Now that it feels more like summer and everyone is planning their summer holidays I thought I would write about my last summer holiday to Barcelona with my best friend on our first ever holiday together!
She came to visit me in London and we then flew from London to Barcelona after spending a few days together in London.
The first thing we did when we got to Barcelona airport was to buy T10 travel card, which you can buy at the airport at the entrance of the RENFE airport train from Terminal 2B.
TIP: I would recommend buying the T10 Zone 1 ticket, which covers your transport cost from the Barcelona airport to the city centre and it will count as only one journey. With the T10 travel card you get 10 single journeys altogether and the card costs approx. 10€. You can also use the TMB bus with the card but not the Aerobus.
Overall it was an easy journey from the airport to our hotel and we looked up the nearest station to our hotel beforehand so we knew where to get off. Because we wanted to stay near the beach we chose to stay at Campus del Mar Residence Hall, which was basically a 5 minute walk to the beach, la barceloneta. After checking in, we went to the beautiful beach and explored our neighbourhood. We also had some tapas for dinner and went food shopping for breakfast and biscuits etc.
The next day we went to the beach and spent the whole morning there. We then decided to visit Barcelona’s beautiful park, Parc de la Ciutadella. The park includes a lake, several museums, a fountain and a zoo! Parc de la Ciutadella is laid out very nicely with beautiful flowerbeds, wide promenades, and many palm trees. There is also so much to see there; the Catalan Parliament Building, sculptures, museums and fountains like the Cascada.
Later that day we went back to the beach and explored the souvenir shops around and then decided to get some food and cocktails at the Beach Bar.
After some sunbathing at the beach again, we took the metro to Catalunya to visit the famous Las Ramblas. The famous street gets really crowded especially during the summer season but you can find lots of cafes and restaurants as well as stalls selling souvenirs there. After some exploring we wanted to get some food and just off Las Ramblas we found Bar Lobo and decided to give it a go as it looked nice and cosy and most important wasn’t crowded! After being seated we were given a menu with different languages so everyone could understand the menu. I decided on freshly squeezed orange juice and quesadilla with guacamole. The food was really good and not overpriced.
After this we went to La Boqueria and let me tell you everything there looked so delicious and smelled good too! We bought some nuts and had a cold passionfruit smoothie which was so good especially on a hot day out!
We then decided to explore the Gothic quarter (Bari Gotic), which really stood out with its sandstone buildings with overhanging ironwork balconies. It was also easy to get slightly lost in there due to the many little side roads but the architecture was really beautiful. There were also lots of cosy little cafes and restaurants and souvenir shops to see.
Because we were on an exploring spree, we then decided to find the Mango Outlet store. To all the girls out there who want to visit Barcelona, you have to go to the Mango Outlet store! I bought jeans for like €8 and lots of tops for only €10! YOU HAVE TO GO THERE!
In the evening we then went to see the Magic Fountains, which is candy for your eyes with all the beautiful colours and music. I would recommend seeing it in the evening so that you can see the beautiful colours of the fountains although it can get quite crowded at that time. It is free and in the summer the fountain runs Thursday to Sunday from 9 pm – 11:30 pm. Don’t miss it, it’s magical.
The next day we went on a BCN Walking Tour to see all the major attractions such as:
1) Sagrada Familia
Admission: €15 with queuing ( book early online so that you don’t have to queue outside for hours to get in!)
Nearest metro: Sagrada Familia
This amazing masterpiece was designed by the master himself Antonio Gaudí. The Giant Basilica has been under construction since 1882 and it is still not finished! They say it may take another 30 to 80 years to finish it depending on funding and resources. So next time you come to see it, it might look slightly different. It really is a unique building and admiring its beauty was breathtaking.
2) Casa Mila
Nearest metro: Diagonal
Another beauty designed by Gaudi.
3) Casa Batlló
Admission: €21.50 adult
Nearest metro: Passeig de Gràci
This masterpiece designed by Gaudi is my favourite partly because of the story. Our tour guide told us that once a fearful dragon lived at Montblanc which only remained peaceful when a citizen was sacrificed. One day, as fate would have it, the king’s daughter was chosen to be sacrificed. But a knight called St George came and confronted the dragon and killed it with his lance and thereby saved the king’s daughter and the town. The genius Gaudí was, he wanted the roof of Casa Batlló to represent the back of the dragon and the turret and cross on the left of the roof to present the lance of St. George thereby retelling the story through the building.
I would recommend having a look at the insight of this beautiful building especially if you only want to see one of Gaudi building’s then definitely go for Casa Batlló.
4) Park Güell
Nearest metro:Lesseps or Vallcarca
This park is full of beautiful tiling and and stone structures. At the entrance of Güell park is the famous Gaudí dragon fountain, which is decorated with stunning coloured tiling which really make it somehow magical. There is a terraced area with multi-coloured tiled mosaic seats at Park Güell from where you can get an amazing view of the park and Barcelona city.
TIP: Park Güell is up a hill so after getting of the metro be prepared to walk for another 20 minutes or so. There are escalators present but the last 200m walk is up a steep hill. So if you have difficulties walking steep hills then it might be better to get a bus or taxi to the park.
Instead of going into Park Güell, we decided to go to the Gaudi Experience next to it, which is a 10 minute 4D movie which shows Gaudi’s vision and his inspiration for each of his buildings and really puts everything into perspective. For €9 its well worth the money and there is also a statue of Gaudi you can take a photo with!
We concluded our eventful day with paella at the restaurant by the beach. It was delicious and the view was amazing!
On our last day we went to see the Picasso Museum.
This museum is tucked away in a street of a beautiful old part of Barcelona away from the tourism. Because we didn’t book online we had to wait in the queue for about 30 minutes so I would recommend booking online if you can.
The museum gives you a glimpse of the genius Picasso was and shows Picasso’s works in a chronological order which helps to understand Picasso’s development as an artist.
TIP: We each paid €7 (18-25 years ticket) however the museum is free to the public on the first Sunday of every month all year round.
Nearest metro: Jaume 1
We spent around 2 hours admiring Picasso’s work and then went onto exploring the beautiful gothic neighbourhood nearby and did some more shopping. We also stopped at Desire Bar for food and drinks before it was time to check out and go back home!