Getting away from familiar surroundings and a busy workload to experience a new city can help give a bit of perspective on life.
Step in Barcelona. The vibrant Spanish city has been on my bucket list for a while and is the perfect balance of culture, beach and history. In just over two hours, you’ll be hot-footing it in the beautiful town that has an array of galleries, beautiful sites and food to behold.
Here are some of my favourite spots in the city. I’ve even highlighted some healthy food stops if you want to balance out the cava and tapas.
Culture and History
Three nights was enough to give a great snapshot of the culture in the city. If I can recommend getting to one gallery on your trip, it’s the Museu Picasso. A wonderful mix of Pablo Picasso’s old and newer work is displayed (his newer more abstract pieces is my favourite era).
Parc De La Ciutadella is a stunning park on the north-eastern edge of Barcelona. Following its creation in the mid-19th century, this park was originally the city’s only green space. With beautiful bright flowers, it’s well worth a stroll around the small lake, museums and large fountain designed by Josep Fontserè. The 70 acres also includes the city zoo (once home to the albino gorilla Snowflake who sadly passed away in 2004).
The beach is vast, and I made it a mission to walk from one end to the other to discover some of the gems, beachside. This is a perfect way of finding restaurants with a view and working off the holiday ice cream.
It’s hard to find a bad meal in Spain, and enjoyed some delicious, seafood while there. Fresh Lobster is a must and of course, you can’t go to Spain without eating a good Paella. Just be warned that most places only serve Paella for a minimum of two people. The only place I found that did serve single portions, perfect for those who aren’t fishy fans was La Gavina and it was stunning.
Plaça Reial is a square in the Barri Gòtic of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and well worth a visit. It lies next to La Rambla and constitutes as a well-known touristic attraction, especially at night.
Les Quinze Nits in the square, is perfect for lunch and dinner. However, people queue out to the square for some time to be seated for dinner (a sign of a popular joint!) so arrive early. I had lunch here which is a lovely spot for people watching over a coffee and light lunch.
The menu is fresh, modern and has a good mix of healthy and more indulgent meals. My Quinoa and tuna salad was one of the best meals on my trip!
La Terrassa del DO, a stunning boutique hotel, overlooking the square and restaurant is also a good shout.
Barcelona’s food is fresh, tasty cuisine full of fresh fish is already pretty health. However, if you crave a juice fix when away then check these little gems out.
Juice bar: Press & Reset
Art buffs and raw foodies: Blueproject – El Café
The main attractions are very close to each other, so walking around the city is the perfect way to explore. I knew if off by hand after three days and went back to some favourite places. Their Metro is also very efficient if you want to head out a little further.
From The Airport
You can pick up taxi’s easily at the airport when you arrive, however, the Aerobus is just a 35-minute trip straight into the city at just euros. It’s also pretty regular, so save your pennies for some lovely meals out.
Where To Stay
There are plenty of hotels and apartments with roof top pools in Barcelona, and in peak season I would recommend staying somewhere with that option. The W Hotel, is, of course, a bit of an iconic hotel and landmark in Barcelona, and a good shout for an evening drink. But if you want something less obvious and cliched then check out Trivago for some bargains on hotels.
My love affair for Airbnb continues and I stayed in a lovely central apartment in the old town; that was a good distance to the museums and the beach. Just be warned that a lot of those old buildings aren’t very sound-proof so if you’re staying in the old town take ear plugs! The town parties the whole night through.
Barcelona airport is served by Easyjet and other airlines.