Barcelona. From football, to music, to architecture. There’s something for everyone. There is so much culture and places to explore it’s hard to know where to start.
We started at 5am, hitting the road at 6.20am to make the most out of our two days of freedom to Barcelona. After a quick rest stop, we arrived in the city just before 11am. My goodness what a confusion. The GPS was showing a two-story roundabout and not telling us which exit to take. Helpful. After two rounds we took an exit. Of course it wasn’t the one it wanted us to take but we had no choice but to continue. The next hurdle was parking. They were all underground and with the one way systems it was so hard to find, especially with the panic of being too high and wide. By some miracle, we were parked up and in Barcelona after 45 minutes.
Fast forward the hotel logistics to midday, when we were walking up Passeig de Gracia and back down to Plaça de Catalunya where there were freedom protests occurring. A man dressed as a clown must have guessed we were tourists as he put his arm around my neck for a selfie. Thankfully, I managed to slide out and we quickly dispersed to explore the rest of the city.
Barcelona’s most famous street. Home of many souvenir stalls, tapas restaurants and la mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria. Of course, when in Barcelona tapas is a must. It was more expensive in this area than some others but it was worth every cent!
La Merkat is a must-see too. So much food. Surprisingly it was mostly fruit and it looked too good not to try some!
El Born Barrio
Becoming a more fashionable area in Barcelona, El Born began as a settlement built on a medieval area of jousts and celebrations with a memorial to those who died defending the rights and constitutions of Catalonia in the siege of Barcelona (1713-1714).
As well as home to the Santa Maria del Mar.
Barri Gotic (Gothic quarter)
Barcelona is renowned for it’s architecture and after walking through this district, we were not disappointed. The Palau de la Música was unlike anything I’ve seen before and we were shocked at how discrete it was in the street. It was just like any other building but looked ten times more incredible.
Even the Arc del Triomf was different.
Other historic buildings in this area we saw were the Catedral Generalitat
and Santa Maria del Pi.
We spent the evening in this quarter at Harlem Jazz Club for a blues night. The band were amazing, as were the audience members they brought up to perform.
Day two, we summoned all our energy to walk to La Sagrada Familia, and it was so worth it. The architecture is so detailed on the gargoyles and it was so interesting to see the difference after the restoration.
Unknowingly, we walked through the Olympic village on our way down to the beach and took some time out to look at the views and soak in the Mediterranean sun and sea air.
Escaping the busy, tourist-full sea front, we walked through the back streets to gain a sense of what it would have been like to live here in the 18th century, when Barceloneta was an old village. The blocks of apartments were so close together you could easily have a conversation with someone on the balcony opposite you.
Overall, I would recommend Barcelona to anyone for a long weekend city break. Three days would be the perfect amount of time here as we would have liked to have seen Park Güell but it was just a bit too far to fit into our trip. The only drawback about Barcelona is safety. There are lots of men on La Rambla trying to sell you things and take you to get them, as well as pickpockets. I had two men try and take a selfie with me and another beckoning me into his van and blowing kisses. However, as long as you keep your wits about you whilst on the market stalls and ignore strangers trying to grab your attention, you will be fine. There are so many great things to see and do in Barcelona, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. A must-see for any traveler!