“Barcelona – It was the first time that we met
Barcelona – How can I forget
the moment that you stepped into the room you took my breath away
And if God willing we will meet again, someday”
Barcelona is a dream. One of the major cities in Spain, capital of Catalonia, situation in the Northwestern side of the Mediterranean Sea. This was definitely our favourite city in Europe thus far. Unfortunately, we only stopped over for about 4 days before heading to Italy. Barcelona is incredibly tourist friendly and is fairly affordable in comparison to top-tiered European cities. Due to our short time in this city, our tips and recommendation are confined to whatever we had time to see!
Where to Stay
It is definitely recommended to stay closer to where the action is in Barcelona, in our case, it was the Gothic Quarter. We loved our stay here as it was very close to La Ramblas and the neighbourhood had some charming back lanes.
Getting Around Barcelona
Barcelona is very well-connected by the metro line and buses. If you stay somewhere near the city centre, then you find that most attractions are close-by and walkable. Only a few, like the Sagrada, Parc Guell and Camp Neu are a little further.
From the airport, you can catch the Aerobus to the city centre which would cost about €5. This would a cheaper option in comparison to the train or a taxi.
The city has a Barcelona Pass tailored for tourist (access to 15 attractions, ride on Hop On and Hop Off and unlimited use of the public transportation. We did not opt for this pass as we were not interested in seeing that many monuments. Instead, we bought T10 (10 single journey tickets) at a slightly lower price. There are also other options as listed here.
Mercat de La Boqueria
Once we reached Barcelona after a layover at Orly Airport, Paris, we were exhausted and slept the day away. So, we woke up the next day FAMISHED!
The market was less than half a km from our AirBnb home. We walked into this beautiful market and were met with the bustling of morning crowd buying fresh produce, the smell of food and arrays of freshest ingredients! It really is a paradise for foodies and cooks.
We highly recommend El Quim for their tapas are incredible. So fresh and flavours that makes you go ooohhh and ahhhh. For dinner, we really liked Bar Central (friendly waiters and amazing food!). Ask the waiters for their specialty.
Make sure to walk around and enjoy the fresh juices. We recommend the ones with the coconut blend, so so delicious (only €1 each cup), get those arrays of home made chocolates, varieties of nuts and eat away. Try out whatever that looks good. Forget the calories because the food here is worth every bit!
La Sagrada Familia
When you roam the city of Barcelona, you would see very unique looking buildings. These are the remnants of the famed architect, Antoni Gaudi. The crowning glory of Gaudi’s work has to be La Sagrada Familia which is still under construction since 1882.
The first sight of this architectural wonder would leave you awe-struck. It is simply stunning and looks like something out of a fairy tale. Outside, the gothic inspiration is evident with the carvings, huge doors and statues. Inside, the stained glasses alone would hold your attention for some time. The intricacies is truly mind blowing. This church is built entirely out of donations, so it is really a nice way to be a part of this monument.
We highly recommend reading up before visiting in order to fully appreciate Gaudi’s inspiration in designing this masterpiece. The link above is extremely comprehensive and also has a virtual tour of the Sagrada. We also suggest buying your tickets beforehand before to avoid the crowd, the wait can sometime be up to 3 hours. You can get the ticket from the official website. Unless you want to be part of a tour, we think it is perfectly fine to get the ticket and explore the Sagrada with an audio guide.
Be mindful that there are various types of tickets (the basic one gives you access to only the Basilica). If you want to explore the towers, then you need to pay extra. There is an elevator that takes you up, but you need to come down hundred overs steps using a tight and narrow staircase!
This is a public park that houses Gaudi’s house museum and two houses that looked like it was out of Hansel & Gretel. The access to the park is free, but you need the ticket to see the structures designed by Gaudi. If you want to see the house museum, you can buy the combined ticket with La Sagrada. The paid section cost about €6. You can get the ticket here. Walking around the park, you will be able to see how he has drawn inspiration from nature. The architecture is very organic to compliment the landscape surrounding it. If you are into photography, you will definitely love this place. Pack your flowy summer dresses!
It should be noted that this place is situated on top of a hill, so the climb is steep. The nearest metro station is 20 minutes away. So, the best option would be to take a bus from downtown which drops you right at the entrance. You would also get a nice view of Barcelona from here.
This is also one of Gaudi’s masterpiece. The facade has an almost skeleton-like, visceral quality to it. Gaudi took inspiration from marine life on this piece of work. Definitely a must see for its visual delight. Get the audio guide to ensure you are able to appreciate the architecture. You can pre-book your ticket here.
This neighbourhood used to be a Roman village,so you would be able to see ancient buildings alongside the newer ones. This is nice area to take a stroll with its narrow and winding streets. It almost is like a labyrinth, so get lost. You will find countless spots for photo opportunities. We did not do much shopping in Barcelona, but this definitely looked like a shopping hub. When the night falls, this is where you want to be. There are countless bars and places to chill. Barcelona is a city that never really sleeps. This neighbourhood is the cultural hub of Barcelona and has something for any type of traveler.
Barcelona is also home to an erotic museum. It has some interesting things/articles/videos but we would not recommend it if you only have a few days there. Barcelona has better things to offer. Even the kinky souvenir at the end of the day is not worth the €11 you pay. However, if you are keen on checking this out, bring your student card (if any) to avail the discount.
Blogs We love
Apps We love
- Rick Steves Audio Guides
In conclusion, our trip to Barcelona was a super short one and we did not rush to see everything. We however loved our stay so much that we have made the rest of Spain a bucket list. So, we highly recommend you look at the blogs (links given above) for more information to plan your trip.