We had a great time in Barcelona last Summer, and I wanted to re-live all the best bits!
I am without holiday-abroad plans this year, due to Pepper being too young and insane to leave with someone else for more than a few days, so I thought I would instead reminisce to one of my favourite places – Barcelona!
I visited for a week in July 2014 with N, his brother and his girlfriend. We had a fantastic time, visiting all the most famous and highly recommended places, and drinking way too much Sangria…
We visited here on our very first day, which also happened to be the hottest day (other than when N and I went to PortAventura). It was difficult to find spots of shade, but the views from the park were great, and there were plenty of talented musicians dotted around for us to listen to when we needed a break from walking!
Barcelona is known for its huge stretches of beach that line the city, with the most famous being Barceloneta at the bottom of Las Ramblas. It was beautiful, and the atmosphere was always buzzing! The perfect place to sip on Sangria and do some people-watching.
La Sagrada Familia
The apartment we were staying in was just a stone’s throw from the city’s iconic landmark, so we were able to walk there one afternoon. We booked our tickets online (much cheaper than at the door!), and took a tour around the incredible place.
It really is bizarre; from the outside, it reminds me of a termite mound, or mud-cakes you make in the sand at the beach, but the inside is such a beautiful contrast of traditional stained glass and modern architecture.
Catedral de Barcelona
We stumbled across this while exploring Barrio Gotico (the Gothic Quarters), but were so glad we did! The inside of the Catedral was very peaceful (no photos allowed of course), but it had a couple of hidden gems!
From one door at the side, you were transported to a beautiful, sunny courtyard with a fountain and an old museum, while from a door on the opposite side, there was a lift that would take you up and onto the roof of the Catedral! The views of the Barcelona skyline were awesome.
Inspired by the adverts on the tube (yes, they have TVs and air conditioning on the subway!!), we decided to take the train and tram up to Tibidabo – the theme park on a mountain that is visible from most of Barcelona’s ground level! When we got off the train, we found that the tram cost 15 euros per person, so decided to walk the rest of the way up to the Tibidabo Funicular (a weird vertical tram/lift). If you’re even slightly fit, definitely forgo the tram charge; the walk really isn’t that bad.
Tibidabo was incredible! Just look at those views! It was definitely the highlight of my holiday, and probably the most incredible view I’ve seen in my life. And yes, we braved the ferris wheel that was essentially hanging over the whole of Barcelona. It was terrifying, as you can see by my face above, but you have to go here if you go to Barcelona!
Placa d’Espanya is basically a huge roundabout, but from there you can get to Montjuic, Font Magica, Placa de les Cascades and Jardins de Joan Maragell. We explored around the fountains and gardens before heading to one of the many main streets that stems off Placa d’Espanya for some food.
For the life of me I can’t remember what the restaurant we finally chose to eat in was called, but it was great to have some well-deserved mojitos and a meal after our incredibly long, hot walk around the gardens.
Font Magica de Montjuic
After our meal, we spent the evening at Font Magica – a 2 hour long fountain and light show. It was amazing! There were thousands of people gathered around, with crowds blocking up the street! We managed to get a good spot on a nearby bridge to watch it.
Mercado de la Boqueria
I wish I had taken more photos in here, but honestly I was too excited about all the incredible food around me! I am a big lover of markets, and this was one of the best I’ve ever been to (topped only by the Sunday market in Madrid). We gathered food for most of our lunches in the week from here.
I think it’s fair to say that you will never get scurvy in Barcelona. Fruit and smoothies are basically on tap, and I ate way more than my recommended 5-a-day every day we were there! If you ever find yourself having to choose from one of these incredible smoothie stands, I would highly suggest the Coconut one. Also you need to try the Coconut ice cream on Las Ramblas at the first chance you get!
There were a couple other amazing places we went where I totally forgot to, or couldn’t take, photos, including:
Barcelona’s most famous street! It goes on forever; lined with tall, lush trees, a myriad of restaurants and tourist shops, market stalls and street sellers/performers. It’s the best and most fun route down to La Barceloneta.
Having taken only my weighty Canon DSLR and iPhone to Barcelona with me, I unfortunately wasn’t able to take any photos at PortAventura, but N and I had a great time!
The theme park is only an hour or two by train from Barcelona, and you can pick up an awesome reduced rate train & ticket package from the tube stations in the city. We managed to get ours for what was around £25 per person – which isn’t too bad!
It was the hottest day of the week on our visit, making us grateful for the log flume soaking and free drink refills, but we had such a good time. The park is split up into different themes based on areas of the world, such as Asia, Mexico, the Mediterranean and Polynesia, and while the queues were a good hour or two long for the best rides, it didn’t really matter as there was so many details to look at and take in around you!
Just off Las Ramblas, Barrio Gotico is easy to find but also easy to get lost in! Its narrow cobbled streets are beautiful and reminiscent of Barcelona’s original architecture, and are filled with a mix of high-fashion boutique shops, retail chain stores and independent restaurants.