This was my second trip to Barcelona and it was a heck of a lot better than the first time around. For starters, I actually saw the place. My first trip was on a Contiki tour and in the midst of being tired or hungover or both, I don’t remember seeing a whole lot. I learnt this time that Barcelona is a vibrant, bustling and cultured city that is up there with one of the absolute best I have ever experienced. If you are on your way to Barcelona or thinking about a trip, keep on reading for my top tips.
Where to stay in Barcelona?
We arrived in Barcelona and opted for a taxi, which took around 30 minutes for us to arrive in front of our hotel, the H10 Montcado, located in the heart of the Gothic Quarter. The location was fabulous, the hotel is well priced and the rooms, whilst not overly spacious, are clean and modern.
In my books, a real draw card for any hotel is a roof top, preferably a roof top with a bar and this hotel has a great one, where you can enjoy a cocktail and soak up views of the city. The buffet breakfast, whilst overly expensive is really good…champagne and orange juice is on offer…need I say more?
The views from the H10 Montcado hotel, Barcelona
Where to eat in Barcelona?
Barcelona obviously screams Tapas pretty loudly and you will be sure to find it on every street corner. My biggest piece of advice is to do your research and be wary of tourist tapas which in my experience is expensive and not overly authentic or good for that matter. Despite this, Barcelona has some serious taste sensations that make me want to fly that 24 hours all over again tomorrow.
Tapas at Canete. To really delight your taste buds with Tapas, Canete is definitely worth a visit. It’s busy (very busy), the waiters are hilarious and the selection of gourmet tapas was unreal. The spicy meatball and green beans are a must order. This one is really popular, so I suggest trying to book ahead.
A few of the fabulous dishes we tried at Canete washed down with their take on the Sangria.
Alsur Café. I really liked this little café and the food was really yummy and well priced. We chose to have a selection of the tapas and a burger to share, which were both great. The fresh fruit juices are an absolute must on a summer’s day.
Flax & Kale. Situated in a must see part of town, El Raval, this spot is the conscious eaters dream. It’s a really cool restaurant with some fabulous decor and you get the feeling this is where the healthy cool people would eat. Whilst providing healthy eats and yummy juices, the freshly made pizza was something else.
Paella at Colom. A trip to Spain isn’t really complete without enjoying excessive amounts of this traditional rice dish. Grab a jug of Sangria and wash it down at Colom Restaurant.
The Paella and Sangria we seriously couldn’t get enough of from Colom Restaurant
The streets of Barcelona are oh so photogenic! We enjoyed strolling around and enjoying all of the sights
Gelato. If you need a sightseeing pit stop or an after dinner delight, a visit to the Gelarto Rosa has to be on your radar. The ice creams are truly a work of art, totally Instagram worthy and delicious. I also popped next door to Spritz and enjoyed grabbing a take-away Aperol Spritz to wander the streets and enjoy the afternoon sun. Both of these spots are located in my favourite part of the city, the Gothic Quarter.
A well deserved pitstop after a full day of sightseeing
Coffee. If coffee is your drug, I have the place for you. Nomad Coffee was a little speciality coffee house we tracked down in the best side street lined with gastronomic delights. The coffee was just as enjoyable as watching the baristas make it (you will know what I mean after a visit or three).
Breakfast. At Milk, the portions are big, delicious and well-priced. I had the pancakes which were amazing, whilst my dining partners enjoyed the Eggs Benedict which they said was also a damn good brekky. However, most mornings we just grabbed a croissant or baguette to go with an orange juice. When in Europe, do as the Europeans do.
The gals at Nomad definitely make coffee look like a work of art. It was awesome to just sit, relax and enjoy
What to see & do
Day 1 Itinerary
Park Guell. This is a beautiful park that provides a peaceful stroll, stunning views of the city whilst showcasing some of Barcelona’s best architecture. My top tip: Buy your ticket prior to going and try to book an 8am session to avoid crowds. The park is quite a long walk from the city centre so I suggest grabbing an Uber to the park and enjoying a relaxing stroll back into the centre. There are so many gorgeous streets, boutiques, bakeries and coffee shops to peak into along the way.
Passeig de Gracia. On the walk back from Park Guell, you can stroll along one of the best avenues in Barcelona. Here you will find designer brands, high street shopping as well as unique local and Spanish designers. You may also stumble across some of the most famous architectural buildings such as Casa Battlo and Casa Amatller.
Placa Reial. A super insta worthy court yard surrounded by bustling cafes and restaurants. It’s a short walk from La Rumbla.
La Rumbla. A visit to Barcelona is not complete without walking this famous street. Meander on down and don’t forget to stop into La Bouqeria which is a large public market which has a huge colourful display of delicious juices and fruit to enjoy for a mid-day pit stop.
The stunning views from Park Guell
Walking the streets on our way back into town from Park Guell
Placa Reial. A cool square full of restaurants. Definitely worth a visit or two.
This market is the absolute best for some of the most authentic Spanish food you will find.
Day 2 Itinerary
Passeig del Colom. Wander down this gorgeous palm tree lined avenue for a few photos and a relaxing stroll.
Catedral Gotica Barcelona & Gothic Quarter. This cathedral is definitely worth a look and is located in the best spot in Barcelona (in my opinion anyway), the Gothic Quarter. The best part about the Gothic Quarter is just being a tourist and walking the streets exploring with no real agenda.
Hotel 1898. After a full day sightseeing, grab the best sangria I tasted in Barcelona upon the rooftop of this beautiful hotel. Sip on this delicious drink, bask in the sun and take in the views of this diverse city.
Passeig del Colom was such a beautiful spot along the water
This was a beautiful building across the road from our hotel
Day 3 Itinerary
Famigilia Sagrada. Sadly the travel blogs I came across failed to mention you need to book tickets to enter the church prior to the day you decide to go. There are specific times allotted to tickets and they will most likely be sold out until hours after you have arrived, so best to buy a ticket online prior to going. I would suggest booking the earliest ticket you can to avoid large crowds. Even if you don’t fancy going inside, just looking at this structure from the street is pretty freaking cool.
Palau de la Musica. Whilst you can stroll past this building and enjoy it’s beauty and architectural prowess from the street, I thoroughly enjoyed a guided tour. You can also snap this insta famous shot below (I am a sucker for an Instagram shot…shock).
El Raval. This a really cool part of town. Again, wandering the streets is a must. You can wander through the streets on the way to Sagrada if walking is your thang. This was where we came across so many great eateries.
Palau de la Musica was one of my favourite spots to visit, where we enjoyed a guided tour
Arc de Triomf. No, I’m not confused with another famous city that also has a very similar looking structure. This structure may be Paris’ poorer cousin, but still worth a walk to visit to enjoy the street performers, markets and general tourist hustle bustle.
A Barcelona Game. My dad is an avid soccer fan and it was fathers day, so naturally I had bought tickets to a game. Something not everyone would think to do, but it was no doubt one of my favourite memories from the trip. A great atmosphere to grab a beer and watch the famous Messi work his magic. The stadium is super easy to get to via metro and it is only a 25 minute journey (15 min metro + 10 min walking) to the stadium from the city centre.
Top Tip. We pretty much walked the entire city from our hotel room each day. If we were a little tired out in the heat, we found an Uber was the best way to go. The metro is also super easy to use.
Famigilia Sagrada. Need I say more about this ridiculously cool landmark.
Does thing guy look familiar….it is Barcelona’s version of the Arc de Triomf
Some more stunning shots inside Palau de la Musica
Finding adorable spots strolling around the streets of Barcelona