Eli and I were craving a little break to get away. As he doesn’t really enjoy a ‘sit around the pool’ kind of holiday we decided it would be best to do a mini city break. Barcelona was amazing as it had so much to do but it also had the sunshine so it was a great compromise. We went near the end of May and the weather was about 21˚C, but it felt a lot hotter as we were in the city and didn’t have much wind. In the evenings it did cool down so I would change into trousers and put a jacket on but to be honest, I feel the cold really easily whereas Eli was still walking around in shorts and a tee.
We went for five days and personally I found that perfect for us. I had done a lot of research and created a list of all the things that I wanted to do, and having the five days made it easier to fit it all in but it also didn’t feel rushed. It was really nice to go away and not stress about fitting everything in. The plus side with Barcelona is that it is a night city, so it still stays alive during the night. We would venture out about 9am/10am ish (depending on what we would be doing that day) and still be out till about 7.30pm/8pm. So you literally have the whole day to go out and do what you want!
We stayed in the hotel TRYP Barcelona Apolo Hotel, which is in the Gothic area. It was absolutely lovely and couldn’t fault it. We arrived before midday, so we asked them to hold our luggage as check in was at 2pm. The hotel is about a 10 minute walk from La Rambla and about a 30 minute walk to the beach. There is the option to have breakfast at the hotel (obviously at an additional cost) but we preferred going out to find breakfast and exploring! We also walked everywhere. We got a taxi from and to the airport but apart from that we walked as we enjoy it more because you get to see things you normally wouldn’t.
PLACES TO VISIT
This was a really lovely square on the side of the street La Rambla. It’s not hard to miss as you’ll see a massive gap between buildings and palm trees sticking out. It has a fountain in the middle which is a good photo opportunity but it also has cafes and restaurants going round so you could grab something to eat in there and people watch. It’s a really beautiful square so stand there and take it in for a few minutes.
BASÍLICA DE SANTA MARIA DEL MAR
This is a Gothic-style church which you can just walk in for free and look inside. It is quite deep into the Gothic Quarter but if you’re having a day wandering round then definitely put it on your list to see as the architecture is incredible. The second picture is just me walking through the gothic lanes.
CATHEDRAL OF BARCELONA
Again, this is in the Gothic area but is about a 7 minute walk from Basílica De Santa Maria Del Mar (Picture above). We didn’t go inside so I’m not sure if you can go in for free but still, it’s a pretty good sight from outside! Also around this area there was a huge flea market and a guy playing an instrument so it’s a cool atmosphere to be around. As you can see by the picture it was busy and full of people. Unfortunately it is a great photo spot and touristy attraction so it may be hard to miss the crowd.
La Rambla is a straight long street with markets on each side of the inside pavement, and then cafes and shops on the outside pavement (if that makes sense haha). At the start of La Rambla there was those people who dress up and act as statues (image below), I was getting way to excited about seeing them. Everyday at different times there was different ones so always keep an eye out!
As you keep walking down you will see the Mosaic de Joan Miró o del Pla de l’Os, basically a big mosaic on the floor. This was the best picture we could get of it lol. If you walk down a little more you will then see La Boqueria market on your left. (There is images further down under my food section).
Half way up La Rambla, you will see Plaça de Catalunya. It is a large square with fountains and A LOT of pigeons. Again, it’s a really lovely spot to sit down for a bit and watch the world go by. Across the road from here you’ll find an Urban Outfitters. If you turn right and then keep walking up you reach what I like to call the ‘posh’ part of La Rambla. This is where you will find high end designer shops like Gucci and Chanel. It is fun to walk around and see them all though.
If you do walk up to the ‘posh’ bit, there is two Gaudi buildings you can see on the way for a quick snap! The building in the first image is called Casa Batlló and the building in the second image is called Casa Milà.
The Monjuïc Castle is definitely worth seeing. You can go up by cable car or you can walk like we did. I’m not even kidding when I say it’s up hill. My legs have never had a better workout. This cool stature thing was when we were walking up. You can also take a route where you walk through loads of beautiful gardens.
This is when you reach the top and the entrance of the castle. You don’t have to go in the castle but you just made all the effort to get up there so probably worth going in haha. To get in we payed €3 each (I’m not quite sure why) but on the board and website it said €5.
The view is stunning. It makes all the effort getting up there 100% worth it. You also get to walk round the castle which is really interesting.
RAMBLA DE MAR
This place I guess is pretty much a harbour. One night we sat here and got take away dinner and just chilled. But if you walk along the bridge there is a big shopping centre (McDonalds, Bershka, Pull & Bear) and then you can walk along to where the aquarium is and then through Plaça de l’Ictineo (third image).
PARC DE LA CIUTADELLA
The park is pretty big, but there is quite a lot to see. There is a few statues/artwork scattered around, Barcelona zoo is also at the end but the best bit of the park is this gorgeous fountain. Eli and I both agreed that this was one of our favourite places we visited on our whole trip. When we first walked round the corner and saw it, we were shocked with how beautiful is was. It’s even better when you see it in real life, trust me. There is also another little lake/ (big pond?) in the park that you can rent a boat for two people.
The image below was taken at Palau del Parlament de Catalunya which is the The Catalan Parliament. There is a small fountain feature and really lovely trees to stroll through, definitely go take a look as it is good for a photo spot!
ARC DE TRIOMF
The Arc de Triomf is really close to the park above so you can do these two things on the same day. It’s a great photo opportunity but personally I found there wasn’t really much else to do around this area so we literally walked down it, took a picture and left. Definitely go and see it though!!!
The Sagrada Família is in walking distance from the Arc de Triomf. It really is breathtaking. If you want to go inside you do have to buy tickets and I would advise to buy them online so you can skip the queues. As it is a temple there is a dress code (No plunge tops. Shoulders, back and belly should be covered. Shorts or skirts should come down mid thigh.) and we did actually see some people get turned away because they weren’t wearing the appropriate clothing so be prepared and follow the dress code.
There is loads to do round the church, eg. there is a little park which is a great photo opportunity as you can have the Sagrada in the background. Mcdonalds, Burger King and Costa are also on the side if you wanted to grab a bite to eat. We arrived early so we grabbed a costa and was sat on their outside seating taking everything in. The view doesn’t get much better than that right?
You get your bag checked when entering and of course you do need to keep the noise down but it is so worth the money. We got just the standard tickets which were €15, but you can also get tickets with tower access and audio guide for €29.
(Jumper: Charity Shop)
(T-shirt: Zara few years ago)
Barcelona is full of some amazing food spots. I am vegetarian and my boyfriend is lactose intolerant so we aren’t the easiest pair to find somewhere to eat haha. I would 100% recommend to do some research on where to eat, especially for dinner as you can end up wandering for ages trying to find somewhere. One thing we found with Barcelona is that there is a real mixture of restaurants. You have the hipster modern type and then you have your typical cheapie not so nice place. It is also very scattered around. There was a few occasions where we found amazing cafes but they were in a run down skanky area and it looks like it doesn’t quite fit in if you get what I mean haha.
Oh my god this place. We visited here about four times. I would definitely recommend the cinnamon swirl. They had a variety of flavours to choose from and even on one of the days they had vegan cinnamon swirl. Bare in mind the vegan ones aren’t there everyday so you have to ask when they are doing a batch haha. This place is located in the Gothic Quarter.
This was our first dinner spot. It’s a burger restaurant and they have a really interesting system and that actually works pretty well. You basically have this piece of paper and you have options that you tick off to personalise your order. It starts off with the bun, so you get to tick what bread you want, and then you choose what meat, how well you want the meat cooked and your fillings etc. You hand it over to the till and voile.
THE JUICE HOUSE
This place was a real gem. It is the opposite way from the gothic quarter so depending on where you are staying it could be quite a walk. Like I was explaining earlier, the location doesn’t do this place justice. But as soon as you walk in and go to the back it opens out and on a sunny morning it’s a beautiful breakfast spot. Eli had green healthy pancakes with an avocado mousse thing, mushrooms and egg and I had an açai bowl. The Juice House is very rustic but it creates a really nice atmosphere and surrounding to be in whilst eating.
This is located down La Rambla on one of the little side streets. Beware it is a very small shop and gets crowded very quickly but they do the most incredible doughnuts. They did actually have a vegan nutella doughnut when we went there so definitely worth asking if you want a vegan one!
Every once in a while we all need to refuel and get some chips in our bellies. This place was the best for it. You can choose what size cone you want, and then you can pick from a variety of sauces to have. You can even get chilli con carne on top, Eli recommends to try it. We always passed this on our way to the beach, but of course depending on where you are staying you might have a different route than we did BUT it is a five minute walk from the beach to Las Fritas so there is no excuse to not go!
This place was near our hotel so it’s located near the gothic quarter. Depending on where you are staying it might be quite far away but it is definitely worth the walk if you are after vegan/ healthy food options. The interior is really cool as well. The picture below is the nachos with an iced tea. I have no idea what the other picture of food is though haha. Eli ordered it but he said it tasted amazing so I’m it doesn’t taste as bad as it looks.
I think there are a couple of Federal cafes in Barcelona. This one was near our hotel so again, it might be a bit of a walk for you. I absolutely loved this place. The food was incredible – Eli had avocado on toast and and I had eggs florentine. You also get the opportunity to sit on the window ledges and people watch whilst eating your food. It is a really great experience plus a great photo op!
LA GELATERIA DEL BARRI
This was located in the gothic quarter near the beach side walk. It is quite tucked away so it might be quite difficult to find it. It is 100% worth adventuring around for as it has so many vegan flavours which all taste so amazing. We couldn’t make up our minds which flavour to have so you can ask too try a little spoonful before deciding. Eli went for hazelnut flavour and I went for mango!
Apparently this is meant to be the best place to get pizza. Pizza Circus can easily be walked passed so make sure to keep an eye out for it if you’re on the hunt for pizza. It is quite a small little shop so can get pretty busy at times but I would 100% recommend taking a visit. There are various different pizzas with different toppings to choose from, and you can buy large slices or a whole pizza.
BRUNCH & CAKE
Can we just take a moment to appreciate this picture? Brunch & Cake is known for being THE place to take the perfect Instagram food picture. Like come on, I have fricken flower petals on my iced latte. The only downside with Brunch & Cake is that it really lacked vegan options. Eli had the Açai bowl and I had the chocolate nutella pancakes. They were incredible, but extremely rich and gooey. Also like 90% of the time there is a queue to get in so you must be willing to wait if you want to eat there. The one we went to is on your way to the beach but I think there are a few located elsewhere, one being in the gothic quarter.
This is a vegan cafe and is located near the Sagrada Familia so might be a good idea to do these two on the same day as they are near. We went for the vegan burger which to my surprise was actually really nice. The food also comes out in a little blue tray which is so cute.
MACCHINA PASTA BAR
This has to be my most favourite place out of the whole holiday. When Eli told me we were going to a pasta bar I almost screamed with excitement. Do you remember me talking about the burger restaurant where you have to fill in a piece of paper and then hand it over at the till? Well this place works like that as well. You firstly have to choose what sauce you want, then what fillings and then what type of pasta. So you give the person at the till your paper and he hands it over to the chef, you then get given this black electronic rectangle thing that you take to you table. When you find what table you want to sit at, there is a black patch that you need to put the black electronic rectangle thing on. I think it somehow works with bluetooth or something but when you do that, it then tells the waiters what table you are at and then they can deliver your food to you. It is really clever. If you go upstairs, you can sit on the balcony and look down to watch the chef making all the pastas. I would recommend trying the lemonade. It’s amazing. Also, if you are interested in see the Magic Fountain then this pasta bar is like a ten minute walk away.
If you are having a beach day then this place will be perfect for you as it located right on the beach. It does get quite busy so you may have to wait a few minutes to get a table but the food is delicious. Yet again, Eli had an Açai bowl and I had pancakes. It’s the perfect place to eat and people watch.
LA BOQUERIA MARKET
La Boqueria Market is down La Rambla. There was so much food there it was hard choosing what to eat. You could choose from ice cream, fruit smoothies, anything meaty, seafood or pastries. I tried a potato swirl which you need to try. It gets REALLY packed in there so hold onto your bags close and make sure you are fully aware.
If you need a pit stop whilst walking to the beach, Zumito is perfect for their smoothies and making you feel hydrated again. I had the mango and passionfruit one I think. It tasted insane. It’s a really cool quirky cafe and it is also has vegan options so go check it out!
-Take a bag that can be secured and close to you at all times. There is a lot of pick pocketers around and they are very clever.
-Bring comfy shoes. I was planning on wearing my heeled clog sandals the whole holiday, but luckily I brought trainers with me as I wore these the whole trip. It is ridiculous how much walking you do.
-Divide your money into how many days you are going. If anything was to happen to your purse then at least you would still have money in your room that you left behind.
-Take something for warmth. I knew it was going to be hot but I get cold really quickly and in the evenings I could really feel it. I was so glad that I brought jeans and a jumper with me.
-Book tickets online in advance whether that is for Park Guell or Sagrada Famillia.
-Carry a bottle of water with you. Especially if you are going in the hotter seasons!
-If you go to the beach beware that there are people constantly walking around trying to sell you stuff. Even if you are sunbathing topless they will still come up to you asking if you want a mojito or massage. After a while it gets annoying so just pre-warning that you won’t have peace and quiet haha.