Ah Barcelona! The city that stole my heart and all of my savings! 😉 As I mentioned here before, we decided to visit Barcelona based on my mom’s advice- she told me that it’s the most magnificent European city that she’s ever visited and because I trust her opinion, we booked our tickets. I took so many beautiful photos and I just have to share them with you! As always I’ve compiled a list of some travel tips if you do plan on visiting Barcelona and things to do as well as where to stay and what to eat.
Things to do
Visit the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic)
This was probably the number 1 thing to see on my list because I am just fascinated with old parts of modern cities. The Barri Gothic retains a labyrinthine street plan, with many small streets opening out into squares. Most of the quarter is closed to regular traffic although open to service vehicles and taxis. We explored it on our first day as we stayed very close to Las Ramblas which leads into Barri Gotic.
You can walk the quarter through in a couple of hours and it’s like a bit of a maze- every new corner opens a whole new view. Some of the highlights in Barri Gotic include this beautiful bride also known as Carrer del Bisbe (The Bridge of Sighs).
Go Gaudi Mad
Seven properties built by the architect Antoni Gaudí in or near Barcelona are UNESCO World Heritage Centres. These monuments represent an eclectic, as well as a very personal, style which was given free rein in the design of gardens, sculpture and all decorative arts, as well as architecture. The seven buildings are: Parque Güell; Palacio Güell; Casa Mila; Casa Vicens; Gaudi’s work on the Nativity façade and Crypt of La Sagrada Familia; Casa Batlló; Crypt in Colonia Güell.
Out of the 7 we managed to see 4 of them! The first one was of course the amazing La Sagrada Familia.
It’s not possible to describe how amazing this piece of architecture is and how it comes alive right before your eyes- it’s something that you have to see in person.
Its grand, its fabulous, is breath-taking.
This was the highlight of our trip for me, and I definitely say that La Sagrada is something that you have to see at least once in your lifetime.
We also briefly saw Casa Batllo and Casa Mila– both gorgeous pieces of architecture.
The one that my friend Alessia really wanted to see was Parque Güell so we took the Red Bus Tour as it was one of the stops on it.
Because we didn’t know what time we would get there as we were on the bus, we couldn’t pre-book tickets. Parque Güell only allows a certain number of people in per time period, and that’s something you should really note. So after you take the Parque Güell stop, it’s still quite a walk all the way uphill in the blazing Barcelona heat(it was close to 40 degrees on the day). I was super unimpressed that when we eventually got to the entrance, we couldn’t get any tickets.
They reached their quota for the time, and the next session you could buy tickets for was only 18:30(and we got there around 3). I was super unhappy about that fact, but you can actually still go into the park for free- you just can’t go into certain sections.
Make sure to factor time into account if your really want to visit Parque Güell, but was me it wasn’t a highlight.
Shop, shop, shop
Barcelona is filled with amazing shops, so we went right to the Placa Catalunya stop on the bus, and got off there to get our shopping fix. Any brand or shop you think of- its there. Get your Sephora wishes and dreams fulfilled, shop at the home of Zara and Mango and make sure to look through the local markets.
Las Ramblas is not to be missed and we spend hours just walking up and down it. We stopped at the amazing food market, where we got some Spanish chorizo and marvelled at all of the yummy food.
The streets are buzzing with life into all hours of the morning and the vibe is contagious.
Go to the beach
The Mediterranean Sea is quite lovely and one day we went to the Barceloneta beach and relaxed. However because it is so full of tourists it’s also full of opportunists, so watch your staff! We got hounded there by people selling everything from Mojitos to blankets to body massages (yes on the beach).
Experience the nightlife
On one of the nights we walked on the promenade all the way up to the W hotel which is located right at the end of the beach. The most popular nightclubs such as Opium and Carpe Diem are also there, but do know that the nightlife doesn’t start going in Barcelona until past 12 am. We decided to go an Ice Bar- what an experience!
The entire club is made out of ice, including the drinks, and its -8 to -1o in there. They do give you a warm jacket to wear but since we were in sandals we didn’t manage to stay in for longer than 30 minutes at a time. It’s a pretty cool and different experience that I would recommend to everyone (entrance is 16 euros and drinks start at 10 euros each)
What to eat
Paella and tapas all the way! There were so many cute little shops that we would stumble upon and then eat there. Our favourite one was just off Las Ramlas where we had the Pica Pica (a selection of tapas) and the most amazing sangria of our life- by the time we finished it we were so wasted and spilled the remains all over the tablecloth 😉
Smoking hot paella is also easy to find, and of course for breakfast have the churros!Prices range from 5-25 euros for dinner or lunch, depending on location and vibe of the place.
Where to stay
When it comes to Barcelona focus on 1 thing- location, location, location! You won’t be spending much of your time in the hotel anyway, so all you need is a bed and a bathroom. On our first night we stayed at Roma Reial, which was right off Las Ramblas, and the location was amazing while the actual hotel was alright(it was 120 euros a night for 3 people). We didn’t care because we were so close to everything we wanted to see. After Madrid we stayed at Catalonia Atenas– nice place but it was a little far from the city centre(It was a little bit pricier, close to 200 euros per night). Each cab ride into city centre cost us 10-15 euros which starts to become a cost. So I would rather recommend staying at a less fancier hotel but with an amazing location.
I hope you found this post helpful! Have you been to Barcelona?