Travel Journal: Barcelona
I had no idea what Spain was all about when I first landed in Madrid in 2014. I did no research and I had no clue what to do, but now that I think about it, allowing myself to explore the city freely and finding surprises around every corner became the highlight of my trip.
Fast forward to 2017 and I still can’t get enough of Spain, so cut the bottoms off your jeans and grab a gin and tonic - we’re going to Barcelona!
Barcelona has always been a showstopper. It’s one of those rare places that is gorgeous year-round, which you think would make planning a trip easy. But with the amount of events that take place throughout the year, it’s hard to pick just one time to visit. Slow-paced and relaxing for some and turn-up central for others, this place is like a battery for travelers. Either way, expect a rejuvenating boost.
Barcelona offers a great range of accommodation ranging from affordable and cheerful to high-end luxury. So if you’ve been saving your coins to make this trip happen, might as well enjoy yourself. Luckily, that’s not difficult here.
Hotel Barcelona Catedral is located in the Gothic Quarter, a neighborhood which is living history of the city, around the corner from the Cathedral and a short stroll to the bustling Plaza de Cataluña and Las Ramblas.
Room Mate Carla Hotel is a boutique hotel in a great location, near Paseo de Gracia, in the center of Barcelona, just a step away from the best shops, bars and trendy restaurants in the heart of the city.
Barcelona is a traveler’s dream with great architecture, historic sites and a vibrant culture. Don’t let the flashy nightlife fool you - it’s a beach town too.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a top 10 list without at least one Barcelona beach on it. Taking a stroll down Barceloneta Beach is necessary to get the full Barcelona experience. The stretch of gold sand faces on to the Mediterranean and is a great place to top up your tan and meet up with friends. On warm days Barceloneta draws in some pretty big crowds, so if you’re looking for a quiet vibe, try Garraf Beach, Ocata Beach or Sitges Beach.
Stroll down Las Ramblas, the most famous street in the city. A tree-lined boulevard with many restaurants, bars, and a range of market stalls and street traders.
Barcelona and Gaudí go hand-in-hand and while you’ll soon start to recognize his work as you discover it dotted across the city, the spectacular La Sagrada Familia is his most famous legacy and a must see. This is one of Barcelona’s biggest tourist attractions so buying tickets ahead of time is encouraged. Also encouraged is the audioguide of the La Sagrada Familia, it’s totally worth the extra couple dollars.
When you think of Spanish food, tapas automatically comes to mind and the truth is, you can’t escape Barcelona without trying their famous tapas.
Markets are a great way to explore different parts of a city and mingle with locals on their home turf; La Boqueria is no exception. This market has the best fresh food that the region has to offer, with stalls serving fresh seafood, wonderful varieties of olives and the superb cured meats that are a staple of many meals in Catalonia.
There are menus listing tempting tapas just about everywhere you turn. Everyone has their own opinion on which tapas restaurant is the best. I tried multiple and Pinotxo Bar was by far my favorite. It’s located inside the La Boqueria Market and don’t bother asking for a menu, there isn’t one. Just ask “What’s good today?” and go with the flow.
There are about five Brunch & Cake restaurants throughout Barcelona and all of them have incredible, unique menu items. The restaurant will make you feel cozy like you’re at home, with lots of natural light and delicious food that is served and presented like a work of art. I went to multiple locations during my visit and I’d love to tell you more, but it’s easier if I just show you.
Now tell me your mouth isn’t watering. Check out @brunchandcake on Instagram for more mouth-watering dishes.
LET THE RHYTHM TAKE YOU OVER, BAILAMOS
If you’re a night owl and dancing is what you came for, it’s time to have fun. Barcelona is bursting with hip neighborhood clubs and bars where you can grab a drink with friends and dance the night away. Almost every neighborhood has activity on every corner so do some research before diving in. In the meantime, here's a lovely song about Barcelona by Ed Sheeran to get you going.
Barcelona combines the metropolitan elegance of Europe with the laid-back and sunny attitude of a beach town. The city runs 24/7, with people spilling onto the bright city streets as soon as the sun goes down. It’s fresh and young and it embraces a vitality many have come to expect from Spain.
The key to making the most of this vibrant city is to understand that each of its districts and neighborhoods has a different personality. It’s a dynamic city with an old history but a young heart, and a population that is generous and creative beyond compare. If you’re a chameleon traveler who wants to do it all, Barcelona is the place for you.
Before traveling to Barcelona, take a minute to get to know the culture, brush up on your Spanish, and meet the locals who are sharing this unique place with the world. In Barcelona, as with the rest of Spain, an evening tends to begin quite late. Restaurants and tapas joints fill up at around 10pm and it’s good to follow suit, as a night out often ends at sunrise. I hope this post inspires you to visit this beautiful city and if you need more inspiration, @visitbarcelona is a great place to start. This Instagram account curates content from local artists, restaurants, and discoverers across Barcelona.