A Time Well Spent Barcelona Adventure Guide
Two years ago, Jacob and I took off for Barcelona to study abroad for the summer. It was hands down, the best experience of our lives. My eyes were opened to many new cultures, experiences and unfamiliar spaces. We were in Europe for about two months. We had an apartment on Pau Claris and Avenue Diagonal in Barcelona and it was the perfect location; also in close proximity to the Universidad de Autonoma Barcelona where we took our classes. We spent our weeks in Barcelona and traveled throughout Spain and Europe on the weekends. I know when many people travel in Europe they are only in each location for a short period of time. I am sharing my suggestions on what to do and see when visiting Barca. These are just a few of my favorite things that we did.
Places to see, things to do:
Park Guell – An iconic park, definitely a staple of Barcelona! We visited this park one of the first few days we were there. The architecture of this park is extremely unique and the views are absolutely amazing.
La Sagrada Familia - A beautiful temple, masterpiece by Antoni Gaudi. This was one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture I have ever laid my eyes on. P.S. Y'all, this GoPro photo does not do justice, you HAVE to go see this for yourself!
Castell de Montjuic – In the past, this was a military fortress. It sets upon Montjuïc hill. Today, it is a museum and iconic landmark in Barcelona. There is also a light show at night that is a must see... and when I say must see I'm saying we waited until the last night to go see it and MISSED IT! How that happened, I am still not sure. Make sure you plan accordingly to catch the show, it's free!
Las Ramblas – Barcelona’s most famous street is a tourist staple located in central Barca.
La Boqueria – One of Europe’s largest and most famous public food market on Las Ramblas. Get some fresh squeeze juice here, it is so delicious!
Barceloneta – Eat, drink, relax & shop while enjoying perfect Mediterranean views. This is where we enjoyed our first night in Barcelona. Dinner with a view and then we relaxed near the water and enjoyed live music. Can you say SO. PERFECT!!!
Casa Mila – This is another one of Gaudi’s masterpieces, it was near our apartment so we got to stare at this beauty quite often.
Parc de la Ciutadella – The perfect place for a picnic, people watching and making new friends. Our study abroad group had a picnic here.
Camp Nou – Tour FC Barcelona’s futbol (soccer) stadium, sports fans! This was on our long list of things to go see in Barcelona, however, we never made it there. A few of our friends went and said it was a great behind the scenes tour.
Placa de Catalyuna – Stroll, shop and eat, here!
Placa del Sol - Enjoy live music (or just someone playing their guitar) and a beer! (I'm drinking damm lemon, it was my fav.!)
The Olympic Stadium of Barcelona - Home of the 1992 (holla!) Olympics!
Montserrat - Up in the mountains, a Monastery with stunning views. Montserrat is about a two hour train ride from Barcelona.
Food that I loved:
Paella (Spain's staple rice dish; and OH MY, it is so tasty!)
Patatas Bravas (One of Spain's many tapas; it was offered at most restaurants we went to. I'd best describe it as cubed potatoes with a scrumptious bravas sauce.)
Croquetas (A delicious fried tapa!)
Tortilla (This is not like tortillas in Texas aka always eating tacos... It is egg, potato and sometimes ham baked together and served in a pie shaped pieces)
A few extra tips:
- I wouldn't suggest eating on Las Ramblas unless you’ve done your research. The first night we arrived in Barcelona, we were so jet lagged and needed food ASAP. Our hotel for the night was near Las Ramblas, so as we started walking and we were persuaded by the person at the door of the first restaurant that we saw along Las Ramblas to come and try their restaurant. There weren’t many people in there and of course we wanted paella after hearing so much about it before arriving in Spain. It may have been that the food was new to our digestive system, but it did not settle well. Or it could have been this: that restaurant was closed down for good by the end of our trip.
- Taxis in Barcelona are always black and yellow, I learned this from my study abroad advisors.
- If you're in Europe during the World Cup (or any 'futbol' game for that matter), make sure to watch as many games with locals. It was an absolute blast!
- We watched many futbol games at L'Ovella Negra. Head there for a big pitcher of sangria, beer and some popcorn. It was ALWAYS a good time!
- If you are in Barcelona for the Nit de Sant Joan Festival, this year (2016) it will be on June 23rd, make sure to celebrate! Fireworks, dancing, food, music and bon fires on the beach all night long! Tourists and locals alike gather and stay up all night to celebrate the solstice. (We made it all night!!! As seen above!)
- Grab a croissant and a cafe con leche!
- Walk down the street eating a plain baguette.
These are just a very few staple suggestions on what you could and should do while visiting Barcelona. This list could go on and on but there are my top suggestions. I hope you fall in love in Barcelona as much as I did.
P.S. My forever favorite picture... It was taken on Jacob and I's first full day in Barcelona as we toured the city with all of our new friends.
P.P.S. Make new friends! I would guess you'll find some friendships that will last a lifetime!