Barcelona – The city that will awaken you senses from the moment you arrive.
This is our breakdown of the best of Barcelona and why we love it!
A good friend recommended that we take a look at the BA Holiday Finder. It seriously has been one of the best travel tips we’ve received. Our entire trip cost £477 for 2 people (booked in December 2015 for March 2016) and included our flights from Gatwick to Barcelona and back to Heathrow during the always busy Easter weekend. It also included our stay in the beautiful Hotel U232 in the Eixample district and would be the first of many holidays we book using the BA Holiday Finder.
Barcelona has flights to and from most major cities in the world so you shouldn’t have any issues getting there. The metro system is superb and super easy to get the hang off. You can buy travel cards once you get to Barcelona: 2-day travel cards are €14.50 per person.
When to go:
We opted for Spring (March). The weather was bound to be warmer than London, but it was close enough for a 4-night getaway. Perfectly mild at 19c – 22c for most of our stay with some much-needed sun injecting us with some Vitamin D.
The great thing about Barcelona is that this is a destination that can be enjoyed all year round with mild winters (compared to Northern Europe) and long, hot, sunny days in summer.
We stayed in Barcelona for 4 nights in Hotel U232.
The hotel has a boutique feel but offers most amenities that you’d expect to find in a city hotel like this. The room service, breakfast buffet, rooftop terrace and room itself was perfect for our short break.
The hotel is only 2 blocks away from the metro in the quiet Eixample district (home to Sagrada Familia). It’s located just outside the main tourist hubs and shopping areas. However, you are still surrounded by plenty of great restaurants and bars. Read more about the hotel and book here.
Top 5 things to do in Barcelona:
- Sagrada Familia: Do not miss this! It’s not one of those tourist attractions that is so hyped up that sometimes it is a let down to see it in person. It’s better than you can imagine. It doesn’t matter what your religious views are this building is spectacular. The sheer size and colours are mesmerising and I thought unicorns might appear any second. A tip here: you really do want to book in advance. I suggest going to Tiqets (we always use them). Tickets are £13.17 to skip the line. Another tip is to wander across the street of the main entrance to the pond (walk towards the public toilets). It’s a great spot for a lovely photo opportunity, especially in Spring. I was there alone for a few minutes and being away from the crowds really made me appreciate this majestic building even more.
- Beachfront: This reminded us so much of our home town Cape Town. A lovely stretch to walk with tonnes of spots to stop for a drink or satisfy your craving for some seafood. If you don’t mind a bit of a walk then we recommend starting at the end of Las Rambla and walking all the way to the beach starting from the harbour.
- Eating: Gin and seafood! Honestly, not a single restaurant, coffee shop or bar we went to was a disappointment. The prices are very fair, especially for the quantity and quality that you get. We recommend being safe and using TripAdvisor to search for restaurants ‘near me now’. What we loved about Barcelona is that we didn’t have to walk far to find a top restaurant, which meant we didn’t have to follow a strict itinerary – our kind of holiday.
- Shopping in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona: This area is filled with trendy stores, but not massively overpriced. You’ll find lots of local designers and I bought a gorgeous ring as unique as the city itself. The gothic buildings in itself are a must-see in Barcelona and there are a number of amazing restaurants and bars in the area to take a break while shopping. Read more about the shops in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter here.
- Bicycle tour through Barcelona with Cruising Barcelona: There are a number of tours to choose from but we can’t recommend Cruising Barcelona enough. First, the bicycles were so, so dreamy. Secondly, it was an affordable private tour so we could ask as many questions (and stop as often) as we wanted. Without this tour, we would not have seen nearly as much of Barcelona as we did. The tour was €29 per person (we were four people in our group) and with a five-star rating on Tripadvisor you don’t just have to take our word for it. Contact them here.
Barcelona is an incredible city with so much culture and the best people. We will certainly be going back soon.
Before we go one last thing…Remember to go with an empty stomach because #tapas4life!