The Barcelona City Guide

Welcome to The Georgie Weekly.

I first published this post on my now old and very defunct beauty blog. It was the only post I decided to keep so I could publish right here! The Barcelona City guide is new and improved! 

I absolutely loved Barcelona and felt it was a great way to kick off the new chapter in my blogging bubble. If this is somewhere you have dreamed of visiting or are indeed already planning a trip, carry on reading for more info. 


Booking


We booked through Expedia and somehow managed to land ourselves the most wonderful hotel.  Well Brigita (my sister from another mister) did anyway! I don't know quite know how she did it, whether there was serious research and planning or we were just lucky.

We giggled out way through the hotel doors of The Arc and were made-up. The photos online did not do the hotel justice. You never know what you're going to end up with, unless it's a renowned super swanky hotel with a first class reputation and almost guaranteed great stay.

We were blessed with a room with a balcony overlooking La Rambla (the main shopping street). We were at the heart of it and couldn't wait to get our rather tired, exploring feet on.  Waving at the locals we were in our element.

Hotel and flights were around £180 per person for 3 nights.


March: The perfect time of year to go

Arriving in Barcelona, we couldn't quite believe how warm it was.  We had packed fairly lightweight t-shirts, jeans and Primark's finest shirts, however within a couple of hours of arriving, we were already scouting for the best pair of denim shorts we could find. It was 25 degrees and I was thankful I had packed the factor 50!


Hop-On, Hop-Off

As with any new city destination, I like to know my bearings. To know roughly where the must-sees are and also where base camp lies. I am a massive fan - actually make that humongous fan- of the hop-on, hop-off bus.

Narrative all the way, along with a tonne of dodgy annoying music in between. Top-deck in the sun is a must, breeze blowing through your hair and the opportunity to fill up the memory on your iPhone snapping for hours.

After an afternoon hopping around the city we planned a rough itinerary for the next couple of days.


Things We Did

We woofed down tapas and drank fish bowls of Sangria. The glass size is immense, think strong mulled wine with fruit. A heady treat.

Discovered a swanky Vegan restaurant (Flax and Kale).

Marvelled at, but nearly dozed off to a Flamenco show. The entertainment was great, the small venue very hot!

Flew along on a cable car across the city. 

Ambled along Barceloneta beach.

Jaw dropped over the wonderful buildings. Antoni Gaudi's soon familiar designs and projects are dotted all over the city.

Had a small amount of time to do a little shopping. Sephora, you do it to me every time and I finally discovered Massimo Dutti in the flesh.


Exploring

To get around, we mainly walked. Our feet fared us well, however be warned, we walked a looooooooong way. I'm talking marathon distance, over 33 miles in less than 3 days.

The weather was beautiful and the city stunning, so it was lovely to see all parts of the big B. Pack your most comfortable, battered trainers and blister plasters. There's no time for heels when exploring Barcelona.

Without further ado, here's what you must do alongside the bus tour when you visit for the very first time.


The Sagrada Familia

The Barcelona City Guide     The Barcelona City Guide
The Barcelona City Guide

Book tickets before you leave home (the queues can be long) and visit early in the morning.  Opposite Gaudi's stunning masterpiece is a beautiful lake where the locals seem to spend their morning walking their beloved pooches.

We decided to visit on a Sunday morning and as far as sight-seeing is concerned, this was the ideal time to go. The atmosphere and vibe was chilled without too many people around. The temple is stunning and amazingly still being built.

Work started in the late 1880's and the dream is for Sagrada Familia to be completed 100 years after Gaudi's death in 2026, complete with 17 spires. Considering how detailed and ostentatious the exterior is, the inside is understated as coloured windows provide the most beautiful light show within the walls.  Look out for the 'tree trunks' all made in different coloured stone.

I'm not speechless very often (in fact you can rarely shut me up), however visiting this beautiful building was a real WOW moment.


Take a Cable Car Ride ('Barcelona from the sky')


The Barcelona City Guide     The Barcelona City Guide
The Barcelona City Guide

If my memory serves me right this was around 20 euros for a return ticket. The cable car is situated right by Barceloneta beach. Worth the money alone to see the attractive views of the city and the long stretch of sand.

After a quick ride across to Montjuic Park, we had a speedy mooch around this rather impressive green area, posed and took photos on a tree branch (they were not good enough to publish). Haggled over a hand-carved wooden giraffe and headed back to the beach (complete with said giraffe).


Visit Barceloneta Beach


The Barcelona City Guide     The Barcelona City Guide


A stroll/amble/march/power walk/roller blade along the beach is welcome after the hustle and bustle of the city. Still hectic with tonnes of people, it's a relaxing walk along the seafront.

There are a few places to eat and refuel.  It was an absolute joy sitting on the beachfront and watching the world go by.  Munching my way through goat's cheese salad and slurping on a fruit concoction, it really was one of those moments I felt appreciative both of life and the world.

Walking from top to bottom along the promenade took around 1 hour and was the perfect way to head towards Barcelona Cathedral and also Farggi (my new favourite cafe).


Farggi Cafe


The Barcelona City Guide

Farggi is a hip place to go.An extensive menu of pancakes, ice cream, sandwiches and avo dishes. This is the ideal place on the way to the Cathedral for a pit stop. We had pancakes and ice cream with the best seat in the house. This almost open-air cafe is the most perfect place to be, people-watching in fabulous weather, it was lush! One of those real gems, you just stumble across and never want to leave.


Barcelona Cathedral


Great to visit if you have time and are in the area.  It's beautiful and much more like the traditional cathedral we all know and love. Completely different to Sagrada Familia, complete with pond and resident geese. Light a candle before you leave.


Stroll Down La Rambla


A shopping mecca. For the shoppers out there, you could spend a whole day browsing, lusting after and maxing out your VISA.

La Rambla has all the favourites Zara, Zara Home, Mango and Sephora. There's a tonne of luxury stores, Dolce and Gabbana, Louis Vuitton and Gucci. And then there's the more traditional and rather charming stalls.  Selling everything from handmade olive wood decorations, jars, mugs and flowers. Churro and Gelato features feature every so often along the way. It was quite wonderful walking along La Rambla with a waffle cone and homemade dairy ice cream running down the side. The most chilled out I had felt in ages!

Top Tip: Pickpockets are swarming, seeing tourists as an easy target.  Take a cross body bag which you can keep your eye on and minimal cash.


Visit Flax & Kale


If you're looking for a lightweight and uber healthy meal and vegan food is your bag, then Flax and Kale is a must!  Not a vegan, however I love veggies and could eat tomato pasta all day long. Not sure Brigita was convinced, under the impression she would be eating only lettuce leaves for lunch. 

We tried a mango/avo starter, followed by wholemeal pancakes (unsure of what they were made of).  It was divine. I bounced out of the restaurant feeling like my body had just eaten the most nutrient dense meal ever. Definitely one for the health conscious (which I am currently working on - more on this another time), veggie fans and for those wanting to try something a little different.


Guell Park


The Barcelona City Guide     The Barcelona City Guide
The Barcelona City Guide

Another wonder  by Gaudi. As you venture your way around Barcelona you soon feel in-the-know.  Gaudi's colours and designs are prevalent around the city and easy to spot. Guell Park is no exception.  The actual park is a lovely serene place to walk around. The highest spot makes for a great view point of the city. I loved it here!

The park is free to enter and the perfect place for a Spanish picnic, with  many shady spots. Should you wish to view other, more restricted areas there is a charge of around 20-30 euros depending on where you wish to go.

Gaudi's home and garden is also worth a look.

Guell Park is a real mixed bag of nature, eclectic styles and what I would describe as a rather pretty, real life gingerbread house.


Casa Battlo

Another of Gaudi's gems. Casa Battlo is currently under renovation, yet this is still a must see. Situated in the centre of Barcelona (Guell Park is a little further out yet still accessible), Casa B is another of his great works. Can you tell I'm a bit of a fan?

This impressive house features an array of colours typical Gaudi style.  An interesting place to spend free time with an opportunity to try on vintage clothes and get your picture taken 1800's Spanish style. We handed over 5 euros for said pic and as per usual I am 'sipping tea'.

You can view said picture on IG Stories now! I have added to my Barcelona highlights if you're reading this at a later date!


Hire a Rickshaw


From Sagrada Familia we met Yuris and hired a rickshaw for the long ride up the hill to Guell Park.  The rickshaw can only go so far, however it was a great way to see the back streets and local life. It took around 40 minutes to get up the hill and and then a 30 minute walk to the park. We took a taxi on the way back to La Rambla to save our sore toes, which is where we then ate at Flax & Kale.


Barcelona you rock!

This Spanish city has a chilled out vibe. It's trendy, vibrant and very clean with a tonne of things to do. I would head back tomorrow, however I for one, am wanting to see the completion of those 17 spires at the marvellous SG!

Have you been to Barcelona? Where are you planning on travelling to next?

If you have any tips of your own or places I must visit next time around I would love to hear from you!