Places to stay
Barcelona has many hotels and hostels in a wide range of prices. Internet searches can help such as Google, Booking.com, or perhaps Bing. Be careful using unlicensed rentals through Airbnb because there have been recent crack-downs on cheap tourism.
You can also check accommodation options at the student residency in the vicinity of ICM-CSIC. Campus Mar and Ciutadella are further away from ICM-CSIC but are closer to the city center.
Places to eat
Spanish food is great, and Barcelona has a wide range of choices of local, regional, national and international foods. However, floods of foreign visitors have had an eroding effect on general meal quality around touristic locations. When in search for a good meal, we suggest that you adhere to the following:
- Eat where the locals do;
- Do not eat on or close to Las Ramblas unless you want to pay a fortune for a plate of Aaargh;
- Pealla is Spanish but Spain is a big country. Paella originated from Valencia and is not a specialty of Barcelona, although you’ll see it on offer everywhere. A word of warning: in general, do not expect a cheap, quickly made paella to taste good. A true paella takes hours to prepare and typically does not come out of a microwave. However, IF you manage to find a restaurant where you are required to order it hours in advance, go for it;
- The Gothic Quarter and Barceloneta have many small tapas bars and other tasty surprises;
- Hot chocolate with churros is a fall and winter treat worth committing a minor crime for.
Places to visit
Beside the regular treats such as Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, and Casa Batlló, for instance, Barcelona has a wealth of museums and attractions to offer that are less famous but worth a visit:
- The modernist Palau de la Musica is impressive and offers tours. Try to see a concert here!
- The Arab baths are a relaxing bliss;
- The Picasso Museum must be gorgeous because everybody talks about it;
- You can visit the streets of Barcelona of Roman times, deep under ground, in the City History Museum;
- The Barcelona Aquarium and Barcelona Zoo are well set up, and have been designed with the well-being of animals in mind;
- The Barcelona science museum has impressive fixed and changing expositions worth a visit;
- Note that flamenco (not flamingo, please) comes from Andalucía, far away from Barcelona. There are guitar and flamenco concerts all over the city, but you’re on your own here.
- Walk through the Shadow of the Wind
For inspiration, this tourist guide looks quite useful. Taking the Barcelona Bus Turístic is a good way to visit many of these places while learning something under way. It’s actually quite nice and super convenient.