Hola! A couple of weeks ago I went to Barcelona with my best friend Holly for a girly weekend away. Neither of us had been to the Catalonian capital before but we had both heard only good things about it. Armed with recommendations we hit the city. Here is what we did and saw (sorry there aren’t any outfit photos – it was sooo cold!).
When we went
Thanks to EasyJet we managed to bag cheap flights (£38 each return!) and so opted to go to Barcelona for a long ‘weekend’ from Sunday to Tuesday. This meant Monday was the only full day we had in the city. Unbeknownst to us, most places shut on Mondays in Barcelona! This meant that we couldn’t visit most of the bars and restaurants we had been recommended which was a real shame but meant we could explore for ourselves. We managed to get around and do/ see everything we wanted to but it all felt a little rushed in the one full day we had there so next time I would definitely make it a three night trip.
We opted to stay in the El Borne district after hearing some really good things about the area. We had originally booked to stay just off of La Ramblas, however changed it at the last minute to get away from the crowds. I would recommend anyone to stay in El Borne, not only is it close to everything, we felt incredibly safe there.
Chic & Basic Hotel
You cannot beat the location of this hotel. It is based in the centre of the charming Born neighbourhood, very close to the front of the gates to the idyllic Parc de la Ciutadella. It is within easy walking distance to the harbour/ beach, the Gothic Quarter, La Ramblas and close to a few Metro stations.
We payed £180 for 2 nights which was an absolute bargain. They even upgraded us to a bigger room where we ended up with a sweeping balcony which was absolutely perfect for sipping cava on in the sunshine before heading out for dinner!
The Harbour and Barceloneta Beach
One of the first things we did was head to the harbour followed by Barceloneta Beach. It was pretty cool to see all of the super yachts moored in the harbour and trying to guess which superstar owned them. A walk along the beach in the late afternoon sunshine was lovely. We shared a huge jug of Sangria in a bar on the beach front whilst doing some people watching and taking in our lovely surroundings.
We went to visit Park Guell early on the Monday morning. When visiting and you are travelling there via Metro then I advise you to enter from the entrance closest to Vallcarca. The walk up to Park Guell is pretty steep but there are escalators up Baixada de la Glòria to give you a helping hand. Boy, did we need them!
Unfortunately, the morning we visited it was threatening to rain and was so cold. We were also pushed for time so opted not to pay to get into the main park (something I will save for next time on hopefully a sunny clear day). You can walk through the park though which brought us lots of lovely little surprises amongst the trees. A little tip would be if you’re planning on picnic-ing in the park to take your own food and drink as there aren’t any facilities to buy any whilst you’re there.
La Sagrada Familia
These photos don’t do this amazing cathedral justice. Sagrada Familia truly has to be seen in real life to be believed. It is so intricate. Construction on this started waaay back in 1882 and according to Wikipedia isn’t due to be finished until 2026!
‘Sagrada Familia’s construction progressed slowly, as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the midpoint in 2010 with some of the project’s greatest challenges remaining. The latest anticipated completion date is 2026, the centenary of Gaudí’s death’
Tapas and Wine in Barcelona
When in Spain, it’s basically the law that you have to eat tapas. Ok, maybe not the law, but it’s definitely a must do. I lost count of how many tapas bars I passed there are so many! Also, did I mention the cakes? We sheltered from the rain in a cute little cafe called La Nena where I ordered a xocolata. What I was given can only be described as hot chocolate pudding. It was so thick and so good.
Again, you can’t go to Spain without feasting on at least one bowl of Paella. Now, being a vegetarian and someone who isn’t keen on seafood I was after a place that did a vegetarian option. We ended up in a place called 7 Portes after reading some good things on Tripadvisor. We didn’t book and for a Monday night we had to wait an hour for a table. No biggy, we just drank sangria as we waited!
We walked in to find the restaurant was a little posher than we had anticipated with a maitre’d, waiters in white suits and a pianist playing classical tunes from LaLa Land! The decor reminded me of an upmarket Cafe Rouge (like Balthazar’s in London). We feasted on bread and olives before being served paella in massive dishes which didn’t disappoint. It has to be the best paella I had ever tasted. Yum-my!
The Gothic Quarter
The Gothic Quarter was one of my favourite parts of the city. With hundreds of small streets it’s easy to get lost in the maze of shops and buildings all whilst gawking at the amazing architecture.
La Boqueria Market
We wandered around La Boqueria in the morning before we had to head to the airport. As soon as we walked in we were immediately tempted with pretty much everything that was on sale. La Boqueria is one of the largest of Barcelona’s open food markets with vendors selling all types of food. Fruit, ice-cream, meat, cheese, seafood… you name it. We opted to have a large scoop of Ferrero Rocher ice-cream each and my god was it amazingly good.
We didn’t spend long in La Ramblas. In fact hardly any time at all. It was just so busy and crowded for us. However, it was great for people watching!
Have you ever been to Barcelona? I’d love to hear some of your hints and tips as I am definitely planning on heading back there in the near future.