The short, but sweet break I needed with my best friend!
So many people prior to me visiting Barcelona had told me that I would go away and come back absolutely falling in love with the city.
I heard that everyone that had ever visited Barcelona said they would return back and it was one of their favourite cities.
They were not wrong... I fell in love with Barcelona!
It was also my first time visiting Spain! So it was a whole new country, culture and city for me!
I've got a series of different Barcelona blog posts coming, but I thought I would summarise the trip in one big blog post on how we got there, where we stayed and what we got up to within the 5 days we stayed there.
And boy, we crammed a lot of stuff and activities in within 5 days!
Including the best tapas I've ever tasted, great sangria spots and experiencing Erotica of Spain...
Here's what we got up to in Barcelona...
We decided to go with RyanAir, simply because at the time, they were offering the cheapest fares.
Obviously. You pay for what you get. And because it was cheap, it was very basic.
We got the train from Northampton train station to Birmingham International, where we then jumped a shuttle bus to the airport.
Our airport experience was made easier thanks to the brief stay at the No1 Lounges, before we got on our plane (which set off late) but the flight was pretty smooth and we got there safely (even it was on a RyanAir flight!)
As soon as we stepped out of the airplane, all we had to do was go straight out of the airport (perks of bringing just hand luggage) and we grabbed a taxi to our hotel....
We stayed at the Catalonia Park Guell hotel which was a 10 minute walk to Park Guell.
It had everything we needed for a short break. We shared a very comfortable, but small twin bedroom which included a VERY marble bathroom, with a hairdryer, all toiletries, towels, two big wardrobes, a wide screen TV (all in Spanish, obviously) and we were able to order room service.
We didn't spend that much time at the hotel, apart from when we went back in the evenings, or late-afternoon for a Siesta (exactly like the Spanish), but we did take advantage of the rooftop pool which had an incredible view, including a view of the Sagrada Famillia!
The service at the hotel was perfectly fine, as everyday we would receive fresh towels and beds made and if we wanted any food at the hotel, they had their own restaurant which we sadly didn't get to experience.
The location of the hotel, as mentioned before, was a 10 minute walk away to Park Guell, plus a 5 minute stroll across the bridge brought us to a cute corner cafe (which I mention in this post) and direct Metro links to the city centre.
I can't complain too much about our hotel. It was basic, but that's all we needed seeing as we didn't spend too much time there.
For as long as I can remember, I have dreamt of visiting Park Guell and getting a picture from "that spot".
After 23 years, I finally did!
I'm writing a much more detailed post about what we got up to at the Park, but it was everything I imagined and more!
Not only did it include some of the most beautiful architecture I have every laid my eyes on, but it was full of rich history that I soaked in and I found out so much about Gaudi himself and what is known today as Park Guell.
If you are planning on visiting Barcelona for the first time, like I did, Park Guell is a MUST SEE attraction.
Another famous monument that you must visit if you're visiting Barcelona for the first time.
We, unfortunately, didn't get tickets to go inside the building, but it's a definite must for a second trip...
I feel like if I hadn't witnessed the Sagrada Familia, I don't think my trip would have been complete.
I still can't believe even after .... years, they are still building it and it's yet to be completed!
I wonder whether we will still be alive when construction is finally complete...
I find city tour buses the easiest way to see a whole city.
Just like the one I went on in Prague, we jumped on a city tour bus around Barcelona.
Baring in mind, it was boiling hot on the day we decided to do this, so the top deck was a definite to keep cool.
We were able to see pretty much everything, including the Jardins de Miramar, Plaça Catalunya, Camp Nou, Barceloneta and many more destinations!
It's a cost-effective, but easy way of seeing the whole city, but make sure you get yourself on the top deck for the best views!
Everywhere you looked, there was always something going on down La Rambla.
From street markets, stalls selling food, drink and gifts, and you can even get the best Sangria too!
There is a huge buzz and atmosphere everywhere you look at La Rambla. It's also a few minutes walk away from the Barcelona Docks!
The Aquarium was something I wasn't expecting to visit, but I'm so glad we did!
It was quite a trek from our hotel to the Aquarium, as it was located on the docks of Barcelona.
We luckily managed to use our booking.com discount, which meant we got free entry! *a huge tip if you book through booking.com, you are able to get access to 100's of location discounts!*
It's one of the most diverse and biggest Aquariums I've visited and it made for a great afternoon out.
We saw all the colourful fish, said hello to the penguins and even managed to Find Nemo and Dory...
For those who are eagle-eyed and have noticed the 'erotic' part. Yes, we went to a Museum of Erotica!
And it was fabulous, yet educational!
In a nutshell, it was a museum filled with pornographic images, history and it even had a sex shop you could browse in.
This came from too many Sangria's when we met my two other friends, who happened to be in Barcelona at the same time, so we thought it would be hilarious to explore.
The things that happen when under the influence of alcohol...
No words. Absolutely. no. words.
The Magic Fountain is a spectacular display of colour, light, motion, music and water acrobatics.
This is a must-see attraction! And when we went, the evening was made even more spectacular.
Prior to visiting Barcelona, the unfortunate attacks that happened on La Rambla happened a couple of weeks prior to us visiting. So the beginning of the Magic Fountain show was dedicated to the victims of the attack, where they played The Beatles' Imagine whilst there was a beautiful display of red, white and blue lights and fireworks.
It actually got me emotional, but it was an incredibly touching moment.
The Magic Fountain show continued and it was probably one of the best, if not the best, firework display I have ever seen.
So many people recommended this to me and I'm so happy they did!
Brunch and Cake is the most colourful cafe I've ever visited. It's open from 9am and till as late as 10pm, where it serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and amazing colourful dishes and drinks.
You can literally have salad for breakfast, pancakes for dinner, plus you can eat from fruit cut into bowls, drink from pineapples and your food is served on silver trays and pallates.
We sat outside the cafe on these cute, but slightly uncomfortable benches, where the tables swung in and out. Despite being slightly uncomfortable, you got an epic view of Barcelona and you could people watch!
A lush bakery we stumbled across when we got off from our city bus tour.
Not only does it have a restaurant, but it had a pop-up bakery where you can order to go.
We got the most mouth-watering and delicious crepes, which were covered in powdered sugar and I could have easily eaten more than one!
There are 4 different locations within Barcelona and we popped into the one on Rambla Catalunya.
Such a convenient and super cheap cafe which was right around the corner from our hotel.
We would regularly come here in the morning for a fresh cup of coffee and a pastry on days where we just wanted something quick, easy and affordable.
But we also went one night and tried their Sangria before heading into the city centre for a night out, so it's a cafe that offers everything from breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee and alcohol!
THE BEST TAPAS OF THE WHOLE HOLIDAY!
We stumbled upon this place when we visited the Sagrada Familia.
After lots of walking, it was very much needed.
I'm so glad Becky knows her Spanish tapas and what tapas is the best, as she has grandparents who live in Spain, so she's practically an expert when it comes to finding the best tapas!
It had everything from Patatas Bravas, Crispy Squid, Sun-dried Tomato Garlic Bread, Garlic Prawns and all the cold coke and sangria to keep us hydrated!
And if you're lucky, you can sit outside and enjoy the fantastic view of the Sagrada Familia!
We went to Barcelona back in September 2017 and I've only just managed to write this travel guide up.
And because it's been a while since I went to Barcelona, my memory isn't as strong as it would have been if I had written this back in September (rookie error, Nicole!)
So expect even more posts which will go into much more detail on what we got up to in Barcelona.
But I hope this post was worth the wait!
Thank you, Becky, for not only being my awesome tour guide but for making my first trip to Barcelona epic and the start of many trips away together.
Let me know!
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