Barcelona. So many new sights, smells and sounds. A city full of life and colour. Barcelona was an experience for all the senses, and a place I hope to one day return.
It also taught me something important about myself as a traveller.
I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty flexible person. Sure, I like to have a plan, and to-do lists are right up my alley. But I leave lots of room to move, lots of space for exploration. Flexibility is key in travel.
Unfortunately in Barcelona I learned that my version of flexibility isn’t that compatible with short trips. Jamming our visit to Barcelona in just four days for Dean’s 25th birthday there was a lot I wanted to see and do. Too much really. What followed was four absolutely whirlwind days where Dean and I were basically pulling our hair out trying to ‘get everything done’ and honestly struggling to actually enjoy our holiday. Clearly, long weekend trips to destinations we’re super excited about just aren’t for us.
Still, Barcelona treated us very well, and we managed to still have a pretty good time. Let’s take a walk though it shall we?
Around The City
We did look at all the public transport systems in Barcelona, but ultimately decided to just do what we always do, and walk everywhere. Both of us had come prepared in our proper walking shoes, so we were totally up for it. Plus, I love walking around a city because it provides the most ample opportunity for street photography.
The stunning architecture, the amazing landmarks, and a wealth of street art, this is a place we could have walked around for weeks!
Park Guell, at the top of the hill looking over the city was a place both Dean and I absolutely wanted to visit. We tackled it early on the second day we were in Barcelona (our first full day after flying in) to try and beat the crowds. We did end up waiting for a little to get into the ticketed sections of the park, but were able to explore the rest of the area quite easily. There were some big crowds there, but we dodged them as much as we could.
The architecture in the park is simply stunning. When we were there some areas were being constructed/renovated, but we were able to get a very good idea of the park in general. Seeing Antonio Gaudi’s works was really cool, and the start of what was basically a Gaudi pilgrimage for us around Barcelona!
La Boqueria boasts that it’s one of the best markets in the world, and having attended quite a few of them I have to say I agree! This place is amazing! So many things to see, so many things to eat. I was drinking in all of the different sights and sounds for sure! La Boqueria is located along La Rambla (or Las Ramblas), which is the main tourist drag of Barcelona. You really cannot miss it, and even if you aren’t eating it’s absolutely worth a visit, just to drool!
Sagrada Familia is definitely one of the main attractions in Barcelona, and it dominates the skyline of the city in so many ways. An enormous Roman Catholic church, Sagrada Familia was another design from the genius mind of Antoni Gaudi. Less than a quarter of the church was completed in 1926 when Gaudi died, and it’s still not finished today. It’s expected to be completed in 2026, a century after Gaudi’s death.
Still, even half finished Sagrada Familia is the jewel in Barcelona’s crown. Stunning on the outside, with so much little detail you could just blink and miss it, I highly recommend booking a ticket, and waiting in the line (get there early!) to see it. We were originally put off by the line and wondered if it was worth going inside. It absolutely is. The stained glass in there is like nothing I have ever seen, and my jaw just dropped as soon as I walked in. Don’t miss this one.
Tips For Visiting Barcelona
- Accommodation: We decided to stay in an Airbnb for this trip, even though we knew it was going to be more expensive. It was worth it for us to have a kitchenette in the place, as well as to experience a more local neighbourhood. We ended up choosing to stay in La Barceloneta, a seaside neighbourhood.
- Entry Costs: Tickets for Park Guell (the Monumental area only, rest of the park is free entry) were €7 per person. Tickets for the Sagrada Familia were €15 for the basic (which we did) or between €22-€29 for audio guides, guided tour, and going to the top of the tower.
- Food: Dean and I had heard a lot about Barcelona’s tapas, but as tapas is often served as an accompaniment to alcohol, and we don’t drink, we didn’t experience that in any bars. We did eat out at a few little cafes for between €10-€20, and shared to save some money. We also did a bit of shopping because we had access to a kitchenette. Of course we did eat a bit at La Boqueria, and there are a range of foods there ranging from snacks to meals, anything from €3-€15.