When you’re on vacation you might find it especially difficult to keep the amount of waste that you are producing to a minimum. With air travel you have little control over the trash that is produced in flight, but you can take steps to reduce your own footprint. Then you get to your destination, a new place your not accustomed to and the battle continues.
Many of your might be traveling to my beautiful city of Barcelona for your summer holidays, so I wanted to make it easier for you by creating this guide. You’ll be excited to hear just how easy it is going to be to keep your visit low waste. Here’s my quick guide for your travels to Barcelona from a long time resident.
Where to buy groceries
If you haven’t yet booked where you will be staying, I highly recommend looking in the Gracia, Poblenou or Sant Antoni neighborhoods where you will have easy access to bulk shops or shopping a granel, as it is called in Spanish.
Gra de Gracia
For my weekly shopping Gra de Gracia is an absolute staple. It’s where I get my cereal, cookies, crackers, peanut butter, pasta, spices, dried fruits and nuts. You can bring your own jars to the counter and they will weigh them before you pick out your purchases or you have the option to use the paper or compostable bags provided in the shop.
There are many locations throughout Gracia, so check the website or google maps for your closest location.
My other favorite bulk shop has to be Biopassio, located in Plaza Vila de Gracia. It’s a much smaller shop, but has a different selection of products. This is where I go for honey, olive oil, chocolates, different flour varieties, fried fruits, loose leaf teas, vegetable chips, corn kernels, and some nuts as well.
When looking for household products and some veggies I often stop at Molsa, a ecological cooperative supermarket. Because Molsa is not packaging free I don’t do a big shopping there, but I often pick up some fruits & veggies, nuts, dates, and yogurts there. It’s also where I get my bar soap and bamboo toothbrushes, tissues packets, in case you forgot something for your trip. (In Spain supermarkets always have better prices than pharmacies when it comes to personal care products.)
The most commercial store on my list would have to be Veritas. It’s a bio supermarket, though, like Molsa, not free of packaging. I usually pick up my toilet paper, vegetable sponges, compostable garbage bags, toothpaste, coconut milk, gazpatcho, and tomato sauce here. There are also many other products in glass that you can invest in here. As it is an expensive shop I don’t usually over-invest at Veritas.
The next chain that I could include on the list in Casa Ametlle. It is a fruit and vegetables shop with high quality organic products. You can find everything you need in the way of fruits and veggies, but also cheeses and cured meats here. They have many many things in plastic, but you can easily avoid those.
When it comes to dairy products Granja Armengol is my asbolute favorite spot! They have delicious yogurt and kefir in glass jars. As well as chocolate mousse and flan. I often pick up my eggs, sausage, and cheese here as well as many are plastic free. Just remember to ask the check-out girl to not put them into a plastic bag for transport.
This Galicia specialty shop makes it to my list because of the amazing chorizos and cheese that they have for sale. It’s not a zero waste shop per say, but you can get these things without plastic. Again, ask the clerk to not put them into plastic bags for you. They can use paper, or you can come prepared with your own bags.
There are tons of fruits & veggie stands, butchers, bakeries, and markets all throughout Barcelona, no matter where you are staying. So don’t be afraid to get out there with your tupperware and bags to get everything else that you need. We go to the market for chicken, meat, salad fixings, stockpiles of fruits, and eggs.
Pro tip: Skip the touristic markets like La Boqueria and Mercado de Sant Antoni where you are likely to find an overflow of plastic and go to more local markets. Every neighborhood has a few.
Where to buy cleaning supplies
This small quaint shop in Gracia is your perfect stop for soap and cleaning products a granel, and they even have household items, too. I purchase my hand soap, bath soap, and powdered laundry detergent here in my own jars and bottles.
The small chain Goccia Verde is another nice option for bulk products. They can also be found in Gracia, but have other locations in Clot and Sant Cugat.
Where to shop for clothing
When it comes to sustainable clothing options Gracia is still the best place to visit in Barcelona. The area is flooded with options for “slow fashion” that you’ll love to have in your closet for years to come. I did a simple google search for moda sostenible and found all of these great options.
One of my favorites has to be Green Lifestyle. They always have beautiful dresses in the window to lure you in. You can also get sustainable jewelry and undergarments here. I love their ambiance and selection of simple, yet elegant goods.
Amapola Vegan Shop
Looking for animal free products? Amapola Vegan Shop needs to be on your list. They have a great collection of bags, shoes, and jewelry that you are sure to love. And as the name suggests, everything is free of animal products.
If your style is more laid back and hippie, Sunsais is a beautiful shop that you need to visit. Right next door to a vegan beauty shop, they have a wide variety of clothing, accessories, and even household items. I even bought an amazing cactus there! It’s great for gifts, or a little something for yourself and clothes.
Where to stay
Grab an airbnb or homeaway apartment in the Gracia, Sant Antoni or Poblenou districts to get the closest access to zero waste options. Most of my recommendations are focused on the Gracia neighborhood where I live, but that also has the largest concentration of sustainable and bio stores.
Where to eat
Because it’s often difficult to find recommendations for vegan and vegetarian options I wanted to focus on some excellent options that you might not find when making your travel plans.
A really nice casual vegan option that is off the beaten track. Try the burgers and waffles. You won’t be disappointed. The space is small and confined so it’s not great for group, but for a quick meal with a friend it’s perfect.
You absolutely must go to Vegetalia for the brunch. It is an amazing full plate of goodies, pastries, humus, a fajita, eggs, etc. And super reasonably priced at under 12€ (drinks included). I’m salivating just thinking about it. Might have to make a visit this weekend!
Flax and Kale
This restaurant does what they call “flexitarian”, giving you four different ways to enjoy their meals. Everything is healthy and gluten free, and not to mention delicious! They also have their own cold pressed juices that you can take home bottles at the front entrance. Ask to be seated upstairs on the terrace. You might not even notice it is there!
Sister restaurant of Flax and Kale, Teresa Carles is a vegetarians dream. The menu is jam packed with delicious options. They been in business for over 35 years and counting. The top spot for vegetarians in Barcelona.
Messie Sin Gluten
One of my favorite pizza shops recently opened their Gluten free branch. It is always jam packed with people and for good reason. The pizza is amazing. But if they are too full you can always good full gluten around the corner at the original shop.
This vegetarian restaurant off of Rambla Poblenou is one the best I have been to in Barcelona. The meals are divine and international. I love the Brazilian feijoada and the Lasagna Verde. Also try any of the cheese they have on offer. Yumm! They also have an excellent selection of artisanal beers.
Getting around Barcelona
Barcelona is one of the easiest cities I know in terms of transportation. The metro and bus systems are both amazing and never overly crowded except for during strikes. Buy a 10 pass for a little over 10€ and save loads on each individual trip.
It is also an easily bikeable city. There are bike paths throughout and a public bike system called Bicing. If you have a friend in town as them to borrow their card, or simply rent a bike for a few hours.
I hope this post gave you some good insights into how to can travel to Barcelona with low waste. If you have any more questions when planning your trip, leave them for me in the comments and I’m happy to help you in your planning! Enjoy Barcelona!
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