Last week I was fortunate enough to be able to go to Barcelona for 3 nights. As this was my first holiday without the company of my parents, every aspect of the holiday (food, hotel, itinerary) needed to be planned by myself and my friend. For anyone visiting this beautiful city, here were some of the experiences and things I learned on my travels.
Unfortunately while I was on holiday I was ill, so searching for food was a challenge as I did not want to eat anything that wouldn’t sit well but wanted a taster of local cuisine. Barcelona is not short of places to eat, and there is always something for the mood you are in. The best thing is that almost all staff in the populated areas speak English and have English menus, so ordering if just as easy as it would be at home.
During my time I was able to experience both tapas and paella (one of the best I have ever had), in addition to a top quality service. Many of the restaurants have an outdoor area to eat in the middle of the walkway so you can appreciate your surroundings while eating. My only criticism me and my friend Katie found was that the menu seemed to cater a lot for tourists in the populated areas, with few authentic looking places, with a lot of restaurants being either Italian or Japanese cuisine. Many of the menus were also VERY similar, so it was quite the challenge to work out who had the better seafood paella and why there differed in price so much.
In terms of location, pretty much all the sights in Barcelona are within walking distance. Be prepared to do a lot of walking though, there is just so much to explore! Although you could get a bus tour, I would highly recommend to go to places yourself, I found many sights just by stumbling along them, which the tour won’t offer. If anyone is need of hotel recommendations, I could not hype Hotel Condado enough, outside the city centre (only a 20 minute walk), there are plenty of places to eat nearby and a top service!
Places to Visit:
A public park established in 1926, this park is the perfect place to appreciate the architecture of Barcelona, along with a beautiful view of the city. You can also visit the monumental area of Park Güell for 7 euros but the free area is just as beautiful.
Barceloneta and Port Vell
The busiest beach in the city, Barceloneta is definitely the place to catch a tan. With plenty of space and waiters on hand, it is the perfect place to go after a morning of walking. Alongside the beach is the port, which displays beautiful yachts and boats to admire.
La Sagrada Familia
Without doubt, seeing this building was the highlight of my trip. The architecture and the sheer size of this building was just memorising. It is nothing but fascinating how a building with this much intricacy was built over 100 years ago. Although this building is not finished, and will not be until 2026, it did not take away from the beauty of this basilica.
Although there is not many landmark buildings to visit in the gothic quarter, this is such a lovely area to visit. With the narrow winding streets and boutique stores, the gothic quarter adds a homely feel to the city, as a lot more locals circulate this area.
The most popular road in the city, Las Ramblas is one of the most popular tourist sites in Barcelona. 0.7 miles long, Las Ramblas is full of restaurants, shops, and street performers. Part of the ground has a ripple type effect, and the streets are populated all times of day. But beware, this is a hotspot for pickpocketers, so I would recommend to keep your belongings in a safe location.
Things I learned while in Barcelona:
- The traffic light system is confusing. Both amber and the green man appear at the same time, causing a need for communication between a pedestrian and driver before crossing the road.
- Food is not as expensive as expected, I ate on Las Ramblas and got a full meal for 10 euros
- Iberian Ham can cost a considerable amount, to this day I do not understand why it is x4 more expensive than other tapas dishes.
- Eat where the locals eat, that’s usually a sign its good.
- Almost everyone in the tourist areas speak English, just let them know and they will be super polite
- Alcohol is super cheap – and they love sangria
- In the afternoons, the streets are relatively empty in comparison to the evening, most restaurants don’t open until 8pm, or take a break in the afternoon.
- The breeze will distract from the fact its hot, so keep your skin protected and stay hydrated
- Appreciate everything, Barcelona is a place to remember