I was looking at my blog stats earlier this week and found out that my travel posts are my most popular posts which I think is incredible because I love writing about my travels and sharing my experiences. I find that it is the best way to document my travels and I love that I am able to look back and relive my experiences any time.
It’s hard to believe that it was only a month ago today that I was making my way to the airport to catch my flight to Barcelona. It seems like forever ago and yet yesterday at the same time. This holiday had been over a year in planning with my best friend Grace, ever since our previous trip to Paris in July last year. This was going to be my first time in Barcelona so I was extremely excited!
We landed late evening on Monday night, exhausted after our day of packing and travelling, so our only mission for the rest of the day was to find our hotel and settle in for an early night so we would be well-rested for our first full day in Barcelona.
The following morning, we woke up at the early hour of 8am, so that we would have the maximum number of hours in order to explore Barcelona. We had decided the night before that we were going to head to the beach for the morning because Tuesday was the only day of the week we were there that it was going to be both sunny and dry the entire day. Apparently we had brought the wet and windy English weather with us!
To get to the beach, we decided to walk via La Rambla, a famous tree-lined pedestrian mall in Barcelona. It stretches for 1.2 kilometres so it is the perfect place for shopping, but perhaps not for walking to the beach! Our feet were a little bit sore by the time we finally arrived over the beach as it ended up taking us over an hour, but it was nice to finally see the street that I had heard so much about.
The beach itself was beautiful. The sea and sky were the perfect shade of blue and the sand was a golden yellow colour. Since it was still quite early, there were only a few other people there so we were able to lounge and bathe in peace. I had brought Just Listen by Sarah Dessen with me to read, which I would highly recommend, whether you are looking for an easy summer read or a good book to curl up in blankets and read.
In the afternoon, we ate paella sitting on a glass balcony overlooking Port Vell, the port of Barcelona. I am one of those people who believes you should sample the cuisine of the country you are in in order to have the full experience, and therefore paella, and tapas which we had later that week, were both a must-have! I got mixed paella which consisted of chicken, pork, prawn and oyster. It was delicious but filling – we could have easily shared one between us.
We then headed back to the hotel to shower and relax for a while before heading out to Casa Batllo for ‘Magic Night.’ Casa Batllo is a Gaudi masterpiece in central Barcelona which you are able to explore using their SmartGuide that uses augmented reality to show how the building would have looked during the time Gaudi was alive. ‘Magic Night’ is an event held by Casa Batllo during the summer evenings where there is live music on their Dragon rooftop terrace, consisting of fairy lights lighting up the space and a makeshift bar. It was 39 euros for both which included 2 drinks from the bar. I would recommend this option rather than either of the options on their own as I did not feel the tour was worth the 28 euros that they were charging and it was certainly magical being able to look out on the city of Barcelona at night. It truly is a city that comes alive at night.
For the following two days, we decided to get a 2 day hop-on, hop-off bus tour pass. There are two main bus tours that operate within central Barcelona and we decided to go with Bus Turistic, which was 39 euros for both days, consisting of free Wi-Fi, an audio guide in 16 different languages and 3 routes that cover the entirety of Barcelona. It seemed a good deal for us as you are able to see all the main sites within a day or two days with commentary to help you understand what you are seeing and it also gave us free travel between the different attractions, saving us money on metro fares.
Today we decided to go on the red and green routes of the bus tour. The red route includes La Pedrera, the MNAC, the Olympic site and the old Gothic part of Barcelona. We decided to get off at the MNAC, which is a National Art Museum. It was recommended to us because we are both into art and because it has incredible views of the city of Barcelona, which it did. The MNAC building itself was beautiful and stood on top of a series of steps and fountains, facing Placa Espagna. The museum itself was not what I expected however, consisting of a lot of religious and historic art pieces, rather than the galleries of paintings and photography that I had expected, although these were still exhibited.
The green route is seasonal, meaning that it is only available during the summer months. This makes sense since it is essentially a tour of the seafront. We decided to get off at Platja del Bogatell and walk along the beachfront to admire the view, stopping only to grab ice creams from a seaside stall and take photographs. One of my favourite parts was this triangular climbing frame on the beach which I decided to climb to the top of, scaring Grace the entire way up that I was going to fall since it was intended for children and not someone of my size and weight!
That evening, we decided to walk down to Placa de les Glories Catalunes and the Torre Agbar, a cigar-shaped 38 storey skyscraper. We had seen it lit up in several photographs at night-time and so we decided to walk down to see it for ourselves since it was only about 20 minutes from our hotel. Sadly, for some reason, it did not light up for us. There were several disputes online as to when the building lit up: some claiming that it lit up every day at 9pm whilst others claimed it only lit up Friday and Saturday nights.
Today, we decided to finish the Bus Tour by completing the Blue route, which included the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Tibidbo and Barcelona’s Football Stadium. I would recommend buying tickets in advance or online for Sagrada Familia and Park Guell, as there were quite long queues and tickets were only available for several hours after we had queued. Luckily, we had the bus tour to kill a few hours so it worked out in our favour.
The Sagrada Familia is probably one of the most famous buildings in Barcelona. It is a large Roman Catholic Church designed by Gaudi, although sadly he passed away before building work could be finished. It’s been 91 years since his death and work is still being carried out, which shows just how grand the church is and how much attention is paid to detail. It is due to be finished in 2026, the centenary of Gaudi’s death. My favourite part was the stained glass windows inside the church, which are either shaded blue or red depending on whether they face East or West.
Park Guell is another Gaudi masterpiece. Come to Barcelona and within the day you will realise that they were obsessed with the guy! Park Gaudi is a public park consisting of gardens as well as architectural buildings designed by Gaudi himself and the house in which he lived during the last years of his life. There are two main parts of the park: the free part which anyone can visit and the architectural area which you have to pay 7 euros to enter. We didn’t have time to properly explore the gardens since seeing the Sagrada Familia had taken up most of the day but we did buy a pass for the architectural section which consisted of a variety of beautiful designed structures including two buildings that reminded me of gingerbread houses! My favourite part of the park was the balcony overlooking the city of Barcelona which gave an incredible panorama view over the city.
For the evening, we decided to head down to the seafront in order to watch the sun set over the port. We decided to sit in a cocktail bar overlooking the port and facing the direction of the sunset so we could sit and fully enjoy it. Since it was cloudy, the sunset wasn’t as spectacular as it could have been, but it was still a nice way to spend our final evening in Barcelona.
Friday was our final day in Barcelona, so we decided to head back down to the beach to work on our tans and do some souvenir shopping. This time the weather was not as good as it was a bit cloudy and very windy, meaning that even though we only intended to paddle our feet in the sea, we ended up getting slapped in the face by waves! The photographs we got of each other were well worth the experience though!!!
Around midday, we decided to head back into the city centre to go shopping for souvenirs. I picked up a postcard portraying all the main attractions in Barcelona whilst Grace picked up several postcards, a keyring and a snow globe, which she collects everywhere she travels as a way of remembering the trip. It was quite saddening picking out souvenirs, knowing that these would soon be all we had to remember our time in Barcelona alongside our memories and photographs. We both wished we could have stayed for another day at least.
Our flight was late evening so we headed back to the hotel after stopping for waffles and ice cream in a small café to pick up our bags before getting the metro across to the airport.
Overall, I had an incredible time in Barcelona and would love to return someday. It reminded me of Italy in that it was most alive at night and I would definitely recommend going out for drinks or exploring the city at night in order to fully immerse yourself in the culture.
Comment down below if you have ever been to Barcelona and your favourite place to visit. I think mine was Park Guell as I am a huge nature lover. Check out my Instagram for more photographs of my trip and also Grace’s post.