Today’s post is by Jessica Galbraith, author of the travel blog The Fly Away American where she shares her adventures living abroad and travels around the world. She spent over a month living in Barcelona, and constantly dreams of being back on her golden sand beaches.
Barcelona is one of those cities that stays with you long after you are gone. The energy, the food, and the unique architecture are unlike any other place in the world. The Catalan culture can make a believer of the most disgruntled traveller, and will have you joining in on midnight feasts, afternoon siestas, and beachside romps in no time.
After spending over a month getting to know Barcelona like a local, I can honestly say that the city forever holds a special place in my travels and is easily one of my all-time favourite destinations. If you are planning a trip to this Spanish oasis of art, culture, and fun- these are the places to visit and things to do to get the most out of your visit to Barcelona.
11pm dinner parties
Everything seems to revolve around food in Spain. While the eating hours are hard to initially get used to (dinner usually starts between 9 and 11:30 pm), the social aspect of food in Barcelona is one of its greatest strengths. The Catalan people love eating with friends and family for hours, taking their time with many dishes and lots of conversation.
When in Barcelona, make sure to try the wonderful seafood, caught fresh daily off the coast. Or opt for the traditional ‘May Y Mantagna’, Sea and Mountain, which is a plate of both meat and seafood representing the diverse landscape of the region. When you get thirsty, you can never go wrong with a tall jug of Sangria or locally produced cava. (I highly recommend a day trip to the Cordornniu Winery in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia where they make some of the best cava in Spain.)
Four kilometres of pristine Mediterranean beaches, yes please! Going to Barcelona and skipping the beach is like stopping by Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. Barceloneta Beach is probably the most popular, but expect huge crowds if visiting on a warm, summer day.
The Homenatge a la Barceloneta or ‘La Estrella Herida’ (The Wounded Star) by German artist Rebecca Horn is one of my favourite sculptures in Barcelona. Catch one of the Barcelona Harbour tours, for a unique viewpoint of the sculpture, and the coast and harbour itself. You can get drinks and snacks on-board, and they typically last around 45 minutes. Finish off with a drink at one of the beachside restaurants, the claras, lemon beer, is a favourite.
Sometimes I wonder what Barcelona would be like if Antoni Gaudi had never lived. His mark can be seen all over the city and truly adds a magical quality to the atmosphere of Barcelona.
The Sagrada Familia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a mesmerising church to behold. After seeing dozens of churches, some of the greatest cathedrals in Europe, the Sagrada Familia still stands out as the quirkiest, weirdest, and most spectacular of them all. Gaudi began his work on the church in the late 1880’s, but it remains unfinished to this day. Don’t miss the climb to the top, the trek up almost 400 stairs is well worth the beautiful view you are rewarded with. (You can also take the lift, but what fun is that?)
The Park Guell
Another Barcelona favourite of Gaudi fame is the Park Guell, a masterfully designed public park with unparalleled views over the city. Admission to the park is free, but be sure to visit early to avoid the crowds. Look out for the meticulous mosaic work and amazing views out over Barcelona.
And finally… a mosaic salamander
While in Park Guell, look out for the famous salamander whose likeness can be seen in every souvenir shop in Barcelona.
Barcelona has so much to offer its visitors, and its laid back vibes pull them back again and again. A holiday in Barcelona is perfect for those looking to relax, recharge, and have a lot of fun along the way. I personally can’t wait to get back and enjoy the slow-paced way of life that the people of Barcelona have all but perfected.