* When arriving in the centre of a city you’ve never been to at 11.30pm, you’d be forgiven for just blindly following GPS to your hostel. Sadly, if your phone is completely idiotic it will take you to the correct number building but on the wrong street. Meaning you end up at a Chinese restaurant rather than a hostel. Not ideal at midnight.
* Said hostel provides free bikes to explore the city, which is such a great idea. As Barcelona is full of bike lanes too, it’s surprisingly stress-free (or at least it is once you’ve found where the bike lane begins..)
* We cycled the length of Barcelona beach and the further you get from the city centre, the prettier and emptier it gets and you can find some unexpectedly tranquil and quiet beaches.
* If you decide to do some hostel hopping as we did (which I would fully recommend as it’s a great way of getting to know different parts of a city) you’d definitely be better off not leaving it to the last minute to find 2 beds on the Saturday of an August bank holiday weekend- you’ll end up paying double for a hostel half as nice.
* The famous market La Boqueria on La Rambla is lovely to walk around- full of fruit, fruit juices, meats, pastries, nougat and chocolates. If it weren’t for the ludicrous amount of tourists, it would be a foodie’s paradise!
* Wandering around aimlessly for hours means you can find some unexpected gems in a big city like Barcelona. Near the Agbar tower, we stumbled upon a flea market (where you can genuinely buy anything from bulbs to food blenders to material by the metre) which is inside a big hall with an incredible mirrored ceiling.
* We were very lucky that our trip coincided with the fiestas in the arty neighbourhood of Gracia. Each street clubs together to decorate their street the best- the streets come alive at night with live bands, drinks and food. Each street chooses a theme to follow- from fruit or music to psychedelic or Indian to a theme from a book like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Alice in Wonderland.
* The fiesta also has lots of things going on beyond music and drinking. One day we stumbled upon an outdoor cinema in a square showing Mama Mia dubbed into Spanish!
* Due to a few too many mojitos at the fiestas and an early morning hostel change, a hungover sit down and glass of ice tea was urgently needed whilst walking down La Rambla, which was actually very nice. Until we got the bill… €4.50 for 1 soft drink that came from a bottle?!? Luckily, the price was so obscene that it actually just made us laugh.