I first visited Barcelona eight years ago on a couple’s trip with some friends. Dave and I had never been to Spain before and we were excited but unsure what to expect. Between the incredible history, the culture, the food, the wine and the commitment to nap time, Barcelona quickly became one of my favorite places on earth.
I recently went for the sixth time and I can’t recommend it enough as a destination. If you’re considering it, here are my favorite spots. As always, when traveling to a city that speaks a different language than your own, be polite. Barcelona is incredibly easy to navigate as an English speaker because so many people there speak the language. Even still, I always begin every conversation in Spanish to be respectful of my place as a guest in their country.
Fat Tire Bike Tours – Without question some of the greatest memories of my life were on a Fat Tire Bike Tour! The first time we went to Barcelona someone told us about this company (a couple of Texans who started bike tours on beach cruisers in European cities) and we did it on a whim. Oh my gosh you guys, it’s so much fun! You don’t need any real biking skills and it’s a very easy pace to keep while learning so much history about the city. We’ve gone on to do it in London (see the pic below) and Paris– I’ve now done the Barcelona tour twice!
Sagrada Familia – You will quickly learn that Barcelona is incredibly proud of the work of the artist Gaudi. You’ll see his work throughout the city and if you’re like me, you’ll fall in love with his whimsical style. The Sagrada Familia is a roman catholic cathedral that you have to see to fully understand. It’s been under construction forever and since Gaudi plans were so intricate and plentiful they don’t anticipate it will ever actually be finished. Whenever I’m in the city I add it to my daily running route so I can take it all in from different angles.
Coffee + Gelato – It is your civic duty to drink as much espresso and eat as much gelato as you can possibly hold. Where should you go? Basically anywhere. You can walk into any little shop and get either and they’ll be better than the best here in the US.
Park Guell – Park Guell and Sagrada Familia are both really well known places to visit in the city… what you may not know is that you’re not likely to get into either one if you don’t book your tickets in advance. Years ago on our first trip to the city (look at us babies below) we just walked right into Park Guell and had the best day.
A few years later I went back and was so disappointed to discover that you have to make an appointment weeks in advance to get inside. The park sits high on a hill with sweeping views of the city as well as stunning parks designed by Gaudi. This is a must not mist in Barcelona so be sure and get your tickets!
Barcelona is by far, one of the most magical places in Europe. The food is incredible, the people are wonderful and the shopping is to die for. Definitely one to add to your bucket list.
Stunning photography by local artist, Carolina Sainz.