Solo travel is one of the most rewarding ways to experience a social city like Barcelona.
That means if you’re getting ready to head to the Catalan capital on your own, you’re in for a treat!
Solo travel in Barcelona means interacting with local culture and traditions in a deeper way. And that’s not to mention all the allure that the city already has to offer: modernist architecture, fabulous food and a to-die-for shopping scene.
All in all, solo travelers have it made in Barcelona. Read on to learn more about where to stay, what to do and how to meet other travelers and locals.
Where to stay in Barcelona as a solo traveler
As with any city, choosing the right home base in Barcelona can go a long way in making your trip easier and more efficient. This means picking both a neighborhood and accommodations that will make you feel at home.
Consider basing yourself outside of the city center in an off-the-beaten-path neighborhood like Poblenou, Sants or Gracia. Doing so has two major advantages.
First, you’ll be more immersed in local life. This can be tough when you’re traveling with others who may be dead-set on staying in the heart of the city. Plus, you won’t be contributing to the overcrowding in the city center, thus practicing responsible tourism in Barcelona!
As far as what type of accommodation to stay in, be careful when it comes to Airbnb. Not that it’s unsafe, but rather because many listings on the site aren’t exactly legal. Use this handy tool from the city government of Barcelona to see if yours is legit, or consider staying at a locally owned boutique hotel instead. Hotel Brummell and Magatzem 128 are two of our favorites.
Hostels are another excellent choice for solo travelers. The atmosphere here is more social than at traditional hotels, so if you’d like to connect with other globetrotters, a hostel is a great option. (Not to mention you’ll save some money, too). We’re big fans of the beautiful rooms and friendly service at Casa Gracia.
Safety tips for solo female travelers in Barcelona
Barcelona is a safe city, for the most part. Use the same common sense that you would in any other major urban area. But if you’re a solo female traveler in Barcelona, these tips will help make your trip go off without a hitch.
- Pickpocketing is not uncommon in Barcelona. Use a purse with a cross-body strap that requires some effort to open, such as a flap that closes over a zipper. The harder it is for someone to cut the strap of your bag or slip a hand into it, the better.
- Likewise, keep your bag on your lap when out at a restaurant or cafe. Don’t hang it on the back of your chair where someone can make off with it. Keep an eye on your phone and wallet at all times, and don’t leave them on top of the table when you’re not using them.
- If you need to stop and figure out where you’re going, step out of the way. Pull up a map on your phone, rather than whipping out a map or guidebook in the middle of the street. Doing so will immediately mark you as a tourist.
Things to do as a solo traveler in Barcelona
Head to the park
Parks are perfect for solo travelers no matter where you are in the world, and Barcelona is no different. The obvious choice here is Parc de la Ciutadella, where you can listen to talented local musicians, go for a jog or sit back and people-watch.
Explore a museum
There are countless museums in Barcelona that appeal to all kinds of interests. And as a solo traveler, you’ve got it made. You can spend as much time as you want appreciating the exhibits and displays without having to hurry along for someone else’s sake. This is also the perfect opportunity to join a guided tour and meet other curious travelers.
Hit the beach
Barcelona boasts kilometer after kilometer of stunning shoreline, but not all its beaches are created equal.
When it comes to solo travel in Barcelona, the beaches outside the city center are a better bet. These tend to be more relaxed and populated by locals rather than tourists. As a result, it’s safer to leave your stuff unattended while you swim or go for a run. Sant Sebastià and Bogatell are both lovely options for a beach day when you’re flying solo.
See a live show
A live performance can be a great way to ease yourself into doing things on your own. After all, everyone is sitting quietly watching the show, so there’s no pressure to make conversation, and you won’t feel weird about winging it while solo. The Palau de la Música Catalana is famous for drawing world-renowned musicians, and the breathtaking modernist interior alone makes it worth a visit.
Dining solo in Barcelona
For many people, the trickiest part about solo travel in Barcelona comes at mealtimes. In a culture famous for social meals and long conversations around the table, navigating a meal along can seem challenging at first.
Luckily, eating alone in Barcelona doesn’t have to be intimidating. Here are some tips to make things easier while dining solo.
- Head to a restaurant that serves a menú del día for lunch. These multi-course meal deals are popular among local workers on their lunch break, many of whom stop by on their own. Not only is there a chance that you won’t be the only solo diner, but the meal itself offers great bang for your buck.
- Grab a seat at the bar when possible. Catalan and Spanish people are both friendly and social. It’s likely that someone will strike up a conversation—whether that be a fellow diner or the bartender.
- If you’re not feeling up to chatting with anyone, bring a book to read as you enjoy your meal.
- Food markets are a perfect choice for solo travelers. Many are home to their own assortment of bars, where locals will stop for a quick bite—sometimes with friends, but often on their own—as they go about their shopping. You can also buy some local products from the stalls and take it to a nearby park for a picnic.
We’ll let you in on a secret: our food tours in Barcelona have no minimum number of guests required for an experience to run. That means you’re more than welcome to sign up as a solo traveler—in fact, it’s one of the best ways to meet people and experience local culture while you’re here! We can’t wait to show you the best of the Catalan capital: its food, people and so much more.
Life is too short to speak one language and stay in one place. In 2015, this philosophy took her from familiar Ohio to sunny southern Spain. Usually drinking tinto de verano, reading Lorca, or attempting to dance flamenco (not all at once). Follow her blog, Viatic Couture, for more.