One of Spain’s most colourful and unconventional cities, Barcelona beckons backpackers to join in the fun. Barcelona hosted the Olympics in 1992; since then it has become the premier city to visit in Spain. Big draws include the architectural genius Gaudi’s many quirky works around the city, museums galore, terrific Catalan cuisine at all the restaurants and bars, a hopping nightlife and festivals throughout the year, especially the Carnival in early spring. Flights to Barcelona are available from many cities and various airlines. Backpackers wanting to stay in the city will find a variety of hostels available. People of any age can stay at a hostel, although there may be a small fee for older adults. Camping outside of the city is also an option for backpackers. Three camping sites serving Barcelona provide amenities such as swimming pools and showers, a supermarket and restaurant. While located a distance from Barcelona city centre, all three are serviced by trains and busses for easy transportation into town. Make sure you check whether or not curfews are in place before venturing too far in the evenings. While in Barcelona, consider getting a Barcelona Card, which will provide free access to the metro, trains and busses and discounts at the city’s museums, shops, restaurants and other cultural venues. Barcelona Cards good for one, two, three, four or five days can be purchased at the Barcelona Tourism association. With getting around taken care of, happy backpackers can then begin exploring this unusual city on the Mediterranean. Barcelona must-sees include the Barri Gotic, the gothic quarter with the elegant 14th century cathedral. Narrow winding streets around the cathedral are home to exquisite shops and excellent tapas and seafood restaurants. La Rambla, Barcelona’s pedestrian-only avenue sports all kinds of interesting street-life with human statues, mimes and performance artists. Beware of pickpockets, but enjoy rambling down the street and stopping in a café for sangria. A tour of Gaudi’s architectural wonders is almost always a requirement for a Barcelona visit. Side trips to the Roman town of Girona or the monastery at Montserrat are easily accessed by train. Barcelona itself, however, brims with fun and lively things to do, more than enough to keep backpacking visitors busy for however long they linger in a beautiful Spanish city.
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