Flying over Barcelona gave way to a hive of activity below, the city looked alive beneath us. A vibrant bustling city along with great sunshine – what more do you really want? Built like a grid you can see the streets go on forever and it certainly feels that way when you are walking around exploring. I love Barcelona, and two to three days in the city is the perfect amount of time to see the famous sights and acclimatize to the lush Catalan climate.
Transport was probably the easiest part of our trip to Barcelona, it’s extremely well linked by buses, the metro and great cycle paths. Right from when we stepped off the plane we instantly found the AeroBus that is a direct trip into the city stopping at various locations. For a central stop I would recommend the Placa De Catalunya, at 4 Euros 90 its a very reasonable price and a quick way to get into the city. On the metro you just pay a single fare for one trip no matter how many stops, you can however buy a day ticket or even a seven day ticket depending on your planned usage. We also took a trip on the Eco boat, and from the harbour its a great little circle trip that gives you some coastal views of Barcelona and a great photo shot of the well known ‘W’ Hotel!
Parc Güell was built in the early 1900’s and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its a great place to enjoy a leisurely stroll one afternoon with an incredible view over most of Barcelona. Just be aware of the crowds! It gets seriously busy most days but you should always avoid holiday times, otherwise you’ll really struggle to get any decent photo opportunities.
Everyone must go and see Casa Batllo, its so easy to find and costs nothing to just take a few photos of it. There really is no excuse, and they are almost like something out of a Disney movie. There is something magical about them. Actually a conventional house originally, Gaudi restored it in 1904 and as usual put his amazing, wacky design all throughout.
The beach takes up a vast amount of the cities coastline and be aware that it will be crowded on those hot summer days. However the boardwalk along the beach offers a lovely scenic stroll with fun street vendors and restaurants to choose from.
WE Barcelona is the company to go with when you want an authentic tour of the capital without feeling to much like you are a tourist following the crowd. We had a great tour with them on electric bikes where around ten of us cycled around most of the city, covering a huge distant and seeing so much in the limited time that we had. Oscar our guide was a total gem and a credit to ‘WE Barcelona’, his knowledge was never-ending and he captured us all with his sense of humour and charm. If you have a tour with him it’s guaranteed to be great!
The Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic) was a place that I hadn’t had a chance to visit before and I quickly realised that it was one of my favourite places in the whole city! The below picture resembles one entrance to the Gothic Quarter, spanning from La Rambla to Via Laietana, typically it’s Barcelona’s ‘Old Town’ with endless streets and alleyways – the perfect place to completely lose yourself for a day! It’s not just a place for a daytime stroll but also boasts some of the best nightlife and food.
My hardest challenge in Barcelona was by far finding good food. It sounds mad, how can anyone struggle to find good food in the capital of Spain? I am great at eating it, believe me. However trying to find good food in a big city anywhere isn’t that easy unless you have insider help. A big city is naturally a restaurants perfect opportunity to bring in the tourists so unless you know where to go, maybe through someone local, you are a prime target to fall into the trap of some dodgy restaurant serving below par tapas near a big attraction! The following blog was great for finding some authentic eateries in Barcelona – Driftwood Journals. If you have any good food experiences in the city then please comment below with the place that you have been!
The Moritz Beer Factory was a really good place to stop for refreshments and history. Built over 150 years ago the building is now a history lesson in itself and after having the tour around you’ll see why. Huge basements that are used now for brewing and also as event space, old brick throughout giving away it’s age and then a modern restaurant and bar with the option to buy souvenirs. We were able to taste some amazing tapas awashed down with their very own beer. It’s a great afternoon visit for all!
For accommodation check out my recent hotel stays at the The Mirror Hotel and The Praktik Garden Hotel. Both hotels offer comfort and style in their own completely different way, one a stylish luxurious experience with rooftop pool, and the other a retro design with lots of charm and a gorgeous balcony for the perfect suntrap.
* A little tip for those that like to shop, visit La Roca Village for a real luxury retail experience. You can easily spend a full day or afternoon wandering around this luxury complex and seeking out some great discounts.
I think Barcelona is a great place to spend a few days or a long weekend, but be prepared to venture out a little if you are there for much longer. There is so much within reach of the city it’s hard not to want to try and see more, but make sure that you don’t try and do too much – just enjoy yourself! Girona is only 30 minutes away on the train (check out my blog here) and the Costa Brava beckons on a lush sunny day. I look forward to hearing all of your Barcelona adventures!
*For another great blog for visiting Barcelona visit www.intrepidescape.com for Barcelona Weekender!