Earlier this month, I went to Barcelona, Spain for six days. In short, it was great eating tons of jamon and tapas, drinking sangria and wine , and exploring the city by foot. Six days was not long enough since I didn’t get a chance to explore the old Arenas, now shopping mall. While we caught a flamenco show, we did not attend a game. The night we flew in was a game that Barcelona won (the streets were probably so crazy, but would’ve been a great experience!) Bullfights were banned in 2012… so head over to Madrid.
My favorite things:
Things I Recommend:
- Sagrada Familia [ticketed] – this is a beautifully church designed by Gaudi that is still in the process of being built by many different architects. We bought the basic ticket and realized when we were inside that the “Panoramic Views” ticket included the elevator ride to the top. An extra 14€… and we even considered rebuying a ticket XD
- Casa Batllo [ticketed] – this house, designed by Gaudi, made me wonder how someone can live in something like this! It’s very artistic and can be a bit wonky. This attraction came with a free guided audio tour on an Android device… and headphones they do not clean after being returned
- Park Guell – the mosaic portion is ticketed, however, the garden is free. It was a bit underwhelming once we got inside. There was a separate line (45 min wait) for the little exhibit. The park itself is very well maintained
- Tapas24 [Yelp] – this was my favorite tapas experience in Barcelona. They had this amazing boneless kimchi chicken wings and the pork ribs…
- Wine Tour – this 6-7 bus tour was fun! 45 minutes away and we stopped at Jean Leon winery. Then we went to Torres, the biggest vineyard in the area and had a wine and cheese tasting class. The last stop was Freixenet, which was by far, the best tour we’ve ever been on (beats Napa Valley). Although I am not a big fan of bubbly wine (and I was totally buzzed once we arrived), it was enjoyable
- Boqueria Market – go buy some fresh produce, juices, and try the cherimoya fruit!
Quick Travel Guide:
- Credit card is accepted in most places. We only had 300€ in cash
- Anything you find on Yelp will definitely be from tourists, or people that moved to Barcelona
- Taxi is cheap. From Park Guell to L’Eixample was about $11 (a 20 minute ride). Cab drivers have their own credit card machine and it is registered to their name (so if you look at your statement and see random names, that’s it!)
- Most restaurants open at 10 AM and it will be tough to find anything open at 7 AM or 8 AM (if you have an early flight). If you want to travel like a local, eat lunch at 3 PM and dinner at 9 PM
- There are a ton of daily menu specials if you have no idea what you want to eat for the day
- Restrooms have separate stalls for women and men. The stall doors go all the way down to the floor. I was taken aback at the first venue we went to. The sewage/ventilation also isn’t the best, but it’s not terrible
Fun Barcelona Facts:
- They speak a different language, called Catalan, similar to Spanish. Many people hang an independent Catalan flag (blue triangle on top of the Barcelona yellow and red stripes) since they are trying to break out of Spain. This is unlikely as they are the #1 revenue generator for the country
- During festivals, there are human towers (castellers). We didn’t get a chance to see this since there were no festivals or holidays that week
- Biking is a great mode of transportation. There are bike lanes and bike traffic lights. We signed up for a wine and biking tour and it did not feel dangerous (except when we crossed 5 lanes)
If you’re a fan of Airbnb (sign up for $27 free), I would suggest reading the reviews and mapping out where you want to go before booking. We stayed in Gothic Quarters, which was lively day and night, but it was kinda sketchy at times with a lot of alleyways (this is the New Yorker speaking, since alleyways = dangerous in NYC).
Here is a Google Maps of most of the places we visited: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1PY1t9I5PrvTlYZmPnBpw2wIQLY8&usp=sharing