Friday, 18 July 2014

In Barcelona

If you're the sort of person who likes a soundtrack to their reading, might I suggest George Ezra's Barcelona while you skim through this?

SO. Barcelona!! It was amazing. Honestly, it's such a wonderful city- if you're looking for somewhere not too terribly far from the UK to explore for a few days, I'd certainly recommend it (though first, go to Guernsey. And then Paris. And perhaps a few other places. But still- Barcelona is well up there).

First- logistics!

Mama and I stayed at the NH Calderon- and I would certainly recommend it. Friendly, just luxurious enough, and just a tiny walk from the top of La Rambla, the only time we got the metro was to go to Park Guell and then back down to the beach. The metro is so easy, too- though we decided it was easier to get a taxi in from the airport to the hotel (which cost around 25 euros each way). We did, however, feel that breakfast was wildly overpriced, so didn't pay for it- instead, we bought water and fruit from Carrefour, and popped into one of the many patisseries on Rambla de Catalunya each morning.

We drank a lot of sangria. We ate tapas and paella and montaditos. We walked, and explored, and visited, and shopped, and got a little Gaudi-ed out- but it was so, so worth it.

So- my top tips for Barcelona:

- On a Sunday, make your way to Placa del Pi, and explore around the farmers' market and artists' market- then make sure you're in front of the Cathedral (Placa Nova) to watch the locals dancing in the square. It sounds twee- it isn't. It's wonderful.

- If you don't have time to visit all the Gaudi sites, give La Pedrera a miss. The chimneys (pictured) really are wonderful, it's true- but inside the building is a disappointment, compared to Casa Batllo. 

- Always get the audio tour. They really do add so much to your trip, I swear to god.

- Whatever you do, book to go to Sagrada Familia. Don't be a mug stuck in the queue. Book online, skip around to the Nativity facade, show them your ticket on your phone, and feel like the smuggest person on the planet.

- Get the furnicular railway up to Montjuic, and get the cable car to the top- then walk back down to the furnicular. Real haven in the city- beautiful, and relatively few tourists. Another great picnic spot.

- Gabriel in Placeta del Pi does some of the best calamari I've ever tried- and great cheap red wine too.

- Keep an eye on your bag. We didn't have any trouble at all, actually- other than the moron street performer who tried to look up my skirt and made me cry- but everyone says it, and it's better to be safe than sorry.

- Park Guell is well worth the trip- take a picnic, and spend some time. Despite what Lonely Planet says, you will now have to pay to get into the monument section- so go early, get your ticket, and do that first before exploring and chilling in the rest of the park.

I may go into a bit more detail about some of what we did at a later date, but for now? Think that's the bare bones. It was a wonderful, wonderful trip. 

Tell me. Have you been to Barcelona? Where should I visit next? I'm thinking Copenhagen. Or maybe a spot of Greek island hopping...


  1. Aww lovely post post. I was in Barcelona over Easter and I loved it, I really wish I could go back, it is one of my favourite cities (I am ashamed to admit I do not like Paris so much). My next city escape is Bruges in November which I am pretty excited about!

  2. I'm so looking forward to going back to Barcelona in September. I loved it so much last year. We're going when there's a huge national holiday on September 11th so the atmosphere is amazing! This year is the 300th anniversary as well!
    We are staying for 5 nights this year so hope to fit in some of the sights as last year we avoided the touristy things and stayed in the old part - El Born.
    Escape to the Westcountry

  3. You fit a lot into your trip!! Beautiful pictures Alice.
    Next on our list is Berlin which I hear is pretty incredible and still not over popular i.e. over priced! Or Amsterdam which we both quite fancy cycling about for a bit.
    M x Life Outside London

  4. Looks like you had a great time! I was in Barcelona only for a day with my school, so I didn't get to see much, but what I saw was lovely. I'd love to go back!

    xx Mimmi, Muted Mornings

  5. I have very fond memories of Barcelona. It's such a beautiful relaxed city! I loved wandering down La Rambla to the Boqueria market. Also, taking trips to the beach in the morning then relaxing with a plate of calamari and patatas bravas at lunch. Beautiful city! Try Sweden next? I hear it's gorgeous.

    Saskia /

  6. That calamari....yes please! Drooling! Hmmm I would recommend Copenhagen, but we were there in the dead of winter so it would be a rather different city with a river (we thought it was a frozen park!). If you do some Greek Island hopping, avoid Corfu, it's not in the best state!!! xx

  7. It looks wonderful!! The pictures are gorgerous - so much Gaudi!!
    I would highly recommend Copenhagen for your next trip. It's a historic, beautiful, charming, cultural, dynamic (I could go on..) city.
    But of course I'm baised, growing up here. :)

  8. Oh wow this looks amazing! I'm bookmarking it and adding noting some of this down in my notebook! So many places to go! The markets sound perfect i love that kinda thing! My parents went years ago and I still haven't forgiven them for leaving me behind :P xo
    amber love

  9. Really lovely tips - Barca is the best! The Casa Batllo interior really is unforgettable. Hope you post more about your trip! Definitely give Copenhagen a go, it's just such a cool city (I went in the winter and it was so beautiful!) I'm off to east Turkey next and wish someone would blog some tips on the area like you have!

    Tamsin xx | A Certain Adventure

  10. I went to Barcelona for the first time last month and fell in love with it! Such a fantastic city - I'd definitely go back. Your first pic looks exactly like the street where our apartment was, and I'm sorry to have missed the locals dancing in the square! Something to look out for next time :)

  11. Love these pictures! Barcelona is one of my favourite European cities because it's got the perfect mix of beach/culture/food/anything else you could ever want. I want to check out Copenhagen too but I can also recommend Tallinn, Estonia if you want something a little unconventional (although I went in January and it was almost UNBEARABLY cold!)


  12. Looks fantastic! I'd love to go to Barcelona, but am keen to see Paris as my next big city! Your photos look great, despite the tale of the sick skirt guy BOO HIM. I hope you made many happy memories x

  13. The other day, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a twenty five foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!black travel


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