Solo Travel Barcelona: The Ultimate Guide (2024)

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Dreaming of solo travel to Barcelona? You’ve come to the right place!

I loved visiting Barcelona alone as part of my Spain solo travel adventures! The city of Gaudi, Catalan cuisine, and the Spanish seaside, Barcelona is easy to fall in love with. A visit to this Spanish metropolis can open your eyes to art, city planning, and the unforgettable delicacies of Spain.

From safety tips to solo dining, things to do alone, and the best places to stay, this travel guide will help you plan the perfect trip to this epic beautiful city!

solo traveler at barceonla's palace of catalan music

Is Barcelona A Good Place For Solo Travel?

Barcelona is a great city for a solo trip, and an ideal destination if it’s your first time traveling alone. With friendly locals, rich culture, an incredible food scene, and the perfect mix of city, beach and historical attractions, Barcelona really has it all.

Plus, there are tons of opportunities to meet people whether it’s at a hostel or through activities.

With so much to do here and so many great day trips from Barcelona, I would spend at least 4 days exploring the city, but if you have less time, it’s still well worth the visit.

Seafood paella

Is Barcelona Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Barcelona is a very safe city for solo female travelers thanks to the well-lit city streets, abundance of public spaces, reliable public transportation, and the fact that women travel alone quite often in Spain.

Barcelona is like any other big city. You’ll have to worry more about pick-pocketing than you will violent crime. Just keep your phone and credit cards secure and use common sense! Be careful where you go and don’t go for long strolls in the middle of the night and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

A solo trip to Barcelona is an easy and worry-free experience. I found everyone in Spain to be incredibly kind and helpful.

SAFETY TIP: Make sure to save Spain’s emergency hotline numbers in case of emergency. Dial 091 for the police and 112 for an emergency.

READ NEXT: Solo Travel Madrid: 23 Memorable Things to Do Alone

barcelona food tour options

BEST THING TO DO IN BARCELONA

One of the best things you can do as a solo traveler is to book a Barcelona food tour! Not only do you get to taste the best products curated by knowledgeable locals, it’s also a fun way to learn about Barcelona’s history and meet fellow travelers.

After all, could there be a better way to bond than over sangria or mouthwatering tapas?!

While it can be more expensive than visiting tapas bars on your own, this tour gives you the full Spanish foodie experience and is perfect for any solo travelers wanting to make the most of a short trip.

solo female traveler at sagrada familia

Barcelona Solo Travel Tips

Below are a few important tips to help your solo trip go as smoothly as possible!

  • Meal Times: Spain has a unique set of rules when it comes to dining out. Breakfast spots open around 9 am, lunch is from 1:30-3:30 pm and dinner spots don’t open until 8:30 pm.
  • (Not) Free Bread: Bread is everywhere in Spain. They will bring you bread as soon as you’re seated and it may be accompanied by other tapas. Note that these are not free. You will pay for only what you eat so feel free to turn them away.
  • Paella: most paella spots don’t offer single servings. It comes in one big pot priced for multiple people. A market is the best place to search for single servings of authentic paella. But should you really order paella in Barcelona? What about sangria? Read on to find out!
grid of barcelona's city

A Brief History of Barcelona, Spain

The city of Barcelona (formerly Barcino) was first settled by the Romans. If you know anything about the history of its neighboring cities, this should come as no surprise. The area was briefly under Moorish rule until a son of Emporer Charlemagne seized this territory along with the Pyrenean valleys. This region became known as Catalonia, a distinct territory separate from the Christian regions of western Spain that later gave birth to kingdoms like Castile and Aragon.

Catalan Culture

Did you know that Spanish isn’t the only language spoken in Spain? Catalan is actually the main language in this region, but in Barcelona, you’ll hear plenty Spanish, Catalan and English.

It may surprise you to learn that Catalan is closer to French and Italian than to Spanish and Portuguese. While Catalonia is an autonomous region within Spain, some Catalans would prefer it be a separate entity from the rest of the country. They are extremely devoted to their heritage and identity, a passion that was only strengthened after years of oppression by the dictator Franco.

READ NEXT: Spain Bucket List: 13 Epic Things to Do Before You Die

What to Do On A Solo Trip To Barcelona

With so many incredible things to do in Barcelona, you’ll never be bored! Below are the top activities and attractions, but for even more, be sure to check out this guide to the best things to do alone in Barcelona.

Barcelona's Gothic Quarter

Explore the Gothic Quarter

Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter cannot be missed. A beautiful labyrinth of winding streets, old buildings, and Catalan restaurants, this is the historic center of the city. It’s the perfect place to try some famed Barcelona vermouth before dining nearby.

Make sure to check out the Barcelona Cathedral and Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi. (Psst: Just a few steps away from the Cathedral is where you’ll find the photography hotspot Pont del Bisbe.)

sagrada familia in barcelona

Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia church may be Barcelona’s biggest draw and is certainly one of the most fascinating monuments in the city, if not the whole country. (It’s actually the most visited tourist attraction in the world!) Art lovers will be blown away by the beauty and grandeur of this multi-century project still in the works.

I highly recommend booking a guided tour of La Sagrada Familia. There are too many cool details and stories you won’t learn by visiting on your own!

Barcelona's Arc de Triomf

Walking Tour

If you’re traveling solo in Barcelona, a walking tour should be at the top of your list. It’s a fantastic, budget-friendly way to explore the city’s stunning landmarks and meet fellow travelers.

Most walking tours kick off in the Gothic Quarter, taking you through the heart of the city and incredible architecture. Although these tours won’t get you inside the attractions, they offer a great overview of the city’s history and its iconic sights.

Plus, walking around gives you a chance to get a feel for different neighborhoods and discover hidden gems you might miss otherwise. As a solo traveler, joining a walking tour can be a great way to connect with others and make new friends.

gaudi's park guell in barcelona

Park Güell

A unique experience perfect for fans of architecture, a trip to Barcelona must include a stop at the infamous Park Güell. Originally designed to be part of a larger community that never came to fruition, this park is, of course, another creation of Barcelona’s most well-known Modernist architect, Anton Gaudi.

Though smaller than I expected, and generally a quick visit, Park Guell is certainly a spot I’d return to. Skip the tour and purchase your timed entry tickets here.

Afterwards, get ready for more Gaudi! You’ll want to visit Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, and Sagrada Familia!

barceloneta beach in the morning

Barceloneta Beach

Barceloneta used to be a fisherman’s village, but today it is a gorgeous seaside neighborhood filled with beautiful spots where you can enjoy authentic paella, vermouth and Catalan cuisine.

Comprised of four different beaches, it’s impossible to miss the sailboat-shaped W hotel that presides over the skyline. Come to Barceloneta for a beach day, admire yachts at Port Vell or stroll the promenade before you grab a cable car to Montjuic.

la quimet tapas

Carrer Blai Tapas Crawl

After some great recs from my tour guide, I decided to do a Carrer Blai Tapas Crawl on my last night in Barcelona, and omg was it a good idea. I even gave this special street the attention it deserves in its very own guide.

Picasso Museum

Art fans will want to spend an afternoon admiring the large Picasso collection here. With over 4,000 works and photographs from the artist’s early life, the Picasso Museum offers an in-depth look at the artist and his work. Explore the intense relationship Picasso had with Barcelona and see how this thriving Catalonian metropolis became his muse. Book a tour here or combine your museum visit with tapas and a walking tour.

ponte del bisbe

Best Areas For Solo Travelers

When you’re deciding where to stay, you’ll want to consider how safe each area is and what its main attractions are. Let’s take a look at the most popular areas in Barcelona and see how they compare.

Gothic Quarter

Let’s start with the Gothic Quarter or Barri Gòtic. This is the beautiful historic center of Barcelona, featuring old buildings of the neo-Gothic style. The Gothic Quarter is within walking distance from most tourist attractions and has some pretty lively nightlife. (This is Barcelona, after all!)

El Born

A trendy neighborhood filled with bars, cool speakeasies, art galleries, and restaurants throughout its narrow streets. One of the oldest neighborhoods in Barcelona, this is where you’ll find the Modernist marvel Palace of Catalan Music. Check out Passeig del Born, a street lined with bars, perfect for a cocktail or vermouth.

Gracia

Another trendy neighborhood near Gaudi’s famed Park Guell, Gracia has plenty of international cuisine, and lovely plazas. It’s a great place to get a taste of local life in the evening.

Eixample

Home to designer shops and two of Gaudi’s most famous works, Casa Battlo and Casa Mila, the real crown jewel of this neighborhood is the Sagrada Familia. Head to the lower west side for party vibes and LGBTQ-centric hotels.

Poble-Sec

A compact, decidedly less touristy neighborhood. Make sure you check out Carrer Blai, a street filled with Basque pintxos bars.

El Raval

A busy multicultural neighborhood, El Raval is home to the lively Las Ramblas, Mercat de la Boqueria and Barcelona’s Contemporary Art Museum. While I’ve never had any issues there, it’s said to be one of the city’s most dangerous areas so steer clear in the evenings.

El Poblenou

An up-and-coming neighborhood (particularly the section near Torre Glòries) is popular with start-ups with old warehouses turned into creative workspaces, craft breweries and coffee shops. See you there?

La Barceloneta

Barceloneta, which means “Little Barcelona” in Catalan is perfect for a day of sunbathing at the beach or enjoying some fresh seafood and sangria. (And if you’re looking for authentic paella, this place has plenty!)

READ NEXT: The Ultimate Seville Solo Travel Guide

Where To Stay

Looking for Barcelona’s best hotels and hostels for solo travelers? Take a look at the options below!

  • Black Swan Hostel: Located in one of Barcelona’s coolest areas between the Arc de Triumph and Plaa de Catalunya, Black Swan is a great hostel where it’s easy to meet others. They have multiple bar crawls each week as well as paella cooking classes for about $5. Check Prices & Availability
  • Kimpton Vividora Hotel: Located in the Gothic Quarter, this hotel has a rooftop pool and daily social wine hour where you can meet other travelers! Check Prices & Availability
streets of barcelona

The Best Time To Visit Barcelona

Let’s face it: Barcelona is pretty fabulous year round. That’s why tourists flock to this destination no matter the season. Here’s a look at what to expect during each of the different seasons.

  • Summer: If you’re a fan of festivals like Primavera Sound or Barcelona Pride, June is the best time to visit this lively city. If you’re visiting in the summer months, be prepared for humidity and high heat.
  • Early Spring: While spring may have its draws, April is said to be filled with rainy days.
  • Late Spring/Early Fall: As with most locations, the shoulder season of May-June and September-October are real sweet spots.
  • Winter: Winters in Barcelona are mild and prices are low.

READ NEXT: 12 Incredible Destinations to Visit in Spain

la bomba tapa

Food in Barcelona

The food in Spain is some of the best in the world! From tapas to paella to seafood, it’s hard not to fall in love with this cuisine.

In Barcelona, you’ll also find a lot of Catalan food. Catalan dishes are known for combining meat (like pork or chicken) with seafood as well as a mixture of sweet and savory elements. They focus on high-quality ingredients and use lots of locally grown products like tomatoes, garlic, eggplant, peppers, artichokes, mushrooms, beans, chickpeas, and calçots.

Catalan Cuisine

Catalonia is an influential part of Spain. It’s a unique region that has fought to maintain its independent identity for centuries. It would be all too easy for travelers to visit Barcelona and miss out on true Catalan cuisine, not knowing there’s more to Spain than paella and sangria. (Like I did on my first trip here!)

While you can certainly find delicious paella and sangria in Barcelona (I’ll tell you where below!), you can’t leave Catalonia without trying some of the region’s specialties!

Here are a few traditional Catalan dishes:

  • Arròs Negre amb Allioli: This yummy, soupy rice and seafood dish features squid or cuttlefish ink alongside that scrumptious garlicky allioli I mentioned above.
  • Mongetes amb Botifarra: Many Catalans will tell you that this dish of white beans and sausage is their national dish!
  • Bocadillo Botifarra: Catalan is well-known for its pork and cured meats. This simple breakfast sandwich is everywhere in the region.
  • Crema Catalana: The Spanish version of creme brulee. The Catalan version is thickened with milk, egg yolks, and starch instead of whole eggs and cream.

READ NEXT: Ultimate Foodie Guide: The Best Dishes to Eat in Spain

Traditional Barcelona tapas bar

Solo Dining in Barcelona

You may be on a solo trip to Barcelona, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat dinner alone every night. It’s easy to make friends at hostels and on group tours. If you’re brave enough to take yourself out on a solo date, you may even make friends while dining.

I find it easiest to meet other travelers while visiting quality restaurants that attract other tourists. Restaurante Martinez and La Vinya del Senyor are both good options for that as their near tourist attractions, but aren’t tourist traps!

Here are a few other restaurants that are great for anyone dining on their own:

  • Mercat de Boqueria: Perhaps the most famous local market in Barcelona, Boqueria is located on Las Ramblas. Wander the stalls and try fresh juices and massive oysters that will change your life.
  • Santa Caterina Market: A vibrant and colorful market located in the heart of the city’s historic district. If you want to visit a market geared more towards locals, this is your best bet.
  • Restaurante Martinez (Montjuic): The perfect option for those seeking authentic paella, Restaurante Martinez is perched on the side of Montjuic and offers a stunning panoramic view of Barcelona.
  • La Vinya del Senyor (Gothic Quarter): One of the best Cava bars in Barcelona, La Vinya del Senyor boasts an especially long wine list and has a gorgeous terrace with views of Santa Maria del Mar.
  • Granja Mabel (El Poblenou): A great lunch spot thanks to its menú del día, a reasonably priced three-course meal.
Spanish wines

Best Bars for Solo Travelers in Barcelona

If you’re looking to experience some of Barcelona’s epic nightlife, you’ll have tons of bars and clubs to choose from. While I highly recommend joining a hostel pub crawl (both for safety and social reasons!), if you feel comfortable heading out on your own, your best bet is to find an Irish pub.

In my experience, Irish pubs tend to draw the most tourists so there will be plenty of people who speak the same language. Plus, travelers tend to have one another’s backs!

When it comes to clubs, Pacha and Opium are the most popular, but they’re better for dancing than they are for socializing.

casa battlo in barcelona

How to Get Around Barcelona

Barcelona is a very walkable city which is convenient for solo travelers who can’t always split an Uber with a friend. However, in the summer it can get very hot and very humid, so be ready to sweat. The metro is a great way to navigate the city. One-way tickets are around $1.50. There are also plenty of trains that go directly to day trip destinations like Sitges.

Aerobus is a convenient way to get from the airport to central Barcelona with a bus running every 5 minutes from terminals 1 and 2. For around $5 a ticket, you can head straight to one of its three central dropoff points: Placa Espana, Placa Catalunya, and Sepulveda-Urgell.

alcazar courtyard in seville
Seville’s Alcazar
view of calle cava baja with colorful spanish flags covering street in madrid
Calle Cava Baja in Madrid

Where to Next?

The good thing about Barcelona is that it’s close to so many amazing places worth discovering. The bad thing is that it means you’ll have to leave Barcelona to do so!

If you can bring yourself to leave, there are tons of great solo travel destinations nearby. I highly recommend exploring flamenco and Moorish architecture in Seville, going on a foodie-inspired solo adventure in Madrid, or checking out any of the beautiful castles in Spain.

If you’re ready to check off another country, Portugal is also full of amazing destinations. And if you’re feeling adventurous, Morocco isn’t too far away! No matter where you go next, your memories of Barcelona will stay with you forever.

solo travel to barcelona spain
barcelona solo travel at palace of catalan music

Sydney

Sydney is a solo travel expert who’s extensively explored Spain, Portugal, Morocco, California, and more! She creates travel guides and itineraries to share everything she's learned about the Iberian peninsula through personal experience and exploration.

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