During my hiatus I was traveling a lot, mainly for work, but as you already know I still managed to enjoy my trips to the fullest. Before my work trip to London, I visited for 4 days a high school friend who lives in Barcelona and I’m so glad I made the decision of traveling to this beautiful city.
It was my first time in Spain; I had only been in Madrid last year for a layover before Venice, hence it didn’t count as I visited the country. Let me start by saying that Barcelona is BEAUTIFUL (yes, I said it again because it is worth saying it twice). It´s a modern city that still maintains its history through its ancient architecture and preserves its culture so lively that you can sense it in the air.
Barcelona is Catalonia’s capital city and Spain’s second largest city, you can only imagine how much it has to offer to its visitors. Since my trip was too short to actually get to know everything, I did some sightseeing that I recommend you to do if you visit.
- La Sagrada Familia, a stunning catholic church designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaud. Also a couple of blocks away, there are small souvenirs shops, I recommend buying there rather than The Rambla.
- The Triumph Arc, is an arch in the manner of a memorial, built as the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas. It’s located in the Ciutadella Park
- The Rambla, is a 1.2 kilometers boulevard located in the heart of the city center, filled with shops, restaurants, and more. Here I made a stop to get some churros, do yourself a favor and try them! (dip your churros in a creamy hot chocolate cup…heaven!)
- The Barca stadium and museum, you don’t need to be a super soccer fanatic to visit one of the most visited landmarks in the city. The Camp Nou has been the FC Barcelona stadium for over 57 years. You can visit the museum, the field where Messi and Neymar play defending its team, and even get tickets to watch one of the games. If you want to splurge you can buy the original team jerseys here.
- The Barceloneta, located in the neighborhood of Ciutat Vella built in the 18th The neighborhood is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea. Here you will find restaurants, bars, shops, etc.
I should warn you that the food over there is SO GOOD, you may want to stay forever only to indulge yourself on their traditional cuisine.
On my first night I visited Taller de Tapas, a popular taperia located in an adjacent neighborhood close to the Rambla (they have more than one location). The place has a nice terrace surrounded by narrow streets and ancient architecture; you feel that you were taken back in time. Here I had a tapas feast and a good Spanish wine. The food was to die for, huevos estrellados, octopus, ham, hash browns, croquetas, etc. The best thing is that you can seat at the terrazas (which is outside sitting of the restaurants), enjoy your delicious food and wine, while listening to street musicians and enjoy the warm weather.
Another place I recommend you to visit is the Paella restaurants at the Barceloneta. I went to Cal Pinxo, a very nice restaurant overlooking the ocean. For appetizers we got fried calamari and of course a good Spanish wine (I think I overindulge in wine in this trip but, oh well, it was worth it). For entrée we shared a seafood paella, it was DELICIOUS, hands down, the best Paella I have ever had.
At night, people mostly go for dinner with friends and then head to a local bar or lounge. I was there the night of Halloween and I was surprised on how many foreigners were in town. I went to the W hotel rooftop, Eclipse, which is located at one end of La Barceloneta and is well known for its summer parties. I didn´t stay there so long because I felt I was in New York, I wanted to enjoy the local parties. We went to two other clubs that were by the beach, they were nice but they were overcrowd so we decided to head over other part of the town, far away from the Barceloneta. Unfortunately when we got to the clubs the locals go, it was already too late, around 3am.
On my last day, we went for happy hour drinks around La Barceloneta at a local bar named MajaMaja, which had good electro music and was actually celebrating MOVEMBER, so they shaped up men´s beards for free. Here we had tasty cocktails for a very reasonable price, and we were able to meet locals and other travelers. Definitely a good spot to go after an afternoon in the area.
Barcelona is definitely on my MUST GO BACK PLACES list, the time I spent there was too short but I felt I did took advantage of my time the best I could.
Have you guys been to Barcelona? Where did you go?
Ps: I encourage to stop at a local bakery (they are everywhere!) and try a Berlina, they are similar to doughnuts, but way better!