DISCLAIMER: Advertisement. All locations and restaurants are my personal recommendation and we paid ourselves.
This was the first time my bestie and I were traveling together, what a shocker!
But there’s a first time for everything, isn’t there?
Judith and I decided on Barcelona a few months ago. And due to colliding schedules it almost didn’t happen. But, I’m super thankful we managed to pull it off!
This is the first time I’ve done couchsurfing.
As a woman (or really anyone), there are a few things that should be considered when using this platform!
- Limit the results to people having references.
- Limit the results to people being verified.
- Carefully read through the profile and references.
- And ALWAYS trust your gut feeling!
With that in mind, I searched for possible hosts.
The reason why we wanted to do Couchsurfing was first and foremost to experience the city through local eyes, get to know new people and find hidden gems.
The fact that it (almost always) is free is just a bonus.
After researching I’ve had a few people I would message in our time frame. We were pretty much last minute planning, so we didn’t have too many options.
But lucky us, our first try was already a winner.
We ended up staying with Antonello who is just an awesome human being. He planned everything from tours through the Gothic Quarter over hikes up to the Bunkers or night clubs/bar crawls.
On the way, he always picked up other international people and the ever changing group was always filled with interesting personas.
His flat was right in the city centre. We actually couldn’t have gotten it any better!
So, even if we had our own program planned (don’t take this kind of treatment for granted, it was only possible, because our host was on holiday), we enjoyed every second when we were spending time together.
My conclusion for Couchsurfing therefore is only positive and I would definitely do it again, maybe even alone 🙂
There’s definitely a lot to see in Barcelona and because of our limited time and resources, we had to make compromises.
Always free and always worth seeing is the Gothic Quarter. I would combine it with a visit to the ‘Cathedral‘ and ‘Santa Maria del Mar‘ as they both are close by.
Remember to wear clothes that aren’t too revealing (respect the religious beliefs!). For women that means at least knee-length clothes and no spaghetti tops (covered shoulders, please). For men, wear long pants or at least shorts with knee-length and omit the tank top.
We didn’t make it to ‘Santa Maria del Mar’, but my personal favourite was the Cathedral anyways. Be sure to take the elevator to the terrace in order to get a beautiful view from the centre of Barcelona 🙂
Also not far from the Cathedral is ‘La Rambla’ and ‘La Bouqueria’, the most touristy market and because we’re the bad kind of tourists, we actually never went there. Shame on us? Well, if you ask me, no. I think there are so many more interesting places to see in Barcelona.
Even if we did go shopping a bit 😀
Historic and artistically beautiful heritages we also only saw from the outside are the landmark ‘Sagrada Familia‘ and ‘Casa Battló‘.
But with entry prices of 30€ each (doing the whole tours, towers included at the church) was a bit much and it was super crowded too.
So, what can you do instead?
Go to the beach. ‘Barceloneta’ is really just a 10 minute walk away from the city centre. But I would advise you to drive with the bus a bit farther away for a less crowded, more beautiful part of the Barcelonian beach.
We were near the ‘Club W’ building where we walked close to for a rooftop party on Friday evening/night at ‘Blue Spot‘.
That took us 35 minutes from our home which was 5 minutes away from the Cathedral.
If you like walking, you can walk there too 🙂
Apropos rooftop party. This party is at ‘Blue Spot’ every Friday. Just search for the FB event and write yourself on the guest list to enter for free until 1:30 🙂
Now that we’re talking night program, I might as well drop some bars we went to.
The first night we spent at a bar called ‘Lime House’ and then went to the beach at like 2am.
On Thursday, there was a Couchsurfing event at the ‘Polaroid Bar’. We then proceeded to go to ‘Machete’, also a bar. That particular night was a Salsa Night.
There’s one bar/club next to another, so just go in, feel if it’s your vibe and stay or change bars 😀 There’s definitely one out there for anyone!
The last hot spots concerning hidden gems or well, not so hidden anymore, but still beautiful are ‘Park Güell‘ and ‘Bunkers del Carmel‘ which I would definitely do on the same day as these places are a bit farther outside (45 minutes with metro from city centre plus walking).
And if you want the BEST experience, do it like we pushed ourselves to do: Go to Bunkers at sunrise. It’s very calm, not at all crowded (only about 8 people besides us), you start the day on the best note and can take amazing pictures!
And afterwards you can walk to ‘Park Güell’ which you should buy tickets to get into the closed off area with all the mosaics (which we sadly missed), but this part is currently under construction and also a bit higher priced than usual (I guess, because of traveling high season).
I think the following pictures will convince you.
And before I forget. Of course, don’t forget to make a pit-stop at ‘Arc de Triomf’.
Food to Watch
Now that I’m done with all the places to watch, we can continue with my restaurant recommendations.
The absolute BEST food we had at ‘Teresa Carles‘, a restaurant focused on healthy vegetarian eating. It’s also sustainable and uses local produce as much as they can.
I had an amazing appetizer consisting of vegan eggplant rolls and a vegan lasagna.
The only disappointement was the dessert. But I think it was not quite my taste, not that it was bad or anything.
Apropos dessert. Every single restaurant didn’t manage to live up to my prior dessert highlights. With an exception: ‘Santoni‘, a 100% plantbased bakery where I tried their empanadas (ok, savory), but also their cañas and croissant which were not only affordable, but also very tasty!
As I looove Açai Bowls, I kind of commited myself to testing those every place I go. Before I went to Barcelona, there were two places mentioned the most by both locals and tourists.
One of them is ‘Flax & Kale‘ and what can I say. I didn’t like their Açai Bowl at all. It even tasted so weird that I thought it was off, like soap was mixed into it.
Apparently that’s how it was supposed to taste. Everything besides the Acai part of the bowl was tasty, like the granola or seasonal fruits (melon, blueberries, physalis) and goji as a topping.
On the upside, I ordered two other dishes, the ‘Batido el Cubanito’ which is basically a healthy chocolate shake and a vegan ‘Meditteranean Avo Toast’. Both were very delicious, even though the toast was on the staler side. I love my bread crunchy, though, so there’s no complain from me.
The other restaurant is ‘Brunch & Cake‘ and oh my, that’s how I love my Açai Bowls. Not only was this bowl the most beautifully presented food in all our resto visits, it was also perfectiion in taste. Hello, vegan rocher?!
I wish I could have eaten more there, but I was so satisfied after that bowl and wouldn’t have managed another full plate.
Personally, there’s only one other place I’d like to mention and that is ‘Quinoa Bar‘. It’s a tiny place with a small vegetarian menu, focusing on burgers. They do offer appetisers, hotdogs, sandwiches and daily changing vegetarian and vegan quiches. And of course, they also offer dessert.
I decided on the quiche and it was very tasty and beautifully plated.
The brownie was a bit dry and cakey. The nachos with guacamole satisfying.
Overall, one of the better experiences we had and a place to watch, if you ask me!
We had also very disappointing resto visits which I won’t mention, but if you want to know, you can either dm or e-mail me or watch my ‘Barcelona Highlight’ on Insta where I reviewed every single place we went to.
And on that note. Maybe I should mention ‘Citizen Café‘, as it was very pleasant, but not too special. I had the ‘French Toasts’. It was a good experience, just to clarify!
But now I’m really done with the food part and we’re getting close to the end!
Just a few pictures and a short goodbye 🙂
So, that was it for Barcelona. And if you have any questions, do not hesitate to leave a comment or write an e-mail.
I hope you might consider doing Couchsurfing, if you haven’t tried it already. Maybe there will be another travel post with an included experience on my part in the future. We will see 🙂
Where do you think my intuition will lead me to next? Where are you going next?