Take Your Time with Slow Travel in Barcelona
Could it be any slower? The fastest guide to slowing down in the City of Counts.
Slow travel is
a mindset one of the tourism terms that have been trending lately. Yet it describes a century-old habit: exploring a city at your own pace, willing to sacrifice an attraction or two for the sake of your peace of mind. And if Barcelona is your next destination, then slow travel is mandatory. Not making a pitstop every -at least- one hour to relax at a park, or eat tapas in a traditional bodega may be regarded as highly disrespectful by the locals. Having a strict strategic sightseeing plan will not only suck the joy out of your trip but it could also significantly corrode local culture.
And we at Plum Guide are all for sustainable travel. Ever since slow travel became a thing, numerous tour companies have crafted private tours for exploring the city “in a unique, never-seen-before, like-a-local way”. But if you prefer to avoid strolling around Barcelona’s most well-known streets with a group of sunburnt compatriots, follow our guide and make the most out of your slow travel Barcelona trip.
A leisurely city stroll
Waking up in one of the very best apartments in Barceola without an alarm clock, having breakfast while enjoying the view from your balcony and then hitting the streets for a leisurely walk is slow travel Bracelona 101. Mark a route that includes the part of the city or the attractions you’ve been dreaming to see from up close since the flight confirmation message popped up on your screen and kick off your slow travel vacation like a pro. In Barcelona, that route could include Gaudi’s masterpieces, the city centre’s medieval streets or The Eixample neighbourhood. You are bound to see those at some point during your trip anyway.
Go for a cycle
It’s exactly the same tip as the one above but instead, you’ll be getting around on two wheels. Before you come down on us for lacking inspiration, allow us to explain how these two activities differ even though they sound similar. Cycling will allow you to reach places you normally wouldn’t on foot, learn the most imaginative Catalan swear words in a fun and memorable way and squeeze a couple more attractions into your schedule without having to spend a week to make sense of the metro map. If your legs are up for it, you can even go as far as the Tibidabo amusement park or even Badalona.
Picnic in the park
With so many beautiful parks and the well-promoted Mediterranean climate, Barcelona is the perfect city to skip sightseeing for one day and soak up the sun at a park in an overly still posture. Whether you choose Parc de la Ciutadella (a note for animal rights advocates: you can actually skip the zoo part), Parc de Cervantes or the Diagonal Mar Park, you’ll have the opportunity to spend a day in the absolute tranquillity that the slow travel doctrine condones. Grab a bottle of wine, a piece of Manchego cheese, a pa de pagès loaf of bread and enjoy a picnic in the great outdoors.
Hit the beach
It doesn’t matter whether you choose the touristic Barceloneta beach, the much more peaceful family-friendly Nova Icaria beach or Ocata Beach that is a 30-minute train ride away. Squandering away a whole day lying on a sandy shore will just mean that you are gradually getting the gist of what slow travelling in Barcelona is all about. Add a long and luscious lunch at one of the myriads of restaurants you’ll find by the waterfront in the mix and you’ll be ready to start sharing your own tips about the elusive essence of slow travel in no time.
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If you’re not a wine connoisseur this activity probably looks a waste of time. But then again, if you were a wine connoisseur, seeing tourists line up to try a Penedès or a Priorat label would seem like a waste of wine. However, local tour guides and travel experts all seem to agree that a session of wine tasting paired with a touch of culture or any other ‘sustainable eco-friendly activity’ in the vineyards is a must-do for those practising the art of slow travel, Barcelona. They really had us at “combine Catalan Art Nouveau or Gothic Architecture with fine wine”. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, you’ll find many tour guides willing to pick you up from your Barcelona Plum Guide home and offer you a relaxed 4-hour tour, guaranteed to get you tipsy by sunset.
Take a one-day trip
Did you really see every important landmark before taking the decision to leave Barcelona behind for a whole day? That’s exactly what a judgmental contrarian to slow travel would say. Don’t let them get to you. You don’t have to crouch in shame while you try to come up with the right answer. We already have it for you. There are beaches, mountains and villages nearby Barcelona, that are as good for the soul as a Picasso painting. Catalonia’s sacred mountain, Montserrat, is a one-hour train-ride away, the white-washed beach town of Sitges is even less. In 1 hour and 15 minutes exactly you can get to Tarragona where Roman ruins, a Gothic cathedral and the scenic Old Town will wash the guilt away for betraying the capital of Catalonia for 24 hours.
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