Our Spain adventure started off in Barcelona! I had visited the city for a few days as a college student and loved it, so I was excited to come back with M. Upon our arrival, the city felt so alive with street art, gorgeous architecture, bustling alleyways, and a sunny liveliness that I can't explain. The laid-back attitude of Spain was refreshing and we found ourselves easily adapting into the routine of afternoon siestas, slow eating, and late night dinners during our entire trip. Plus, it was the best way to escape the heat that always hit around the late afternoon. Our seven days in Barcelona were spent exploring the city's different neighborhoods, visiting Gaudi's famous works, and introducing ourselves to dining tapas-style. This city kind of has everything and was a great start to our trip since it was packed with so much delicious food, amazingly gorgeous sites, the beach on one side, and so many neighborhoods to explore!
We stayed at an Airbnb in the El Raval neighborhood that I absolutely loved. It was a small, fourth floor flat filled with plants in an old building with balconies and clothing hanging from the windows. It sparked my desire to fill our flat with plants. El Raval is known as the "skater" district and, we discovered on our first Tuesday there (we arrived on a Sunday and everything was closed) that we were surrounded, not only by street art filled garage doors, but street art filled garage doors that turned into small, local artisan shops and cafes on the weekdays.
Ohh, Parc Guell. Seeing this place for a second time did not disappoint. It had been my favorite spot during my first trip to Barcelona and I was looking forward to revisiting the whimsical structures, colorful tiles, and playful, quirky details. We also visited La Sagrada Familia and were amazed by the amount of detail, meaning, and time has gone into the structure. We made sure to take in the entire place by being nerdy and reading every single information stand scattered throughout the cathedral.
As someone who loves snacky type meals with all different flavors, tapas were totally my kind of thing, especially when fresh seafood and jamon are involved. There were so many places we wanted to try that we found ourselves tapas hopping one night in the El Born neighborhood, just so we could cram in multiple meals, and we quickly got used to strategizing how to navigate a crowded tapas bar. Oh, and always, cervezas or cava, por favor.
There is something great about Barcelona's diverse landscapes. We found ourselves going from urban, street art filled alleyways to quiet proper neighborhoods, to the beach, where we devoured a giant pan of beachside paella. There was also the time we just wandered and found ourselves lost in a super residential area, but eventually wandered far enough up to a hillside park with an incredible view of the city - ahhmazing!
When in Barcelona:
Eat: Pinotxo Bar, El Quim, and fresh juices at La Boqueria | fresh juices at Mercat de Santa Caterina | bocadillos from Conesa | Quimet & Quimet | seafood at La Paradeta | Cal Pep | El Xampanyet |jamon at Reserva Iberica | gastronomic deliciousness at TICKETS | beachside paella at La Escriba | brunch at Federal
Drink: Satan's Coffee Corner | El Colectivo Cafe & Bar | gin & tonics at Numero Nueve | wine & spanish olives with a cathedral view at La Vinya del Senyor | divey gin & tonics at Bar Pesca Salada
Do: La Parc de Citadella | Parc Guell | La Sagrada Familia | Palau Guell | the shops in El Born and El Raval neighborhoods | Casa Batilo | La Pederera | the view from the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya | beachin' it in Barceloneta