Looking for a warm weekend get away? Have a desire to spend some time in the City of Counts? If so, here is how I spent my 96 hours in Barcelona with some food and attraction recommendations!
As soon as you arrive at El Prat, Barcelona's airport, you are immediately greeted by the warm smells of food, the seemingly constant hum of music and voices, as well as an energy that will foster your passion to explore the city. With so many options for sights to see and dishes to taste, where do you start? Here are some tourist spots that are worth the hype and you should consider budgeting time for:
This public park sits on top of Carmel Hill along the Collserola mountain range. This park was created with the intent of urbanizing the area. Eusebi Güell tasked Antoni Gaudí with the architecture project with was built 1900-1914 and opened to the public in 1926. The park is truly a magnificent sight! If you do decided to go I recommend buying your ticket online ahead of time as you are required to enter in time slots. Once in the park you can stay for as long as you want, but there is no re-entry.
Park Güell was one of my favorite experiences in Barcelona. With the warm weather and beautiful scenery it would have been hard to leave the area without feeling blissful (let alone the general merriment of everyone I met). Not one for the mild hike up to the park? No worries, you can check out another wonderful example of Antoni Gaudí'swork at this next famous location!
La Sagrada Familia
Standing 170 meters (558 feet) tall, this Roman Catholic Basilica and Expiatory Church has become one of the main attractions in the city. Designed by Gaudí, the church construction began in 1882 (Gaudí joined the project in '83). Unfortunately, the passing of Gaudí in 1926 brought the construction to a mild halt. While the church is not yet finished, it is expected to reach completion by 2026. When you walk into the basilica the neo-Gothic architecture is breathtakingly beautiful. With stain glass windows in a variety of colors you can trace the story of God in the architecture. There are different sections of the basilica that focus in on different aspects of the bible. Furthermore, as a major attraction in Barcelona, you can sit down in the church to watch a video that tells you about the church history as well as its chief architect. The Gaudí wing was one of my favorites as you learned more about his artistic vision, his life journey, and the true genius behind every structural decision. If you want to learn more about La Sagrada Famiia click here. Enough of me talking, here are some pictures from inside the Basilica.
By now you might be thinking that all sounds good, but I think I might be getting hungry after walking all around Barcelona. Not to fear! Let's transition into the food segment of my time in Barcelona...
La Rambla is the place to go if you are looking for food and shopping in Barcelona. This is the a street in the heart of the city that is often popular amongst tourists. Extending about 1.2 kilometers (.75 miles), the street serves almost as an outdoor mall lined with beautiful trees.
Along La Rambla you can find Mercado de La Boqueria. This is a must-see attraction for your time in Barcelona! If you are looking for some refreshing fruit juice or a more substantial snacks to tie you over till dinner this is the spot to check out.
A personal favorite of mine is Chök: The Chocolate Kitchen. Located just a 3-5 minute walk from the Mercado. It is another place where you can find unique flavors of chocolate and donuts. If you go I recommend trying their ganache because it is out of this world! I actually loved Chök so much that I went 3 times during my 4 day stay...please withhold too much judgement! Additionally, you can't go to Spain without trying Churros with melted chocolate. There are many places you can go around the city. On my trip we found a place right on La Rambla (Cafè de l'Òpera), but I'm sure wherever you go in Barcelona there will be good options.
My last highlight from La Rambla would have to be L'Esglao. As on of the many Mediterranean restaurants on the street, this is a good place to get an authentic paella. On their lunch special, you can go a pick your personal paella along with 2 side tapas/pinchos.
As I continued to explore the city, there were many other eateries that my traveling group stumbled across. The Gothic quarter is a very unique feature of Barcelona with breathtaking architecture and a variety of restaurant options.
Furthermore, there were quite a few locations we found around the city that had great start up stories, fun owners, and provided great atmospheres for an afternoon break. (You can find these spots captured in the pictures above!)
Last - but not least - there is a large night life scene in Barcelona. Along the beach you can find many night clubs that are packed with people into the early morning (I'm talking 6 am people!!). Some spots to check out include Opium and Shôko. The great part is that these clubs are almost right next to each other so if you aren't feeling one you do not have to travel far. However, my favorite experience of the city's nightlife was Icebarcelona. This ice bar at the beach stays cool at -5 degrees celsius and is decked out with amazing sculptures! While I was there they had incorporated a Star Wars theme, so needless to say I was a fan!
There is so much to see in Barcelona, and 96 hours is not enough time to fully explore this city. I look forward to going back to this amazing city soon! Hopefully in time I can explore more of Spain as a whole too. If you have any questions on my time in Barcelona or recommendations for what to do when I'm next in Spain, please comment below. I'd love to hear from you!!