During Primavera Sound, I slept in a variety of locations in Barcelona in order to better report on travel advice for my fellow festies and most definitely not because of a terrible lack of planning.
Travel Tip #1: Plan a few weeks ahead
Lodging in Barcelona is plentiful but you’ll want to book something in advance in case there’s a massive music festival, an AC/DC concert, and an unexpected futbol championship game all being held on the same weekend.
Selected solely on its proximity to the Sala Apolo — a huge club next door that featured Primavera acts — the Hostal Apolo played host to my jetlagged body for three days. The website engendered almost zero trust so I was pleasantly surprised that for $30 per night I had a very clean and simple room with a sink and balcony. The street outside gets pretty loud so bring earplugs. I’m pretty sure a cat got murdered my second night there and I’m pretty sure that the early morning construction crew narrowly missed being murdered by me.
Starting to realize that I might be sleeping on a park bench, I managed to get one of the last rooms in this hostel across the street. Big lobby with a chill zone on the second floor and small outdoor area, I spent almost no time here but it seemed like a solid hostel although clearly they have issues with guests shitting outside of the toilet. At only $14 per night, the dorm was fine — then it jumped to $160 a night for the weekend so I split.
With zero options in Barcelona, I jumped on a train north to Camping Masnou to throw myself on the mercy of the travel gods. They smiled upon me as Camping Masnou doesn’t accept reservations — first come, first serve. Amazing little campground complete with a cafe, working Wi-Fi, a stellar pool, and a short walk to uncrowded beaches. Highly recommended.
One issue if you stay there for Primavera is that there isn’t much in the way of night transportation back to the campground. You can make it, but you might get attacked by a trio of geese on a darkened path (let’s just say I won the encounter and leave it at that). Alternatively, there’s a wonderful bike path the runs the length of the beach and would not be a bad ride to and from the festival.
Travel Tip #2: You don’t need a tent to camp
If you still want to camp, but don’t want to lug around the gear, campgrounds in Europe may have tents available for you to use. Call ahead to check.
Sant Jordi Mambo Tango Hostel
Back in Barcelona, I again tracked down a place close to Sala Apolo to catch the Thee Oh Sees and Fucked Up. Mambo Tango lives up to its high HostelWorld rating with a super friendly staff and a cozy basement lounge that feels like you’re hanging out at a friend’s house.