Destinations Europe Planning and Daydreams Spain

Solo in Europe: Barcelona Here I come!

ABOUT THE SOLO IN EUROPE SERIES A year ago, I grabbed the opportunity to travel to Europe on my own. It was a trip that took several months to daydream about but only one month to prepare for.  I will be posting an account of the trip, albeit a little late, over the next couple of weeks.

Barcelona Pre-Trip

I have to admit that Barcelona intimidated me at first.  Although I have been to Spain twice in the past, Barcelona was never on the itinerary.  Much of what I knew about it  were from what I’ve read online or heard from friends. Which were not all good—mostly tales of pickpocketing con artists who prey on unsuspecting tourists.

a  spray-painted sign  infront of a residential building


These wouldn’t have sounded so scary if I wasn’t travelling alone. But alas, I was and not understanding Spanish only added to my worries.

I had about 10 days to spend in Europe so I had to plan my itinerary well. Initially, I wanted to spend 3 days in Barcelona,  3 days in Madrid and 4 days in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Later, I decided to extend my stay in Barcelona to 5 days and shaved 2 days off the Madrid leg. )

For Barcelona,  I had a very specific itinerary in mind. Topping my list of places to visit were Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell, the Picasso Museum, Plaça Catalunya and of course Las Ramblas.  Researching online, I also found  travel guides very useful, especially the ones where travellers get to recommend their favorite spots.

Getting There

I flew to Barcelona via KLM, having managed to book a promo flight through their website.  The plan was to fly to Barcelona from Manila,  go to Madrid by land, fly to Lisbon via a domestic airline, then fly back to Barcelona to catch my flight back to Manila.


Europe is teeming with hotels. If you can afford it (and if you have weeks to spare),  booking luxury hotels in Barcelona makes absolute sense. There are, after all, quite a number of really impressive ones worth checking out.  IF I had the moolah, I would definitely stay in one of those ultra modern hotels like the completely refurbished Grand Hotel Central in Plaça Catalunya. The rooftop infinity pool alone  makes up for its   $195/night price tag.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have that option as I had a very modest budget. So I asked my friends if they knew anyone in Barcelona who’d be willing to put me up for a few days.  Luckily,  Fr. A, a Filipino priest based in Barcelona,  heard about my plight and graciously agreed to host me. So with accomodations crossed out from my checklist,  all I needed to do was make sure that I could go around and enjoy BCN on my own.

Getting Around

Fr. A owned a car and had offered to drive me to wherever I needed to go—that is, if his schedule allowed it.  But I didn’t want to impose on him too much. Besides, I was determined to try BCN’s world-famous public transport system on my own.

The underground metro is still the cheapest and most efficient way to get around the city.  A single journey ticket costs €1.25.  One also has the option to buy a multiple-journey ticket, the T10, which offers 10 journeys and can be shared by 2 or more people. This costs €6.90.

If you don’t mind traffic jams and appreciate a little sight-seeing, taking the bus is also recommended. Most bus routes (including the Aerobus or airport bus and the Bus Turistic or tourist bus) conveniently stop at Plaça de Catalunya. A regular ticket starts at €1.25 (rate does not apply to Aerobus and Bus Turistic).

Finally, there’s the taxi… Taxi rides in Europe can get pretty expensive so I resolved to stay away from taxis as much as possible. But if the need to take a taxi arises, one should be mindful of the fare rates that differ depending on the time of day (see below).

Eats All Good

Even with a modest budget, it’s easy to find affordable restaurants or hole-in-the-wall places where one can have a fine meal. For lunch, I enjoyed menu del dia or set meals . These  typically consist of 3 courses and a drink and cost between €6 to €20. But if dining out is not your style, you can also buy food from Mercat de la Boqueria and the many convenience stores scattered all over the metro.

NEXT:  Delectable Tapas, Scary Mimes, Biting Cold and Borrowed Boots (or Top 5 Things to Do in Barcelona) Part 1

You may also like...


  1. kudos to you girl, solo trip in Europe is like one of the things i want to cross out from my bucket list 🙂

    1. PinayTraveller says:

      Thanks! It was really something else.:)

  2. […] Find out what happened here: Solo in Europe: Barcelona Here I Come! […]

  3. […] you read Delectable Tapas, Scary Mimes, Biting Cold and Borrowed Boots  Part 1? How about Solo in Europe or The Wonderful Mercat de La […]

  4. […] trip become a real one? I asked the same question a couple of years ago when I was dreaming of a solo trip to Europe.  The answer is a lot simpler than we think;  it is a nugget of wisdom not only applicable to […]

  5. I was reading PTB’s blog carnival when I stumbled on this one. Solo travel in Europe is SHEER AWESOMENESS! I’ll have reference na when I hit Spain. 🙂

  6. PinayTraveller says:

    Hi Loraine,

    Yes it is! And Spain is wonderful! Good luck on your trip.:) And thank you for dropping by!


  7. […] You might also like Solo in Europe: Barcelona Here I Come! […]

  8. […] you read Delectable Tapas, Scary Mimes, Biting Cold and Borrowed Boots? How about Solo in Europe or The Wonderful Mercat de La […]

  9. […] Find out what happened here: Solo in Europe: Barcelona Here I Come! […]

  10. K-anne says:


    Ive always been planning to travel to Spain but i heard rumours that the embassy is strict especially if you’re a filipina and single. I badly want to solo travel to Andalusia. Do you think i’ll get approved? I have savings and a permanent job. I also was granted schengen before when i travelled to Greece. I have other visas as well. Tho i just transferred to a new company so maybe i’ll travel next year when im already a year old in the company. What do you think my chances are? And do you have tips?

    1. PinayTraveller says:

      Hi K-anne,

      If you’ve had a Schengen visa before and you have others as well, I think your chances are higher. One of the things that you need to prove when applying is the need to go back to the country so having a regular job is really important. TBH though, it’s really difficult to tell these days. But you’ll never know until you try, right? And Spain is beautiful! So it’s worth taking the risk. Good luck and happy travels!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.