Still wondering where to take your wife or girlfriend for a short vacation? Let me give you advice – take her to Barcelona. I visited this beautiful city with my lovely wife two months ago, in May. This trip was so good that I decided to share with you our experience and recommend some of the must-see places to visit in Barcelona. We have been there for one week visiting these incredible attractions listed below. Also, read on to know some Barcelona “hacks” to save your precious time… Have fun 🙂
Arrival to Barcelona
The idea was to do this trip in seven days using as fewer days out of work as we could. In fact, there was an opportunity to do this in May – because of bank holidays we could have a full week off the work by just taking 3 days of absence at work. Sounds good 🙂 .
First, we had to figure out how to get to Barcelona. The best solution was to use a direct connection. Our pick was to go with Wizz Air from Katowice (KTW) to Barcelona El Prat (BCN). The alternative was Ryanair flight to Girona (100km from Barcelona) but I know from my friends who took this Ryanair flight that this is not the best choice. It’s because you can face some problems with an airport transfer to this location in return flight – this is the case especially in night hours.
Just after arrival, we decided to take UBER to get to our accommodation. Generally, we always do like this – if it’s our first time in the city we do not use the local Taxi. If UBER is applicable in the city you go to, then it is much more “safe” for your wallet.
Our pick for accommodation was the Cosmo Appartments located close to Marina Auditori. As it turned out it was a great choice. The apartment is located on the street Carrer d’Ausiàs Marc in the city center with 500 meters to the Monumental and 450 meters to the Marina metro stations, grocery shop is located in front of the apartment and bikes rental is in the same building.
The apartment itself was clean, well maintained, fully equipped and really spacious. You can see this on below photos:
Just after rough unpacking we decided to hit the nearest bar 🙂 (it was 23:00 – Barcelona never sleeps…). We decided to visit Dune Tapería and that was our first encounter with the…
Tapas are the Spanish appetizers. Following Tapa definition in Wikipedia:
A tapa (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtapa]) is an appetizer or snack in Spanish cuisine and translates to small portion of any kind of Spanish cuisine.
Tapa may be cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or hot (such as chopitos, which are battered, fried baby squid).
As Wiki is saying – you can pick among different seafood, potato dishes (Patatas Bravas, my favorite), local ham and bread. Trust me – you will love it :-).
The funny thing was that during our visit to the restaurant, in the wine cellar below us held a bachelorette party. Sitting at our table we met the professional stripper wearing S.W.A.T. uniform. He descended the stairs to fulfill his duty to at the party one floor below 🙂 That was a really funny action.
I spend my flight time studying the Barcelona guide (yes, in paper version). This helped us a lot to make a draft planning of places to visit in Barcelona for the next days.
Reading above you can have a feeling that we had no clue what we want to see in Barcelona. I can tell you: yes, you are right – we did not plan anything in advance besides flight tickets and accommodation. It was a truly spontaneous trip.
From the guidebook, I knew that La Rambla is the place where we could start our adventure in Barcelona. Following Wikipedia:
A tree-lined pedestrian mall, it stretches for 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) connecting Plaça de Catalunyain the centre with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. La Rambla forms the boundary between the quarters of Barri Gòtic, to the east, and El Raval, to the west.
If you are going to visit La Rambla, then take my advice and watch your belongings. The street is extremely crowded and it’s really easy to be robbed there. As Walter from Walter’s World is saying – the police will be not much concerned by your loss… Luckily we did not have the opportunity to feel it for ourselves.
We got to La Rambla by walk. This gave us some feeling about the distances in the city. That’s why we decided to search for some alternative transportation.
Metro became our primary transportation in Barcelona. We loved it because it’s extremely easy to buy the tickets at the ticket machine:
- Check your nearest metro station. You can use this map.
- Go underground.
- Find the ticket vending machine.
- Pick the ticket you want. You can check prices here. We were using T-10 tickets. It enables you 10 fares and it’s not assigned to the person, so you can use it for your companions.
Trains come every 3-4 minutes.
Going to the end of La Rambla you will reach the Port Vell. Beside one of the biggest shopping center Maremagnum, you can find there one of the must-see places to visit in Barcelon – L’Aquarium. This is something definitively worth to see. Meet the variety of animals living in the water starting from small Nemo-like fishes to the giant sharks which you can observe from the tunnel made of glass. You can see it on below pictures:
Leaving L’Aquarium you will come to …
I think that modern yachts drags everybody’s. We took some time to see these beautiful ships:
Passing by the Marina you will reach the …
That’s our favourite part of the city. Plenty of tasty restaurants, bars and climatic places. And of course the Barceloneta Beach with lot’s of smile and friendly people having good time. As I wrote – the restaurants are pretty good there. Among the others we can recommed Can Ganassa where we had a pretty good lunch. This was the first time when we tried the Crema Catalana – it’s delicious traditional Catalonian dessert made of milk, lemon, yolks, cinnamon bark and maize flour. I could write that it’s kind of Crème Brule but I was warned that I shouldn’t do that if I don’t want troubles 🙂
We loved Barceloneta so much that we kept on coming to this part of the city dozens of times during the rest of our stay.
One of the next places to visit in Barcelona was:
Do I have to introduce this team? FC Barcelona is one of the greatest football teams on the globe. Messi, Christo Stoichkov, Ronaldo, Marc Overmars – these guys have become part of the football history playing in Barcelona. Camp Nou is the place where you can see all their trophies. Starting from all of the cups (including 2015 Champions League winner’s cup) through golden shoes and Messi’s golden Ball.
This is a hell of the attraction for football lovers (and their wives or girlfriends :-))
My tip: don’t risk standing in the queues – buy the ticket through the internet using the Barcelona e-ticket office. Remember to be on time at the entry gate to access the visit (all is written in the pdf with the ticket which you will receive) as these are scheduled and missing your entry time they can refuse you entry. We used the metro to get there.
Having a lunch in Barcelona
Local food is something that should not be ignored in this article. Tapas you already know from the chapter at the begging of the text, now it’s time for main dishes.
Seafood is the king in Barcelona. Definitely. You can try all the variety of mother nature’s gifts from the sea (see photo). It’s always fresh and tasty.
One of the most famous Spanish dishes is Paella. This is a rice based dish. Types of paella include vegetable paella, seafood paella, and mixed paella. You can check where the best damn Paellas are served.
You should also try:
- Bombas – a tennis ball-sized potato croquette served with a white garlic allioli and a spicy red sauce,
- Escalivada – snack with pepper, garlic, and anchovies.
- Creama Catalana – delishous dessert, you could read about it above.
All of these tasty things you can try in the majority of 8700 restaurants in Barcelona. But I would like to recommend you one to visit. It’s called:
We found it with a little bit of help from Tripadvisor but our first attempts to eat there were unsuccessful. If you want to use Tripadvisor to search for the best restaurants in the area, you should know that hundreds of other tourists do the same. So, don’t expect that there will be a single free table for you. The best is to book the table – that’s what we finally did.
We were so pleased with this place that we booked the table also for the second day. We had there a perfect paella with seafood and the delicious dessert – base on milk looked like fried pannacotta (see below) – this is the speciality of the Peninsular’s Chef.
Ok, that would be enough about the food. Now, let’s focus on drinks…
No, it’s not a coffee as you might think. Take a bottle of Cava, some chopped fruits (strawberries, orange, lemon), add some ice, and if you like – some brandy. Mix it and there you go – meet the Cava Sangria:
And if you want to replace white wine with the red one then you will become a friend of genuine Sangria:
Among the all the must-see places to visit in Barcelona this one astonished us. Sagrada Familia is a large unfinished Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). It’s still in construction – since more than 100 years now. Scheduled finish year is 2026. Despite that it’s not ready it is incredible from both: inside and outside. Take a look at below photos – stained glass plays with the light and in result, you can observe breathtaking images.
Again – buy your tickets via the online store. This will enable you to skip the queue and will save you a lot of time.
Barri Gothic (Gothic Quarter)
Bari Gothic is the centre of the old city of Barcelona. It stretches from La Rambla to Via Laietana, and from the Mediterranean seafront to the Ronda de Sant Pere.
You will find there a labyrinth of incredible climatic small streets (see photos) and shops. One of these shops is Hola Cristo – we bought one of the Picasso portraits. You will find there plenty of great graphics with perfect “South Park” like humor. We loved it.
The next must-see among places to visit in Barcelona is Picasso Museum located in the Gothic District.
You will find there 4,251 Picasso’s works starting from his adolescence and youth and continued until his death. The permanent collection is very rich and it is practically exhaustive up to the Blue Period. The Museum also houses an important representation of works from 1917, and the series Las Meninas (1957) as well as a comprehensive print collection.
I think that will not surprise you – book your tickets in advance by the Museum’s online ticket store. Also saves time and there is always a limit of people who can enter each hour. Using online tickets store you can pick the best date and time for you. Don’t wait with booking too long – it’s very popular museum.
Park Guell is another obligatory location on the list of places to visit in Barcelona.
It’s a public park composed of gardens and architectonic elements located on the mountainside of Collserola. The design of the park was assigned to Antoni Gaudí – the architect who is the face of Barcelona. Following Wikipedia:
The park was built between 1900 and 1914 and was officially opened as a public park in 1926. In 1984, UNESCO declared the park a World Heritage Site under “Works of Antoni Gaudí”.
A tip – check the weather forecast before you will go there. Clear sky gives you the opportunity to take some kick-ass Instagram photos of Barcelona city from the top. Really beautiful – the panorama of Barcelona.
Almost forgot 🙂 Definitively it’s worth to buy tickets online – it’s always good to skip the queues.
Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
This is almost 100 years old performance. Another one on the list of places to visit in Barcelona.
It’s getting dark and you start to hear a music – it’s Barcelona performed by Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé. The magic begins – water fountains dance to the rhythm of the music and full of color lights complete the experience of pure magic… Take a look at the photos below – believe me, it’s worth to go there.
Aha, and you don’t need to book any tickets online – it’s for free 🙂
It’s time to go back
Last day we decided to go back to the airport with the metro – it was a good choice. Less expensive than Uber or Taxi and far more flexible. We were able to drop our luggage for a whole day at Cosmo Appartments (late flight) and we could again visit our beloved Barceloneta. And that was it – home sweet home – we’re coming back… Experiencing the Barcelona for 7 days is something that is memorable. 100% sure that we will come back there.
Any more places to visit in Barcelona?
Certainly – places described here are just a part what you can see and visit in Barcelona. The only constraints are time and your goals for the trip. We had one week and our goal was to not hurry and take it slowly. The main drivers of our trip were: rest and batteries charging – these tasks were 100% fulfilled. With my final word in this article, I’d like to encourage you to visit Barcelona and follow our path. And if somebody would ask me for one single tip for visiting Barcelona, I would immediately tell him – buy the entrance tickets online 🙂 .
All photos: Lucas