Why Barcelona Should be on your Backpacking List - By Alpacr user Ailsa Renk

Tue, 28 May 2019

“It’s often possible to whistle-stop-tour European cities, but Barcelona resists this”

Barcelona is just so vast in things that simply MUST be done or seen. The four days that I spent in this Catalonian city was barely close to being enough time. It’s often possible to whistle-stop-tour European cities, but Barcelona resists this- with its beaches, architecture, parks, cathedrals, shopping avenues, museums and markets, there is no one sense to this city, its wonderfully multifaceted. Barcelona has something for everyone and seeing it all requires a great deal of walking, organisation, and as I latterly discovered… water (heat stroke would be an understatement- but this was the height of summer and, yes, I really should have known better).

“Scrolling through other ‘local adventurers’ we met a group of three Australians touring Europe for a year”

When your Spanish lingo knowledge goes little further than ‘hola’, as mine does, guidance can be a lifesaver in this city. However, it is also super expensive to come by through any tourist-orientated tours. Fortunately, we had the Backpacking App Alpacr to come to our rescue. By making our profile and location visible and scrolling through other ‘local adventurers’ we met a group of three Australians touring Europe for a year.

“I won’t go into detail, but things were seen and heard in that room which all of us wish never to have to replay”

These fellow explorers became our travel buddies for the remainder of our Barcelona adventure and together we navigated as much of what this crazy city has to offer as possible. Having formed an Australian-English pack, our next mission was to find a roof over our heads at as low a cost as poss (all of us on dwindling funds, even if it was only the start of my trip… I’m a student and that’s just the way life works I guess, sigh). A few of us were following other world navigators on Alpacr that had recently been to, and blogged about Barcelona. The Center Ramblas hostel cropped up a lot and seemed to have been rated highly, especially for its infamous, nightly bar crawls… we followed these recommendations and booked into a ten-bed room in which we met some less favourable types… (I won’t go into detail, but things were seen and heard in that room which all of us wish never to have to replay- I’ll leave it to your imagination to work out what I’m implying).

“We’d formed a group from Alpacr which meant we could continue to follow and grow jealous of each other’s journeys after leaving Barcelona”

Journeys are always better shared.

Aside from the early hour ‘disturbances’, the hostel was pretty ideal- central, clean and lived up to its bar crawl praises. We headed down to the moonlit beaches each night and sampling each extortionately priced (had we not bought a cheaper ticket from the hostel) club and bar along the seaside strip. The people we met on these nights out frequently complained that this was the only means they had of meeting similar people to themselves… drunken nights out in which you blurrily exchange Facebook names to add in the morning, only to discover your intoxicated spelling just isn’t reliable. So, we told them our story; how we’d formed a group from Alpacr which meant we could continue to follow and grow jealous of each other’s journeys after leaving Barcelona.

“I was able to marvel at the beauty of Gaudi’s architecture and Park Guell on my Alpacr blog page later”

As the days went by we added individuals to our Barcelona pack and split off into mini groups to explore the various attractions that appealed to each of us. I was able to marvel at the beauty of Gaudi’s architecture and Park Guell on my Alpacr blog page later, mentioning the best(/cheapest) bus routes to get to each. I wish I’d had this advice before I set off walking the miles on end, but hey… I guess the next Barcelona backpacker can learn from my experiences.

“Sooner or later there will be an enormous community of Alpacr users across the world, all offering up practical advice”

This adventure app, Alpacr, was wonderful as a starting point for our trip; and the ideal way to meet other travellers in Barcelona interested in similar adventures to ourselves. I’m so glad and excited its growing and that sooner or later there will be an enormous community of Alpacr users across the world, all offering up practical advice; activity suggestions; places to stay and themselves, as people to meet in far flung places.


By Ailsa Renk from the Backpacking App Alpacr.


Check out our previous blog: How Travel Can Unite Women Around the World