Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Barcelona: Beaches, Clubs & Culture!

Is Barcelona a HugeParty? Si.

Beaches, a buzzing night life, great food and awesome people.... Barcelona had everything I was looking for.

Las Ramblas... Perhaps a bit too Touristy
As part of my June 2014 Eurotrip, I made it to Barcelona. I found an amazing city, with a variety of HugeParty opportunities. Barcelona now sits high on my list of "My Favorite Cities".

Where to Stay?

We stayed at Equity Point Centric, a great youth hostel which impressed me with their professionalism, cleanliness and social scene. In addition to the bar and common area, EPC has a rooftop bar/common area. Very cool.

View from our Hostel Rooftop Bar
Even if you don't stay at EPC, I recommend you stay Passeig de Gracia, or Las Ramblas. Everything is under 20 minute walk if you're in those areas, and there's plenty to get involved with right outside your doorstep.

The Beach!

Finally... I made it to a beach during my vacation! I love the beach, in all shapes and sizes. Many friends cautioned me that Barcelona's beaches weren't the prettiest... which is funny because I could care less about the beauty of a beach.  Is it warm? Sandy? Fun? Crowded? Those are the requirements I have when I'm selecting a beach. 

The Beach! My favorite place in the world.
Barceloneta Beach is where we settled. We met more travelers, enjoyed some beverages and I even got to play a pick-up game of volleyball. Drinking on the beach is commonplace, which is delightful. Watch out for your valuable items though, as many locals cautioned us that a crowded beach was perfect for thieves. Also, use sunscreen, the sun is secretly hot.... and I left with quite a terrible burn.

Read more here after the jump...

What to Expect? 

  • Great Variety - A great thing about Barcelona is the tremendous variety available to a traveler. The mixture of beach, bar/club, sights to see, food and shopping is readily available, which is especially positive for someone with a short attention span (myself).
  • Late Nights - Nightlife starts later in Spain, especially Barcelona. Expect to eat dinner at 10pm, the clubs to be packed starting at 2am, etc. Pace yourself for the long journey. I left a club at 4am and felt like I was missing the best part of the night, unfortunately my body had given up.
  • Cost - Aside from the expensive night club and fancy tapas, I thought traveling was reasonable in Barcelona. As with most cities, there are some premium spots and tourist traps you can choose to avoid. We learned quickly to shop for our food and drinks at real supermercados (supermarkets), rather than the small convenience stores.
  • Avoid!!! - Las Ramblas, Beach Vendors & Taxis. Sadly, I'm here to report that Las Ramblas is a tourist trap, not the cool area I was expecting. It's worth a trip through, but certainly not a place to eat and hang out. Beach Vendors will aggresively sell you beer on the beach, bring your own (2 Euro from Vendor vs. .50 Euro at a Supermarket). Taxis charge an extortionate amount, use the train (get a T10 card) as much as possible. Be prepared during late nights to pay a super-premium for a taxi home. 
    Your Guess is as Good as Mine


    I found the people/culture to emit a general friendliness, which was embraced equally by the travelers. I had plenty of good conversations with locals, and travelers alike. Unfortunately lots of people cite the pick-pocketing and petty crime that occurs too. We weren't exposed to it, but I believe it happens, given the rough edges around the city center. Stay safe using basic precautions and you'll be fine.

    Great Food & Drink! Tapas, Paella, Sangria & La Boqueria

    Barcelona is a wonderful city for food and drinks! We made a point to enjoy our last day in Barcelona, calling it our "foodie" day. This gave us a chance to savor every bite, and not worry about playing tourist or going out for a HugeParty afterwards. Specifically, I HIGHLY recommend Cerveceria Catalana for tapas and sangria. Hands down, the best tapas I've ever had, and the two pitchers of sangria were quite tasty too. You can also get "Paella", the signature meal, from just about every restaurant. Since Paella is so popular, expect to pay a premium.

    Sangria at Cerveceria Catalana
    Grilled Peppers......
    First Time Ever Eating Octopus

    La Boqueria is a must stop. Perhaps the best part of Las Ramblas, this open food market is teeming with a variety of fruits, meats, candies and awesomeness! This was a fantastic experience, I wish we would've returned daily.
    La Boqueria, an Amazing Open Market
    Mmmmmm Candy
    Fresh Fruit Juice, Dragonfruit and Berry Mix

    PRIDE Weekend

    By chance, we found ourselves visiting Barcelona over PRIDE Weekend. Since Chicago has a legendary parade, I insisted we check out Barcelona's Gay Pride equivalent. It did not disappoint! Certainly smaller than Chicago, but the party rages throughout the parade. 
    Barcelona Pride Parade 2014!
    Barcelona Pride Parade, Saturday Afternoon, HugeParty
    The coolest part about the parade is that it ends in aAvinguda Reina Maria, near the Magic Fountain of Montjuic. Here, the parade turns into a huge music festival and party! Plenty of live music, food vendors and of course... adult beverages.
    Pride Parade Turns into HugeParty Festival!
    At the Festival, HugeParty

    HugeParty at Opium Mar

    Barcelona features some legendary night clubs (a simple Google search will return plenty of options). We decided on Opium Mar, under the pretense that we were "on the list", and would get in for free. That wasn't the case, as we arrived and were shuttled into the main line and required to pay the 20 euro entrance fee (which included a drink).
    Entrance, Opium Mar, So Packed at 1am.
    Aside from the shitty entrance experience, the club is quite awesome. We arrived at 1am, and until 3am the club kept increasing in attendees. Opium Mar plays high energy music (mostly all EDM) and throttles plenty of redbull/vodka down your throat. Soon, the legendary club on the beach turned into a late night rave. My body called it quits at 4am, and I slugged into a cab, tired and happy.

    Opium Mar, Certainly a LEGENDARY Club in Barcelona

    Travel Quote?

    "I wrote every day between the ages of 12 and 20 when I stopped because I went to Barcelona, where life was too exciting to write.." – Colm Toibin

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    1 comment:

    1. Barcelona is for the people interested in Beaches, Clubs, History and Culture. It means in the beautiful city, there is something for all the people.


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