One of the most spectacular cities in Europe and one that is not to be missed, is without a doubt Barcelona.
Barcelona was the second stop on our journey up to France, and as much as it is a beautiful city, it isn’t a cheap one. It is pretty common to pull up to an aires in Barcelona (which can be a carpark) and be charged 80 Euros a day simply because it is in the city limits. So we want to pass on our little gems so other travellers can enjoy this amazing city.
20 minutes outside the city via the subway is a small Spanish town called Colònia Güell. You can park your van outside the local football club in the parking lot for free. It is really well lit and has portable water as well as a black water deposit. What’s so great about this spot is that you can walk down the hill in 5 minutes and be at the subway station. And for 6 euros (for 2 people) you can be in the heart of the city. It’s so easy to do and to find, we’ll add the coordinates at the bottom.
This is so much more than just a place to park your van. If you spend the time walking through the park, you’ll find a beautiful abandoned castle which you can explore all day long. Even better, two minutes from where you can park your van is an unfinished Gaudi church. We couldn’t believe that we stumbled across it so close to the van. Although it is fenced off at the moment for construction, you can still get close enough to admire the incredible architecture.
If you continue to stroll down the hill you will come to a lovely village with a little bar where you can get cheap drinks (3 euros for a beer and fanta) and free wifi. We sat here for an hour enjoying village life. To our surprise, later on that night we were treated to an unreal firework show over the village. From the van, we had front row seats. It was a perfect way to end a long day of driving.
Got up early the next day and took the 20 minute subway into the city. It was so easy to figure out as the automated ticket booth had an option for english. Once we got our tickets we waited only about 2 minutes before the train arrived. They seem to run frequently so there is no worry about missing one or waiting too long.
Since we saved on the cost of camping and because of the vastness of Barcelona we opted to pay the 28 Euors each (which may sound expensive) to ride the hop-on hop-off tourist bus. Sit on the top deck because you really get a good sense of the city. Grab a pair of free headphones and learn all about the history as you visit all that Barcelona has to offer. There are two different routes (red and blue) that cover the entirety of the city. You can get off wherever you want and visit the ramblers, the old town, all the Gaudi attractions even the famous FC Barcelona stadium. Take this bus tour and you won’t miss a thing.
For us, not having to take the van into the heart of the city was a huge bonus. Not having to pay to sleep somewhere for two nights was also a big plus.
We highly recommend visiting Barcelona and checking out all it has to offer. You will find yourself getting lost in its beauty.
If you’re interested in the free van-park, look up these coordinates:
N 41°21’53”, E 2°01’32”
If you’re having trouble with the coordinates, go to campercontact.com