Our “Where’s My Bag?” series highlights Clark & Mayfield handbags in interesting locations around the world. This is a guest post by Michelle C. of IntentionalTravelers.com. Michelle and her husband are "digital nomads," running their business online as they travel. Michelle is currently traveling with the Clark & Mayfield Stafford Pro laptop handbag in deep teal.

Barcelona, Spain - The Cost of Mass Tourism

Sunny beaches, captivating history, world-class food, interesting neighborhoods - what's not to love about Barcelona? Unfortunately, the appeal of this city on Spain's Mediterranean coast has brought in so many tourists, issues affecting the residents and local government have snowballed. Streets are now exceptionally crowded, noise levels have increased, rent for apartments has gone up, and the general cost of living is becoming out of reach for locals. 

As you can see by the above picture at Barcelona's famous church designed by Gaudi, La Sagrada Familia, it's nearly impossible to get a photo without hoards of tourists - even early in the morning. 

Barcelona is still a worthy destination and definitely worth the trip. However, it's important to be cognizant of the over-tourism issue when visiting. The government has taken some steps to diminish the negative effects of mass tourism, and individual travelers can do their part as well. Read up on how to have a meaningful travel experience in over-crowded destinations. To get off the beaten tourist path while in Barcelona, try visiting some of the quieter neighborhoods and limiting your visits to main attractions during low times. 

Why We Went

My husband and I visited Barcelona for one week while attending a conference for digital nomads - people who have location-independent work online. While we spent most of the week in conference sessions, we did get to explore a bit.

We used the BItemojo app to do a food tour in two new neighborhoods. The app provides a self-directed map of sights as well as e-coupons to exchange for 6 "bites" at the featured eateries on the tour. It was perfect since we had only a few pockets of free time, so we could do different parts of the tour at different times. And it was enough food to cover a lunch and a dinner! 

Another highlight was an early morning walk up to Parc Guell, a whimsical park overlooking the city, designed by Gaudi. We had read that the gates open half an hour before the ticket booth, so early birds were free to walk in. It's definitely a must do when you're in Barcelona!

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  • Michelle Chang