Barcelona is a vibrant and colourful city. From the minute I got off my train, I could feel the bustling energy of the place. I only had about two days to explore before moving on to my next destination, but I think I managed to catch quite a few of the highlights. If you want a guide to spending a weekend in Barcelona, and what spots that you absolutely cannot miss on your trip, just keep reading!
Even while travelling solo as a female, I found the public transportation system in Barcelona to be clean, safe and efficient. The most convenient ticket for a short trip is the T-10 card that is valid for 10 journeys. You validate the ticket any time you enter the metro or a bus, and you also get 2 hours for transfers. To figure out which train or bus to take, I simply used the route planner on Google Maps, and it worked like a charm.
Want to know the best way to get data when travelling abroad? Learn about travelling with Google Fi here.
Grab some Churros
Contrary to popular belief, churros are not a dessert, but a popular breakfast food! So start your day off on a sweet note with some churros like the locals do. Chocolateria Valor was recommended to me as a place to get churros, and it did not disappoint.
Walk around Downtown:
If you enjoy people watching, then Placa de Catalunya is the place for you! It is easy to understand why this is such a popular spot when you realise that the Plaza is at the top of the famous Las Ramblas. It is a fairly touristy spot, but also the place to head to if you want to hit up some of the bigger shops in the city. Keep an eye on your bag though, as this area is also famous for its pick pockets!
Another place that is not to be missed in this area is Parc de la Ciutadella. I expected this to be extremely crowded when I went, but was pleasantly surprised to see a fair few locals and not too many tourists around. The main attraction in the park are the beautiful fountains, which are absolutely worth visiting. As a bonus, the Arc de Triomf of Barcelona is also nearby, making this a lovely and free way to experience the city.
Explore the Gothic Quarter
Cross a few streets from the park and immediately feel like you have walked back in time. Here you can see amazing buildings like the Barcelona Cathedral and the famous Gothic bridge (Were you even in Barcelona if you didn’t instagram this spot?!).
Since I was short on time, I just wandered around, turning whichever corner took my fancy. However, there are plenty of free walking tours of this part of the city (such as this one and this one) if you want to learn more.
It is hard to go around Barcelona and not hear Antoni Gaudi’s name crop up. So this day will be spent looking at some of his most famous buildings in Barcelona.
Relax at Park Guell
Gaudi considered nature to be his greatest teacher, so it makes logical sense to first visit Park Guell. Initially supposed to be the site of a housing project, the area was then commissioned to be a park by Eusebi Guell after whom the park is now named. While entrance to most of the park is free, the “monumental zone”, the area with iconic attractions such as the staircase with the mosaic dragon and the terrace with views overlooking the city, is ticketed.
In the park, you can also visit the Gaudi House Museum, a show house that Gaudi eventually bought and lived in for a while. The park (especially the monumental zone) can get very crowded, especially in the high season. So I would definitely recommend going earlier in the day and buying your ticket in advance.
Casa Mila and Casa Battlo
Casa Battlo and Casa Mila (also referred to as La Pedrera) are both residential buildings designed by Gaudi. The two are only a 5 minute walk apart, making them easy to visit one after the other. Most people only pick one of the two to go inside, but you can visit both if you choose to. You can find a great article on how to choose between the two here. I picked Casa Mila, but this choice was completely random and made at the last minute!
Marvel at La Sagrada Familia
I saved the best for the last here, and without a doubt that honour goes to the Sagrada Familia. This unfinished structure has been under construction since 1882, and is undoubtedly Gaudi’s crowning achievement.
It was so crowded when I visited that I wondered if this was really worth it. However, the moment I step inside, I had no more doubts. It really is beautiful, and unlike anything else I has seen before. Rest assured, you’re not going to get the feeling that this is like hundreds of cathedrals that you have been in before. I also highly recommend getting an audio guide so you can gain some appreciation of the symbology behind the design.
And there you have it, a complete weekend guide to Barcelona!
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