This past October I was lucky enough to spend a weekend in Barcelona. My friends and I were in Barcelona at the end of our ten-day fall break trip. The weekend that we were there also happened to be Halloween and the time that Catalonia tried to declare its independence from the EU and Spain, so the city was CRAZY. This dramatic turn of events was rather terrifying, but also monumental since my friends and I were experiencing history in the making first-hand.
Be sure to check out these places during your visit:
Parc Güell: The classic Barca photo-op. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance to visit this park, it will allow you to skip the lines and beat the heat. The park is located on Carmel Hill in Barcelona and offers jaw-dropping views of the city below and the ocean in the distance. This park is one of Gaudí’s major works and although his use of glass is exquisite, the park is quite small. You only need about an hour here.
Sagrada Familia: This unfinished Roman Catholic church is another one of Gaudí’s masterpieces. Beginning in 1882, the cathedral is set to be completed in the year 2026. The unique exterior of this cathedral resembles a giant drip-sandcastle and has 18 towers. The interior contains high ceilings, spiral staircases, white columns, and utilizes natural light in the most stunning way; Sagrada Familia is said to have the world’s most beautiful stained glass, which shines color onto the walls and columns. Buy your ticket in advance to visit this UNESCO World Heritage site.
La Boqueria Market: Located right off of La Rambla, La Boqueria is a large, open, public market that serves a wide variety of food. For a cheap and delicious lunch my friends and I wandered around the various booths; I ended up eating chocolate-covered strawberries, fresh fruit, a taco, fried fish, and thai noodles. This place really has it all.
Barcelona Beach: Barcelona beach is the perfect place to just hangout and catch some rays. The beach is surprisingly clean for being located right in the city, although there are a lot of gypsies selling drinks and offering massages…both of which I recommend declining. Barcelona beach is characterized by the uniquely shaped W hotel and the many outdoor restaurants that sit on the sand.
Brunch& Cake: You can’t leave Barcelona without eating a meal here. This restaurant is so trendy and has some of the best food that I’ve ever tasted. The menu is very unique and the food is displayed beautifully. This restaurant is extremely busy, but the food is worth the wait!
Arc de Triumf and Parc de la Ciutadella: This Spanish arch is a replica of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and is the entrance to Parc de la Ciutadella. This park has a beautiful fountain, a pond that you can row boats in, a zoo, and is a popular hangout spot among the locals. It would also make the perfect place for a picnic!
La Rambla: This pretty tree-lined pedestrian mall is located in the city center. The walkway stretches about a mile long and is lined with shops, souvenir stands, and restaurants, with the most famous one being La Boqueria market. Since this is a popular tourist destination, be watchful for pickpockets!
Nightlife: Barcelona is such a fun city with world-renowned nightlife. The major clubs are located right on the beach and are adjacent to one another, which allows you to easily go from one to the other. This area is extremely busy on weekend nights, meaning that there are usually lines to get into the clubs, but once you are in they are so fun! I went to Opium which had a lively dance floor with a DJ and trapeze performers, along with an outdoor seating area that opened up onto the sand. Note: The club scene doesn’t get started until after midnight and most of them have a dress code, especially for men. Before hitting the clubs, I recommend going to Espit Chupitos. Chupitos is a chain and has several locations around Barcelona. The bar is famous for its wide variety of shots (over 200!!), and specializes in unique, delicious creations, all priced at 2 euro each. My favorite was one called Boy Scout; it tasted like a s’more and came with a marshmallow that I roasted over a fire that the bartender lit on the bar!
During our time, I was able to see the majority of the city, but I definitely wish that I could of spent more time here… I absolutely love Barcelona… and you will too.