Barcelona is a vibrant city with a great atmosphere and beautiful architecture. Our original plans were to participate in the half marathon but, as a result of a few injuries, we decided to drop the clima-cool and spend more
money time exploring this vast and historic city. Here are some of our tips:
1. Ambrosia Spa, Passatge de Domingo, 9, 08007
Situated just off the busy Passeig de Gracia, this is a fantastic little place for a quiet and relaxing retreat. Here, you can get yourself a massage, immerse in the tranquil music and enjoy copious amounts of tea/cava. I should probably mention that this happened to be an excellent Valentine’s gift!
2. 13 de Margarit, Carrer De Margarit 13, 08004
We found ourselves rushing (and taking a taxi) to reach this restaurant for our intended 8pm booking. Thinking that we might lose our table at 8:15, on arrival, we realised that we were the only ones there (and felt the Spanish concept of eating dinner at 8pm+ had not quite caught on yet!). Freshness aside, we enjoyed the many Galician dishes at this little taperia.
3. La Pedrera
Constructed by Spanish architect, Gaudi, it is an innovative and modernist house full of intricate shapes and sculptures. It is well worth paying the entrance fee to visit the roof and the interiors of the house itself, which are quite impressive.
4. La Rambla and Port Vell
La Rambla bustles with life and is full of people and street sellers. During the night, we encountered fire breathing performers and devil themed parades. Safe to say it was a little frightening!
In Port Vell, we enjoyed relaxing by the seafront, watching people pass by and chomping on some sweet confectionary.
With popular attractions comes lots of tourists and with that comes opportunist pickpockets. La Rambla is notorious for pickpockets (we learnt that afterwards). I was unfortunate enough to be pickpocketed by one pretending to dish out flyers for flamenco and salsa. If someone appears a bit too eager, check your pockets!
5. Bliss cafe, Plaça de Sant Just, 4B, 08002
If you’re in the Gothic quarter and love “tortilla”, check out Bliss cafe. It is very unassuming from the outside but serves amazing tomato salads (not like the sour and acidic tomatoes you get in the UK) and really gooey tortilla. To die for.
This place was by far the best tapas we had on the trip. The staff and the food was incredible. Try the fish suquet, arroz and quinoa salad!
7. Parc Guell
This attraction requires a short metro journey to the north of the city centre but rewards you with fresh air and a panoramic view of barcelona among a hilltop. You can also find talented musicians entertaining park goers in the various tunnels and caves within the park.
8. Book tickets in advance!
If you don’t enjoy queuing or being turned down, book in advance! Especially for La Pedrera, Parc Guell and Sagrada Familia.
Despite the unfortunate events at La Rambla, we had a blast in Barcelona. The hospitality and friendliness of the people was overwhelming, the city was full of life and the temperature was a cool 20 degrees in February.
Our favourite moment was on one evening where we were caught in a torrential downpour without an umbrella. We had to leg it back to the hotel and, no surprise, arrived completely drenched up to the skin. We dropped our bags, slumped onto the bed and tuned to the TV whilst letting our bodies recover. It just so happened that we tuned into some sweet Bossa Nova and at that point we felt in another world.
It is sometimes the unexpected events like these in a trip, which happen to be the most memorable and it is memories like these which make travelling worthwhile.
Coffee and fluffy croissant – 2 euros!
La boqueria and patatas bravas:
Casa Batlo and Barcelona Cathedral: