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Solo Trip to Barcelona (First time to Europe)

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Trinidad
posts: 3
Solo Trip to Barcelona (First time to Europe)

Hello All, Im currently planning my first trip to Europe. I will be travelling alone so i have chosen to travel for 2-3 weeks between Sept. and Nov. in an effort avoid large masses of tourists. After scouring through the internet for European vacations I became more and more fascinated with Barcelona but couldn't really get solid answers on when is a good time to visit or if its a good idea to travel there alone. My budget is somewhat accommodating so its not of much concern. Going on tours is not really my thing, i like wandering on my own...and getting some nice photographs when i can, and yes I know the security risks of traveling alone and take the necessary precautions. My question is: Is Barcelona a good choice for a first timer to Europe at this time of year? and also Is it Solo Traveler friendly? All in all, any advice and recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Shrewsbury
Destination Expert
for Barcelona
posts: 8,504
reviews: 18
1. Re: Solo Trip to Barcelona (First time to Europe)

well, there are pretty much always large masses of tourists in Barcelona, but for a good reason. However it's a big city so there are even more local people.

it's a great city for wandering and also for photography, especially if you coincide with a major festival (see La Merce on the right hand side), Solo traveler friendly. I suppose .Depends what you want.

There's seldom a bad time to visit but the weather in September is often delightful. Days are getting shorter in November when it can get quite cool.

Trinidad
posts: 3
2. Re: Solo Trip to Barcelona (First time to Europe)

Thanks for the reply. Shortly after posting on this forum I ran into some scary reviews over on yahoo. I didnt take it too seriously though, but one review really poured it on......even went so far as to say barcelona is one of the worst cities in Europe :S....to each his own opinion I guess. But a lot of travel sites say otherwise. Ive always been interested in historic buildings and interesting architecture which i think barcelona would be a great place to start.....especially for photography.

London, United...
posts: 1,200
reviews: 7
3. Re: Solo Trip to Barcelona (First time to Europe)

Don't listen to those reviews that say it's the worst city in Europe! I went for the first time at the end of last May and instantly fell in love with it. I have since been back 3 times and am going again next month and in September. I also travel on my own and I enjoy very much walking around exploring and soaking up the atmosphere. If you're into photography there will be many great photo opportunities for you. I think you will love it. My advice is do your research (you have 5 months) and you will feel safe and at ease in the city. I did 3 months of solid research before I went. You will find the trip report of my 1st stay here:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187497-i44-k55104…

I stayed for a whole week last September (after the school holidays) and unfortunately the weather mid-month wasn't that great. It was warm and very humid but overcast most of the time. However, I think you should still travel in Sept if you can, rather than Oct or Nov. I hear it can be quite rainy in Oct and Nov probably won't be that warm anymore.

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 504
reviews: 64
4. Re: Solo Trip to Barcelona (First time to Europe)

First off, yes Barcelona is a great city, in fact, it is an amazing city, and I would highly recommend it as an introduction to Europe.

My only concern would be language. As a Trinidadian I suspect you have had a fair amount of exposure to French, and Spanish. This will help you with communicating in Spanish, more so than Catalan. Even better if you have a solid grasp on Spanish, or better yet, Catalan.

If you feel comfortable being immersed in a foreign language (or not), then go to Barcelona, you will be perfectly safe if you use pre-cautions (get a cross body secure bag, be aware of your surroundings, don't allow yourself to be vulnerable to "friendly" strangers and stay sober).

If language is an issue, I'd consider either London or Dublin, two other awesome cities, albeit Dublin is no match to London in terms of scale.

One nice feature in BCN is the tapas menu served at the bar, it can provide for some mingling without commitment. For me the worst part of solo travel is missing company while enjoying great food...but the freedom of itinerary is soooo nice!

That being said, in all tourist areas, English(in my experience, and maybe other languages) is at least somewhat spoken.

I certainly haven't been everywhere in Europe, but I have had a fair bit of exposure, and in my opinion BCN is among the best, if not the best, tourist city in Europe.

Good luck!

Also, make sure you have an unlocked 3g smartphone, I don't touch down without one!

USA
posts: 1,325
reviews: 2
5. Re: Solo Trip to Barcelona (First time to Europe)

I've spent about 8 weeks as a solo traveler in Barcelona in the last two years. I feel safe there. I love exploring the city on my own, going beyond the more touristy sites and restaurants. I never run out of new spots to interest me. I feel comfortable dining solo. I find the people very welcoming and helpful (and my spanish is quite limited). It's such an easy city to get around, too.

Trinidad
posts: 3
6. Re: Solo Trip to Barcelona (First time to Europe)

Thanks for all the great advice, I think im convinced, Barcelona in september it is. I was a bit concerned about some of the reviews I saw about security but I think security is an issue anywhere these days, and only a serious one when proper precautions are not taken.

@Nicoleta- had i read your thread first I might not have posted my question, It's wonderful that you guys take the time to go into great detail about your trips so that first timers like me can have a pretty good picture to help make our own decisions.

My Spanish is not strong but I know enough to get around. Being immersed in a foreign language isn't a scary concept for me. I find strange and new environments quite exhilarating. Plus, once my trip is booked i plan on brushing up and extending my Spanish so as to help my trip move along smoothly.

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 504
reviews: 64
7. Re: Solo Trip to Barcelona (First time to Europe)

Darren, I did Beijing solo for 2 weeks, with the most basic (and likely horrific) Mandarin. No problem, and there was virtually zero english outside of the hotel.

You will love BCN, and trust me, the diversity in architecture will blow you away, let alone the diversity in Urban environment.

I stayed at the Europark and found both excellent in service and location, particularly for someone wanting to move around the entire city, as it is centrally located and 1 block from the metro.

I also recommend getting to Betlem Gastronomica Miscelania, a really great little tapas place just across the street from the Girona metro station. The combination of service, price and food quality is outstanding, imo.

Have a blast and be safe!

8. Re: Solo Trip to Barcelona (First time to Europe)

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