A week back in England and as the song goes “all I wanna do is go back”.
Barcelona is now one of my favourite cities. The food, culture, weather, beautiful beaches and buildings – it was everything I’d hoped for and more.
Although I didn’t experience all of the “must do”, “must go” and “must see” places (great excuse to go back), let me share with you the key things I did get up to during my stay.
Our accomodation was just off La Rambla – Hotel Leonardo. Ideal location, good value, clean, and all the facilities you could need for a weekend city break. There was a roof terrace with sun loungers to catch some rays and a roof top swimming pool if you fancy a quick dip to cool down (although I wouldn’t recommend diving and backflips due to its size and depth). We only used the roof terrace and pool once but it’s nice if you don’t like the beach or want a bit of a break from the bustling city.
Brunch & Cake
Before I travel somewhere, I always check out the best brunch spots. I’m not the most organised person, but researching where to eat before visiting a new place is something I am good at. I’ve followed Brunch & Cake on Instagram for a while and have always admired the weird and wonderful brunch dishes. If you’re happy to try your waffles black and your iced lattes pink, then this is the place for you. With an extensive breakfast and lunch menu, Brunch & Cake caters for all dietary requirements and was definitely worth the 25 minute queue to get inside.
Bunker el Carmel
I’m so glad I was told about this special place as it’s an absolute must whilst you’re in Barcelona, and the best place to experience the incredible view of the city. We decided to go for sunset.
First bit of advice – it’s important to know where you’re going, how you’re getting there and how to get back. We decided to get taxis but found ourselves pretty stranded in run down residential areas, where the residents weren’t particularly helpful, to say the least! (It didn’t help that “tourists go home” was graffitied along the route to the bunkers – don’t let it put you off!)
Second bit of advice – take a picnic and some drinks in a backpack. Maybe a pack of cards? Whatever you enjoy doing, but don’t wait until you’re nearly there as there isn’t a supermarket at the top and it’s a bit of a trek!
You will know when you’ve arrived as you’ll see the amazing views, groups of people enjoying each other’s company and maybe some man singing and playing the guitar (just tell him he’s good if he asks).
La Sagrada Familia
Did you know, La Sagrada Familia has been under construction for over a century? It’s taking that long that even Gaudí, the architect who was behind this incredible project (he’s also buried there), knew that he wouldn’t be around to admire his finished masterpiece. The construction is financed solely on donations from the public and visitors – which doesn’t really speed things along! Although we only admired this fabulous building from the outside (it was too hot and the queue was too long), it is definitely worth a visit and a few pics!
After a couple of recommendations, we decided to eat here on our last night. I had the monkfish and it was up there with one of the tastiest dishes I’ve ever eaten.
We did share a paella due to our own concerns that the portion might not satisfy our huge appetites – and I’m glad we did. It was also nice to try another dish whilst we were there. A little tip – the best restaurants tend to be off La Rambla, not along the main strip. These are tourist traps, pretty basic and overpriced.
Ziryab – Cocktail Shisha Lounge
This was such a little gem that we stumbled across. It was our last night and we wanted somewhere chilled that served wine and shisha (holiday tradition). As we refused to wait 20 minutes at the previous place, and after a little help from google, we ended up at Ziryab. We discovered that it was a deaf friendly space, with the owner being deaf himself and most of the team that worked there. We used our body language and signs to communicate with the staff and it was so lovely to be welcomed into their space despite our limited signing ability. Each week they receive deaf visitors from all over the world and it would be great to spread the word so more people find out about this place.
Long, sandy beach that makes Barcelona what it is – a city with everything you could want. It gives that opportunity to have a bit of a chilled day, which isn’t always possible for a city break. It was very busy when we went and if you want an ice cold mojito, a blanket, pool party/club tickets, a massage or a parasol then you’ve gone to the right place! However, after the 100000 time of being asked, you will probably be close to telling the next man to stick his parasol where the sun doesn’t shine 🙂
We spotted this hotel terrace whilst walking towards the Marina. It looked like a nice little spot to catch the last few rays of the day, where we could enjoy a jug of sangria, or two (or three). Beautiful seating areas, amazing views and just an overall nice, chilled vibe. It was the perfect setting and exactly what we were after. Just bear in mind, we had been paying 8 euros for a jug of sangria at the little cafes along the way and this bill set us back 155 euros!!
Les Quinze Nitz
We had planned to eat at La Fonda for lunch, which is just off La Rambla, but as we arrived we realised there was no outdoor seating and we do love the whole al fresco dining whilst on holiday – especially for lunch! Although I have heard good things about La Fonda, and that it’s even a massive hit with locals (it was very busy), we decided to try another recommendation – Les Quinze Nitz. it was pure luck that we stumbled across it after spotting it in a very inviting square full of restaurants and bars (Plaza Real) – Les Quinze Nitz is the restaurant that happened to stand out. The Paella was good, the sangria was great and the houmous was actually amazing!
Heels on and glass of wine in our hands, we spent Saturday night dancing away in the roof top bar/club – Eclipse. W Hotel is very different to the other buildings in Barcelona but, situated right on the seafront, it has become quite a landmark. We only had one “out out” night but I’ve been told that Jamboree is a must for a great night out too.
I hope this helps when you plan your trip! It would also be great to hear about your experience and recommendations so comment below 🙂
Until next time Barcelona!