13 Photos That Prove Barcelona Is the Ultimate Skater Destination
Barcelona has long been a top European destination for travelers, and it’s one of Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Cities for 2017. When California photographer Ryan Young approached T+L about doing a photo essay on Barcelona as one of the top skateboarding destinations in Europe, we wanted to hear more. The same architecture, public spaces, and mild weather that attract tourists make it ideal for skateboarders as well.
Young’s entry into both photography and travel were through skateboarding, and Barcelona was a destination he’d had his sights on for years. He grew up watching skateboarding videos shot in Barcelona, so when his tight-knit crew of amateur skaters from Vallejo, CA started planning a trip, he was in.
In total, 14 skaters made the trip from California to Spain. They shared an Airbnb, stocked up at the local market, got bicycles, and headed out into the streets.
We asked Young what he wanted to get out of the trip. “Skate hard, sleep a little, and make new friends,” he said. As you’ll see below, it was a raging success.
Bucket List Trip
“I’ve been trying to visit Barcelona for the majority of my life. It’s always been a dream of mine to skate all the perfect, unique spots I grew up watching in skate videos.”
Sun's Out, Boards Out
Why is Barcelona such a great skating destination? “An obvious reason would be the weather. It hardly ever snows, and you can pretty much skate year-round.”
“As one might imagine, skateboarding is very much about architecture. Barcelona is a dense city, full of granite, marble, beaches, embankments, plazas and open public space.”
Wheels on Wheels on Wheels
“If you’ve got a bike, your skateboard, and a metro card, you can pretty much get around the entire city without a problem.
Non-existent Car Culture
“A huge difference to our driving culture in the U.S., skateboarding is really embraced in [not only] Barcelona, but Europe in general.”
Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art
“MACBA (Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art) is what I would consider the capital of the skate scene in Barcelona. I visited six skate shops within a one-mile radius.”
“I think it’s rad that you can have a beer and skate in front of a contemporary art museum all day without getting a ticket or thrown in jail. It just seems like street art such as skating and graffiti are celebrated as opposed to shunned. The vibes are awesome out there.”
“The majority of our breakfasts would be from the food market the crew would shop at daily. Produce here was very cheap. I spent 12 Euros on eggs, sausages, bread, and avocado, and that lasted me for four mornings.”
Just for Fun
“I traveled with 13 of my best skate buds from Northern California. There were a few guys on this trip that I’ve known for over a decade. This wasn’t a sponsored trip or anything like that. Everybody who went saved up their own money and took time off of work.”
14 People, One Airbnb
“We stayed in one giant Airbnb — as you can imagine an apartment with 14 man-children started to feel a bit like MTV’s 'The Real World.'”
Landing the Landscapes
“Barcelona offers obstacles of every kind, in close proximity to one another, and in spaces built for the public to enjoy – in other words, it’s usually hassle-free.”
Taking the Good With the Bad
“I went out to Barcelona with a shoulder injury. I’ve been suffering from a dislocated shoulder for the past couple of years, so my arm pops out here or there when I fall wrong. I skated pretty well without any issues until the end of the trip. There’s a 'skater bar' called Nevermind that has its own cement ramp. That’s a real thing! Anyway, I was having a great session until I took a wrong angle and fell straight to my bad arm.”
Making New Friends
“The local skaters were super friendly. They were just as curious about skating California as I was about Barcelona. In addition to the skaters out there, I found myself meeting and hanging with all different walks of life. I’m not shy or hesitant about striking up a conversation with new people when I’m somewhere foreign. That’s my favorite aspect of traveling.”