Barcelona. When thinking of Barcelona, images of dancing in the street and drinking sangria until midnight had always been what came to mind. In all honesty, visiting Barcelona wasn’t something I thought I’d do for years, if I ever got to visit at all. But when I found dirt cheap flights, the lure of Guadí and sandy beaches was something I couldn’t resist. Who could right?
From the first night, I started falling in love with the culture. Not only do these people love to party, but every single person I met was extremely friendly. I don’t think we encountered one rude person while we were in Barcelona. And the city is always bustling. Even on a Wednesday night, early into the morning, the Tapas bars are crowded with both small and large groups yelling loudly and laughing while they drink and eat.
Along with the beautiful architecture, the friendly people, and the long spread of sandy beaches, one of my favorite things about Barcelona was the Tapas bars. Appetizers (called tapas) for 1-2€? A glass of wine for 2€? It’s no wonder Barcelona won me over! Each night we would find a tapa bar and drink and eat until the early morning, skipping dinner in favor of plates of tapas.
Our Airbnb patio overlooking the street in Barcelona
Day 1: Parc Güell, Palau de Musica Catalana, and Casa Batllo
On our first day, we visited Parc Güell in the early morning and were blown away by how gorgeous this park is. It was more stunning than I had even imagined. In the early morning light, the way the light sparkled off the mosaic tiles that cover most surfaces made the whole park look like something from a fairy tale. This was the first of Guadís works my husband and I saw on the trip and we instantly fell in love with him. We went first thing in the morning to beat the crowds and the heat and was so glad we did. By 9:30am the tour busses had started arriving and the park was beginning to get warm and crowded as we left.
Next we visited Palau de Musica Catalana and did a guided tour. I usually don’t book guided tours (I don’t like having to stick with a group) but was extremely glad we did. There is so much history and thought behind every piece of design that went into this building and it was incredible to learn about it all.
When we visited the Arch de Triomphe, the city was having a huge festival/protest in the main square. Music, beer, and food of all sorts flooded the park as crowds of Barcelona residents crowded to celebrate and make their stands on local political issues. It was fascinating sitting back and enjoying the festivities and being a part of such an important holiday for them.
Finally, we visited Casa Battlo, one of Guadí’s first homes he designed, and spent hours getting lost in the curved architecture and eccentric designs that marks Gaudí’s works. My favorite fun fact we learned here was that the design aspects of this house was was inspired by the sea.
Day 2: Sagrada Família and Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau
The Sagrada Familia is one of the most amazing churches I’ve ever been to. I had seen pictures of it online but didn’t realize the massive size or detail that was put into it until seeing it with my own eyes.
Gaudí began this cathedral towards the last portion of his life 136 years ago and to this day, they’re still working on this masterpiece. They expect it will take another 8 years to complete. The details, massiveness, and representation of every piece of this building is unbelievable. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to go back and see the cathedral completed.
The Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau was a hospital that was actually in use until 2009 when they made the decision to make it into a museum and cultural center. This hospital is absolutely stunning…leave it to Barcelona to have beautiful architecture even for their hospitals!
Day 3: Dalí Museum
The Dalí Museum has always been one of my bucket list places to visit. When we decided to visit Spain, the first place I Googled was the museum to plan where we stayed around its location. Fortunately, the museum is located in Dalí’s home town of Figueres, a forty minute train ride from Barcelona!
Our last day in Barcelona we took the train to Figures and visited the museum. When we stepped into the building, it was like stepping into Dalí’s mind for hours…weird sculptures, paintings, and architecture every place the eye landed. It was everything I had imagined and more–Dalí’s personality and art everywhere I looked. I could have stayed for hours upon hours, ogling and awing over every piece, each one stranger than the next.
Overall, Barcelona was my favorite place we visited in Spain…the mix of culture, art, food and architecture something I will never forget.