Weekend Travel Guide - Barcelona
So happy to share my first travel guide for Barcelona. Funny enough, my first visit to Barcelona, I didn’t really connect with the city. I had just come from Madrid, and I thought that I preferred the laid-back vibe of Madrid over the bustling cityscape of Barcelona. After my second trip though, I now appreciate the city of Barcelona more and decided I would make it my first travel guide on Where2Next?.
Airfare Deals - Keep an eye out for airfare deals for Barcelona. With some flexibility, you could get round trip tickets for $350 which is what I paid for a long weekend.
Best Time to Visit - I went in October which was beautiful. The days were cool enough for bare legs and the evenings you could get away with a light shawl or wrap. October is the tail end of the busy season, so fares start to decrease as the winter months start.
Use Public Transportation - Barcelona is a major city and has a great public transportation system. The Metro has a connection directly to the airport and hits all the major city attractions. A 3-day unlimited pass costs less than $25.
WHERE TO STAY
For my first trip to Barcelona, I stayed in an Airbnb that literally had a window looking out directly across the street to La Sagrada Familia. It was a prime location since the Metro was literally steps away. In addition to the metro, there were plenty of restaurants and cafes within walking distance. Talk about convenient.
My second trip to Barcelona, I stayed at a mid-range accommodation; Barcelona Universal Hotel which is only a 10-minute walk to Las Tramblas and again near the Metro to get around the city. This hotel is located in a pretty busy area but is ideal for getting around. Simply requesting a higher floor would easily solve the noise problem. Another great aspect is the rooftop terrace and bar which offers a free beer tasting (confirm the schedule at check-in) and half-price drinks after 8 pm. Add in free WiFi and a friendly and gracious staff, and this makes Barcelona Universal Hotel a good option for your stay in Barcelona.
WHERE TO EAT
I highly recommend treating yourself to a meal at Botafumeiro Barcelona. It’s one of the best seafood restaurants I’ve ever been to. It’s fairly expensive to eat here, but the service was top notch. I ordered the seafood platter and they brought the live lobster to my table to say goodbye before grilling it to perfection. The ambiance is old world classic so I made sure to dress up a bit. The restaurant gets lots of celebrity clients so white glove service is the norm. Because I was dining alone, the staff was extra attentive and fun. I even made friends with a few businessmen dining at the next table. We shared a bottle of champagne and chatted for hours. It truly was a wonderful experience. Tip: be sure to make a reservation in advance.
TAPAS - There are lots of places to grab delicious tapas, just stay off the main streets in the touristy areas or you’ll feel like you got ripped off.
Cafés El Magnífico is a charming cafe with a large selection of coffees from around the world. It is by far the best coffee shop in Barcelona. It’s a small spot, with amazing baristas who were friendly and made great recommendations. Note, this spot has very limited seating and by limited, I mean there are two small benches out front. Despite that, it’s a great spot to grab and go.
La Sagrada Familia - is a work of art by Antoni Gaudí. He designed the church and started construction on March 19, 1882. It’s now 136 years later and it’s still being worked on. Projected finish date is in 2026. It’s an interesting piece of architecture with lots of history. I’ve been to Barcelona twice now and each time I go it looks a little different. Tip: Get your tickets online before you go!
Park Guell - Park Guell was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984, and its definitely worth a trip to see. But….here’s an inside tip if you want to avoid the massive crowd. You can climb to the top of the park for amazing views of Barcelona. Best of all, the park is FREE, so if you want to avoid the crowds just get to climbing.
The Gothic Quarter and Las Ramblas - it’s in the Old Town. Beautiful, quaint streets, local markets, musicians and more. Las Ramblas is where many artists go to display their work. Tip: Don’t eat on the main strip. Head down one of the side streets and you’ll save yourself a few bucks.
La Boqueria is the main market where tourists love to flock to. I understand why too because there is such a variety of things to nibble on while you make your way through.
Hit the beach! My first visit to Barcelona, I didn't make it to the beach. During my second visit, I made sure to make an afternoon of it and I'm so glad that I did. The weather wasn't warm enough to actually get a swim in, but it was nice enough to grab a blanket and chill out for a few hours. The W Hotel provides a picturesque backdrop for photos and there are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from.
So there you have it! A quick long weekend guide to Barcelona. What are some of your favorite things to do in Barcelona? Drop a comment below.
Love & Light,