The Do’s and Don’ts of Barcelona, Spain
I saw a lot while I lived in Barcelona, here’s a little bit of my experience summed up in some (hopefully) helpful do’s and don’ts.
DO – Try to speak Spanish as much as possible.
- Even if you may not know much, or have the best accent speaking your efforts will be appreciated and respected. Something as simple as ordering in Spanish will make a huge difference because it shows that you’re trying to be as respectful as you can to the culture and the people.
DON’T – Expect everything to be in Spanish.
- Contrary to popular belief the main idiom in Barcelona is Catalan. That means most signs, names, and menus are written in Catalan first and Spanish second.
DO – Tour the city by biking or walking.
- Barcelona is beautiful and the layout may seem big at first but the main parts of the city are all walking or biking distance from one another. This way of seeing the city allows you to truly experience the feel of everyday life and the beauty of every building, park and street.
DON’T – Take a sightseeing bus to see the city.
- In any other city this way of touring might be the best bang for your buck but in Barcelona I think it’s the biggest rip off they offer to tourists. Your money is better spent on a bike tour with a guide who truly knows their stuff, you will learn and experience more.
DO – Experience the beach of Barcelona. (If weather permits)
- Growing up in Southern California I thought I had experienced every type of beach this world has to offer, and boy was I wrong. The beach of Barcelona is an experience you have to see to believe.
DON’T – Get a massage on the beach.
- You will be bombarded, and sometimes touched, by Thai woman looking to offer you a “masaje, only 5 euros.” DON’T DO IT! While it sounds tempting, it’s actually very unsanitary. I’ve seen where those hands have been, and let me tell you they’re not clean. Not once have I ever seen these woman wash their hands or even use hand sanitizer after going arm deep on some guy’s lower back.
DO – Eat off of the “Menu Del Día” whenever you can.
- During the week most restaurants offer a Menu of the Day deal that is usually a select menu for a set price. Prices range from 7-12 euros and are usually a two or three course meal with drink and dessert always included. This is the best deal you’ll find on food in Spain.
DON’T – Eat or drink on La Rambla.
- Food and drink on La Rambla is a total rip off. Even their Menu of the Day deals are over priced and the food is usually below par. Also, who wants to pay 10 euros for a liter of beer when you can buy it in a super market for 1.50? Even if you aren’t on a budget that’s still a little rich in my opinion. You’re better off eating on Passieg De Gracia, more options and the food is usually really good.
DO – Look presentable at all times.
- Rarely do I see Spanish people “bummin’ it” around the city. Everyone always looks like they have somewhere to go even if it’s just going to the store. Personally, I like it so if you’re like me embrace it and wear something nice while you’re out enjoying the city.
DON’T – wear flip flops.
- I don’t know why, but flip flops are openly frowned upon in Spain. But hey if you don’t mind being stared at take this don’t as a dare and do it anyways.
I hope these tips help you to enjoy the city, save money and avoid some of the dirty looks I got during my time abroad. Hasta Luego Chicos!