I did Barcelona and Ibiza as part of a three week stop for a friend’s 30th birthday a couple of years ago. Ibiza had always been on my bucket list. I’m not a huge electronic music (EDM) fan or anything, but having heard so much about the destination, plus the way EDM has blown up over the last few years, I figured it would be a fun, once in a lifetime, ultimate party trip, experience.
First we flew into Barcelona, spent a few days there, then took another flight to Ibiza.
I’ve never been anywhere else in Spain, but from travelers who have been, I’ve always gotten feedback that Barcelona is the best. Even though I have no other city in Spain to compare to yet, I have to agree that Barcelona is pretty great.
Things to do in Barcelona
What isn’t there to see. The city is beautiful and clean, with historical architecture, and art galore. We got a city sightseeing pass, which we found to be the cheapest option for us to see everything that we wanted to see. However, you can do this individually as well.
Our pass included a hop on hop off tour bus and access to Montserrat (see below). I also highly recommend a stroll through the Las Ramblas district so you can see the vibrant local life, street performers, and local culture. Of course, being Europe, there are tons of options for museums and visiting historic sites; however, our trip was more centered on the party culture aspect. These suggestions stem from that specific experience.
Montserrat is the name of a mountain about 30 miles outside of Barcelona. Montserrat translates to “serrated edge” and you can see how the name came about when you approach the mountain.
A bus ride will take you to a Benedictine monastery in the mountain. This monastery gained fame due to the fact that it houses the patron saint of Catalonia, La Moreneta (Black Madonna). You not only see an amazing structure, but get fantastic views as well.
Did I mention that you can do a liquor tasting while you’re there?
La Sagrada Familia
This structure began to be built over 100 years ago, and its STILL not done. This cathedral is an amazing architectural feat. All the carvings, all the statues, all the architectural design(both inside and outside) can be found here. I recommend you purchase a ticket to skip the line, because otherwise you’ll be stuck outside waiting to come in –and its always crowded.
The artist Antonio Gaudi is famous for his specific mosaic designs. Park Guell is an entire park made with this technique. It’s full of color! Check it out.
What to eat
Given that the city is a harbor and situated right on the water, you will get amazing seafood in Barcelona. That being said, I don’t think I have a complaint about any of our food.
A Tapas tour is a must; hello, you’re in tapas country. Book a tour, namely one with a Flamenco show attached at the end (like this one here). The start of ours included a wine tasting as well 😀
Our group on our tapas tour…the outfit coordination was not planned. Seriously.
What to drink
Wine. All the wine. Monvinic’s wine list is so long its been uploaded to an iPad.
And of course, don’t forget the sangria.
Where to party
In any great European city, clubbing is a staple of city night life. Barcelona is no exception. We went to Bling Bling; got there at 1 am and the dance floor was empty. It didn’t get crowded until 2am and when we left at 430am (jet lag kicked in like whoa), the party was still going strong.
Note: if you’re going to go clubbing, make sure you have nothing planned for the next morning or even afternoon. Give yourself the time to sleep in. I speak from experience 🙂
Another great spot: the rooftop of the W Barcelona hotel
A short flight to the south across the Mediterranean Sea, is the island of Ibiza. You can also get there by the Barcelona Ibiza ferry. Ibiza ferry tickets are not overly expensive, however it is a long ride. So if you’re trying to save time, it may not be a great option for you. We chose to fly; you can easily find cheap flights for a round trip , and it’s super quick (if I remember correctly it took us less than 2 hours). If you’re unsure about your travel date and time available, then these tickets can be bought last minute once you’re in Europe. You may not get the best price, but there are multiple trips each day going back and forth.
I highly recommend an Ibiza visit if you have the time. Ibiza is known for its celebrities, parties, and nightlife but the island is also a really pretty beach getaway with an amazing coastline. You can book activities like snorkeling and scuba diving, rent boats, or just hang out at the beach.
Options for partying on Ibiza are many. Some of what we did included:
Make sure you eat breakfast! The boat leaves dock around noon, free flowing alcohol is provided on the boat (part of the cost of your ticket), music plays and the party commences! For five straight hours you’ll be dancing, drinking, and meeting strangers visiting from all over the globe. Quite an experience (please remember to stay hydrated)
I recommend pre-gaming before you go to this. The bar was crazy crowded, and the drinks were really watered down. We gave up after one round. You can purchase paint to spray each other, or just position yourself close to the stage. They have these cannon ball things they use to spray the whole audience at regular intervals.
I’m not sure about the actual paint part of the experience, but the music was amazing at the party we attended. We danced for hours.
We saw/heard David Guetta. Tickets for these performances can be bought ahead of time, so you can figure out who’d you like to hear and when they’re performing. I’d book this first so that you’ll get to see who you want; then plan the rest around it.
We stayed at a hotel that was not on the beach in an effort to save some money, and also because hanging out at the beach was not why we were going to Ibiza. However, the island is full of tourists-from Europe, US, South America, Australia – you name it we met people from all over the world. Make some friends with people who are staying at a beach side hotel, and see if you can get invited to hang out at a pool party with them! (That’s how we did it :-D)
Needless to say, after any “ultimate party trip” you need time to recover. I basically came home and crashed. My body hated me for a while. I’ve heard of some people say that Ibiza is the Vegas of Europe in regards to partying. I actually think Ibiza is another level. So if you’re looking to go, just keep in mind that it’s basically a life experience. And for anyone not wanting to party as much, you will find things to do; there’s something for everyone.