So as promised here is my post all about my trip to Barcelona last week. It really is a fantastic city to visit, and like Nice (another favourite holiday destination of mine) it has everything you could want – beach, weather, shopping, sights, culture, food… the list goes on. We were there for 4 days and nights, and it was enough time for us to see most things, but we only really scratched the surface and we would definitely consider going back to explore in more depth. It’s also a city with great atmosphere, and somewhere where it’s very pleasant to just do nothing and soak everything up (whilst drinking cava).
Here are just some of my experiences and recommendations:
Staying in the Gothic Quarter
Self catered accommodation always suits us best, and after reading a lot of online advice I specifically hunted down an apartment in EL Born – an area in the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic). The apartment was lovely (booked through Inside Barcelona http://insidebarcelona.com/ who were great to deal with) and I couldn’t recommend the location enough. This area of the city has a great atmosphere and is filled with winding streets full of restaurants, bars and boutiques. Plus it’s walking distance to both the beach and the best shopping areas.
Eating and drinking
Food is always an important part of a holiday and there’s no shortage of options in Barcelona. I felt it essential to enjoy paella, seafood and tapas and to wash it all down with cava and sangria, but there are plenty of other interesting places to eat too, such as Negro Carbon (located on the approach to Barceloneta beach) with their Argentinian style burgers. We also ate plenty of ice cream.
The magic fountains
One of my favourite parts of the trip was seeing the magic fountain at Montjuic, where the fountain is lit up in colour and dances to music as the sun goes down. It gets busy there but the atmosphere is great, and I loved that the first piece of music of the evening was a Disney medley. This free show only runs on certain nights (Thursday – Sunday during our stay, not sure if that changes through the year).
You can’t really escape the Gaudi architecture when in Barcelona, and most visitors have to tick at least one of his works of the list. We saw a few of them, but didn’t pay (or queue) to venture inside. We did however stroll around Park Guell and enjoyed the fantastic views.
We spent so much more time shopping than I expected – from La Boqueria food market and the cute boutiques of the Gothic Quarter, to the massive shopping avenue Passeig de Gracia. Of course I shopped in both Zara and MANGO – there is one on almost every corner! And I had to buy this strawberry fan for both its cuteness and because the weather was so hot!
Galleries and museums
There seem to be countless galleries and museums so I would expect that everyone could find at least one that sparks their interest. There’s an entrance fee and a queue everywhere though, so planning is advisable. We stayed just around the corner from the Picasso Museum and that’s the one we decided to visit. They open late on Thursday evenings (after 7pm) and at this time there is a reduced entrance fee and no queue!
Wanders: Montjuic, Barceloneta Beach and Port Olimpic
And the rest of our time was spent exploring – here are a few of the highlights.