The second largest city in Spain, had been calling me for some time. Eventually that time had come.
We arrived in Barcelona El Prat (BCN) mid morning on a sunny day in July with a hotel booked for 3 nights. It was a short, 20 minute taxi ride to Hotel Casa Fuster.
Hotel Casa Fuster is located in one of the best areas in Barcelona, close to many major attractions. The building is exquisitely grand with a historical feel.
Room 302 would be our sanctuary for the trip. Beautifully decorated with a plush en suite.
We enjoyed some delicious drinks on their sophisticated rooftop terrace offering unique views of Passeig de Gràcia. What better way to end a long day’s exploring than with a refreshing Sangria De Cava by sunset?
Except, of course, if it’s Thursday and you’re partial to a bit of Jazz music. In which case you’ve hit the jackpot. Hotel Casa Fuster’s “Café Vienes” transforms into an exclusive Jazz Club for which you must ensure you reserve a table. You have the option of a drinks package, a tapas tasting menu package, or a complete dinner package. We opted for the tapas option and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! The whole shebang was fantastic!
Normally I have activities planned down to a tee, but on this occasion I had only a vague idea of the main sights I wanted to see, and so sought the advice of our hotel staff.
We were recommended to take the hop-on hop-off bus tour, for which we purchased a ticket for 2days. This is without a doubt the best way to see as much of the city as possible in a short space of time.
The bus offered 3 different routes. Green, Red and Blue. With 45 different stops including stops to interchange onto the different routes you’d be mad not to use this method as your means of transport.
We decided to take the blue route one day, and the red route the next. We were too busy enjoying ourselves to also fit in the green route, but hey…….all the more reason to return!
DO NOT MISS! I would allow yourself a good 3hours at least to explore the stunning beauty Park Guell has to offer. I could have photographed this location to death! One thing I must make you aware of is that, if you want to get “that picture”…..you know……this one……
……..then you are required to book tickets. This area is what can only be described as a large, concrete balcony held up by columns, and so can only support a specific number of people at any one time. Do not rely on showing up at Park Guell and being able to purchase tickets there and then. We witnessed many disappointed travellers being turned away as they hadn’t done their research. Either book through your hotel, or book it yourself online, in advance. You are given a specific time slot during which to enter this area of the Park. Generally you are allocated 30minutes. On first entry everyone rushes to the edges to get “that picture”, but if you hold off 15-20minutes, a lot of the crowd moves on to the remainder of the restricted area and you have more of an opportunity to get your shot with no one else in the background.
However, many people aren’t fussed on entering this area, and rest assured there is a lot more beauty to be seen without doing so! Should you get turned away, it isn’t the end of the world. We even enjoyed two Violinists under the stunning stone archways, overlooking a field of wild flowers. The sound of Beyonce’s “Halo” by Violin in this stunning location was angelic!
If you’re going to do it, you’ve got to do it right and go to the summit! The hop-on hop-off bus tour will show you which stop to get off for Mount Tibidabo. You will then take the Tramvia Blau up a long and winding hill (this is not included in the hop-on hop-off ticket price and costs approx €5 per person per ride). Finally you cross the road to the Funicular Station, which again has a small fee, to take you right up to the summit. The unusual experience of the Tramvia Blau and the Funicular combined already made it worth the effort. And then came the views. They are simply beautiful! The Sagrat Cor is quite the spectacle, and of course you have the whimsical, century old funfair as well.
Gaudi outdid himself when he designed the Sagrada Familia. So much so that 135 years later it is still under construction. Be prepared for crowds, it is definitely the busiest of the attractions, but don’t let that put you off……I mean did you even go to Barcelona without seeing it?
The difference a day can make
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
I cannot comment on what the museum has to offer inside, however, it is definitely worth getting off the bus to simply enjoy the grand approach up to the front. Barcelona’s architecture really is to die for!
What a street! 1.2 kilometres of tree-lined, pedestrian mall. Offering eateries, stalls, and all out Catalunya charm. We stopped at Ultramarinos for lunch, and loved it that much we returned the next day. The ham pizza, and the chicken burger were among the best we’ve had! Sylvia was our server, and what a delight she was! She even gave us each a complimentary bubbly after our meal.
Across from Ultramarinos we stumbled upon an artist’s stall, at which I could have spent hours looking through his work. €40 for an original oil painting of La Rambla on canvas material…….I couldn’t have purchased a better souvenir!
Catedral de Barcelona
Almost in the centre of the Gothic quarter sits the largest religious building in Barcelona. An exquisite example of Gothic architecture! The history, the narrow streets, quirky shops and tapas bars make the neighbourhood a great place to explore and get lost in. You’ll feel like you’re going back in time with everything being so beautifully preserved.
And there you have it. My take on Barcelona. I suspect I will have more to say about this lovely city in the future, but in the meantime I hope you avail of my advice, and have as wonderful a time as I did.
Adiós Barcelona, hasta la próxima vez.