Whenever you mention Barcelona, everyone’s reaction is “Oh, I just love Barcelona!” When I didn’t immediately fall for it, I kept thinking that I must be missing something. So for the first week or so, I tried keeping an open mind, withholding judgment on the city until I figured out what exactly everyone loves about Barcelona.
While I did find plenty to do here (paddle boarding, Gaudí exhibits, reading on the beach, EatWith, a delicious food tour) my final consensus? Barcelona is ok. I actually think visiting the city for a long weekend would be ideal; a month was just too long. There is plenty to see and do but after three full days, I think I’d be ready to move on.
I’m still scratching my head as to why everyone loves Barcelona, but here’s the main reason I wasn’t a fan: It feels like you’re in NYC or LA. I’m in Europe, I want to feel like I’m in Europe. And walking down the street in Barcelona, you can grab coffee at Starbucks, you can get a green smoothie or an acai bowl or fresh squeezed vegetable juice. Nothing has a ton of character and it all feels relatively new. I might as well be walking down Park Avenue in NYC or heading to the beach in LA. Jillian actually wrote a blog post about this same topic. And speaking of her blog, she wrote an awesome post on some of the harder aspects of traveling with a group for a long period of time – you should check it out.
And the crowds. Oh my gosh! There are one million inhabitants in Barcelona…and 50 million visitors a year. So it’s no wonder everything feels so touristy and there are swarms of people everywhere you go.
My favorite part about traveling and exploring a city is simply walking around and taking in the views and local vibe of a neighborhood. Barcelona didn’t really offer this. You were either fighting the crowds (see above) or the area just wasn’t that interesting.
While I’ve clearly hated on Barcelona a lot in this post, my month here wasn’t all bad. I mean, just look at this sunrise!
But more than anything, it taught me a really good lesson. You aren’t going to love every place you visit. But that doesn’t mean you have to sulk around, have a bad attitude and waste your time there. You simply have to dig a little deeper to find things that you’ll enjoy.
With all that being said, I’m off to Prague (kind of…I’m obviously a little delayed in all of these posts) and I couldn’t be more excited! I studied abroad here 10 years ago and it was an absolutely magical experience. Actually, I’ll be arriving almost 10 years to the day after arriving for my study abroad trip. So, adios Barcelona and dobrý den Prague!