Having grown up on the water I was glad to get out of landlocked Florence for a few days and be able to smell the sea breeze. Barcelona is an amazing city, and I quickly discovered how much I enjoyed it.
Note that if you are flying from another EU country with RyanAir, for this particular city, you might want to reconsider.
We managed to fly from Pisa (a €6 bus ticket from Florence S.M.N., and about a 45 minute ride) into GRO for €23.50 there and €12.50 for the return. It seems like a great deal, but you have an extra hour and 15 minutes to get from the airport to Barcelona Estacio del Nord, and the bus ticket to the airport and back is €25 round trip. The only bus that runs is Barcelona Bus, and there’s really no other option. Tickets can be bought there at the window. You still save some money, but you have to decide if the extra bus time is worth it.
WHEN YOU GET THERE
We unfortunately made the fatal mistake of not buying a subway pass. If you are in Barcelona for at least 3 days-GET IT. You will take the subway more times than you will think and it saves time and money to not have to constantly buy a new ticket when you just want to get to dinner.
Cabs in Barcelona are also very safe, and relatively cheap compared to other cities I’ve visited. On average a cab ride cost us anywhere from €6-€16, and the higher end was when we were traveling from one side of town to the opposite. So if you’re in a time crunch, cab is an easy and quick way to go. Just be aware that most of the cab drivers speak very little English, so have the map pulled up on your phone with the address.
Barcelona is a city full of some of the world’s most interesting architecture. Antoni Gaudi designed most of the city, and bypassing any of his work would be a mistake. There are other things to see as well though, and walking around is a very pleasing aesthetic.
|2. Casa Batllo|
6. Arc de Triomf
7. Placa de Catalunya
|photo courtesy of europeanfotos.com|
8. La Rambla
1. Paella Valencia (and since your in Barcelona the seafood paella as well)
We had dinner at this amazing place called La Fonda on Carrer dels Escudellers, 10. Very nice place, great atmosphere and great service as well.
Here, as in most Spanish restaraunts, you can order the paella in the pan for 2, 4, 6, or even 8 people and the pan is HUGE. Its absolutely incredible!
We had some particularly tasty and flavorful Sangria at Bar del Pi in Placa del Pi. They mixed their Sangria with cloves, and it gave it a little extra kick that is hard to imitate elsewhere.
If you have the money to spare, I enjoyed walking along La Rambla, seeing the market and finding a little side street to take off in search of a place that looks authentic to get some pre-dinner tapas (note that people in Spain don’t typically eat dinner until like 10 o’clock). The best bet is to follow your nose. That may sound crazy, but if you can smell some good tapas from outside on the street, chances are, they’re good inside.
Personally, I don’t really do clubs, unless I know the atmosphere is low key and I can actually groove (my moves can get pretty crazy out there). But if you are interested, there are lots of clubs in Barcelona, including popular ones friends dragged us to- Razzmatazz and Macarena Club.
Being more of a bar kinda gal we found ourselves at a multitude of different places. D9 al Poblenou was a large cocktail bar with good drinks, relatively reliable service, and a multitude of different people. I was also please that one of the bouncers spoke Italian, so I finally was able to find the bathroom in the large space (which were clean and well-maintained). If you’re not looking for something out of the way though, there are tons of dive-bars and pubs lining the streets in the center of town, and plenty of craft beer places with large selections on tap, including local brews.
If you have the time go to the beach. It’s stunning, half of the people are topless, and the water is amazing.
There are a few beach bars and good restaurants. When you get to the beach you can either rent chairs (€10 a day usually), or if you forgot a towel you can find one of the men selling blankets and sit on the free beach section as well. Avoid the men walking around selling mojitos and sangria, they’re usually awful, overpriced, and lack alcohol. If you want to drink on the beach, rent one of the chairs attached to a restaurant and buy drinks from the bar. It can get expensive but the other option is to haul all of your own alcohol, which can get heavy.