Thursday, August 17, 2017

Travel Guide to A Weekend in Barcelona

If I have to choose a city in Spain, where I would travel again and again, Barcelona would be my first choice! Barcelona offers something for every traveler even if you have a small travel budget. In the small tapas bars in La Barceloneta and Gracia, you can get delicious tapas at a good price. There are also many cheap hotels and some museums are even free on weekends.

If you are looking for more luxury, the city offers you great roof terraces, cool clubs and designer boutiques for shopping. Do not forget that in Barcelona something is going on almost every day. In summer there are street festivals in each quarter. Here, one can mix with the locals and celebrate together, admire the famous human towers (Castells) and learn traditional Catalan dances (Sardana).

In addition, a colorful modernist building is waiting to be discovered and photographed at every corner. I think Barcelona also makes art bureaus become architectural fancies. And of course, the mix of beach, city, and mountains is quite unique.

What to do in Barcelona for 3 days?

Apart from the absolute must-visits such as the La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, the Cathedral or the Esglesia de Santa Maria del Mar and Plaça Espanya, you should also look at the old town of Barcelona. In the city district of El Born, there are many small traditional restaurants and bars where you can end the day well. You will also find traces and works of art from my favorite artists Joan Miro, Salvador Dali or Gaudi.

One of my favorite places is the Carrer Allada Vermell, a street with many terraces and palm trees. Moreover, the gothic architecture of the buildings in El Born and El Gòtic is very beautiful to look at. You should also visit the Cathedral of Barcelona. In the cloister, there are still 13 geese (for centuries) because of a legend.

They serve as an alarm system against intruders and stand for the number of years of the life of Eulalia, the patron saint of Barcelona. You can also go on the roof of the cathedral and have a great view of the old town of Barcelona. Sightseeing in Barcelona is not boring. Although what is the most visited museum in Barcelona? Right, the Camp Nou football stadium is the best football club in the world (I think).

What cannot be found in any Barcelona travel guide?

Another place I would recommend is the old air raid shelter El Turó de Rovira. It is a little higher than Park Güell. From here you can have the most beautiful view over Barcelona.

The labyrinth of Horta is also great, which is located just outside the city. The Plaza de San Felipe Neri is also not in every guidebook. I did not read every travel guide and cannot guarantee anything. This romantic-looking place is however very popular among locals. The place has witnessed many years of history, such as a bombing in 1938. The indentations on the walls are still visible.

Typical Barcelona Food

The cuisine in Barcelona is very much characterized by the proximity to the sea. People eat a lot of fish and seafood. There are even special restaurants (Marisquerías), where you get almost nothing else served. But do not worry, for people who do not eat fish (like me), there are a lot of tapas. As in any city in Spain, the Barcelonians are proud of their tapas.

Very typical are Pimientos de Padron (small green peppers, sourced with salt), Champiñones al Ajo (Mushrooms spread in a lot of oil with herbs), Jamon Serrano, Tortilla de Patatas (almost like fried potatoes, but the Spaniards are mega proud) Albondigas (meatballs).

Not to forget is the Pan con tomato (crispy bread rubbed with garlic and tomato). The latter sounds rather easy. It is. Nevertheless, there is almost nothing better. For dessert, there is Crema Catalana aka Crème brûlée.

Barcelona Nightlife • Free things to do in Barcelona at night

The nightlife offers almost endless possibilities for every taste. For the sunset, you can enjoy a Clara on the beach or at one of the great viewpoints. Then eat a few tapas or a Bocadillo and take a real meal later. If you do not have enough, you can go to one of the trendy clubs or cellar bars after midnight.

For years I have had a great passion for Latin music. That's why I like to go to the Eixample district. Often, free dancing hours take place before 11 pm. Otherwise, I go rather in bars, of which there are so many in Barcelona. There are the best mojitos in the city. For a drink with a unique view, I recommend visiting the roof terraces, as the 360-degree panorama view is the bang.

What are the most beautiful beaches around Barcelona?

The beaches along the long beach promenades invite you to stroll, biking, jogging or longboarding. For relaxing, sit in one of the numerous hip beach bars or refresh yourself in the deep blue Mediterranean. Even surfing or stand-up paddling can be done here.

Often I travel to beaches outside Barcelona, such as the Costa Brava, Castelldefels or Sitges. The beaches of Barcelona have reminded me over the last few months of the year, like Playa d'en Bossa in Ibiza or El Arenal in Mallorca.

However, in the case of a short trip to Barcelona, it is often impossible to agree with the timetable to drive a few kilometers, so I recommend the Playa de Bogatell in Barcelona instead of Barceloneta. Also, the Playa de Marbella is quite nice. Here, the sand is finer, the water cleaner and the bachelor parties do not happen there.

Flea Markets in Barcelona

The most beautiful market from the inside and from the outside for me is the Mercat de Santa Caterina. The building is quite unknown in spite of its colorful roofs. A few visitors know that one of the oldest markets in the city takes place here. There is also an excellent restaurant in the same building.

I do not care about the famous La Boqueria. There are many other markets that are not so crowded and are much cleaner and more beautiful. These include the Fira Artesana on Plaça del Pi, El Mercat de Sant Antoni, and El Mercat del Ninot. Every district has its own market or market hall.

Is Barcelona expensive?

It depends on what you expect from your trip. It is possible to eat and spend a great evening in the city without spending a lot of money. The important thing is that you know the right places and does not fall into the tourist trap.

I recommend doing a good research before the trip, to ask locals or to read my blog. I also like to answer individual questions. Just leave me a comment on the blog. If you are also off the beaten track, Barcelona can be a cheap destination. However, you have to pay during the summer months a little more for an accommodation in the center. It is worthwhile to book a few months in advance.

On the other hand, there are many luxury bars, restaurants, and hotels in Barcelona. If you have a larger budget, you can get rid of your money even during leisure activities like helicopter flights or jets. Barcelona offers something for everyone.

Live like the locals in quirky hotels in Barcelona

There are stylish hotels at the port of Barcelona and right in the hustle and bustle of El Born. If you want to live like locals, there are a lot of apartments.

What makes Barcelona special?

Hugging the eastern coast of Spain, the organized grid of streets of Barcelona gives way to a number of delightful tourist attractions in the open. The Catalonian capital has a reputation as a bustling urban center, filled with renowned architecture, gourmet restaurants, clubs, and a thriving nightlife. Yet visitors won't have to look far to enjoy the sights that the city has to offer while taking in the city’s fresh sea air.

Park Guell

Park Guell is a well-known and well-visited Barcelona landmark in the portfolio of renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, whose buildings line streets of Barcelona and draw hordes of tourists to the city. A World Heritage Site, the park was completed in 1914 after 14 years of construction. Gaudi designed the complex during his Naturalist phase when he was most inspired by shapes found in nature. A steep walk uphill gives way to the massive park, and the views of Barcelona’s gridded streets are hard to beat. Between the panoramas awaiting you and Gaudi’s unique architecture, it’s difficult to say what lingers most after your Barcelona trip.

Columbus Monument

Standing at 60 m (197 ft), the Columbus Monument marks the lower end of La Rambla, a bustling pedestrian zone in the city’s core. Built in honor of the explorer, who is given credit for discovering the New World, the monument commemorates the visit Columbus paid to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella upon returning from his historic journey. Atop the monument, the figure of Columbus points south, towards Algeria, although many believe he is gesturing in the direction of his discovery. Crane your neck upwards to catch the adventurer in the sun, and then enjoy the sights awaiting you on La Rambla.

Rambla del Mar

Running through Barcelona’s core, Rambla del Mar holds the pulse of the city on its leafy streets. From Placa de Catalunya to the Christopher Columbus Monument, follow the crowds from one street performer to the next. There are few better ways to get a feel for the city and soak up Catalan culture than with a stroll down the city’s popular avenue.

Barceloneta Beach

One of the most popular beaches in Barcelona for tourists and locals alike, Barceloneta Beach attracts a loyal fan base with its soft sand, warm water, and fresh fish dishes. Visit the beach to while away a relaxing day under the gentle sun, the Mediterranean lapping at your sun-dappled toes. Not just for sunbathers, the beach offers facilities for games like volleyball and table tennis to test your athletic prowess if swimming out to sea isn’t enough. You may not expect to find modern art on the shore, but it’s here nonetheless: monuments and sculptures adorn the golden sands. Plan your Barcelona vacation to spend a few days here.

Passeig del Born

A colorful pedestrian avenue with a not-so-subtle hint of medieval flair, Passeig del Born fills with people day and night to admire the Street's vibrant bars and charming architecture. Flanked by the Born Market on one end and the church of Santa Maria del Mar on the other, the avenue has an air of the Barcelona of days gone by. Once host to tournaments, jousting matches, and Holy Week processions, today the avenue is lined with vendors and cafes.

Under the Barcelona Sun

As a city famed for the unique architecture that forms the urban core, it’s no wonder there’s no shortage of things to do outdoors. From marveling at Gaudi's work to swimming in the Mediterranean, Barcelona was built to be explored outside. So use an itinerary planner and when it comes to taking a load off and enjoying a glass of cava, you’ll catch locals spilling out of the bars and into the city streets.