Oh Barcelona, a bustling city filled cobbled streets (my favourite), shopping (don’t bust the budget), breath-taking architecture (Gaudi), mouth watering dishes (think paella and tapas), full-bodied red wine (yum!) and excellent beer (can’t forget the beer). And to top it all off, there is a coastline of fantastic beaches lined with boardwalks and trendy little beach bars.
It was 2013 and another meet-up with my overseas brother. We were only staying in Barcelona for 4 days so I picked a hotel at the end of La Ramblas near the Font de Canaletes. I heard that was the place to be, you know, where all the action is. And believe me, everyone else heard too. The only time this popular area is somewhat less crowded is in the morning which, by the way, is the best time to get a view of what it really looks like without the throngs of people everywhere. That being said, a little later in the day, find a little patio bar, grab a beer and some olives to snack on, and people watch – it’s fascinating.
Barcelona is a walkable city – every day we would walk down La Ramblas to the beach for some sun and bevvies and meander back through the side alleys, always on the lookout for something new. The beaches in Barcelona are absolutely astounding! With a coastline that long, how can they not be?
One of my favourite stops was at La Boqueria, Barcelona’s fresh produce market loved by tourists and locals alike offering a plethora of fresh fruit, vegetables, spices, meat and seafood. I believe I was so enamored with the view inside I completely forgot to photograph any part of it – my bad! Guess I’ll have to go back one day!
If you are a fan of Gaudi, you must visit La Sagrada Familia and Casa Battlo. La Sagrada Familia is a Gaudi designed landmark church and is still under construction and has been since 1882. It is scheduled for completion in 2026. Unfortunately we only saw the outside that day as the line-up to get in was at least a 2 hour wait and in 30C heat, it wasn’t a preferred option. I didn’t do my planning well enough to book advance tickets! Close to the church is another of Gaudi’s works of art. Casa Batllo is a unique and quirky sea-inspired apartment building and is a must see, especially for fans of Gaudi’s talent.
We also took a day trip to the Montserrat Monastery. It’s about an hour bus ride that includes multiple hairpin turns up the mountain. Once up top, the view is astounding. We could see for miles! The monastery itself was another beautiful example of exquisite architecture.
Barcelona is a beautiful city and in order to properly explore it, more than a handful of days is required. Yes, that means a return trip – most definitely!
So until the next adventure, salud!
Btw if you are planning a trip to Barcelona, I did find a cool site with a list of the best things to do in Barcelona. Check out SantoriniDave.