Wow, my 72 hours in Barcelona turned out to be quite a whirlwind of adventure! I almost beat my record for most miles walked in one day – 11.5 miles! My current record for most miles walked in one day is 13 miles in London. There is so much to do and see in Barcelona, my trip was anything but boring.
I got in late Friday night, and hit the ground running first thing Saturday morning. I made the trek to Park Guell and let me tell you, the streets of Barcelona are NOT for the faint of heart! The hills leading up to Park Guell were vertical. Yes, vertical. I was practically crawling on my hands and knees. Good thing I got such an early start to the day that nobody else was around to witness me crawling! I bought a ticket to enter into Park Guell beforehand, and I would recommend that others do so too. There is a free part of the park, but the ticket allows you access to the famous bench and buildings that Gaudi constructed. After all, what is the point of going to the Park if you don’t even have access to get a picture on the longest bench in the world?!
After leaving the park I headed to do the thing I was looking forward to most… GORGE ON TAPAS. The people of Barcelona sure know how to eat! I could eat tapas and paella, and drink sangria for the rest of my life and never get sick of it. The first stop on my weekend tapas tour was Vinitus… and it did not disappoint! They had all of their tapas choices laid out across the bar, a feast for the eyes. If you are in Barcelona I HIGHLY recommend always getting the patatas bravas (hello, it is the signature tapas dish), and asking the waiter/waitress for their recommendation. I ended up eating the most fabulous tapas that I wouldn’t have otherwise ordered! Hello honey fried cod topped with foi gras.
I had a bike tour scheduled with Fat Tires for later that day so in order to get my energy level up (to ride an electric bike) I needed a sugar rush. Obviously. I stumbled upon Chok. A hole in the wall chocolatier hideaway where all chocolate lovers dreams comes true. Yes I am a chocolate lover, and yes my dreams came true there.
Once I got an appropriate sugar high I met up with my biking group to make the trek up to Montjuic. Fat Tires has a couple of tour options in Barcelona – a city tour or a tour of Montjuic. I chose to participate in the Montjuic tour because I figured I was seeing enough of the city walking around on my own. However, I heard both tours are fabulous and you can’t go wrong with either choice. Montjuic is the highest point in Barcelona and the views are spectacular! Plus, if you get tired on your way up the moutain top, there is a little bar serving local beer to keep ya goin! Once at the top of the mountain there is also a castle you can visit. In June the castle has live music and cinema nights, so if you’re in Barcelona in June check it out and let me know how it is!
After riding the (electric) bike up to Montjuic, I was in need for some more tapas. For research I needed to try as many tapas as possible, which is what I kept telling myself. I did it for the readers! Anyways, the locals recommended that I try Bar del Pla. Still drooling. It was a cozy, intimate restaurant with top-notch tapas. Quite possibly my favorite in Barcelona. Go. Go now.
Sunday morning I woke up with one thing in mind…. Ice cream. I walked by an ice cream place on Saturday and knew I had to go back! I headed to Las Ramblas Street, one of the most famous streets in all of Barcelona. Apparently it used to be a river, and it has since dried up and become one of the busiest streets in Barca! (Is Barca short for Barcelona or did I just make that up?) There are tons of shops and restaurants along Las Ramblas so there is a lot to see and do. Lucky for me Amorino, my ice cream store, happened to be located on that street. So get this…. my ice cream cone was shaped as a rose and had a macaroon in the middle! Yes, that is the only reason I went, for the beauty of the cone. And I would go back again. It was a sight for soar eyes, and tasted just as fabulous as it looked. Ice cream cone in hand and the sunning beating down on me, I made my way to Barceloneta beach. I loved putting my toes in the sand and just watching everyone around me. I was told afterwards however, that there is much better, less tourist-y beaches around. So if anyone wants to let me know what they are I will put it on my to do list for next time! On the edge of the beach sits the W Hotel. A tourist trap, really, but I heard that they had a fabulous view of the beach so I couldn’t resist! The bar was located on the 26th floor and offered sweeping views of the entire beach. The views and the cocktails were worth the money for me, but keep in mind… go here if you want great views, not if you want to save money.
Monday was my final and favorite day in Barcelona. I started the day by heading to La Sagrada Familia; a magnificent church built by Gaudi. Make sure that you buy your tickets in advanced! I looked for tickets four days before I went to Barcelona and they were almost completely sold out for all three days that I was visiting! La Sagrada Familia is my favorite thing I have seen in all of Europe, so far. The amount of detail that went into Gaudi’s work is absolutely stunning. The outside of the building itself will leave you speechless; I had to physically pick my jaw up off the ground in order to make myself walk in. The good news is that the inside is just as beautiful and awe-worthy. The church itself tells the story of Jesus Christ, I urge everyone to get the audio guide in order to hear how much thought Gaudi put into every little bit of the church. And how much the architecture reflects the story of Jesus. One of the cool things about the church is that when you buy a ticket to get in, you are helping finish Gaudi’s work! That’s right, the church isn’t done yet! When Gaudi started constructing the church he knew he wouldn’t be able to see it through to completion so he mapped out very detailed plans so others could finish it long after he died. The church is supposed to be done nine years from now in 2026, totaling 150 years in the making! It will be the tallest structure in Barcelona, coming in just under the tallest landscape point… Montjuic. Gaudi said, “The work of man should never rise above that of God”… so he intentionally built the church to be lower than the mountain top. After spending time ‘oohing’ and ‘aweing’ over the ornate details, I headed out for more TAPAS. I found myself at Lonja de Tapas to again, gorge on more food; hello – research purposes, I already told you. I would also recommend this restaurant as well. From there I went to the famous market, Mercado de Boqueria. Guys, Barcelona is seriously the foodie lovers dream city! Rows and rows of brightly colored food decorated the streets. There was so much to choose from! I walked around for hours and kept circling back to the crepe place (of course!). The way they made their crepes just seemed so magical! There are also bars/restaurants in the market so make sure to go hungry! I indulged in oysters and champagne from Joel’s Oyster Bar. Fun fact: The oysters they get come from 2016’s best oyster farmer in the world!
That was my 72 hours. Adios Barcelona!