It’s been one week since we flew back from Barcelona! I feel like it was just last year when we were trying to decide where we should meet-up and have a European adventure. Originally it was Paris, then we decided to branch out, finally landing on fabulous Barcelona.
I don’t think we could have picked a more perfect place. We enjoyed ourselves so much and took every advantage of being outside as we could. Thanks to Jess, we stayed in a fabulous location with the best little rooftop bar we could imagine… we definitely recommend it. Just walking around near our hotel we saw so many beautiful pieces of the city, with Gaudi’s architecture brimming everywhere you looked.
After weeks of research, talking to friends, looking up things online, we hardly scratched the surface of what Barcelona has to offer. I think we tried to go to at least five different museums, all of which were either closed or the lines were incredibly long. However, that made us only do more imaginative things, for example, we went to the first night of the World Swimming Championships!
So, instead of a Barcelona guide, I’ve put together the top ten things from our trip in no particular order. There’s a few photos here, but you can check out all the photos here and also additional photos on our instagram feed if you missed it.
1. A huge highlight of our trip was Parc Güell. lt was hot, hot, hot when we were walking around but fantastic. Looking back through my photos of the trip I can’t believe we were actually there. It’s worth walking up as high as you can as well (Jess and I were sweaty but you’re going to be sweaty in the middle of summer no matter what). I would love to go back either at sunrise or sunset, because this place was just too beautiful.
2. Another very famous Gaudi work is the Sagrada Familia, a must-see if you’re in Barcelona. Please, if you are going BOOK ONLINE. It seems that you can wait in line all day for tickets, and I’m so thankful when we arrived that we decided to quickly book on Ticketmaster for the last tour of the day. This freed us up to see a few more places in Barcelona and I was really happy we got to spend time seeing a lot of the city. For the church, evening was the perfect time (at around 7pm) and the light in the church was just spectacular.
3. The food! Every night we planned to go to certain places for dinner as lots of friends, co-workers, etc. gave us recommendations for places to eat. I can’t think of a single place we didn’t like and we had such a fun time going out to dinner and drinks. The tapas were delicious, the sangria was wonderful and I don’t really think you can go wrong eating in this city. A few highlights that we would definitely recommend include Da Greco, Velodromo, Cerveceria and Dry Martini.
4. The sea was the perfect way to cool off. Saturday, we took an hour train ride out to Sitges. We were happy we got there early to rent a few chairs and an umbrella, as the beach quickly filled up with people. The water was gorgeous and the perfect temperature, and we were saying we could have spent an entire week eating and drinking there! On our last day, Jess and I rented stand-up paddle boards (just €10/hr!). I think this was one of my favourite activities, even if I could hardly stay standing. The best way to beat the afternoon heat (when everyone else siestas) was definitely the ocean.
5. Montjuïc is definitely worth spending some time in if you’re in Barcelona. It’s a little mountain situated just above Barcelona, offering the most beautiful views of the city. Again, we could have done several things here but we just ran out of time! We ventured over here Sunday afternoon in hopes to see the Fundació Joan Miró, but unfortunately it was closed. There’s also a cable car that is meant to be fantastic and there’s the Spanish Village offering little shops and restaurants I would have loved to check out. However, we were just in time for the World Swimming Championships. The water village was great to hang out in, drinking wine and eating tapas until the swimming started. This was such an experience, especially as Jess and I swam competitively since we were six-years-old!
6. On the way home from Montjuïc, we stopped at the steps of the National Museum of Contemporary Art for this fountain show that I kept reading about. There were hundreds of people all gathered around near dusk and it was fun to sit and watch all of the Spanish people and tourists prepare for the show. Here the views of the city were incredible and so calming to look at. Then, along the way back down to the city, there were fountains leading to one main centre, the highlight of the show. It was the perfect end to a seriously busy day and I’m so thankful we made it in time.
7. We all really enjoyed walking around the city. If you’re visiting Barcelona, try waking up early, getting a café con leche and a croissant and go for a walk! We also took the hop-on hop-off bus tour one day we were there, and it was a great way to get the lay of the land. Gaudi and other brilliant architects work is all through the city, with wonderful surprises down most of the streets. Look up if you’re walking around too! Some of the balconies around are too pretty. However, one night when we were walking home my mom and I had a bucket of cleaning water dumped right on us… memorable in a different way!
8. We spent Sunday morning on a fantastic cava winery tour. About a 40-minute train ride from the city, it’s a beautiful way to get out and see the Cava Country, where the seriously delicious sparkling wine comes from. We tried at least four different cavas in the Freixenet tasting room (which was lovely) and then our mom bought some super fancy cava in the giftshop (let us know how it is!!). I think we would all recommend the tour, as it was educational and also I think the best way to spend Sunday mornings on vacation is toasting with bubbles!
9. The rooftops in Barcelona are fantastic. There’s just something so nice about having a drink in the evening on a rooftop and Barcelona is full of them. Our last night we went up to the rooftop at the Hotel Barcelona Center where we had some seriously delicious cocktails and listened to Spanish music. It was the perfect way to end our trip, even though I don’t think we wanted to leave.
10. I finally have to mention the company… Barcelona will be a guaranteed good time if you’re with good friends. I had my two best friends and family with me! Every time I see these guys I question why I’m living across the pond, but at least we get to meet-up in fantastic places and we always have a good time. I miss them every day but we’re already planning next year’s trip to Nashville!!!