Barcelona has a deserved reputation as the nightlife capital of Europe. The city offers the usual dizzying array of nightclub, bars and other hang-outs you’d find in any other major European capital.
They key difference however is timing, this is a city which is happy to party until 7am on a week day, drink a few cups of coffee and head to the office.
By Adam Cobb.
Less deserved however is the city’s reputation as an overpriced tourist trap. While there are places to avoid it’s entirely possible to have a glitzy night out on a budget, particularly if you’re used to the prices of London or New York. Thanks to the city’s huge range of other attractions filling up your day needn’t be a chore either.
Eclipse and Splash
While its design and location have divided the city there is no doubt that the W Hotel has instantly become one of Barcelona’s most popular nightspots.
The Eclipse bar is certainly worth a visit (bring the camera!) but with drinks being sold at a 1,500% markup over what you’d pay in the supermarket lingering can be expensive. Back down on ground level the pool area hosts achingly cool parties most nights. Do go to Eclipse but don’t plan to spend the evening there.
Olympic Pool at Montjuic
Following your glitzy night at the W why not slow things down a bit and take in what the UK’s Guardian newspaper described as ‘the best swimming pool in the world’.
Admission to the Olympic pool at Montjuïc is a steal at only 5.35 euros per person and the views will be an excellent backdrop both to your swim and the inevitable snapshots you will take while you’re there. In fact so stunning is the view that it starred as the backdrop for Kyle Minogue’s 2003 music video ‘Slow’.
On your second night in Catalonia why not take in an experience you’d struggle to get at home? Most of Barcelona’s beaches, particularly Mar Bella in the north of the city, play host to beach clubs which will often run free admission events on Sunday evenings. While this inevitably means that drinks will be massively overpriced (although prices are still very mild compared to the W) you don’t need to drink to enjoy yourself.
The BOO restaurant and beach club often runs events like this early in the summer but a quick glance at Facebook will show that they’re hardly difficult to find.
If you keep an eye on the right websites and talk to people you see around you shouldn’t have too much trouble bagging an invite to one of the more exclusive venues. Getting your name on ‘the list’ needn’t be much trouble either, often all you need to do is email the right person!
On beach parties are also fairly common over the summer months; check for flyers or online for details.
Finally it would be remiss to write a guide to Barcelona without mentioning some of the many carnivals and street festivals which take place throughout the year.
The midsummer festival of San Juan which takes place on June 23 is a feverous night when seemingly the entire city will take to the beach.
Most clubs and bars will offer special menus and events for those looking for a more relaxed and refined approach to events (book in advance if you have your eye on a particular venue). The metro also runs all night and the city takes the next day off in order to recover so don’t fret about fully letting your hair down!
This gives you the perfect opportunity to stretch out in a fabulous apartment from Oh-Barcelona and enjoy the freedom of the Catalan capital.
Also worth being in town for is the national festival of Catalonia on the 11th of September.
Barcelona is a truly mesmerising city and by collecting insider tips like these before you go you can ensure that you make the very most of your time in the city.
Adam Cobb moved from the windswept hills of Scotland to sun himself on the beaches of Barcelona. He is now a freelance writer in addition to working at Oh-Barcelona.com and tweets as @adamcobb