Ultimate Guide to Barcelona Solo Travel (2023)
Traveling solo can be a liberating experience and it doesn’t get much more freeing than soaking up the sultry Mediterranean vibes of Barcelona. If you’re looking to explore this vibrant city on your own, then you’ve come to the right place.
From riding the metro like a local to enjoying leisurely walks through culinary hotspots, find out how you can travel Barcelona with ease this ultimate, one-stop-shop Guide to Barcelona Solo Travel.
Compiled from my first-hand, solo travel to Barcelona, this guide has all things Barcelona travel tips with bonus budget travel tips, eco-travel tips, and more throughout.
When done, you’ll not only be confident to plan your solo trip to Barcelona, Spain, but book it as well. Let’s get you to Barcelona.
This Barcelona Travel Guide is intentionally written for the solo traveler, the first time Barcelona traveler, and/or older traveler (I am over 50 and have been solo traveling FOREVER) in mind. Yet, anyone can use this travel guide it to plan and book Barcelona travel.
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- Ultimate Spain Solo Travel Guide
- What is Barcelona Known For?
- Best Time to Visit Barcelona
- Getting to Barcelona
- Getting Around Barcelona
- Is Barcelona Safe for Solo Travel?
- Barcelona Travel Packing Essentials
- Where to Stay in Barcelona on Solo Travel
- 5 MUST DOs in Barcelona
- MORE Top Things To Do in Barcelona
- Beyond Barcelona
- BEST Booking Sites for Barcelona
- How to Get THE BEST of Barcelona in 3 Days
- More Travel Guides You’ll Like
Ultimate Spain Solo Travel Guide
If you need more Spain travel tips to supplement your Barcelona travel planning, consult my ultimate Spain Solo Travel Guide full of tips on culture, entry requirements, currency, tipping, using electronics, safety, and a lot more to plan solo travel in Spain.
Large, historical, and happening, finding the right things to do alone in Barcelona, Spain for your trip could seem overwhelming. I’ve got you covered. Here’s my fabulous Barcelona 3 day Itinerary perfect for first-time Barcelona solo trip to help you get planning your solo travel in Spain.
More Spain Travel Guides & Itineraries
- Best of San Sebastian in 2 Days (or 3) Itinerary
- Ultimate San Sebastian Solo Travel Guide
- Pamplona in 1 Day Itinerary and Guide
- The Ultimate Madrid Solo Travel Guide
- The Best of Madrid in 3 Days Itinerary
- 7 Best Europe Beach Destinations for Solo Travelers
What is Barcelona Known For?
Barcelona is the capital of the Catalunya (Catalonia region) and Spain’s 2nd largest city.
Located on the Mediterranean Costa Brava, Barcelona has 4.2 km of sandy beaches, it makes it one of the best beach destinations in Europe.
Barcelona also boasts 66 museums, FC Barcelona and 11 other football (soccer) clubs, two official languages (Catalan and Spanish), has over 1.6 million residents and attracts 7.5 million visitors a year (at the time of this writing).
Barcelona is home to amazing cuisine, architecture, including Roman, and art.
Famous people from Barcelona include Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Antoni Gaudí, Pau Gasol, Gerard Piqué, Arantxa” Sánchez Vicario, José Carreras, and Daniel Brühl, to name a few.
Barcelona also hosts two UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, and the collective works of Antoni Gaudí, all of which are huge tourists draws.
Why Visit Barcelona?
Considering what Barcelona is known for, and how large it is, it qualifies as a must see city in Spain.
If you have never been to Barcelona, add it to your Spain solo travel bucket list, even if visiting Barcelona for a few days.
There are simply too many Barcelona tourist attractions to list in this Barcelona travel guide and itinerary, but I’ll do my best to provide you top things to do in Barcelona.
Best Time to Visit Barcelona
The best time to go to Barcelona relies on weather, costs, activities and events offered.
Barcelona Weather & Costs
Barcelona temperatures average from high 50°s F to 70° F, with warmest weather in the summer months of July and August. These are also Barcelona’s most humid months, when locals tend to leave but tourists pour in and drive up prices.
The fall shoulder season months of September and October are Barcelona’s rainiest. Consider bringing an eco-friendly travel umbrella if you go during these months.
December through February are the coldest months but offer fewer tourists and may be the cheapest time to visit Barcelona.
My latest solo travel Barcelona was in early October. It was cloudy with very little rain. The days and nights were still warm, and there weren’t many tourists.
You may prefer May or June for your Barcelona visit instead. Daylight hours are long, the weather is warm, there are still fewer tourists than in the height of summer, and there are plenty of things to do in Barcelona, including festivals like Sonar in June.
I would recommend visiting Barcelona in the shoulder season months of May, June, September or October.
When planning a trip to Barcelona, I suggest checking Barcelona’s festivals and holidays calendar to help determine when is the best time for your solo travel in Barcelona.
All prices reflected at time of writing.
Getting to Barcelona
Flying into Barcelona
The closest airport serving Barcelona is the Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport (BCN), aka Barcelona Airport.
Barcelona Airport is serviced by most major and European airlines. International and domestic flights arrive at Terminal 1. Low cost carriers arrive at Terminal 2.
The Barcelona Airport is 15 km south of Barcelona city center. If you do not have access to an airport shuttle from your hotel, there are several other transportation options from the Barcelona Airport to Barcelona city center.
You could get a Barcelona Airport rental car, (but have to deal with city center parking), hire a private one-way or round-trip airport transfer, a luxury airport transfer, or rideshare or taxi (including Uber, Bolt and Lyft), which may cost €25 to €30.
The following eco-friendly transportation options, however, will save you money if you are traveling Barcelona on a budget.
Reserve Early to Get a Cheap Flight to Barcelona
Eco Travel Tips
Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2. Additionally, you can purchase carbon offsets through your airline to lower your carbon footprint.
Barcelona Airport Train
The RENFE train leaves the Aeropuerto station every 30 minutes. The train takes approximately 25 minutes to reach the Passeig de Gràcia station. There you switch to a metro for the Plaça Catalunya station, which should be within walking distance to your hotel or hostel. Train tickets are approximately €5.
Barcelona Airport Metro
The orange L9 metro line leaves Barcelona Airport every 7 minutes from both the Aeroport T1 and Aeroport T2 metro stations. The metro takes approximately 35 minutes to arrive at Plaça Catalunya station, but with transfers required. Tickets cost approximately €5.
Barcelona Airport Shuttle
The Aerobus service is an express bus service direct to the city center. The A1 bus leaves Terminal 1 and the A2 bus leaves Terminal 2. Both depart eery 5 to 10 minutes. You arrive at the Plaça de Catalunya bus stop at the El Corte Inglés department store in about 30 minutes for €5.90.
Barcelona Airport Bus
The TMB airport bus (no. 46) also leaves from Aeroport T1 and Aeroport T2. With several stops, this bus takes longer to reach the city center, but one-way tickets are only €2.40.
The Barcelona Card
Purchasing the Barcelona Card (aka the Barcelona Pass) is a great option for airport to city center transportation plus attractions.
The Barcelona Card covers 25 museums and attractions in Barcelona, including 50% off admission to attractions like Gaudi’s Casa Milà and Casa Batlló, skip the line entrance, free public transportation, and can be bought for 3, 4 or 5 days in Barcelona.
Get your Barcelona Card in advance, exchange your voucher at one of the designated locations and times, and then zip from the Barcelona airport to the city center.
Bus or Train to Barcelona
Barcelona receives many trains and buses daily, which are quick, inexpensive, and eco-friendly ways to reach Barcelona.
Buses usually arrive at the Barcelona Estació de Sants or Estació de Nord. Trains arrive at one of the two main stations, Estació de Sants or Estació de França, depending on your departure point.
For example, on my last trip to Spain, I traveled from Pamplona to Barcelona by train with the train arriving at the Barcelona Sants station.
You can take a metro from any of these stations to Plaça de Catalunya.
Trainline Provides Cheap Train and Bus Tickets to Barcelona
Eco Travel Tips
For flights only 2 to 3 hours in duration to and from Barcelona, take the train or bus instead. It could also save time and money, and the scenery is much prettier.
When hiring a rideshare, choose the Bolt Green or Uber Green options, or use Carpoolworld, to support the use of electric cars and carpooling for cleaner transportation in Spain.
More Eco Travel Tips & Ideas
- 25 Must-Have & Eco-Friendly Solo Beach Trip Essentials
- 15 Eco Long-haul Flight Essentials for Solo Travel
- Top 10 Eco-Friendly Carry On Luggage
- 10 Best Eco-Friendly Personal Item Bags for Flying
- 10 Top Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Swimwear Brands
- 10 Easy Ways to Be an Eco-Friendly Traveler
Getting Around Barcelona
Barcelona by Metro or Bus
Barcelona is a large city and some top sights can be quite a distance from each other. Taking the Barcelona metro is highly recommended to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time.
The Barcelona metro is extremely easy to use. Tickets can be purchased in each station. There are 12 metro lines which include access to the public buses.
One way tickets within a zone are less than €3 each way. If you need assistance, just ask a booth attendant. Many speak English and happy to answer your questions.
Another way to see more of what’s in Barcelona in a short period of time is the Barcelona Hop On Hop Off bus. Tours like these are ideal for large cities like Barcelona.
This bus is very popular in Barcelona because it covers 2 to 3 different routes around Barcelona encompassing all of the top Barcelona sights and attractions.
Buy your 24-hour or 48-hour bus ticket in advance to save time during peak season. Buses depart centrally from Plaça de Catalunya.
Eco Travel Tips
Avoid taking a taxi or Uber to explore Barcelona. Instead, see Barcelona by public transportation, a Hop-on Hop-off bus, foot, bike or electric scooter.
The Barcelona Card & More
Remember the Barcelona Card? Keep this in mind for way to get access to public transportation for 48 hours or more with access to 25+ Barcelona attractions.
Buying the Hola Barcelona Public Transport Travel Card is another option to get free, unlimited access to Barcelona transportation in the city and suburbs. The Hola Barcelona card can be purchased for increments of 48, 72, 96, or 120-hours.
Barcelona Transportation Options for 2 Days or More
Is Barcelona walkable?
Although extensive, a large portion of the Barcelona city center is flat, which makes Barcelona optimal for walking.
Many must sees in Barcelona can be accessed by foot, however, especially if you stay within the Old City. To save time on your Barcelona itinerary, walk Barcelona by neighborhoods.
If you want to learn more about Barcelona or its incredible food and wine, consider a historic walking tour or food walking tour of Barcelona. There are private and group tours available. Again, group tours do provide that additional chance to meet others when traveling Barcelona alone.
Best Barcelona Group Walking Tours
Best Barcelona Private Walking Tours
Barcelona by Bike or Scooter
Barcelona is also ideal for biking and scooters due to the designated paths. You’ll see many bike and e-bike rental stands, and e-scooters, throughout Barcelona. Consider renting a bike for a quicker way to zip through Barcelona like a local.
Barcelona Travel Tip
Always look both ways when crossing streets, even if you think the street is ‘one way’. Bicyclists and scooter riders really move and can seem to come out of nowhere. Be aware of your surroundings.
Save Time and Book Your Barcelona Bike in Advance
Want to ride around Barcelona, but not alone? Barcelona has e-scooter, segway, and bike or e-bike tours, too. These tours are eco-friendly and a great way to learn more about Barcelona and meet new people while traveling alone in Barcelona. At any age.
Top Barcelona Biking Tours and More
Barcelona by Water
The Barcelona coastline also provide for scenic boat rides that can be done inexpensively. Explore Barcelona cruises to get a different view of Barcelona day or night.
Top Barcelona Cruises
Is Barcelona Safe for Solo Travel?
Barcelona’s crime rate is considered moderate. It is safe to walk alone during the day but be more aware walking at night.
As a solo female traveler in Barcelona, I practiced general precautions and stayed within well-lit and populated streets at night. As such, I never felt unsafe in Barcelona as solo traveler.
During high tourist season, in crowded areas or on crowded public transportation, ensure to keep your belongings safe and securely on you with no open pockets or carrying cash or valuables in your pockets.
If you normally feel uncomfortable being out solo at night, you may want to visit Barcelona when the daylight hours are longest so you have more time to explore Barcelona.
Solo Travel Tips
Have WhatsApp on your mobile device(s). Many smaller establishments and activity/tourism offices use this as a method of communication making it easier to make inquiries or booking and learn, or notify, of any scheduling changes.
Get the T-Mobile International Plan or something similar in price and features. I no longer work on WiFi only on international travel. I’ll use it when it’s there, but having access to roaming when needed for GPS and Google Maps is a game changer.
More Solo Travel Tips & Ideas
- How to Plan Your First Solo Trip: Step 1
- How to Choose Your First Solo Trip Destination
- How to Create a Solo Travel Budget
- How To Save Money for Solo Travel
- Top 10 Tips on How to Do a Solo Beach Trip
- 10 Must Know Planning Tips for First-Time International Travel
Barcelona Travel Packing Essentials
I’m not one to tell someone else how to pack, but there definitely some solo travel essentials I would recommend taking on your solo trip to Barcelona, like the following.
This list of travel essentials combined can make your Barcelona travel easier and more memorable while being friendlier to the environment.
Where to Stay in Barcelona on Solo Travel
Ciutat Vella (“Old City”) holds the oldest neighborhoods in Barcelona.
The Old City is nestled between the l’Eixample neighborhood (south of the Grand Via de les Corts Catalanes) and Mediterranean Sea, and between the Poble Nou and Sant Antoni neighborhoods.
This district is comprised of the El Raval, Barri Gotic, La Ribera, El Born, Port Vell, and La Barceloneta neighborhoods.
In such a large city, it is more convenient to be closest not only to the top Barcelona attractions accessible by foot, but also accessible by the Barcelona metro and bus stops, including the Hop-on Hop-off bus.
The Old City, specifically within the El Raval and Barri Gotic neighborhoods, is the Barcelona district in which to reserve your Barcelona accommodation, especially for first time travel to Barcelona alone, as indicated on the map below.
Of course, you can stay outside this section of the Barcelona city center, but it may just add time and more transportation costs to this Barcelona solo travel itinerary, depending on what you ultimately see and do in Barcelona.
Barcelona Hotels and More
There are multiple Barcelona city centre hotels and hostels across all budget types. Going in the off season, or booking well in advance, will get you the best Barcelona prices on any type of accommodation.
Consider booking at a property that either is eco-friendly or sustainable rated, or at least employs these methods into their business.
For location, price, breakfast, amenities (including free-cancellation), eco-friendly and sustainable operations, and customer reviews and ratings, here are my Barcelona hotel recommendations for solo travel (i.e., where I would stay):
- Hotel Turin
- Arc La Rambla
- Exe Ramblas Boquería
- Petit Palace Boqueria Garden
- Hotel Sant Agustí
- Hotel Cantón
- H10 Raco del Pi
- Aparthotel Arai 4* Superior
I believe Hotel Turin is in the best place for solo female travel in Barcelona, including being walkable to the beach, La Rambla, and Barcelona nightlife and dining. Plus, Hotel Turin is a Travel Sustainable rated hotel at a good price (book well in advance) with friendly staff, fabulous breakfast buffet. I enjoyed my stay at Hotel Turin in Barcelona and would recommend staying there.
Eco Travel Tips
In addition to Booking.com’s Barcelona city center Travel Sustainable properties, Green Globe and Green Key Global also have eco-friendly certified lodging options.
Reserve Early for the Best Price in Barcelona Accommodations
Hostels in Barcelona city center are an option for solo travel in Barcelona on a budget. Using the same conditions above, and the ability to get a private room, here are my recommendations for best Barcelona hostel for solo travellers:
Find the Best Deal on Barcelona Hostel Private Rooms
Budget Travel Tips
There are Barcelona hostels that could start from around €20-30/night, depending on what amenities and location you want. Note, these are usually a bed in a dorm room. A private room in a Barcelona city center hostel could cost the same, if not more, than a budget hotel.
5 MUST DOs in Barcelona
What would a Barcelona Solo Travel Guide be without listing the best things to do in Barcelona?
Start with the Barcelona must see items in this video. This taste of solo travel in Barcelona will have you booking your flight to Barcelona.
Ways to Do Barcelona MUST DOs
MORE Top Things To Do in Barcelona
There are simply too many Barcelona attractions to list in this Barcelona travel guide alone.
However, here are some more top things to see and do in Barcelona to try to pack into your Barcelona travel itinerary.
If you want to know how to see most of them on your first time travel, use my Best 3 Days in Barcelona Itinerary. If you have 4 days in Barcelona, even better.
Churches & Cathedrals
- Basílica de la Sagrada Familia
- Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar
- Catedral de Barcelona (Barcelona Cathedral)
Barcelona Travel Tips
You cannot buy a La Sagrada Familia ticket on location. You must buy your La Sagrada Familia ticket in advance online, with a set entrance day and time.
If you do not do a tour you can download the official audio tour app in advance for a free.
Architectural Buildings & Historic Sites
- Casa Batlló
- Casa Amatller
- The Palau (Palace of Catalan Music)
- Casa Milà – La Pedrera
- Camp Nou
- Casa Vicens
- Palau Güell
- Castell de Montjuïc (Montjuïc Castle)
Barcelona Neighborhoods of Note
- Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic)
- El Born
- La Barceloneta (Barcelona Beach)
- Barri de Gracia
Barcelona Landmarks, Points of Interest & Monuments
- Las Ramblas
- Rambla de Catalunya
- Plaça de Catalunya
- Rambla del Mar
- Port Vell
- Mercat de la Boqueria
- The Magic Fountain
- Passeig de Gracia
- Plaça d’Espanya
- Plaça Reial
- The Placa del Rei
- Mirador de Colom (Columbus Monument)
Museums & Aquariums
- Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)
- Museu Picasso (Picasso Museum)
- Parc de Montjuic
- Fundació Joan Miró (Joan Miró Foundation)
- Museu d’Historia de Barcelona (MUHBA)
- L’Aquarium de Barcelona (Barcelona Aquarium)
- Museo Diocesà de Barcelona (Diocesan Museum)
Best Barcelona Museum and Aquarium Ticket Options
Parks, Gardens & Beaches
- Parc Guell
- Parc de la Ciutadella
- Parque del Laberint d’Horta
- Platja de la Barceloneta (Barceloneta Beach)
More Solo Beach Travel
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- Top Tips on How to Do a Solo Beach Trip
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- 7 Best Europe Beach Destinations for Solo Travelers
- Belize Solo Travel: 7 Things to Know Before You Go
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Barcelona Food & Entertainment
Barcelona has some of the top cuisine in Spain. From fine dining to fresh seafood to tapas and sangria, you can find whatever you want to sample in any of the many Barcelona neighborhoods. Here are the ’10 best’ restaurant ideas in the notable neighborhoods to get you started:
- Restaurants in Barri Gotic
- Restaurants in La Barceloneta
- Restaurants in El Born / La Ribera
- Restaurants in Barri de Gracia
- Restaurants in Port Vell
- La Ramblas Restaurants
- Rambla de Catalunya Restaurants
La Rambla is popular for restaurants and bars that line the streets or are slightly off La Rambla.
The Gothic Quarter and El Born are also popular for bars, cafes, and tapas and Barcelona nightlife. More nightlife, and popular with students is Placa del Sol in the Barri de Gracia.
You can’t go wrong hanging out at La Boqueria for fresh food and drinks.
Best Barcelona Food Tours and More
Eco Travel Tips
Avoid using single-use plastics when dining, shopping and on food tours in Split to reduce trash and your carbon footprint by bringing your own reusable collapsible travel bags, collapsible water bottle, recycled plastic water bottle carry sling, and bamboo travel utensils so you’re prepared to travel with the planet in mind.
I always travel with the above items. Light weight and taking up very little space in my carry-on bags, I love the convenience and peace of mind these inexpensive, eco-friendly products provide.
Top Barcelona Nightlife and Flamenco
If you have time or want to explore more of the Spanish coastline, I suggest taking a day trip from Barcelona, or two. There are multiple, top Spanish travel destinations all within an hour or two from Barcelona.
Best Day Trips from Barcelona
BEST Booking Sites for Barcelona
Here is a summary of the best booking sites I recommend you bookmark and use to successfully book your travel to Barcelona, Spain. I use just about all of these for most travel locations. I even gave you my suggested Barcelona hotel.
These booking sites give you multiple travel options and awesome travel deals for all travel budgets. They will certainly help get a jump on your trip to Barcelona.
For the best travel deals, always book early.
Don’t forget to check out Barcelona ecotourism ideas and use my Spain Travel Guide complete your Barcelona travel planning and booking.
How to Get THE BEST of Barcelona in 3 Days
Now that you know you are fully prepared to explore Barcelona, would you like an itinerary idea to get you going? Check out my Best of Barcelona 3 Day Itinerary perfect for first time solo travel to Barcelona. It takes out all of the guesswork. You’ll love it.
Let Me Hear From You
I would love to hear if my ultimate Guide to Barcelona Solo Travel was helpful in planning your solo travel in Spain. Post me your thoughts or questions in the Comments section below. Thank you!