This post is a part of our Spain for Everyone series. The information below was curated by our expert guides across the country. They love solo travel too, and this is their bucket list for you!
You don’t need a travel companion to make the most of visiting a new place!
Solo travel may seem intimidating at first, but many who have put themselves out there to try it agree that it can be incredibly rewarding. You have the responsibility of figuring things out for yourself, but you also have more opportunities to meet new people and step out of your comfort zone. This guide to solo travel in Spain will show you some of our favorite activities for independent travelers, no matter where in the country you find yourself!
READ MORE: Solo Travel in Madrid
1. People-watch in Barcelona’s Parc de la Ciutadella
Barcelona’s many beautiful parks make for a great place to take a stroll and relax. On Sundays, we especially love hanging out in Parc de la Ciutadella. This vast and expansive green space is where locals and visitors alike congregate to spend a sunny afternoon. As a result, it’s particularly great for people-watching! Just find a grassy spot in the shade to hang out and observe the rhythms of local life. You’ll see talented musicians, groups coming together to do yoga, little kids blowing bubbles and so much more! This one park contains so many facets of local life in Barcelona that it’s a must-visit spot for solo travel in Spain.
Address: Passeig de Picasso, 21
2. Blend in with the crowd at a local event or market
It seems like there’s always something going on in Spain! That makes it easy for solo travelers to join the crowd and make new friends. Plus, there’s something that will suit just about everyone’s tastes and interests!
If you’re in Seville, head to the huge art market that takes place every Sunday in Plaza del Museo. Take some time to simply wander around and look at the beautiful artwork. Strike up a conversation with a fellow art lover, or even with one of the vendors themselves if they’re not busy. You may even walk away with a new friend and a gorgeous piece of art for your home!
In Madrid and Barcelona, locals are particularly passionate about soccer. The two top teams in the country call those cities home! Head to Bernabéu Stadium or Camp Nou respectively to experience the passionate thrill of tens of thousands of fans cheering on their team.
For foodies, Valencia is a must when it comes to solo travel in Spain! The city is home to the mammoth Mercado Central (Plaça de la Ciutat de Bruges, s/n), the largest fresh food market in Europe. You could easily spend all day here wandering through the stalls and tasting fresh, local products.
3. Sign up for a class and learn something new
While embarking on solo travel in Spain, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to broaden your horizons. Each major city and even many of the small towns offer plenty of classes (oftentimes in English) where you’ll be able to pick up a new skill and discover a talent you never knew you had!
In Madrid, join instructor Nicole for a relaxing yoga session in English (classes take place outside in spring and summer). Outdoor lovers who are visiting Granada should head to the sparkling Costa Tropical just 40 minutes outside of the city to try a scuba diving class! Up north, catch some waves at San Sebastian’s iconic Zurriola Beach by signing up for a local surfing class. And if you really want to step out of your comfort zone, you can’t miss the opportunity to take a flamenco class in Seville!
4. Take in a spectacular show
If solo travel in Spain still seems intimidating, a great way to ease yourself into it is by going to a show. Everyone is sitting quietly in the dark, so you won’t need to worry about starting up a conversation with anyone! An obvious choice for this would be a flamenco performance, which are best seen in Seville or Madrid. Movie buffs should also include Malaga’s Cines Albéniz (Calle Alcazabilla, 4) on their itinerary. This fabulous theater shows all films in VOSE (meaning audio will be in the original language with Spanish subtitles), so there’s always something in English for visitors to watch.
5. Get pampered at the spa
Treat yourself! Solo travel in Spain can be exhilarating, but it can also wear you out. No matter where you find yourself, seek out a spa at some point in your trip to treat yourself to a well-deserved pampering session.
As a tribute to Spain’s Moorish heritage, you’ll find Arabic baths in many major cities, including Madrid (Calle de Atocha, 14), Seville (Calle Aire, 15) and Malaga (Plaza de los Mártires Ciriaco y Paula, 5). Here, ancient relaxation rituals come alive in a magical setting that will transport you to Spain’s iconic Moorish period. If you’re up north, you can’t miss indulging in a spa day at La Perla in San Sebastian (Paseo de La Concha, s/n). As one of the most luxurious spas in the country, this state-of-the-art facility prides itself on offering only the best of the best spa treatments.
6. Escape to a hidden beach in Barcelona
Most visitors to the Catalan capital will stick with La Barceloneta. This popular beach is a lot of fun, but can get quite crowded and touristy. Instead, we recommend getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city and taking the train to a lesser-known beach! These beaches are also a great option for solo travelers because it’s safer to leave your things unattended while you swim. Here are a few that are easily accessible from Barcelona.
- Ocata in the town of El Masnou features a long, wide beach and plenty of bars. Commuter trains can get you there from the city in less than 40 minutes.
- Castelldefels has gained popularity in recent years, making it a great place to meet new people. However, it retains an authentic feel and is still a far cry from the touristy beaches of Barcelona. Plus, it’s less than an hour away from the city!
- Bogatell Beach was created for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. It’s still within Barcelona city limits, but much quieter and laid back than Barceloneta.
7. Try a social eating experience
One of the most intimidating parts of solo travel in Spain comes when it’s time to eat. Many first-time solo travelers are taken aback by the thought of sitting in a bar or restaurant by themselves. Luckily, social eating platforms such as Eatwith exist specifically for travelers who find themselves in these situations! From cooking classes to rooftop dinner parties and so much more, you’ll be able to experience a meal with a local and maybe even end the day with a new friend. Another great option is to join a food tour and step inside the bars and restaurants locals have loved for generations. Again, you’ll meet great new people and eat the most authentic food at the places locals know best!
8. Meet new friends who share the same interests
These days, it’s easier than ever for solo travelers to find locals and fellow tourists alike who have things in common with them. Platforms such as Meetup were created to bring together those who share common interests and provide fun activities. These events tend to attract both locals and expats in an international community, so you have the potential to meet friends from all over the world! If you’re staying at a hostel, ask at the reception about any events they may organize as well and take advantage of the unique setting to meet new people.
9. Start a travel journal (and stick to it!)
Solo travel in Spain can be an incredibly personal experience. Keep track of your journey and reflect on your travels by starting a journal. Find a peaceful park, like Retiro in Madrid, or a buzzing cafe where you can sit and write. Note observations that have surprised you, memorable events or sights you’ve seen, and just how you’re feeling in general about the whole experience. You may be surprised what you can learn about yourself simply by putting pen to paper.
10. Get lost in a good book
After all, reading can be considered a journey as well! Whether you want to read about Spain itself or get lost in a completely different world, sometimes solo travel calls for kicking back and relaxing with a good book. Most major cities will have bookstores that offer reading material in English. A few of our favorites are Desperate Literature in Madrid (Calle de Campomanes, 13) and Hibernian Books in Barcelona (Carrer del Montseny, 17).
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Life is too short to speak one language and stay in one place. In 2015, this philosophy took her from familiar Ohio to sunny southern Spain. Usually drinking tinto de verano, reading Lorca, or attempting to dance flamenco (not all at once). Follow her blog, Viatic Couture, for more.