Barcelona is one of those places that takes you by surprise, the energy, the depth of culture and the passion for life, art, sport and love are not to be missed.
This is one of the craziest cities I have ever been to. Much like NYC, it is a city that never sleeps but there is a culture, a depth and a community that comes with the European lifestyle that gives Barcelona a gravitas unlike any other.
We flew in from Nice, France for around US$100.00 each and it took about an hour. You can catch the train or fly in from multiple cities. With two days, you will want to get into the city quickly, the most reasonable and fastest way is to take a taxi. Make sure you get in the actual cab line at the airport for safety reasons rather than accept a ride from someone who approaches you. The trip will cost around €25.00.
There is plenty of accommodation ranging from hostels through to exquisite boutique hotels depending on what you are looking for. We decided to stay in the center of town near Catalonia Square as we like to walk around any city we visit. Do try to book in advance during peak seasons and over weekends.
D A Y O N E
Hop on and hop off bus
We ventured out across Catalonia Square and bought a ticket for the Barcelona Bus Touristic. This is a great hop on / hop off open top bus service. It’s USD$30.00 per day or $41.00 for 48 hours (prices vary with the exchange rate) and you can buy tickets for as many days as you wish. It is well worth the cost as it takes you around to all of the tourist stops. There are three lines to choose from so you don’t feel that you are stuck. The service is fast, reliable and regular. It provides headphones and a running commentary in a variety of languages.
The ticket also includes a discount voucher booklet so try to get your tickets the day before to take advantage of discounts on entry to the attractions around the city. You can also buy them on the day at small stalls near the bus stops. Further information and maps are available on their website….
Due to the number of tourists who visit the city every year many attractions have a ticketing system. You can go online and book your tickets and time slots to make the most of your time.
Don’t make the mistake we did, book early to make sure that you get in the first time. You can go online and book your tickets otherwise you will be waiting in queues for hours trying to get in. We actually had to come back the following day for a few of the sites because we did not buy tickets in advance. Official tickets are available here http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/tickets/
This majestic basilica is awesome. It is the masterpiece of the famous Catalan Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudi. His quirky dream-like style is unlike anything you have ever seen. Photos of this building do not do this building justice and it is a must-see in Barcelona.
We grabbed a delicious ham and cheese toasted baguette and sat in the park opposite the beautiful Basilica to take in the exterior.
Food is one of the best parts about Barcelona but make sure you book in some dedicated time for a long dinner or long lunch as you want to spend a few hours either a lunch or a dinner soaking in the city, eating tapa and sipping on some Spanish wine or sangria. Advisor is always a great way of finding something with a bit of flair close to where you are.
Get back on the bus and head toward the Park Guell. This again is a site you will want to book a ticket for. The park was originally built as an oasis for the wealthy. It is a true example of Modernism. Here you can see some of Gaudi’s signatures such as his color palate and ergonomic designs, you can even take a tour of his house and his humble bedroom!
Give yourself a few hours to wander around this magnificent site.
Then jump back on the bus and head down to the dock and take a wander along the water before heading back to your hotel to freshen up before dinner at one of the many restaurants scattered around the city. Do try the sea food, it is amazing.
D A Y T W O
Get back on the bus and ride through the city to…
FC Barcelona Stadium and Museum Tour
This famous stadium is the largest in Europe with a capacity of 99,000. It is the home of 23 League titles and an amazing five Champions league crowns. You can take a tour of the area for around US$27.00 per adult and US$22.00 for kids. The tour allows you to skip the line into the museum and gives you a tour of the tunnel and locker room where you can go where the players go!
The bus stops right out the front and picks up here too, when you have finished at the stadium get back on the bus and head to …
Museu Nacional D’Art De Catalunya
I am a huge art lover so will find any art gallery I can when traveling but this one is brilliant. The layout, the range of Spanish art and the flow of the museum is just spectacular.
Gaudi features of course but there is also range from Medieval art through to modern masterpieces.
Make sure you walk through the auditorium at the back of the building, there is a stunning organ that features in a beautifully lit room.
Head back to the center of town to get into the real nightlife of Barcelona, wandering through the streets. Las Ramblas is the main artery from which the rabbit warrens of streets where the art culture thrives begin.
Stop for a glass of wine and a traditional Pan Con Tomatte, the fresh and delicious tapa of garlic tomato paste and crunchy bread.
Make sure you make multiple foods stops for dinner, the streets are filled with great little tapas stops and you can really feel like you are living the local lifestyle as you eat and drink your way into the night.
Forty-eight hours are not really enough in Barcelona, there is so much to see but if you only have the weekend it is definitely a place that cannot be missed.
If you are traveling to London anytime soon. Try our favourite breakfast spot.