A Guest Post by Kristina Kinson
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Travelling alone may seem scary and overwhelming, especially the first time. But if you do it right, it can be one of the most rewarding and liberating experiences you could have. Unlike travelling in a more conventional way, visiting a city on your own truly opens your mind. You learn to appreciate your own company and get out of your comfort zone by trying things you’ve never done before.
Spain, in general, is an excellent choice for travelling solo, with delicious food, lots of culturally rich places and incredible attractions that will keep you so entertained that you won’t miss anyone’s company.
Here are 6 reasons to travel to Barcelona alone:
- A bustling international city
Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city full of life, visited by millions of backpackers and people from all over the world that are keen to explore and learn about the Spanish and Catalan culture. Almost every corner is filled with activity all year round and you constantly see lots of people from different nationalities in the street. So if you are not shy, you will be hardly alone. You will have many opportunities to talk to fellow travellers along the way, and people in your same situation.
- Warm and friendly people
Spanish people are very welcoming and friendly. Whether you are at a bar for tapas and sangria or sitting on public transport, it is likely that they will be the first to start a conversation. Spaniards are very curious about foreigners, they like to talk about any topic and appreciate a good sense of humour.
As a general rule, in Barcelona, it is easy to find English speakers and most of them will be happy to help you out and answer any questions you might have. Plus, interacting with locals will allow you to get to know yourself better and see things from a different point of view.
- Free Tours
The perfect way to explore the city as a solo traveller is to join a free tour of Barcelona on foot.
There are many companies that offer top quality, free walking tours. Basically, a local guide takes you around the city for free and shows you the best spots and main attractions, such as Sagrada Familia, the Gothic Quarter, the fascinating works of Gaudi, Montjuic, etc.
In the end, you are free to tip your guide what you think the tour was worth. Guides usually give advice and recommendations on places to eat and things to do. It is a great opportunity to learn interesting facts about the history and culture, and get insider knowledge while meeting other people.
We highly recommend booking these tours online in advance, especially during high season.
- Community-focused hostels
There are plenty of hostels in Barcelona especially designed for solo travellers, with a heavy emphasis on community. Usually, these are the best places to meet young, fun-loving people and make new friends. You can hang out in hostel bars or join the group activities, excursions and nights out they organize. Conversations will naturally follow you everywhere, hands down.
- Safe to travel alone
Statistics show that, in terms of general crime, Barcelona is one of the safest cities in the world to visit. Besides, it is one of the top 10 destinations preferred by travellers, according to TripAdvisor and other international sources.
The violent crime rate (such as assault and armed robbery) in Barcelona is very low, and it is generally safe for anyone to walk the streets alone during the day and night. Public transport and taxis are as well considered safe and reliable.
As in many touristic cities, pickpockets near major tourist attractions are the only problem, but you can easily avoid them if you are cautious and follow simple, common-sense safety guidelines.
- Lots of entertainment options
Barcelona has it all: fantastic museums, fabled architecture, nice beaches, great restaurants and a vibrant nightlife. Joy is in the air and it’s impossible to get bored.
If you are an art lover, stop into Picasso and Joan Miró Museums. Want more? Go explore El Born neighbourhood for avant-garde galleries, artistic cafes and trendy shops. If you want to try the local food, head to a tapas bar in La Boqueria Market. For live music, there are great venues such as Sala Apolo, City Hall and many more.
Once again, the advantages of travelling alone are endless: you are free to choose your own route and activities based on what you like without giving explanations to anyone, you don’t have to adapt your plans to your friend’s schedules, and you can take all the time you want to get lost and discover new places. This is something worth doing, at least, once in a lifetime.