Quick guide: How to live a local life in Barcelona
Did you ever wonder how it is to live a local life in Barcelona? Then this is your lucky day. In this article we will guide you on how to live as a resident of Barcelona. If you seek meaningful experiences when you are visiting the city, then try out Experiential travel. Immerse yourself in the culture and heritage of Barcelona. Do more than just see a destination, understand the local traditions. This way you are getting a true life experience. You can have a hard time separating the tourist culture from the culture of the true inhabitants. Because Barcelona is such a tourist-crowded city it can be difficult to adapt to the actual local life. So, if you want to come to Barcelona and really experience the life of locals, here are some do’s and don’ts of local life in Barcelona.
Before getting into the do’s and don’ts on local life in Barcelona, we will explain Experiential travel some more to you. Experiential travel, also known as immersion travel, is a different form of tourism. People focus on experiencing a country, city or particular place by actively and meaningfully engaging with its history, people, culture, food and environment. The concept of Experiential travel is based on very similar mechanisms as for example experiential education, experiential knowledge, experiential interior design, and experiential marketing. The term “experiential travel” is already mentioned in books and publications from 1985. However it became more and more popular in recent years. Experiential travel tends to focus on travel that is inspirational, personalised and/or creates a path to self-discovery.
Areas close to Las Ramblas such as Barri Gotic and El Raval are big no nos. Here, you will bump into tourists every day. Many of the restaurants, bars and shops nearby have been influenced by the visitors and will not offer you true Catalan or Spanish culture. If you want to live like a true local you should live uptown. In districts such as Gracia, Eixample or maybe El Born. Here, you will find the remaining of the original culture. Don’t hang out in Las Ramblas, Barceloneta beach and Barri Gotic. But choose El Born instead to feel the vibrating big city pulse. Ciutadella Park is a tourist attraction, but it also is a beautiful place for lazy Sunday picnics. Many locals spend their days here with a good book or good friends. Also, the neighbourhood around the park offers some non-touristic cafés and bars.
Do: Gracia, Eixample, El Born, Ciutadella Park
Don’t: Las Ramblas, Barri Gotic, El Raval, Barceloneta party places
It can be a challenge to find delicious and affordable tapas in the city nowadays, if you don’t know where to look. Quimet I Quimet, Roure and Tossa are some places worth looking up. A big tip from us: do not order tapas as courses to yourself! If you want to eat it like the locals order dishes to share with your company. When it comes to Barcelona’s world-famous paella you can get really disappointed if you go to the wrong place. Several tourist restaurants serve microwaved paella, which is not good at all. Want the real thing? We recommend: Can Solé in Barceloneta. there you will be in for the real paella experience. Please remember, do not ask to pay separately. Even if this is something you normally do. You will not see a lot of locals do this. And don’t forget to tip about 10 to 15 percent.
Do: Share your tapas, add 10-15 % tip
Don’t: Don’t eat at overpriced touristic areas, don’t pay separately
Just because you feel more local does not mean you cannot enjoy some of the masterpieces of Barcelona. Such as Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, Casa Mila and Casa Batllo, all designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. But make sure to be there during the non-busy visiting hours. Usually it is pretty calm in the morning on weekdays. Of course it gets busier during high season. High season usually is from May until September. These suggestions also apply to museums and other artistic attraction like the Aquarium, Barcelona Zoo and the Funicular de Montjuic. Visiting them during the high season these places are affected by the big masses of tourists. Because of this places like this get more expensive and will not give you the true culture.
Do: Catalan architecture and museums in low-visiting hours or out of high season
Don’t: Aquarium, Barcelona Zoo, Funicular de Montjuic
Now after reading this quick guide, we hope you will get a more authentic experience of Barcelona. Hopefully this guide will help you when you are a tourist or a new resident. Surely it us upon you how you decide to spend your time in the Catalan capital. Just do what you would like and how you would like. The only thing we can do is wish you a beautiful time in this amazing city. We are 100% sure that you will have the best time of your life!