I can guarantee, this excursion is definitely not the worst way to spend the afternoon.
Cooking is one of those skills that every person should have, right? That’s what Andre, our personal chef and teacher, thinks anyway. Walking through the biggest and oldest market Barcelona has to offer, he explained to us proper procedure for creating different styles of paella. After we picked up exactly what we needed, we walked to his kitchen and enjoyed some homemade sangria while we prepped, cooked, and dined.
And if that doesn’t suffice, check out some of these alternatives! Or don’t and ruin your trip. No skin off my ass. Oh and make sure not to walk into the bike lanes. Peace.
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