TRAVEL // Barcelona — City By The Sea

I have total wanderlust. I’ve wanted to go to Spain ever since I started studying Spanish in high school. It’s such a rich culture filled with art, music, food, and color. Adrienne is back sharing her photos and tidbits about traveling in Barcelona. Trust me, you are going to want to see all the photos in this post — stunning! — Meg

barcelonaCeiling view at La Sagrada Familia

One of the coolest things about Barcelona is that it has a city center and beach location in one spot.  You can only find that setup in a handful of places around the globe which is one of the many reasons this place is so special (and popular).

barcelona colorStanding inside La Boqueria off Las Ramblas 

motosSide street inside the Gothic Quarter/Old City 

graffitiGreat juxtaposition of old world architecture and urban graffiti all throughout Barcelona

Here are a few recommendations on how to make the most of your time in Barcelona:

Change your Home Base – We stayed a few nights in Old Town/Gothic Quarter (touristy) and then in an apartment near La Sagrada Familia (locals). It was great to truly experience both areas – the hustle and bustle of Old Town and the laid back feel in a more residential area.  This isn’t feasible for every traveler, but definitely something to look into as an option. (Highly recommend MH Apartments).

gaudiColorful chimneys by Antoni Gaudi on the roof of Palau Guell

Do Your Homework – I recommend reading up on Antoni Gaudi before you get to Barcelona (great for plane ride over). The city is full of his amazing and unusual architecture that you won’t be able to miss as you explore…and with preparation you can start noticing his work right away vs. after a few tourist stops.

Point A to B – The Metro here is one of the easiest systems I’ve encountered in Europe. Since a lot of it was updated for the 92 Olympic Games, it is very clean and nice. Definitely the easiest way around the city. We had a great experience with the city bus as well – highly recommend it if you are heading to Parc Guell.

popciclesRefreshing treat inside La Boqueria off Las Ramblas

Since eating and drinking are such a big part of Barcelona – here are a few of my must-dos while there:

La Crema Canela – It will be hard to decide whether to eat inside or out at this restaurant, since the place is so well-designed and located in a great square off Las Ramblas. Food is delicious and the vibe from people walking around is exciting. (Passatge Madoz, 6, 08002)

Bestial – This place overlooks Olympic Harbor and a nice walk from the beach. You can sit inside pretty easily, but you’ll want to call ahead for the patio (which is phenomenal). Fresh food, great drinks and outdoor communal seating – makes you want to sit down and never get up. (Carrer de Ramon Trias Fargas, 2, 08008)

Cervecería Catalana – Expect a crowd spilling out into to the street, but the food is worth the wait. Plus, you can make new friends while you are grabbing a drink at the bar! (Carrer de Mallorca, 236, 08008)

Hotel Majestic – Head up to the rooftop bar for a great view of the area, plus it is a nice stop after visiting Casa Batllo ‘House of Bones’ across the street. (Passeig de Gràcia, 68, 08007)

Café at National Art Museum of Catalonia – While this isn’t the fanciest food, it does have some of the best views of the city and you can check out the Montjuic area after lunch.  (Parc de Montjuïc 08038)

churchCeiling details inside the Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter

church4Stained glass windows inside La Sagrada Familia

church3Ceremony in lower level of Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter

candlesLighting candles after mass on the lower level of La Sagrada Familia (taken at the morning mass on 9/11/2011)

wordsGraphic elements near the doors of La Sagrada Familia

beachBeach near Barceloneta on the Mediterranean Sea

Adrienne Barber

Photos by Adrienne Barber