It took me 36 years to finally go to Spain, which is a kind of shame since it's only a 2 hour flight from Austria. I have to say, I really should have gone there before, I absolutely loved my trip to Barcelona. Lovely people, wonderful weather (even in the European winter month), great food and tons of cool and interesting stuff to see.
arriving at bcn
The BCN Terminal 1 is pretty big and it took me quite some time to find out how to get to the subway and how to get subway tickets. Watch out! The subway stations between the airport and the main city are different ticket zones, so make sure to find the right ticket. I would not recommend to take a full week ticket for the subway - you will be walking a lot in Barcelona so you might want to save some money on the quite expensive long term tickets. My hotel was located in the Poblenou district. The whole area around consists of new buildings and buildings under construction. They told me that this place is gonna be totally renewed within the next few years.
The accommodations in Poblenou are a bit cheaper than the once in the city center - still it is a great part of the city where you can reach pretty much everything within a few minutes.
barri gotic district
You can find a lot of cool restaurants bars and bistros all over Barcelona. If you are lost in the beginning you might want to start your trip in Barri Gotic. This area is kind of the main district of the city. There you can find the Bishop's Bridge (get there early for a perfect picture), La Catedral, the Basilica de Santa Maria and it is right at the famous "La Rambla" street which I really do not recommend spending a lot of time - there are just tons of tourists. Still this place is a good starting point for your days in capital of Catalonia.
A place you definitely want to see is the by far coolest market in Barcelona called Mercat de la Boqueria. For sure it is pretty much packed with people all the time but still there are some corners in the market where you can linger and enjoy the market scenery. You find everything from fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and all kinds of little snacks. Beside all that, there are some really cool little market bars that serve wonderful drinks. Opening hours are Monday till Saturday from 8am to 8pm. You might want to make sure to be there at around 5pm after a day of sightseeing - just grab some crazy good Burritos or Croquetas and enjoy the start of the evening with a glass of Sangria or some very good local beer.
from the beach to the harbour
When in Barcelona, don't just run around in the city all day! Have yourself a bit of time off, let your soul dangle and get some sand between your toes. The main beach of the city is Barceloneta Beach which flows directly into San Sebastian Beach. These two are the places you want to go!
Next to San Sebastian Beach you find the huge "W - Barcelona Hotel". The building is shaped like a enormous sailboat. It's about 100 meters high so the chance to miss it is quite small - you'll see it...and you wanna go there. Not only that the whole area around is a cool photo spot - it also welcomes you the the wonderful harbour of Barcelona. Port Vell is a gigantic shipyard and home to some of the longest yachts and sailboats I have ever seen. Get your cameras ready!
la sagrada familia, park güell and the heritage of gaudi
Antoni Gaudi is ubiquitous in Barcelona. The city is obsessed with the art and the creations Gaudi did. I have to say, I'm not the biggest fan of art or architecture but the work of Gaudi especially at Sagrada Familia blew my head off.
A little history lesson: Gaudi lived between 1852 and the mid 1920ies. The most impressive and popular architectures he did was the 3 Gaudi houses, Park Güell and of course the world famous Sagrada Familia. A 170 meter high monster of a church. Trust me you want to go there. This building is impressive. I've been to a lot of places and I've seen a lot of crazy shit but this church is just of the hook!
Here's what you want to do. Go online and get day tickets for La Sagrada. Download the "La Sagrada Familia App" on your smartphone to make sure to save 5 bucks on the audio guide. For the day pass they charge you 26 Euro (in 2022) which I thought was kind of crazy to visit a church BUT is worth every penny.
There is no change I can describe how massive and really wonderful this building is and it's not even finished yet. Plan in 2022 was to finish it in 2026...we'll see. I really recommend going there and taking the full tour to get the whole Gaudi experience. My words can't express what you are about to see there. Go, and see for yourself.
Park Güell was my next stopp. It's a little outside of the main city, up on a hill in "La Salut" and offers a wonderful view all over Barcelona. The fee was about 10 Euro (in 2022) which is kind of fair all though there is not that much to do in the park.
Park Güell offers a variety of different pieces of art. Bridges, buildings and smaller statues all designed by Mr. Gaudi.
I recommend at least 2-3 hours in the park. So you might want to check out La Sagrada Family in the morning - have lunch somehwhere around the 3 houses of Gaudi and enjoy a nice afternoon in Park Güell.
parks and stadiums
Barcelona is full of fantastic parks. Already told you about Park Güell but there are several others you want to visit. The one I really loved was Parc de la Ciutadella right next to our hotel in Ciuta Vella. This oasis is offering tons of green space, palm trees beautiful water areas and on every corner you find some happy people playing music or just enjoying life. Also you can find the Arc de Triomf there - probably another photo spot you don't want to miss.
A very nice botanic garden is located at the foot of Montjuïc which is the highest "mountain" in Barcelona - more like a hill. I recommend not just driving up Montjuïc to see the Olympic stadium and park - take your time and enjoy the fantastic diversity of nature on your walk up to the place where the Olympic Games were held back in 1992.
I'm not into football at all, I sometime watch the big games in a bar with some nachos and beer but it's not like that I go all crazy about the game. Still I thought, if I'm in Barcelona and get the chance to see Camp Nou I should give it a shot.
Camp Nou is the the biggest Stadium in Europe and one of the biggest in the world, home of FC Barcelona and a place with a lot of history. I highly recommend doing the Stadium Tour AND the Museum. They charge you 28 bucks (in 2022) which first sounds quite crazy to see an empty stadium and some old trophies but the experience is really worth it. It's a crazy feeling to stand there even though the seats are empty - must be a goosbump moment if you enter the stadium and 99.000 people are cheering.
You might want to take a whole day for the trip to the stadium it's kind of far outside the city and you don't want to rush - so take your time and get the full Camp-Nou-Experience.
There's no big story behind the following pictures. I just love street art. I have tons of pictures of street art from all over the world. Everytime I see a cool graffiti I have to grab my camera and take the memory back home. So here are some more memories from Barcelona.
5 things you don't wanna miss
- Go see the architecure of Gaudi
- Enjoy a day at the beach and explore the harbour
- Find some cool street art all over Barcelona
- Visit Camp Nou and the Olympic Park
- Hang around in the markets and have some wonderful delicious food