One thing to remember if you’re attending a hen party abroad: it’s not a holiday. When you get a group of women together who don’t all know each other, you will never please everyone. That’s why I didn’t plan much for my recent trip to the Catalan capital – I was ready to go with flow, especially as I’ve been there before. We stayed in a fantastic apartment on Passeig de Gracia. It slept eight of us easily, was a short walk to Sagrada Familia and La Rambla, and had buses connecting the whole city right outside, plus the owner, Miguel, was so lovely and extremely helpful. Here’s a few tips for those of you planning a trip soon
1) Cocktails in street side restaurants are predominantly ice, but spirits and mixers are freely poured. That JD and Coke is likely to be 70:30 split and hardly cost a thing.
2) Taxis are pretty cheap but watch out for them jacking up the price at the end. Apparently this is a pretty frequent occurrence.
3) There is a Spanish version of Bicester Village, called La Roca, about 30 minutes outside of the main city. Next door to it is also an enormous Mango outlet too, so take an empty suitcase and knock yourself out.
4) Wherever you are, people will ask you for money. You’ll be minding your own business having lunch and a beggar will ask for spare change mid-bite, or you’ll be lying on the beach and people will ask you every five minutes if you want a mojito/massage/henna tattoo.
5) Book all of your tourist attraction tickets in advance. We were told we’d have to wait for five hours to get into Parc Güell as we hadn’t pre-booked, and looking at the queue to get into La Pedrera was enough to make me need a nap.
6) All buses are €2.15 and super easy to follow. We didn’t take the metro system but getting around in general, including to and from the airport on the shuttle bus, was very simple. If you can connect to wifi, Barcelona is also on my favourite travel app, Citymapper, so you definitely can’t get lost.
7) Eat the seafood! It’s locally caught and prepared which means it’s delicious and cheap.
8) Go beyond La Rambla. Yes, it’s Barcelona’s most famous street but it’s essentially Leicester Square: busy, full of tourists, overpriced, crap restaurants, and pickpockets. Just behind it is the Gothic Quarter which is beautiful and just sublime to walk around and get lost in.
9) The Spanish, like many places in Europe, don’t eat their evening meal until quite late. You’re likely to have a better eating atmosphere if you go out for dinner around 9-10pm.
What are your top tips for Barcelona?