As usual, it’s my late birthday celebration holiday and my beardy boy and me are on a flight from London to Barcelona.
While London is lying under a thick layer of fog, there’s no better way to recharge your batteries than watching the waves touching the sand on a sunny and warm day!
A friend of mine living in Barcelona has provided me with a detailed list of places to visit and I can’t wait to have a taste of this wonderful city.
Tip 1: How to move.
Metro and bus work perfectly, all day and late at night. The Hola Barcelona card allows you infinite trips on all bus and metros but it’s quite expensive (20 euros per person for 3 days) and not the right choice to make. A much better alternative is the T10 ticket that gives you 10 trips for just around 10 euros. If you want to visit like a crazy dog, you will need maximum 5 trips per day and you can share the T10 card with your partner (it’s not personal!).
Our morning starts late, like all Spanish do. We get off at Ciudadella Olimpica and take a walk on the beach to Barceloneta. It’s really impressive how much Spanish love beach volleyball and it reminds me of my home town in Italy. You can play if you want, it’s free and people are very friendly, they will let you in if you ask! It’s Halloween and there’s prisoners playing! hihi.
Walking on the beach it’s very relaxing and the feeling of putting your feet in such warm sand in November is definitely unmissable. The sea front is full of lovely restaurants, bars and cafés, stop there for a seafood paella or a simple mojito on the beach! (Spanish prefer cerveza, so get beer and tapas if you want to fully dive into the Spanish experience!)
After lunch we head to the city center to visit the main Barcelona street: La Rambla. La Rambla is nothing special, just a very touristic place with little markets and souvenir shops but it represents the heart of the city and you must walk there at least once in a lifetime. If you have time and you like it stop in one of the many leather shops on la Rambla, leather jackets bags and boots are stunning and surprisingly cheap!
Barcelona is very famous for being the Spanish capital of art and the hometown of one of the most important architects and genius personalities of the 19th century: Antoni Gaudì. Gaudì art works are spread everywhere around the city.
In one of the little street perpendicular to la Rambla you’ll find Palau Guell, one of the most stunning architecture masterpieces realized by Gaudì and now Unesco World Heritage. Get inside and take a guided tour! Me and my beardy boy loved it!
If you are not too exhausted, head to the Palacio de la Musica to visit the structure and enjoy a coffee in the cafeteria.
Dinner in Placa Rejal is a must. We had a few tapas and a couple of sangrias and enjoyed the music and crazy sounds of Catalunya at night!
We promise ourselves we are going to wake up early. It’s 11 and we are still having a shower! We will never grow up, I think.
There’s no time for breakfast and we buy doughnuts to go in one of the many bakeries in the city (it’s cheap and Spanish patisserie is really good!).
Day 2 is ideal for visiting MontJuic and the lovely Catalunya museum MNAC. On our way we stop for some pics around in the lovely gardens of MontJuic!
We get there with metro and funicular. The building is impressively huge with dancing colored fountains as an ornament to the structure. There’s a 360 degrees rooftop view on the top of the museum, so grab a coke or a coffee in the little cafeteria inside and head there to enjoy the stunning view!
The MNAC museum is enormous and hosts great pieces of art but if you are not particularly interested in the mediaeval age and the Catalan art than it’s not the ideal place for you. An hour walk around will be enough!
A lunchtime must in Spain is certainly 100 montaditos! A selection of 100 and more little baguettes filled with everything you have ever dreamt about! My favorites are the jamon and oil, anchovies, tuna and majo, sobrasada and the sweet one with cookies. The entire à la Carte menu is for 1 euro on Wednesday and Sundays and even beer is 1 euro!!
We head to one of the most famous spots in the city for a walk in the afternoon: Park Guell. The garden around the monumental area of the park is free to visit and we take a look around while we wait for the next available entrance time.
The surrounding area is not very interesting, but there’s a little hill on the left corner of the park (you will recognize it from the cross on the top!) where you can enjoy a stunning view over Barcelona!
The monumental area is the place to visit. Starting from the originally colored mosaic bench, down to the colonnade, the 2 houses and the dragon, all designed by Gaudì. The all area is a fantastic piece of art and a lovely place to take pictures and have fun with some selfies. Park Guell such as many of the other’s Gaudì’s works are particularly beautiful during the day. This is mainly because of the shining colors of the mosaics in the sunlight. A great attention to light is Gaudì’s signature.
Tip 2: Barcelona is always very busy and tourism is one of its main resources. This is certainly very good for the country but not as good for the visitors; forced to queue for hours when visiting pretty much everything. A good idea is to buy tickets online and organize the day in advance! Queues can be 6 hours long- I will seriously think about it!
Going around can be very tiring, and my beardy boy’s football team is playing in the league tonight. We head to a pub to watch the game and have some pizza! Boys- don’t desperate, Spanish love football as much as you do, you can watch the match everywhere!
You cannot leave Barcelona without visiting Sagrada Familia, the most famous building created by the genius Gaudi’. (A great idea is to get there very early, but of course we are not very good at it! Ihih). The Roman Catholic Church, designed by Gaudì, arises, tall and magnificent, in the center of the city and looks like a giant sand castle. Here more then ever we see the main themes recurring in all Gaudì’s works, attention to light, attempt to reconstruct natural objects and a clear pretension towards the infinite. I can say it’s the most beautiful building I have ever seen.
Before continuing the Gaudì tour we stop for lunch at Mercado the la Boqueria to have some fish tapas, jamon cones and one of the fresh and colored juices. The atmosphere and food are great and if you are a food lover or even a photographer this is your heaven!
The tour continues with Casa Battlò, famous for its rounded walls and faces balconies staring at you while you are watching form the street! Both Casa Battlò and La Pedrera are two of the most famous houses created by Gaudì and truly awesome to visit! Unfortunately ticket prices are really high so I will suggest to visit one and my favorite is Casa Battlò. Why? Simple. The inside, together with the outside brings you on a fantastic journey in the profound see with sparkling lights, mosaics and doors. Even the glasses on the stairway are realized in such a way that when you move you fill like you are swimming in the ocean with open eyes! Amazing!
If you are travelling with a football lover as my beardy boy, you have no other chance than go and visit the magnificent Barca stadium Nou Camp. Did you now that the Barcelona’s museum is the most visited of the Catalunya?? 0_0. Guys and football.. wow!!
It’s quite late and almost dark and we decide to chill a bit with a lovely aperitivo. Spanish wine is good and tasty and we head to a lovely vineria in front of Santa Maria del Mar church! We have red wine with chorizo and cheese but dinner is waiting for us. Finish a lovely holiday with a lovely paella is truly remarkable!
Barcelona has inspired me with its colors, its food and most of all its friendly atmosphere!
Definitely a place to tick on your map!
Special Thanks to:
Fabrizio Donati – photography
Riccardo Ambri – travel plan
Hawkers – Sunglasses
Qulit uk – Backpack bag
Time to be – Watch
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