Barcelona is a beautiful and lively city and there is no shortage of things to do. Here are our recommendations. We hope that you enjoy and get a chance to check some of them out:
As we’ve mentioned before (Cycling in Berlin), bikes are one of our favourite ways to get around a new city so, with this in mind, we booked ourselves onto a bike tour of the city with Excursions Barcelona, who we would recommend.
There are loads of bike tours to choose from but they don’t have to break the bank, and Excursions Barcelona enabled us to see loads of sites quickly (without getting lost) and gain a bit of an insight into the history of each site and the city itself.
We don’t really have a recommendation for this except don’t stay where we stayed. We were on a bit of a budget so, cheap flights sorted, we went on Air B&B to find cheap accommodation. At £10 a night, it didn’t seem like we could go far wrong with our choice of a room, in an apartment, slap bang in the middle of the Gothic Quarter. With the location and price considerations both well served we decided to go for it as, we’d only be there for a short time so it didn’t have to be amazing. And it wasn’t amazing.
We were shown into the apartment block by the owner and quickly realised that it wasn’t a room in his home but instead a room in an apartment which he owned and rented out on Air B&B. Actually working as a club promoter he was keen to offer us a free bottle of champagne if we wanted to attend a club event he was putting on in the evening. He wasn’t so keen to change the sheets on the bed and simply said “I can change the sheets if you want?”
The room only locked from the inside so we didn’t feel we could leave anything in there during the day when we were out. There was a mattress on the floor of the kitchen because “often people want to bring back friends after a night out so they can sleep here.”
Generally the place was fine, not clean, not warm, but not the party house that we were worried about when we first arrived.
We can’t complain too much as we were only there for a few days and it was just a place to sleep in, but sometimes it is worth paying that little bit extra.
If you make it to Barcelona you will undoubtedly end up heading down Las Ramblas. Las Ramblas is, by itself, quite an interesting site (especially if you are interested in buying seeds that allow you to grow vegetables which look like genitals).
Sprouting like roots from Las Ramblas are numerous courtyards and back streets full of bakeries, restaurants and bars. So, with tired legs and eyes burned with the image of penile peppers, where to get a drink?
On the corner between Las Ramblas and one of its’ many side streets is Boabas. Proudly the oldest cocktail bar in Barcelona, this place was fantastic. The drinks are delicious, though not the cheapest (also not extortionate). However, you get what you pay for here as tuxedo clad barmen free pour cocktails with 1920s prohibition finesse. Pull up a stool in this tiny bar and enjoy the show. Shaped like a triangle, Boabas has an amazing atmosphere and, for some reason, wasn’t as packed with tourists as we were expecting.
There is a plethora of food options in Barcelona, our recommendation? Try tapas, and explore as many restaurants and food outlets as possible. Our favourite restaurant was BlueProject Fountation El Café, who specialise in raw vegan food. They also had a painting by one of Rachel’s favourite artists on display (Sarah Maple). So if you like vegan food with a difference, go!
Also, churros, obviously.
It seems like the obvious choice but we would highly recommend the Picasso museum. Tucked into the Gothic Quarter, this was very interesting to us as, like many other people, we knew very little of Picasso except that he painted people who looked like they’d been through industrial accidents.
The gallery is brilliantly laid out, almost in chronological order of Picasso’s life. Therefore, you start by seeing some paintings he did at the age of only 13. These paintings were very classic portraits, not at all what we expected to see and they blew us away. As you walk through the gallery, from his earlier to later work, you can see the development and the breaking down of subjects into their composite parts. Finally we felt as though we understood the stages that had led to paintings that, at first, appear so different from their subjects
What are your favourite parts of Barcelona?