Hey y’all! It feels like it’s been a million years since we went to Spain, but Drew and I talk about the trip at least once a week. We have so many memories, and I’m so glad I took 2340982340 pictures so we can look back on them all the time. Our trip was 10 days in Spain, so we spent a few days in Barcelona and a few days in Madrid. We did SO many things that I’m breaking our Spain travel guide into two parts, so here’s the Barcelona edition.
WHERE TO STAY
Casa Mimosa is a beautiful hotel just outside of Gracia, right behind La Pedrera (we’ll talk about that later). It’s so close to so many great restaurants, awesome shopping, and all the destinations you’ll want to see in Barcelona. Barcelona is such a walkable city, and you’ll get so much more out of your trip staying right in the middle of everything. The staff was also incredibly helpful when making suggestions, planning our days, and arranging travel. Also their coffee is AMAZING.
Mastinell is by far the most beautiful (and Instagram-able) hotel we’ve ever seen. It’s just outside the city of Barcelona in Vilafranca de Penedes and the views are unbelievable. It’s a cava vineyard, so you should definitely do their tour and wine tasting. You’ll learn SO much about wine and become a huge snob like we are now. They also have a restaurant that serves a crazy tasting menu where they put so many wine glasses on the table you’ll get really sweaty trying to figure out which one to use at which time. It’s a must see in Barcelona.
WHAT TO DO
You can’t go to Barcelona and not see Sagrada Familia. It’s a stunning landmark in the middle of the city. When you walk up, it’s so striking that it will literally take your breath away. Drew signed us up for the audio tour which I was immediately annoyed by because I hate looking like a tourist, but it was worth it (don’t tell Drew he was right). You get so much background info and context for the architecture that you would miss if you’re just walking through by yourself.
Another famous Gaudi landmark in Barcelona that you don’t want to miss is Parc Guell. Parc Guell was one of our favorite parts of the city. We actually walked from Sagrada Familia… It was a long walk but we stopped for a sandwich on the way. It sits on top of a hill so it has the most beautiful views of the city. It’s home to beautiful art, architecture, and the final runway setting of America’s Next Top Model Season 7 which I recreated in front of an elementary school field trip tour. I feel like I really represented America well here.
Other Gaudi Landmarks
Barcelona is full of beautiful architecture. You’ll get so much out of your trip if you walk through the city. We felt like it was a very safe, walkable place, and we loved getting to see everything as we walked through the neighborhoods. You’ll see Casa Batllo and La Pedrera, other famous Gaudi buildings, and you’ll get a good look if you walk rather than take a taxi. We didn’t go inside, but we loved taking our own sightseeing tours.
There is a LOT of good shopping in Spain. You’ll want to check out MANGO, El Corte Ingles, and Cache Cache while you’re there. There are also a lot of great boutiques, so don’t be afraid to pop into some places you don’t know! Stay away from super touristy areas… Everyone told us we had to go to La Rambla at least once, and it was not my jam. We walked from one metro station at one end to the one at the other end and that was our trip to La Rambla.
WHERE TO EAT
Barravas is one of the most popular tapas restaurants in Barcelona and you HAVE to go. It was by far some of the best food on our trip. For dessert you have to get the coulant. You can thank me later. PRO TIP: Make reservations if there’s a restaurant you really want to visit. Most places take reservations through Open Table. Plus, if you’re used to eating early, you’ll probably be able to get in right when everything opens! Yay for jet lag!
We ended up at La Pepita twice because it’s super walkable from Casa Mimosa and their croquetas were delicious. Order as many different tapas as you can and try different wines. Spain is a magical place.
HOW TO TRAVEL
Uber isn’t very popular or widely-available in Spain. If you need to get to the airport or the train station, I recommend taking a taxi. If you’re staying in a hotel or traveling from the airport/train station, they can help you arrange taxis.
If you’re traveling around Barcelona and you want to get from the city to the coast or La Rambla or Parc Guell, I highly recommend taking the metro. It seems daunting to take a metro in a new city, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the language. Thankfully, Drew and I both speak Spanish. I’ve traveled a lot and the metro in Spain is the easiest one I’ve ever used. You can buy a pass and zip around the city easily. If you’re traveling outside of Barcelona or from Barcelona to your next destination, take the train. Drew’s favorite part of the trip was the AVE… I’ll give more information on the Madrid post.
I’m not going to lie, we were a little nervous about walking around Spain because the Internet seems to think it’s the pickpocketing capital of the world. Honestly, I felt safer walking around Barcelona and Madrid than I did walking around downtown Raleigh. Everyone was incredibly nice and helpful, and as long as you’re aware of your surroundings, you’ll be just fine. If you’re worried, you can get anti-theft bags or wallets like this one that Drew got or this small wallet that I had. I would recommend doing that so you don’t have to keep track of your things while you’re walking around.
These were a few of our favorite places, but I highly recommend that you create your own Barcelona adventure! It’s such a beautiful city and we enjoyed our time roaming around. If you have any specific questions about getting around the city, what to wear, or anything else about our trip, drop them in the comments below!
Hope you enjoyed our Barcelona travel guide- stay tuned for Madrid coming next week! Check out my other travel guides here.