I have to admit that going to Barcelona was not at the top of my to-do list. But, it was an excuse to have a semi-warm holiday in Winter with my sister. So, I was not complaining. Once we arrived in Barcelona, I changed my mind instantly. I knew we had chosen a great place to have a little break from London life.
At first, it was a little bit disconcerting having everything shut down for 3 hours of “lunchtime”. You do get used to it though and plan your days around this little dark period. I originally thought only of tasing good food while in Barcelona. However, it ended up being so much more.
This quaint part of the city was suggested to us by our Airbnb host. It probably ended up being my favourite. Quiet alleys packed with shops. Little terrace bars offering all sorts to eat and drink. As soon as 5 pm hit, the public spaces come alive with laughter and children playing on their push scooters. There is street art everywhere from the road to doorways. Everything about Gracia showed how the locals seep into every bit of their space and make it their own. Walking through Gracia and stopping every now and then for a drink or a nibble was my favourite evening!
Eixemple was a great neighbourhood for sightseeing and for getting a good idea of the true Barcelona. Seeing the Gaudi gems: Casa Mila, Casa Batllo and La Sagrada Familia is something I am sure to remember for a long time. One thing I can say is, be sure to go down the little side alleys every once in a while. You are sure to find amazing curated shops that are packed with fun pieces. You will not forget Barcelona with one of the mementoes from these little stores. I also love that in between the beautiful architecture, there are high street shops so you can get the best of both worlds on your trip through this little neighbourhood.
The best part? La Rambla! Food, glorious food! We took a stroll (in the rain I might add), with churros in hand until we found a decent paella place and stuffed our faces.
The Gothic Quarter
We had such little time in Barcelona that we found it hard to pack everything in. As a result, we ended up roaming the Gothic quarter at night. This wasn’t necessarily the worst thing ever because we got the spooky element of the “old-school” roads and buildings. It was however bad for taking photos! This is a great area for grabbing an ice-cream and wondering the streets. There was interesting street art everywhere and some great shops too! The one thing I really wanted to see was the church, Santa Maria del Mar. I was not disappointed one bit. Despite the church being really busy due to a mass christening taking place, we still got a seat and got to take the church in slowly. It is definitely worth a visit if you are planning a trip to Barcelona.
Barceloneta is home to a great little beach. So, you really get a taste of everything when you go to Barcelona! We enjoyed a delicious meal at one of the harbourside restaurants one evening. There are so many great restaurants and bars in this barrio. It is a great place to spend time if you do not like the hustle and bustle of the city. For me, it was great to see boats in the sea again and it was a good taste of the home I miss so much!
Among all the of other barrios, we managed to explore a few other special spots.
Parc del Laberint d’Horta, Park Guell and Ciutadella Park
I have to say the parks in Barcelona are AMAZING! They are all so expansive with amazing detail and lots of things to look at. These three parks should not be missed if you decide to go to Barcelona.
Parc del Laberint d’Horta:
Our trip was probably the easiest trips in terms of travel, availability of good food and bars and also the people being so friendly and helpful! (Even when they do not speak English, they try!) There are loads of Airbnb options in the Sants neighbourhood which is probably the easiest to stay in because it is close to everything but also quite residential at night so you don’t get the noise that other neighbourhoods would have. This was definitely a city I will remember as only happy memories!