Ah, Barcelona. Even typing the word now as we are home from our trip makes my mind rush back to the busy streets of La Ramblas, the fresh light smell of the sea at Port Vell and the delicious taste of fresh calamari. Mmmm!
Barca is one of those places that I have ALWAYS wanted to visit but never knew quite when I would get the opportunity to. Wind back a few months ago to my lovely other half’s birthday, and it was a BIG birthday, 21st to be precise. I pride myself in being super duper organised to the point of a really quite freaky… so months before his birthday the brain storming had already begun for a 21st gift that would be special and memorable.
Now he’s not the type of person that likes material things, he’s the type that will say, “Oh don’t get me anything, your company is enough!” And he means it as well… I always wish I was more like him because when I say “Oh, just your company is enough darling”, I’m not 100% telling the complete truth.. Anyway, I twiddled my thumbs for a little while thinking of an adequate gift that I would really show him how thankful I was for all the Birthday’s and Christmas’s that he had gotten so right and all the thoughtful surprises in between.
That’s when I thought of a buying us a trip that we would both enjoy, something we could make new memories and learn new things – the perfect gift!
As we had recently returned from a month long tour around Europe, I initially didn’t want to pick a destination in Europe for his gift but then at the flick of a switch I had a light bulb moment and I remembered that we weren’t able to incorporate sweet Barca into our Eurotrip and just how much Lewis had wanted to visit there. SO BARCELONA IT WAS! WOOHOO.
A few weeks of planning went by, I booked flights via budget airline Ryanair for a fantastic price and onto accommodation, I decided to look on one of our favourite websites, Air Bnb. For those that have not yet heard of this genius website, it allows people to rent out their apartments or a room in their home to random people around the world! A great way to find good priced accommodation and to meet lots of new people. We started using Air Bnb when planning our Eurotrip, we found that it was much cheaper than most hotels and if you book well in advance and do your homework with location and read up on reviews, you can easily find yourself an absolutely amazing place to stay!
So once transport and accommodation was taken care of that then led me to revealing the master plan itself! I decided to tell Lew that we were going to Belfast, Ireland for his birthday. I even went to the effort of making fake boarding passes and hotel confirmation – (GENIUS).
Anyway long story short, when I finally gave him the real boarding passes in a birthday card the night before his birthday he was extremely grateful and overjoyed – he rolled around on the floor for several minutes clapping his hands like a baby seal. Success!
After a really really early flight (like 6.15am early) we landed at Barcelona T2 ready and pumped to start our new adventure! First off we checked in at our stunning apartment and met with Nadia our lovely host.
(If you want to watch us running around wild in BC please check out my vlog in the link above!)
We then freshened up a little and took off towards the nearest Metro where we purchased a 4 day ticket to speed up and simplify having to buy tickets everyday.
Anyway, I’m probably best to stop rambling for now and show you a visual account of our first day in this magical city! Pictures speak a thousand words and all that.
We managed to jam pack a lot into the first day of trip, we are both the type of people that never want to stop exploring so we think that the best way to enjoy a trip is by waking up at the crack of dawn and squeezing in as much of what a new beautiful city has to offer into our 24 hours! Needless to say I complained a great deal about my tired legs and sore feet and slept like a log on night one!
Onto Day 2 and having been given a taste of what this vibrant and exciting city had to offer we couldn’t wait to wake up and do it all again! Luckily for the whole 5 days of our trip we had nothing but perfect weather! Sunshine with a light breeze and a nice warm climate. Fabuuulous!
In my opinion, The Sagrada Famillia is a must see not just when visiting Barca but something you have to put on your bucket list! It’s an absolute wonder and really does take your breath away.
After visiting the majestic Sagrada Familia, we then moved onto our next attraction for the day – Park Guell! We had both heard so many great things about this major work of the famous Antonio Gaudi and I had seen so many stunning photos, we couldn’t wait to explore out on our own!
On arrival we found out that you actually have to pay to enter the most popular part of the park (boo.) This is understandable as it can get pretty busy and clustered however what wasn’t understandable was the 3-5 hour wait! We were pretty torn between leaving and visiting something else but we both decided to stay and wait for the next slot as we knew we would regret it if we didn’t!
During our 3 hour wait we used up our time by exploring the areas of Park Guell that were free to visit! These areas of the park are stunning in themselves with plenty to see and do and lots of lovely photo opportunities – so if you are pushed for time or on a budget then I would highly recommend taking a visit around the park anyway as it still takes a large chunk of time.
Towards the last hour of our wait we found a nice spot to sit and have our little packed lunch at. After eating our delicious home made lunch with a fabulous view and glorious weather, we then took a bajillion photographs and made our way along to the queue for the paid area of the park.
After a long day of sightseeing and fun we decided it was time for a BIG dinner! With no where particular in mind we wandered the winding streets of BC and peered at restaurant menus before deciding on a lovely Japanese restaurant.
I am a huuuge fan of Japanese food, I’m a huge fan of food in general and really not a fussy eater but sushi is my favourite and I have eaten A LOT of it. This all you can eat sushi buffet was definitely one of the best I have ever been to – so good that I still rave on about it now!
With a large conveyor belt that stretches along the whole of the restaurant you pay a set price 15 euros to be precise, and you pick up whatever you like! The food was freshly made in a little glass kitchen that you could watch the chefs prepare and pop onto the conveyor belt and everything tasted amazing – from typical sushi dishes to sashimi, lobsters, crabs, noodle and rice dishes to chicken and vegatrian plates with lots of yummy desserts! We were so spoilt for choice! This was definitely my favourite restaurant that we ate in during our BC trip!
So with our belly’s full we decided to end the day with a long walk to Casa Batllo – another masterpiece by Antonio Gaudi! The museum itself was shut but we really only wanted to see the outside. At night time it was a lot more quiet, and we almost walked right past it!
The building itself is stunning – especially in the evening when it is completely lit up, it looks like something out of a mermaid cartoon! Standing outside Casa Batllo and staring up at this beautiful piece of art, I was able to take it all in and realise just how lucky I am. What a perfect end to day 2!
So if you’re thinking of taking a visit to Barcelona, I couldn’t urge you more to go. It’s filled with history, good food, great weather and shopping and there really is something for everyone. It makes for the most perfect couples city break or family trip but it’s also cosy enough for a solo traveller. POIFECT!
P.S. Check out my itinerary and visual diary for days 3, 4 & 5 in Barcelona!