After a recent trip to Berlin, I was excited about finally ticking Barcelona off my list too. Everyone who’s visited seems to already want to go back, whether it’s been a Girl’s Weekend or to sample Catalan Culture. When it comes to visiting new places, I like to go off the beaten track a bit; eating at a restaurant loved by locals or finding a hidden gem away from the tourist trail. This is something I struggled with in Barcelona, but only for the best reasons – there is so much to see (you can do a lot for free too). You just need to embrace your inner tourist, buy a Barcelona Football shirt and jump on a bus tour.
Battling the crowds at La Sagrada Familia, you can’t leave without seeing it – Gaudi’s architecture will leave you in awe. Barcelona has World-class Museums that are worth queueing for, put The Picasso Museum and Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya at the top of your list. You’ll likely need a second trip to take it all in (I’m already thinking about mine…) Despite being one of the most visited cities in the World, Barcelona manages to keep a relaxed pace. It’s beaches also provide the perfect opportunity to chill out (especially if you’re nursing a hangover.)
Something about Barcelona felt really authentic – Gothic streets, Modernista Architecture combined with unsightly cranes hanging over Barcelona’s greatest landmarks and graffiti splashed across security shutters. Either way, these rough edges only make you love the city more.
Of course you can still explore a more “local” side to the city. One might be forgiven for thinking Gaudi was the city’s only architect, but the Palace of Music beautifully showcases the work of one of his contemporarys, Lluis Domenech i Montaner. Somewhere else on my list for next time is Sitges, a unique and vibrant town about 35 km outside of Barcelona. “Spotted by Locals” has some great suggestions on how to sample local Barcelona if you’re interested.
One of my favourite places was Tibidabo – next time I’ll be climbing to the top (sandals were not the right shoes to attempt this in) but you can hop on the cable car too. They have a beautiful Church at the summit (Sagrada Corazón), which we didn’t have time to see, partly due to my
pit stop in Zara… Also, Monjtuic Cable car offered a beautiful view of Barcelona, even if you do close your eyes for much of it like me. Montjuic actually has a lovely cactus park. As a football fan, I loved the tour of Camp Nou. I would have chosen to see a game rather than do the tour, but they were playing away during our stay.
The bus tour was a really good way to see the city (I was kind of sceptical at first). You can hop on and off as much as you like, some of the best moments are just driving down different streets although you get a great view of the city’s landmarks too. We ate some amazing food during our stay, but this deserves it’s own post all together. I had the most delicious tiramisu I’ve ever tasted, and tapas I could have eaten every night.