Although it might sound daunting or maybe even a bit boring, solo travel is an exciting and liberating experience that everyone should have at least once in their lifetime. It’s a rare opportunity to be completely selfish, independent and self-reliant and it can change your beliefs about yourself and your own abilities and as long as you’re prepared, you’ll find travelling by yourself can be an exercise in empowerment.
Europe is a great place to start your adventures into solo travel, as many backpackers and solo travellers have proven over the years. If Barcelona is on your travel bucket-list, it’s a great place to start! Barcelona is one of the easiest cities to explore on your own and during the summer months (June to August) it’s jam-packed with travellers of every description. During the week I spent walking and eating my way around the city, I noticed more solo female travellers than I’ve seen anywhere else.
When I’m travelling by myself, I make the most of the opportunity to really only think of myself when it comes to my travel plans. Going solo means you can skip a museum in favour of local restaurant, or spend half the day reading a book in the park, with no one to worry about but yourself. It’s a rare opportunity to do exactly what you want to do, exactly how you want to do it. To really enjoy solo travel, and if you’re worried about feeling bored or lonely, boost your confidence by planning ahead and booking a few interesting tours and experiences.
I booked photography, foodie and wine experiences in Barcelona and got to explore the city with friendly and passionate local hosts, so I never felt lonely or at a loose end. Here are 5 things to do in Barcelona if you are travelling solo.
1 Penedès Wine Tour
I obviously love drinking wine, but I also love learning about how it’s made around the world and how local climate and tradition influences the wine produced in different regions. So I booked a trip to the Penedès wine region just outside of Barcelona through Airbnb Experiences. Honestly, I chose this experience based on the super cute vintage Land Rovers you get to ride into the vineyards. The tour was really professional, but not really a “locally hosted experience” which is what I was expecting. Either way, I loved the day out in the sun, learning about the historic tradition of Cava making in Spain and exploring underground cellars.
Book a Wine Tour in the Penedés
2 Bicycle and Tapas Tour
I really love seeing a city by bicycle – you just cover so much more ground than if you were walking and just experience more of the city sights, sounds and smells than you would in a car. This is another experience I booked on Airbnb and I can’t recommend it enough. Yani, our local host, was an absolute walking encyclopedia and gave us so much insight into Catalonia’s history, all the way to modern day Barcelona. Our tour covered a ton of ground, including the Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece. The tour was really informative and ended with the best tapas I had in Barcelona.
Book a Bicycle and Tapas Tour in Barcelona
3 Walking Food Tour
I try to do either a food tour or a cooking course in every new city or destination I visit. I feel like it’s the best way to learn about a culture – their spices explain their history, who they eat with explains the way they feel about family. It’s my favourite way to soak up any new place. I booked a walking food tour with Secret Food Tours in Barcelona. What appealed to me most was that they keep their groups small and they have local hosts running the tours. I got a real local look at the food scene in the city, starting with the oldest bakery in Barcelona. My host, Andrés was a really nice guy to hang with for the day, and he explained all about Barcelona’s typical breakfast of tomato and garlic rubbed on toasted bread, the siesta lifestyle and what makes Catalan food so good. I left feeling full and happy.
Book a Secret Food Tour in Barcelona
4 Park Güell Photo Tour
One of the things that can be difficult if you’re travelling alone is getting a couple of great pictures that you’re actually in. I don’t mind using a tripod or asking a stranger to help me get a few shots, but the easiest guaranteed way to get a couple of nice pictures of yourself while you’re exploring is by booking a photo tour. That way you get to see somewhere new with a local or tour host who can share their knowledge, and you leave with a few pictures for your future self to look back on. I booked a photo tour of another one of Gaudí’s masterpieces, Park Güell with Barcelona Travel Girls. I found them on Instagram and could tell instantly that they would “get my aesthetic”. I took a couple of different dresses for my morning with my lovely and talented Sol, so that I could have some variety. Sol totally knows all the best spots in the park and how to avoid the crowds – plus she totally understands any vision you have in mind for your pictures.
Sol also took me to the most incredible secret view point that I would never have found let alone been able to capture on my own.
Book a Photo Tour in Park Güell
5 Costa Brava Day Tour
Costa Brava is a beautiful costal region about 2 hours from Barcelona. You can take the bus to one of the many towns in the region and just spend the day on the beach, shopping and having lunch at a local restaurant. It’s easy to get to and easy to explore, with buses leaving from the central station in Barcelona. If you’re going in peak season in the summer, or on a weekend, I’d recommend booking your bus ticket ahead of time since it’s a very popular little day trip. If you’d prefer to join a group, there are some really nice tours on Airbnb Experiences – I shortlisted a few but in the end decided to go at the last minute and by then it was too late. I would join a tour next time for sure!
Book a Day Trip to Costa Brava
If you’re thinking taking a solo trip, my advice would be to go for it! My next advice would be to take care of yourself, always be vigilant and trust your senses. Keep in contact with your friends and family back and use an app like Find My Friend or What’sApp Live Location so you can have someone look out for you! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my tips and if you happen to use any of them for your next travels, be sure to let me know!