Barcelona / by Cinthia Contreras

Here I’m back in Europe, I’m getting addicted to it!

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The initial idea was to visit Barcelona, Madrid and Portugal in the lapse of one week!! that would have been a terrible idea if you are planning on having a nice and relaxed vacation, like I was. I’m incredibly active when traveling and like to do it all but also the idea of vacation is to be able to rest and no rush. Making the decision of concentrating only in Barcelona was difficult but I’m glad I decided to listen. This city it’s too rich to absorb it in 2 days.

Barcelona is surrounded by mountains and it has the beach super close by, so whatever your preference of ecosystem is, Barcelona is there to please it. If you like to chill and drink, there is hundreds of restaurants with amazing food, if you love biking and hiking, the mountains are properly accommodate it to do so, if you like water sports you have the option as well. We even had surfing classes in our itinerary but it was still too cold even though it is April and anyway the season was off, so we concentrated in mountains tours and city life. We did go to barceloneta, walked around and end up having drinks at the rooftop of W hotel.

Here the breakdown:

Barceloneta

Day 1:

I arrived to the hotel but my room wasn’t ready so I had to take off to my tour to La Pedrera sleepless. I booked ahead to skip the line and make sure I can get in, so I will suggest you to do that, I booked with the app Get Your Guide, I used this app in Dubai as well. After visiting this house, we took a shopping break at Uno de 50, and then a coffee break, and then a lunch break and wine break, and then walked to La Sagrada Familia, booked ahead as well.

La Pedrera and La Sagrada Familia

Day 2:

My friend abandoned me for this tour jaja. I booked ahead using the same app. Horse riding and then a funicular ride all the way up to the monastery of Monserrat. The tour lasted a bit more than five hours. I absolutely loved this tour, a must do if you are not afraid of horses and heights, both can be very frightening but liberating. Later in the day we walked to La Rambla, Plaza Cataluña and Mercat de la Boquería, if you go there try the coconut ice cream from the shop in front of the chocolaterie, it worth every calorie.

Monserrat and La Boqueria Mecat

Day 3:

Time for Parc Guell (booked ahead), there we had breakfast, took a lot of pictures and walked around, Gaudí sense of details and creativity are transcendental. After this we took a stroll around that part of town and then took the train to barceloneta.

Day 4:

We switched hotels! Yey beyond happy with our new residence! Perfectly but dangerously located for two shopaholics, at Passeig de Grácia, all the designers. shops are around this area, not to mention all the chic and sophisticated restaurants. Alexandra Hotel is hotel boutique part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. After settling down, we decided to walk to Plaza Espanya to catch the bus that took us to Montjuic and take the funicular to enjoy the incredible view offered, again my friend left me by myself, scared of the heights. After my 15 minutes ride I meet with her again and walked around the mountain and the castle.

Note: Miró museum is around this area, we didn’t go but if you are interested now you know you can plan both adventures the same day.

On our way back to find food, we made a stop at the Pandora store located at the Arena mall to get my Spain charm.

That night since we were in a better area we decided to go out! Just to find out that Spanish nights don’t last long. Restaurants close early and you don’t find many bars open after 11 PM.

We were about to call it the night but, by some kind of miracle we saw a group of people in one the many alleys Barcelona have, decided to get closer and bingo! We found a super cool bar called Boca Chica, nice cocktails, nice ambiance and nice crowd, but pricey so if you are on a budget it might not be the best option.

Day 5:

That morning I took a tour to Casa Batlló, another Gaudí masterpiece, located in the center of the city. The house belonged to the industrialist Josep Batlló and his family.

I brought the ticket ahead with audio guide included, you wouldn’t want to miss any piece of information about the construction and history of this remarkable house. It took me around one hour to do this tour.

We dedicated that afternoon to Tibidabo! We took the train and the bus to get there! It can be a little freighting because you have to switch a few times but its easy and you get to the town in less than 20 minutes.

After you reach certain point you get off the bus and take the funicular or Tramvia Blau, but they were both closed that day, they had buses available to take people up, and the cost was 12 euros.

 This town is gorgeous, beautiful mansions, trees and streets. But the best part is up in the mountain; Tibidabo is the tallest mountain in the Serra de Collserola. Rising sharply to the northwest, it has views over the city and the surrounding coastline.

The summit of the mountain is occupied by the Sagrat Cor Church and adjacent Tibidabo Amusement Park. The Torre de Collserola telecommunications tower is a short walk away. All three are prominently visible from most of the city of Barcelona. Designed by Enric Sagnier, the church took 60 years to construct and is topped by a sculpture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Josep Miret Llopart.

Day 6:

This was the day we separated for surfing, TOO COLD no thank you! The night before looking on the app for another tour we found a 45 minutes boat ride around Port Vell for $7 dollars so we booked it. We again decided to take the 35 minutes walk from the hotel to the meeting point. I rather walk to places most of the time as long as is a safe city or area because is a good way to see and experience the town, you always see something new and interesting.

After our boat ride, we took a long and amazing walk around the Gothic Quarter! OH MY, this part of town is so interesting, it has a decadent artistic nostalgic vibe, almost like you are in another dimension. The buildings are so close to each other that you can literally jump from one balcony to the other, loaded with shops from local designers, galleries that worth a walk in and little alleys that lead you to more and more beauty.



 Day 7:

The plan was to go to the coastal town of Sitges and then Picasso museum, but we didn’t, that day we decided to use it/waste it, to sit down like two marmots in a restaurant in Passeig de Grácia, enjoy a delicious seafood paella and sip wine the whole afternoon. And at night… Back to Boca Chica to celebrate our last night in interesting Barcelona.

 Things to watch out!

You are a tourist and they know it! Check you bills at restaurants or anywhere, even in pandora we had the sales representative making people buy kits to be able to buy a charm, which at the moment as a pandora customer sounded stupid but I wanted my charm so I bought the box, but angry because I knew something wasn’t right so I went back to the store two days later to find out what was going on because online you didn’t need to buy the box and no you didn’t, she just scammed me and the store didn’t have the decency to return my money back. We had a few incidents like that so be alert!