Whenever i am planning a week away i always look to travel bloggers for recommendations of where to eat/ drink and ideas of what to do, and as some of you may know, i am just back from the wonderful Barcelona.
Barcelona is a huge, and diverse city and the more time you have to explore, the better. Unfortunately we only had three days as we had planned a split holiday where we spent the first half of the week in Barcelona, and the second half of the week in Playa d’Aro as we wanted a few days to relax after a busy few days in the city (20 minute car journey from Barcelona).
We ended up visiting Barcelona at the time of the Sant Juan festival- totally unplanned- which is THE event of the summer. Sant Joan starts with a bang (and i mean that literally!) on the evening of June 23 and in true Spanish style it kicks off very late. The partying goes on until sunrise and thankfully there is a public holiday the day after. It’s one of the biggest and most exciting parties that the city hosts and the electric atmosphere draws almost everyone out onto the streets.
Getting To Barcelona: We flew from Glasgow Prestwick Airport bright and early at 8am. This was perfect for us as we wanted to arrive in Barcelona early enough to enjoy a full first day there. Our flights were bought from Ryan Air, who were surprisingly amazing.
How To Get From Barcelona Airport To Your Hotel: Once you arrive at the airport in Barcelona, you obviously need to get to your hotel. There is a taxi rank situated at the exit doors of the airport however to get into the centre of Barcelona it’s 30+ Euros, so luckily we had done our research and discovered the aerobus which was just as easy as hopping into a taxi but so much less expensive. You can buy the tickets for the aerobus just outside the airport which were only around 6 Euros, and it takes you almost anywhere.
Our Hotel: We arrived at our hotel, The H10 Port Vell Barcelona, where we spent our three nights. We were completely blown away by the hotel, which was in perfect location as it was perfectly situated on the marina, with just a stone’s throw from the picturesque el Born district.
Getting Around Barcelona: I have heard a lot of people talk about Barcelona being so small you can walk around it, however the tourist attractions are widely spread out so I recommend getting the hop on hop off bus, more on that below.
What to do in Barcelona:
Hop On Hop Off: I would definitely recommend this as the best way to see as much of Barcelona as possible- they sell tickets for this almost everywhere! They have three buses in Barcelona, a red route, a green route and a blue route. The red route takes you all around the best tourist parts of Barcelona in a loop. They tend to stop near all hotels and run usually around every ten minutes. You can sit on the open top, drive around Barcelona and hop on and off whenever you fancy. We ended up using it as a taxi service and hop off where we wanted too. The green route takes you via the beaches. This is definitely the most cost effective way to get around Barcelona and see as much as possible in minimum time. You can buy the tickets for the one day (which were about 30 Euros) or two days (which were about 58 Euros).
Santa Maria Del Mar: The cathedral is a fine example of Catalan Gothic architecture and the interior is absolutely magnificent (also the entry is free!)
Cable Car: If you enjoy nice views, then there is a cable car which goes all the way over Barcelona. We got on it down by the famous W Hotel. It takes you up to a mountain with phenomenal views.
Port Vell: We were actually lucky enough to stay right on the harbour but if you aren’t staying down this side of Barcelona then i highly recommend coming here to visit. The yachts in Barcelona are just so beautiful.
La Sagrada Familia: An absolute must see if you’re in Barcelona! Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to explore the inside of the church, but even from the outside it was absolutely mesmerising.
We spent our last day admiring the Gothic quarter and walking around La Ramblas. La Ramblas is so big, you could easily spend a few days just exploring that part of Barcelona, with so many shops, including my favourite- Sephora!
Where to eat in Barcelona: There are so many delicious restaurants in Barcelona. Most nights we opted for authentic tapas. Also another thing we noticed was that Barcelona did not seem to come alive in the evening until at least 8.30pm, so we ended up eating at nearly 10pm every night, as this was the time the city really was alive. In terms of places to eat, we just stumbled upon different restaurants each night, without much planning as there is just so much choice.
Where to drink in Barcelona: We were so lucky to stumble upon what happened to be one of Barcelona’s most famous secret bars called El Paradiso. This speakeasy is in the form of a fridge door in a pastrami outlet- crazy right! We opened the fridge door to a curtain which parted to reveal a narrow wood-panelled bar that was jumping, courtesy of a DJ. The cocktails here are really something else- we had never seen anything like them!
Barcelona is a fascinating city, and definitely up there with being one of my favourite in the World, with its delicious food, unique architecture, and eclectic vibe, what’s not love? I will be certainly planning a return trip soon!
Do you like Barcelona? Have you visited Barcelona? Do you have any Barcelona recommendations?