WOW! I get to say I have been to Madrid and Barcelona! To think that I come from a low-income family, and I have been able to travel as much as I have is a dream come true. So, with that out of the way, today we will debate which is better: Madrid or Barcelona. I got to visit Barcelona in a rainy, cool March week in 2013, while I got to visit Madrid twice in May 2017 to do research for my Master’s dissertation. Madrid vs. Barcelona, here we go:
While Madrid has the amazing architecture in La Gran Via, the main shopping avenue, Barcelona has many places known for their architecture such as La Sagrada Familia and Park Guelle as some of the main architectural attractions of the city. Therefore, Barcelona wins with architecture.
If you want to find the biggest commemoration to the Spanish Civil War, you have to go to Madrid, where just 1 hour away from the city you can find El Valle de los Caidos or the Valley of the Fallen. As some one who studies Spanish history for a living, you know that the the Valley of the Fallen is one of the most controversial and grand places of Spanish Civil War commemoration. So, Madrid has to win on this one.
You will find that Barcelona is more targeted towards tourist, while Madrid is less crowded with tourist. This is visible in the gastronomy of these two places. Madrid is just less expensive and has more variety than Barcelona has. I have to give it to Madrid because of pricing and variety.
This one was easy to figure out. Madrid wins due to them speaking Castilian Spanish (regular Spanish), while Barcelona speaks Catalan (a mix of french and Spanish that even a native Spanish speaker with some french training could not decipher.
Local in Madrid were way friendlier than those in Barcelona. While in Barcelona, locals did not dare to speak to me in Spanish, even though I was speaking Spanish to them. Maybe I just got the wrong kind of locals, but if its up to my experience, Madrid wins due to familiarity of the language and the nice manners they portrayed to me.
Public Transportation: Madrid
To say that I loved Madrid’s public transportation is not enough. I live in Orlando currently, and we have to worst public transportation system ever. So, when I was in Madrid for 1 week staying the the banking area and researching in the tourist area, I realized Madrid’s transportation system is amazing for tourist! Meanwhile, I didn’t take public transportation besides to get from the outskirts of Barcelona into the city twice. Therefore, Madrid wins!
PS: ORLANDO, FLORIDA, GET BETTER PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, PLEASE!
I fell in love with the Gran Via the moment step foot in my hotel that was right on the Gran Via. The Gran Via is a long street full of the main European shops such as Primark, H&M, adidas, the real madrid store, and many others. While Barcelona has Las Ramblas and Passeig de Gracia, Madrid wins this round with its 9 floors El Corte Ingles with the best view of Madrid, and la Gran Via.
Tourist Traps/Attractions: Barcelona
In terms of tourism, Barcelona takes the prize. With millions of visitors a year, Barcelona is known for its museums, cathedrals and parks. I mean, like, Sagrada Familia is in Barcelona, and who has not heard of it. Meanwhile, Madrid is more know for its Futbol (soccer) team Real Madrid. So is Barcelona, therefore wins this round on terms of famous places and sports.
So, after going through all of these categories, we will find that in the debate of Madrid vs. Barcelona,
Madrid wins because of its overall less touristy, artistic feel, yet magnificent city and budget friendliness. That is not to say Barcelona is not great…It is great! But Madrid is better, so sorry! If you want to tourist trip, go to Barcelona. If you want the local experience, go to Madrid. If you want to travel around Spain go to Madrid, if you want the beach go to Barcelona. That is the end of it (at least to me). So, what do you think. Let me know in the comments!
All the Love!