Why I Love Barcelona.
Have you ever stepped off a plane and instantly fallen in love with somewhere? I didn’t think it was possible, until recently. I spent only 15 minutes in a taxi, in an entirely new city and vowed to buy an apartment there. I had never been to Barcelona before, but then spontaneously found myself there a couple of times over the Winter. I just needed to get away, take a short break and escape to somewhere completely new – but still, not too far from home. Do you ever feel like that? Just grabbing your passport and heading to the airport? Leave the world behind.
Having never before gone on a city break – Amsterdam, Prague, and Paris are still on my to do list – I really wanted to make the most of my time in this lively city. With Barcelona you get the best of everything, if you are a beach bum, a city goer, a shopaholic or a real foodie there is something here for everyone. You have so many options, and all in walking distance. I still cannot get over how amazing this place is. Today I thought I would share with you the photos I took on my trip and let you know what my favourite things to do are.
The beach. The longest beach I have ever set my eyes on, and it makes me feel like I have whisked away to California. With people buzzing around on roller blades, playing volley ball and paddle boarders heading out to sea, it is such a fun place to be. The shark fin shaped building you can see in the distance, that is the W Hotel and I would absolutely love to stay there some day. It just looks dreamy.
Paella. One day I was there, it was a Sunday and every single restaurant around lunchtime, along the beach front, had massive queues. Clearly everyone was wanting yummy paella. I cannot remember the name of the restaurant that I went to, but I have eaten in a few different places and paella just has to be done, with a jug of cava sangria. I was left in a right old food coma after demolishing this. It was great.
Restaurant Carpe Diem. With so many restaurants along the waterfront, if you are indecisive like me, it could turn into quite the task deciding where to eat. Then you see this place, and with the Moroccan/Mediterranean feel you just have to step inside. I did not realise, but of an evening it is also a club, but I went along during the day to relax in the sunshine, and eat copious amounts of sashimi. The food here is spot on and my mocktail was lovely – yes kids, I was good and had a mocktail. They have an area made up of beds that you could just lounge on if you wanted to. Looking at these photos I just want to go straight back.
Park Gruell. This is a short taxi journey (around ten-15 minutes) from Las Ramblas, and well worth the journey. You can walk around this park, venturing up into the hills and at the top you are rewarded with the most stunning views of Barcelona. If you love exploring the this is not to be missed.
Speaking of Las Ramblas, the times I have stayed here, I have always chosen a hotel or an Air BnB close to Las Ramblas. This is where all the restaurants, shops and bars are, but also in walking distance of the beach. I can highly recommend this Central Air Bnb here and also the Chic & Basic hotel.
Tibidabo. I believe this might be the highest point in Barcelona, it is a mountain and at the very top is an amusement park which is 100 years old! I imagine bringing children here would be lots of fun, as there are lots of old fashioned rides to go on, with some magnificent views. You can also visit the Catholic church, Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor, which is breath taking. At the top of this church is a sculpture, the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I wasn’t brave enough to ride the wheel.
Gothic Quarter. This is where I really fell in love with this city. Every single apartment building is incredible. I would absolutely love to buy an apartment here, and have my own little balcony over looking the hustle and bustle of the streets. The attention to detail on these buildings is insane, and I get lost just looking up and all around me. Whilst I was away, I sometimes would leave my hotel room without my mobile phone. It was so nice to just disconnect and actually fully throw myself into new surroundings.
Sagrada Familia. I CANNOT BELIEVE I FINALLY GOT TO SEE THIS. I was almost in tears. I have never been so happy. JUST LOOK AT ALL THE DETAIL. Unfortunately, I could not go inside, but next time I go I am going to make sure I do. Seeing just the outside of this famous church was more than words can describe. It really is a phenomenal structure.
FOOD. You have to go to Chok. And eat every single cookie and make you sure you try the strawberry covered chocolate cake, it is HEAVEN. These photos just make me drool every time I look at them. Being such a cake fiend, this is probably my favourite thing about Barcelona, is that really sad? You also have to go to the Boqueria, one of the best food markets in the world. The fish stalls here do some of the best sea food I have ever tasted. I do not eat meat, but I still eat fish. I hate to say it, but I do love lobster and here, was some of the best I have ever tasted.
One of my favourite restaurants, and I went every single time, was Ocaña. Both the food and drinks were yummy, and the service was great. The restaurant itself looks amazing and has a great atmosphere. It is always busy and has such a cool vibe to it. My favourite cocktails were the Thai Massage and the Dirty Duck Manhattan. Food wise, the cheese platter is a must simply for the fig butter that comes with it, the calamari is super tasty and the stuffed artichoke is out of this world.
There was also a quirky bar, called Beerlinale, which offers craft beers and tapas. I could go back here just for the vegetable chips and dip! This is right next door to Chok, so it was super easy to go and overdose on chocolate and then go grab a beer.
If I don’t choose to stay in Ibiza for the Winter, which is something I am seriously considering, I would consider moving to Barcelona. It is just somewhere that feels like home for me and I cannot wait to go back again. I had the best time ever there and thinking about it, just brings a huge smile to my face. It is a good job I am taking 2 Spanish lessons a week….