Just got back from a great trip in Barcelona and wanted to share all the details of our trip. I hadn’t been to Barcelona since 2009 and it was definitely SO different from my last visit. I hope you enjoy this Barcelona travel guide and thank you for your recommendations.
This trip was super last minute (less than a month in advance) and I wanted to make it as affordable as possible. I got so many messages asking me how I got such a great deal. I paid $500 for my roundtrip from Atlanta. I have some tips here that I have shared before but I’ll let you know how this happened. So I had some miles but not enough miles to book this whole trip. I ended up using miles to book a roundtrip from ATL to JFK. Then I booked a separate roundtrip ticket JFK to BCN. Flying from the northeast to Europe is always so much more affordable! Other places I looked at where flying from DC, Boston, or NYC. Yes, this does have its pros and cons, but happy to report back it wasn’t super complicated. The downside is that you have to go through security twice on your way there and pick up/drop off your bag. Make sure if you book two tickets, you have enough time in between flights to do all this. Another downside is that if one of your flights is delayed or cancelled, it’ll be harder to make updates to your other flight. I personally had a super positive experience.
WHERE WE STAYED
Normally we avoid super touristy areas when we are looking for a place to stay. I wanted to stay somewhere central since whenever we go to Europe we like to walk everywhere. We chose to stay at the Iberostar hotel in Paseo de Gracia. This was the perfetc location for us, we were so close to everything and walked everywhere! The hotel was amazing and gorgeous! We loved our room so much, had great views, super clean and comfortable.
WHAT WE DID
We didn’t want to do too many touristy things so we tried to keep a good balance.
FC Barcelona Game– We got lucky and Barcelona had a futbol game while we were there. This was last minute and unplanned but super easy. We bought our tickets online the day before, and we took the metro to get there. The metro was super easy as well! They don’t allow drinking inside the stadium and don’t have many food options, so it’s best to get there earlier and hang out at a bar/restaurant before.
Park Guell– I hadn’t been here in forever like I said and so much has changed. This park was free last time I went so I was surprised to see that you had to buy tickets to it. Outside of our hotel we had a bus stop that takes you all the way to the park. It was too far to walk to but the bus was really easy and so inexpensive. I do recommend buying your tickets ahead of time to avoid the lines!
Sagrada Familia– Again, I visited this before but wanted my husband to check it out. It’s still under construction but it was so insane to see all the progress from 11 years ago! They have plans to finish it by 2026. I definitely want to come back once it’s complete. Also, buy your tickets ahead of time!
Paella Cooking Class– This was my favorite thing we did during our trip. I found this throughAirbnb experiences and I was SO glad I did. They have so many options but this is the one we chose. I loved that we met at the market (which is a must to check out even if you don’t do the class). Our guide told us all about the different products and it was so nice learning about everything and picking out our own ingredients for our paella. We learned how to make paella, sangria and pan con tomate (a Spanish appetizer). There were 15 of us total and the kitchen was AMAZING! Helena, our guide, made things so fun and is so knowledgeable about Spanish cuisine and culture. It was so nice to be able to meet so many different people from around the world and exchange experiences.
Sant Josep Boqueria– Visiting the market is a must! They have the freshest food and you can grab snacks along the way. Like I mentioned above, we stopped here on our paella cooking class day. Definitely something to add to your list!
Beach– Another thing we did is walk to the water, checked out the beach and ate near the marina. We could not have had more perfect weather!
WHERE WE ATE/DRANK
My husband and I love planning our trips around food! I received so many recommendations on places to check out and wish I had time to visit all! I’ll share where we went as well as the places I did not have time to check out. A few things about Spanish culture and food: a lot of places are closed on Sunday and sometimes even Monday, people eat dinner so late like 9 pm or later is normal, everything kinda slows down around 4/4:30 for siesta. Some of the main Spanish dishes are jamon iberico, paella, pan con tomate, patatas bravas, squid, croquettes and we can’t forget sangria!
Brunch and Cake– We LOVED this place! It’s an Instagrammer’s dream and so delicious. They have two locations but we went to the one not by the water. The place itself is so cute and the food is BEAUTIFUL and delicious! Everything is over the top and not expensive. Also, the drinks are amazing and so refreshing. I had the berry blush and it was EVERYTHING!
Sky Bar at Iberostar– This rooftop has one of the best views of Barcelona. It was so convenient that it was at the top of our hotel! We went every night and it was always busy. Definitely recommend!
Don Kilo– At the end of our trip we wanted to have a casual dinner and enjoy some pizza. We found this place and it was so good! You can always tell when a place is good people start piling in after 9 pm. The pizza was about 8-9 euros, so affordable! We did one pizza each so we could try different types. Also ordered the aperol spritz and it was so good!
Paradiso– The coolest speakeasy! From the outside it looks like a small restaurant with a bar for like 4 people and 1 or two tables. The speakeasy access is through the refrigerator door. There is a bouncer and normally a line to get in. The menu lights up and the drinks are to die for. They’re all so unique and not overpriced! They also have a speakeasy WITHIN the speakeasy that your server might invite you to. That one you access through a bathroom and the sink is the door. Definitely a cool experience! I think it’s mostly tourists but there were some locals.
Casa Lolea– This was in a hidden alley and one of my favorite meals. They also have a location in Madrid. They produce sangria and it’s SO GOOD! We saw they sold it at the airport as well. Strongly recommend everything we had- pan con tomate, jamon iberico, patatas bravas and the truffle risotto.
Catalana– Logan found this on yelp and I’m so glad he did. We had to wait about 20 minutes, which again it’s a good sign. They had cold and hot tapas and everything was amazing. Our favorite was skinny fries with a peached egg and jamon iberico.
Patron– Went here our first night and had such delicious seafood. We tried a little bit of everything and were so full. Not sure how we had room for dessert but we did!
El Xampanyet– This is a hole in the wall and ancient restaurant. It’s SO crowded with locals and so tiny, you’re packed in there like sardines. They also make their own cava and I highly recommend getting a bottle. We didn’t get to sit down but we ate standing at the bar.
Chez Coco- This little restaurant was so cute and got so busy quickly! I made a mistake not ordering the rotisserie chicken because that’s what they’re known for. The outdoor area was really quaint and the burrata salad was everything! We made a reservation beforehand.
Other restaurants recommended that we didn’t get to:
Cuidad Condal, Fabrica Moritz, Escriba, Pez Vela, El Flako, Ramblero, ZIMT, Bodega Vasconia, Monvinic wine bar, Chok, Marmalade, El Bosc de les Fades
We had such a great trip and can’t wait for our next adventure! We will be traveling to Rome and Amalfi in less than two months! I visited Amalfi in fall of 2018 and have a really detailed travel guide here. Thanks for reading!
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