Barcelona – the city that has it all.
I have had the pleasure of being able to travel to this wonderful city, with wonderful people, food and architecture on 3 occasions over the past few years.
Unfortunately, I have had my planned trip for April cancelled due to the Coronavirus – forcing me to sit and reminisce sadly.
Looking to the future with optimism, I thought I would do an ultimate travel guide for anyone contemplating heading to Barcelona when this period of uncertainty comes to an end.
The things that I love:
- All of the SIGHTS
The first thing that I would definitely recommend during your time in Barcelona is to do a hop-on hop-off bus tour. These take you to all of the must-see sightseeing spots of the city.
Whether you want to listen to the audio guide that comes along with the tour, or just absorb the sights and sounds – the choice is yours.
The tours start from Plaza de Catalunya in the heart of the city and you can ride the bus as many times as you like during your ticket’s validity – including at night after it has gone dark.
One of my highlights during my last trip to Barcelona with the girls was getting the bus as the sun was setting and travelling around the city, witnessing the floodlit ‘Sagrada Famillia’ against the jet black sky.
The famous main street of La Rambla does not disappoint. It is a bustling place that leads from the main square all the way to the marina and beach.
The middle of the wide street is full of wonderful market stalls and street performers. However, for me, the highlight has to be the trees that line it. A top tip would be to look out for the faces carved into the trunks. Each artistically makes use of the unique features of each of the trees, which make them the simplest, yet humourous and unexpected sight.
If you are prepared for quite a walk, you must check out Parc Guell, another of Gaudi’s masterpieces. The tour bus drops you off at the bottom of a steep backstreet, at the end of which, you will reach the most beautiful park.
You can purchase tickets to tour Gaudi’s house and museum, but there are many areas of the attraction that can be accessed for free.
As you walk through beautiful arches, you can hear musicians playing traditional Spanish music, really getting you into that holiday spirit. From the highest point, views of the entire city are exquisite, even the iconic Arts Hotel on the coast can be seen.
One of the best aspects of Barcelona is that you can transform your holiday from city to beach in no longer than 10 minutes.
Barcelona’s stretches of sandy coastline are beautiful, with the modern and stylish W Barcelona Hotel can be seen from every angle.
Just a word of warning if you don’t already know, the beaches of Barcelona are often frequented by nudists. (An unexpected surprise I wish we had been made aware of!)
This one is on my to-do list.
By far the highest point in the city, Mount Tibidabo is a prominent feature of Barcelona’s skyline.
The beautiful ‘Disney Princess Castle’ can be seen sitting in the distance at the end of every street in the city centre. Accessible by tram, bus or by foot, you can visit the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with relative ease.
Tibidabo is also home to an amusement park at an altitude of 500 metres above sea level. In operation for over 100 years, it has 25 rides for the whole family to enjoy.
2. All of the FOOD
The best waffle I have ever had came from Goofretti’s, a small dessert shop with several locations across the city. Bubble waffles, chocolate taps, strawberries…divine!
The marina is a dream. A holiday to Barcelona isn’t complete without visiting one of the of beautiful seafood restaurants along the harbour, where I had the most amazing seafood paella.
In view of the devastating coronavirus which is sadly going to stop anyone from visiting those wonderful restaurants in the near future, I have spent some of my time at home this week attempting to recreate the dish for my family. It was by no means as good as eating it in bustling Barcelona – but it was fun to make and very tasty!
Look out for my paella recipe that I will be uploading soon to help you bring some Barcelona into your home!
3. All of the SHOPS
If you have seen my previous blog about my favourite beauty products, you will already know the love I have for Sephora – the ultimate beauty store. I visited 4 Sephora stores in the centre of Barcelona (as you can imagine, I was in heaven), but the most wonderful store of them all in my opinion is the one in El Triangle shopping centre on Placa de Catalunya.
You enter the store via a slide (need I say more?), plummeted into a huge store full of all your favourite makeup and beauty brands! There is also the conventional escalator (but why would you?!)
My second trip to this Sephora store was Halloween, and I was amazed to see all of the people who work in the store in fancy dress as ‘Game of Thrones’ characters. Their makeup and costumes were magnificent and really added to the atmosphere in the store – especially when they all got together to perform a dance to ‘Thriller‘.
The Gothic Quarter is a beautiful area of the city. The streets surrounding the Gothic Cathedral are lined with smaller, more quaint, local shops where you can really find something different to take home.
Finally, Happy Pills! The most incredible pick ‘n’ mix you will ever see! Situated in a tiny, clinically white and fluorescent store, Happy Pills allows you to fill little medicine jars or cones with your favourite sweets (all arranged according to colour, may I add) and choose a cute label and picture for the front.
The novelty of ‘Happy Pills’ is just perfection!
Wherever you are, please keep safe and hopefully we can all get to a healthy and happy Barcelona soon 🙂