Barcelona is one of those unique cities in the world that you just have to experience. But I also found traveling to Barcelona alone quite hard. Solo travel in Barcelona is slightly different because the culture and city are focused on groups and families; think shared tapas meals and relaxing by the beach. But check this Barcelona solo travel guide for tips and recommendations and you can still have an epic time, even on your own.
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Barcelona Solo Travel Guide: How to have an epic time on your own?
What is traveling to Barcelona alone like?
Even if you’re traveling alone, there is no reason to skip Barcelona as a solo traveler. Yes, Spanish and Catalonian culture is all focused on groups of friends and families, sharing a meal together and hanging out, together.
During my first solo travel to Barcelona, I felt a bit like an outsider. Everywhere I looked, I saw groups of friends hanging out. At the monuments, by the fountains, in the park. Families and couples dominated the streets and queues of the main attractions.
I was refused a table for 1 on several occasions in restaurants and eateries. The only time I saw people walking the streets alone, was when they were meeting up with their friends or family.
It felt weird as I travel solo quite often to different destinations but I had never felt this way, but in Barcelona I did. Luckily, I’ve been back to Barcelona and Spain many more times and now came up with some great tips for all you solo travelers who will travel to Barcelona!
Why you should travel solo to Barcelona
It took some time before Barcelona and I became good friends (3 trips aka 17 days in total) but now I can say that Barcelona is one of the most unique cities in the world.
The broad avenues draw you in to explore the little meandering streets and alleys. Each street corner has fine details or an interesting twist while the grand majestic buildings stand proud on the broad lanes, averse to any predefined style or architectural movement.
Combine this with an unprecedented splash of color, the brightest of bluest skies on a warm summer day, and the buzz and humming of excited tourists that combine their beach holiday with some cultural exploring. To me, this is an interesting mixture that keeps drawing me in for more.
Advantages of traveling solo in Barcelona
As a solo traveler in Barcelona you can take advantage of the following:
- You’re more likely to find the last seat on the bus, while all the couples and families wait for enough room to accommodate them all. Check out my guide on the Barcelona Hop on Hop Off Bus.
- You can snag the last ticket to a Barcelona Soccer Match (like I did) or a flamenco performance at the Palau de la Musica.
- You don’t have to wait (that long) in line for a table at a good restaurant as they can always squeeze you in at the bar (or near the toilets). I personally don’t like this, but it can help your growling stomach if you’re in dire need of some tapas or pintxos.
- People won’t notice when you cut the line. Yes, I admit, I do this sometimes when it is not obvious where the queue begins. Just linger along with a family and save yourself some time waiting in line. Expect lines in Barcelona as it is a busy tourist destination.
- As you experience Barcelona solo travel you can take advantage of the biggest pro for solo travel: you can do whatever you want, whenever you want and how long you want. This is you! You are in charge, you are your own compass. Savor it! Enjoy it! Relish Barcelona on your own!
Transport to Barcelona as a solo traveler
It is very easy to travel to Barcelona as Barcelona has 3 airports (2 of them are over 1 hour away from the city) and Barcelona is a major train hub in Spain. But once in Barcelona, I even found their cheapest transport option, the T10 card is more meant for families than for solo travelers.
T10 Transport Card
Nevertheless, the T10 Transport card is a very budget-friendly option to get around Barcelona. For only €10,20 it gives you 10 single tickets to ride the Barcelona buses, trains and metro. Even if you don’t use all 10 of them, it can still be a money-saving way to travel around Barcelona. As a taxi for 1 can be quite expensive, I experienced that the Barcelona transport system works really well and is easy to navigate.
Hola Transport Pass
Another good option for solo travelers in Barcelona is the Hola Transport Pas. You can purchase the pass for any number of days, like 2- day Hola Pass or the 4-day Hola Pass. It offers unlimited travel on public transport (even from Barcelona Airport) and numerous discounts on tickets and attractions. Find all prices and options for the HOLA Transport pass here.
Solo Travel in Barcelona
Barcelona is such an exciting city. It has some of the most unique architecture in the world (thanks to mr. Gaudi and Modernist Architects), the weather is amazing almost year-round and Barcelona is not only a vibrant modern city with all its benefits, but it is also located near the beach! The best of all worlds in my solo traveler’s mind!
So let’s get to it. How can you enjoy and explore Barcelona, even when you’re traveling alone?
Things to do when you travel solo to Barcelona
Of course, you can visit Casa Batllo, Casa Pedrera, the Picasso Museum, the still unfinished Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell on your own. Just simply buy a ticket online (and avoid the queues) and get in, wander around, get an audio tour and explore. Below are some personal recommendations of things to do in Barcelona that are nice for everyone but have added bonuses, especially if you’re traveling to Barcelona alone.
- (Free) Walking tours of Barcelona. Perfect for solo travelers as you get to meet up with a group and tour Barcelona. You get to see interesting sights, learn some neat facts, without the expensive private tour for one. As the free walking tours especially appeal to other solo travelers in Barcelona, it is very likely you’ll make a new friend on the spot! Check out the following (paid) walking tours in Barcelona. For prices and further explanation, click the links: Gòtic Area Walking Tour | Modernism Walking Tour | Picasso Walking Tour
- Language classes or courses. The first time I traveled to Barcelona on my own, was for a language class. For a whole week, I sat in a classroom with other travelers who wanted to learn Spanish. We had a great time together (
trying) learning Spanish and exploring Barcelona and comparing notes on our experiences.
- Join a bike tour. I think exploring Barcelona by bike is a great way to see a lot and give your feet a rest. But just renting a bike can feel a bit lonely, so I highly recommend joining one of the great bike tours of Barcelona. Similar to the walking tours, you get to join other travelers and explore together with a guide. You might make a new friend! Check out my recommendations for Bike Tours in Barcelona. Click the link to see availability and compare prices. Beach Bike Tour | Street Art Bike Tour | Gaudi Bike Tour
- Group food tours. I love food tours. Not only because you get to taste amazing new foods and learn about the food culture in a new city or country. But mostly because you get to dine (or lunch) with a whole bunch of new and interesting people. Read below for more explanations about my recommended food tours in Barcelona for solo travelers.
Eating out alone in Barcelona
Especially in Barcelona, I found the food tours to be a real solo traveler experience. On several occasions, I was refused a table for one at smaller restaurants. Being forced to eat at bigger tourist traps (read: overpriced and undercooked) or stuffed at the far end of the bar. And if you want to have tapas, you’ll probably end up with way too much food for just one person.
During a group food tour, you’ll join other people and your guide to explore the best places to eat and shop in Barcelona. You get to learn about the food while sharing bite-sized snacks and chatting with other travelers. Win-win in my book!
Check out these food tours and experiences in Barcelona:
- Tapas and Wine Tour in Barcelona
- San Antoni Tapas Tour
- Gracia Food and Market Tour
- Other Barcelona Food Tours by DevourBarcelona
- Paella Cooking Class in Barcelona
- Spanish Tapas Cooking Class in Barcelona
Join local guided tours
Although I am all for saving money when I travel solo, it sometimes can be nice to team up with a pre-arranged group of people and go sightseeing in Barcelona together. Yes, they do cost money, but they often included transport, guides, and entrance fees. If you wanted to do these things anyway, why not meet up with other travelers and go on a guided group day trip. Below are my top recommendations:
Make new friends with locals when you travel solo
Couchsurfing is not just for finding a free place to stay. I have only actually couch-surfed a couple of times, but I have used the network extensively to meet locals (or other travelers) to do those things that are best enjoyed with other people.
For example, watch the sunset at Parc Guell, have a day at the beach at Barceloneta, go to Marine Park together and have a picnic at the Parc de la Ciutadella. Join a meet-up at Couchsurfing or RSVP for one of the many events.
Where to stay in Barcelona: the best hostels and hotels for solo travelers
Call me crazy, but as a female solo traveler, it is extremely important to find a good place to stay in Barcelona. You do not want to walk around at night alone too far from the subway.
You want a nice, comfortable place with loads of activities and like-minded solo travelers, but you don’t want to be stuck in a party hostel with 36-bed dorm (they exist!).
I only stayed in a hostel once in Barcelona. The other times, I opted for a boutique hotel with a private room. But I did my best to find you the best accommodations in Barcelona that are perfectly suited for solo travelers.
Hostels in Barcelona
There are millions of options for cheap(ish) accommodation in Barcelona. I think a good hostel, for a solo female traveler, should be safe (aka locked rooms, female-only dorms, near metro stop) and fun to hang out with other people (needs a common area, fun activities, etc) and must not be a party hostel (no bar downstairs, no mixed 36-bed rooms). If you disagree with me, that is perfectly fine, but I’d happily stay at the following hostels in Barcelona:
- Rodamón Barcelona Hostel, close to the Diagonal Metro Stop, offers female dorm rooms with en-suite bathrooms.
- Black Swan Barcelona, close to the Arc the Triumph Metro stop, offers female dorm rooms. I recently stayed with the Black Swan in Sevilla which had everything you’d want in a hostel.
- Sleep Green – Certified Eco Youth Hostel, next to Plaça de Catalunya this hostel is your green choice. They don’t have female-only rooms, but they do offer family rooms.
Boutique Hotels I recommend
As a solo female traveler, you don’t want to stay in those big block chain business hotels. Yes, you know the names but that is far as it goes for personality. These hotels don’t meet your solo travel needs.
If you choose a hotel, I’d suggest a smaller boutique hotel, where the owner can help you with recommendations. Some even have a common room with free coffee and cakes and numerous options to meet other travelers or find information about Barcelona. Below my personal recommendations:
- Eco Boutique Hostal Grau, although it is called a Hostal, this isn’t the case in this cute small hotel just off the Ramblas. I stayed here when I was in Barcelona for a weekend, and found it really quiet, with amazing beds and a welcoming common room with a super helpful host.
- Hostal Felipe 2, close to the Verdugaer Metro Stop, this hotel offers single rooms with an en-suite bathroom or shared facilities.
- Azul B&B Barcelona, slightly pricier than the other options, this B&B offers bright rooms with breakfast included. Located right in the Eixample neighborhood close to the Casa Pedrera.
Barcelona solo travel safety tips
As in all cities in the world, it is important to look out for your safety, especially as a solo female traveler. Barcelona is famous and visited by many people, allowing for people with ill intent to take advantage of crowds and masses of people. Here are some solo travel safety tips for Barcelona:
- Avoid major crowded areas like the Ramblas, especially at night. I consider the Ramblas a bit of a tourist trap. It is a pedestrian area with loads of street vendors and street performers. But pickpockets take advantage of large crowds grouped together with their attention focused on something else. Go during the day and stay aware of your surroundings.
- Avoid big crowds, masses, and audiences. In many places in Barcelona, street artists will give away a great show. It is a great way to see an almost free (don’t forget to tip if you enjoyed it) performance. Move around the crowd yourself, avoid standing still in one spot. Slide your bag to the side with the least open exposure.
- Slide your bag to the side of the wall and away from the streets and main aisle at busy streets and in public transport. Keep your bag on your lap in the subway or on the bus. Keep it to your left side when the street is on the right (and vice versa). Check out these great (and cute!) anti-theft bags for travelers. Blue Cross-Body Bag | Stylish Cross-Body Bag | Sling Shoulder Bag
- Don’t go to the beach alone at night. It can be fun to meet up with some friends but agree to meet them at a monument or landmark in the street and walk together to the beach.
- Avoid the salespeople in the street if they only have a blanket to show their merchandise. Sometimes it is an empty box and a tablecloth but these are illegal street vendors. They sell selfie-sticks, umbrellas, souvenirs, knick-knacks, sunglasses, and jewelry. They apply aggressive sales techniques when they grab your attention and in my personal opinion can best be avoided. Shop for souvenirs in one of the many Barcelona souvenir shops.
- Avoid groups of people who want to “help” you. Often families and children are in on the scam too. They will say a machine or ticket dispenser is out of order and will guide you to one that will definitely work. They are in it to scam you for a few euros or take your valuables when you’re distracted.
- Use similar precautions in Barcelona as in every other city. Avoid getting drunk, don’t walk the streets alone at night, and let people know where you’re going in the evening.
Barcelona Solo Travel: A Brilliant Idea
Are you thinking of traveling to Barcelona alone? I hope my Barcelona solo travel guide has convinced you that is an excellent idea! Have you traveled solo in Barcelona? Do you have any additional solo travel in Barcelona tips? Let me know in the comment section below, I’d love to read your experiences with solo travel in Barcelona.