So I’m just back from Barcelona and I’m writing this as I sit in the airport waiting to catch a flight to London. Exhausted doesn’t even begin to describe me right now but I thought I would take the time and start writing a blog post about my experience in such an amazing city.
This was Brian and I’s first real holiday away together after three and a half years. It’s been well over due, but the past few years I just haven’t been able to afford to go away anywhere and he has usually gone away with the boys. A holiday away together is definitely a good test of a relationship. I said to him that if Barcelona didn’t break us nothing would. I can be the biggest stress ball imaginable and Brian does an amazing job of putting up with me.
The journey over definitely tested his ability to put up with my stress. Our flight was at 6 am so we stayed at my friend Sarah’s the night before and we noticed that we both had almost identical purses… cut forward to 3 am when I’m waiting for the airport shuttle bus and realise I’ve taken Sarah’s purse and have to ring her and sprint back to her house in the pouring rain, and then have to wait a half hour for the next bus.
We made our flight thankfully and landed in Barcelona only to have THE BIGGEST QUEUE IMAGINEABLE waiting for us to get through passport control. When we finally got through, we hopped in a taxi to our hotel Hostalin Diputacion, I couldn’t recommend this hotel enough! The guy behind the desk didn’t speak any English, so if Brian wasn’t with me we communicated through Google translate (I took French in school), but he was so unbelievably lovely! Our room was amazing for the price we paid and was about 10 min walk from La Sagrada Familia and about 15 min walk from Las Ramblas. It was clean and had air conditioning which was all we wanted but we had a small balcony, a good sized bed and bathroom, with a TV and free WIFI.
When we arrived, it was about midday so we left our bags behind the front desk until we could check in and we just explored a bit and got some food. One thing I did love about where we were staying is that it wasn’t super touristy so there were so many little places full of locals for breakfast and lunch. When we got out room we showered and changed before heading to see the Arc de Triomph and then La Sagrada Familia. We found a restaurant near the cathedral and had pizza and sangria, which we definitely think was the best sangria of the trip! It was amazing to sit outside right beside this amazing building and eat and drink and just enjoy the sight and weather.
The second day, we decided we would head to La Boqueria, the amazing food market of Las Ramblas. The food here is amazing and definitely something you have to do if you’re heading here! We explored around after the market for a while, before settling in a little bar bedside a square and having a few mojitos (they’re super popular here). I wish I had taken down the name of the place as the drinks were amazing and the owner was so lovely and friendly to us! That afternoon, we went on a tour of the gothic quarter with Runner Bean tours. Our guide was Jarod, a guy from Australia who had been living in Barcelona for a number of years. He was amazing and knew so much about the city, but still had the craic with us all. We finished the tour in el Borne and had a look around the shops before getting some chips and stopping in the coolest sweet shop called Happy Pills.
On our third day we decided to take the Gothic Quarter at our own pace. We strolled around and stopped for food and drinks a few times on our way. This day was roasting hot and there was no breeze like the other days so I felt exhausted and grumpy, but we waited until 6 when you can enter the cathedral in the gothic quarter for free. There are so many beautiful churches in Barcelona, and they’re definitely worth a visit. We decided to eat on Las Ramblas that evening, which was very expensive compared to other places, but we were tired and hungry and just wanted something handy to eat.
On our fourth day, we went shopping in the morning. I visited a few shops and Brian was very patient, but kept telling me “You’re going to London next week and you won’t have room in your case.” Of course, he was right but I couldn’t leave without buying something. I had heard of Brandy Melville before but had never been in one before. I am obsessed! Their clothes are all one size fits all which is kind of annoying, but the clothes are so soft and great quality, as well as really comfortable. After shopping, we had booked entry to La Sagrada Familia. This is definitely a must see. The church is so beautiful I can only imagine what it will look like when it’s finished! But, I would recommend going up the towers or getting a guided tour, which we wished we had done. We decided we had plenty of time and would head to Park Guell. Take my advice and get a taxi there. It’s really far out and we were so glad we didn’t try to walk it. But definitely book tickets online! We didn’t and couldn’t get in to the Gaudi area, all though the views from other parts of the park are amazing too! Just don’t bother with the Gaudi House tour, it was a complete waste of money.
On our fifth day, we headed down to the Arc de Triomph and rented bikes which we cycled around the park, where we stopped for ice creams and just took in our surroundings. We did the Gaudi Tour with Runner Beans tours this day, and our guide Tati was brilliant! I really wanted to learn the history of the city while I was there and was so glad I did the two free walking tours, where you pay at the end of the tour how much you thought it was worth. With the tour ending at la Sagrada Familia,we had food in a Mexican just down the road from the church where I had the best margarita of my life! we headed back to the hotel for a rest before heading down to the gothic quarter for tapas in Bilbao Berria. This is just at the bottom of the shopping street beside las Ramblas and is amazing! I couldn’t recommend this place more for pinchos and tapas!
On our final day, we rented bicycles and cycled to the beach. I really wish we had rented bicycles more often as Barcelona is so easy to get around by bike and it was a welcome rest off our feet. We got loungers on the beach and had cocktails brought to us all day, but this did end up being pretty pricy! If you’re well prepared I would definitely bring drinks with you if that’s what you would like to do, but I do think drinking cocktails by the beach was the highlight of my holiday! We left our bicycles back to the rental shop and looked around the gothic quarter a bit more and picked up some souvenirs before heading to Mino restaurant just off las Ramblas for drinks and cocktails. If I had to recommend anywhere it would be this restaurant! The drinks were amazing and so cheap for somewhere just off las Ramblas and the food was fab too! The staff were so lovely, which was nice as we did have a lot of bad customer service, especially in shops and touristy areas. Our bill for food and nine cocktails was just over fifty euro which the barman thought was a huge bill, but to us it was so cheap for what we got!
Barcelona is such an amazing city and I’m dying to go back. If I were to go back, I would probably stay closer to the beach and rent bikes more to get about the city. I would definitely book tickets for park Guell, and get a real tour of la Sagrada to learn as much as possible about it. Hopefully I’ll be back when it’s finished, but until then I’m in London for training for my new job and hopefully booking another holiday as soon as possible!
Thanks for reading,