I spent about a week and a half in Barcelona checking out the different neighbourhoods it has to offer. Thus, I have a TON of information to share with you for this Barcelona Backpackers Guide 2018. From where to stay, great vegetarian (and non) places to eat, as well as how to best spend your days. Hope you like it, find more photos and videos of Barcelona on my Instagram and Facebook pages.
Where to Stay
If you want a more local, somewhat bohemian vibe with a lot of great cheap and delicious vegetarian and vegan restaurants, then you have to stay in the Gracia neighbourhood.
Highly recommend the hostel I stayed at, which was Sant Jordi Gracia. This hostel chain has 2 other hostels in different areas of Barcelona as well so they sure know what they’re doing.
They also offer free or very cheap dinners so it’s a great place for saving a few bucks too. It was easy enough to walk to all the main attractions, plus the Barcelona metro system is amazing so staying not in the very centre proved no issues at all.
If you’re looking for a more centrally located place, stay in the Gothic Quarter. However, be aware that this is the most touristy place so be watchful of your bags and purses as you’re walking around. Especially if you decide to do a tour where you’re clearly a tourist amongst a large busy group of people.
St. Christopher’s Hostel was a great choice for this neighbourhood. You are a short 30 second walk from Plaça de Cataluñya, La Rambla street, and a lot of other great attractions. This is by far one of the biggest hostels I’ve stayed at, and they have a really big bar that both hostel stayers and non-hostel stayers come to. Make sure you check it out, meet fellow travelers and party the night away. Also, if you book directly through their website you get free breakfast!
Still want to be central but not directly in the touristy hustle and bustle of everything? Then the El Born neighbourhood is a perfect choice. This neighbourhood has a lot of cool history and is also home to a lot of cheap delicious restaurants. I actually ate the best tacos ever one hungover morning at Taco Alto Born, a good place for meat eaters and vegetarians!
The hostel I stayed at here had a very relaxed, chill vibe and also offered absolutely free dinners every single night. The hostel was called 360 Hostel Barcelona Arts & Culture. It is in a very old building and didn’t have the greatest bed set up (i.e. no light or shelf), and the storage lockers would close only half the time. But I think the vibe, people, and food make up for those things.
Where to Eat
With any place I go to I love trying the different food. Being a vegetarian, I feel that I often find the cute ‘hole in the wall’ restaurants that serve amazing authentic food with a twist. People think it’s hard being a vegetarian, but one quick search for ‘best Barcelona vegan or vegetarian food’ or one filter change on trip advisor and BANG. Some of the best places I have ever eaten at.
As mentioned before, the area of Gracia has by far the most vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the city, and at a great price.
- Asia Amb Gracia ($) – Amazing place for a quick lunch. They offer either Wok or Sushi (available with meat or fish, but great options for veggies too). You can then take it out into the square it’s located in and enjoy it in the beautiful sun and surroundings.
- Vegetart ($) – Also a great place to just grab a quick snack or lunch and eat it out in the nearby Placa de Sol. They have some amazing vegan spanish omelettes. However, be aware that they do close for siesta!
- Kibuka ($$) – Two restaurants very close to each other in Gracia. Both offer amazing sushi options, as well as of course great vegetarian sushi options. Good place for a real sit down lunch or dinner.
- Quinoa Bar Vegetaria ($) – Amazing vegan and vegetarian restaurant. Would highly recommend for a casual sit down lunch or dinner with a friend.
- Veg World India ($$) – I never actually got the chance to eat here but I was craving Indian food one night and I found this gem. Amazing prices, amazing reviews, and overall amazing dishes for vegetarians. If and when I make it back to Barcelona I am definitely going here!
- Dolce Pizza y Los Veganos ($) – This place was absolutely amazing! I had their lunch special which was only 11 euros for a starter, main dish, dessert and a drink. If you are looking for some amazing vegan pizza, hotdogs, or hamburgers, this is the place. They make the best vegan cheese out of carrots or something crazy like that.
- Taco Alto Born ($) – Already mentioned above, but these tacos are to die for so it absolutely has to make this list.
El Rey de la Gamba ($$)
I went on a free walking tour with Sandeman Tours (which I would highly recommend), and our amazing guide Eric, told us about this gem. He said it was the best tasting for best value Paella in the city. Go during the week for the lunch special. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for that so we went on a holiday Friday when there was no lunch special. None the less, the 15 euro personal vegetarian (regular options also available) Paella was to die for! Highly recommend this place.
Cava is basically Champagne but from Barcelona. Since ‘Champagne’ is technically only made in Champagne, France. Drinking Cava along the boardwalk is a wonderful way to spend a couple hours on a gorgeous sunny afternoon. Prices are pretty competitive so you don’t have to worry too much about the ‘best’ place to go. But look for somewhere where a glass is around 4 euros.
Top Things to do in Barcelona
Walking along the pier / boardwalk
Spend an afternoon walking along the seaside, taking in the sights of the enormous boats docked at the pier. Maybe do some cheap shopping from the African immigrants selling items all along the boardwalk.
Relax at one of the many different beaches
Barcelona sports 8 or 9 beaches all in a row, separated by big rock walls. Near the pier is your typical anyone and everyone beach, and as you walk further North along the boardwalk the beaches change. From a beach for families and kids, a gay beach, a nude beach, and even a dog beach at the very end.
Montjuic / Olympic Park
Take a bus from Plaça España up to Mont Juic, a beautiful mountain with enormous parks that have an amazing view of the city. I’d recommend first stopping off at the old Olympic park they have for an hour or so and then catch the bus again and continue up the mountain until you reach the castle. Spend a couple hours exploring the castle, the surrounding parks and lookouts. Bring a blanket and some snacks and even have yourself a little picnic in the park.
Park Guell & Sunset
Reserve a ticket for Park Guell online (you are only allowed to enter with a pre-bought ticket, and can only go in during a 30 minute window your ticket says). I’d recommend going an hour or two before sunset as the actual paid part of Park Guell doesn’t really take that long. Then take a short walk (about 15 minutes) up a trail to get a 360 degree view of Barcelona and the astonishing sunset. Just ask one of the workers there which trail this is, they will be able to tell you.
Of course no Barcelona Backpackers Guide 2018 would be complete without a visit to Sagrada Familia. Make sure you book your ticket almost a week in advance! I ended up waiting last minute and was lucky enough to find a spot available two days later (on my last day there!). The audio guide is probably the best option if you are keen to really learn about the architecture and history as you are walking through it. It is so cool that it will be finished in 2026. I took some pictures of the construction currently happening and am excited to see the difference once it’s finished.
La Rambla & La Boqueria Market
Spend a few hours walking along La Rambla street. Checking out the shops, maybe sit down and enjoy a ‘cafe cortado’ and some people watching. Then make your way to the best market in Barcelona, La Boqueria Market, and enjoy some snacks or lunch, and browse the enormous building.
Thanks for reading, I hope you found this Barcelona Backpackers Guide 2018 post useful. Make sure to bookmark it for your next Barcelona adventure. Use the sharing buttons above to share with your friends so they don’t miss out either!
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