A Week in Barcelona Itinerary
The Barcelona Itinerary and recap is finally here! I've been trying to figure out over the last week what the best way to share with y'all our trip to Barcelona. I decided that the best way is to walk y'all through each of our days, which should help you when it comes to planning out your day. I've been traveling to Barcelona since I was about 6 months old. My mom grew up there so about 2-3 times a year we'd go back and stay for a month at a time with my grandparents. I've spent so much time there that it really does feel like I lived half my life there.
Now that I've been adulting for a while, it's just so hard to take off enough time to justify going over to Europe. But, Sam and I were determined to make it happen this year.
What we realized is that we just needed to pull the trigger and just buy the tickets because no time is ever going to be perfect timing...just like anything else in life.
What sealed the deal was Emirates was doing a buy one get one free sale so our flights to Europe came out to about $450 each. CRAZY!
Ok, so this post can be super long with all the deets so I'm going to start with an abbreviated list and then from there you can check out the deets below.
To Do: Walk aroud the Eixample neighborhood Walk around El Born neighborhood Shop on Passeig de Gracia Eat on Rambla Cataluna Sagrada Familia Walk along la Barceloneta and stop at a cafe for a drink on the beach Picasso Museum La Catedral Church Santa Maria del Mar Plaza Cataluna Placa Real Parc Guell Park Cuitadella
Food to Order: Paella Pan con Tomate Jamon Iberico Coca de Crema Croquettas Patatas Bravas
Where we stayed:
We were lucky enough to get to stay at my parents' apartment in the El Coll, which is about a 10-minute subway ride to "el centro" the center of the city, also known as the Eixample neighborhood, where the main stores and restaurants are.
Our main form of transportation was the subway. The subway is really efficient (and clean) in Barcelona and can really get you just about anywhere to go. It does stop running late at night and from there, taxi's are your best bet. Taxi's are super easy to find, but if you are an Uber addict and want something similar, try out the Hailo app. It works the same way as Uber.
When it comes time to buying a subway card, I recommend purchasing the T-10 card, which will give you 10 trips. You can also share this, so what Sam and I did was he would swipe the card, go through, and then I would swipe the card and go through. Seriously - I've done this my entire life.
If you're new to Barcelona, I recommend screenshotting the map of the subway line, that way you always have it on your phone even if you don't have cell service or wifi.
We arrived in Barcelona in the mid-afternoon and we were exhausted, but determined to make the most of the day still (and the help us adjust to jet lag).
We dropped the things off at the apartment after a major ordeal with getting the alarm codes wrong and not being able to figure out which keys were the right ones.
So after that ordeal, we needed food and cocktails. We wanted something super easy so we headed to "el centro" which is where Passeig de Gracia is. Passeig de Gracia is a beautiful parkway lined with designer stores and plenty of room to walk round.
We spent this time walking around, with no planned place to get tapas and drinks. We finally decided on Maestro to cheers to the beginning of the trip with some cava and taps. I seriously had the best shrimp tempura I've ever had here, which sounds pretty random but it was seriously SO good.
Pro tip: they also have free wifi and menus in English
After eating some delicious Jamon Iberico and other yummy tapas, we decided to go walking around again. We headed towards El Born neighborhood which is near the gothic quarter. There we stopped a SUPER cute restaurant that's an expansion of a juicery I like there. It's called Flax & Kale. This place is perfect if you have any dietary restrictions or just want some really fresh food. We just got drinks here but the menu really reminded me of True Food Kitchen here in the US.
Tuesday was our first full day. We were so excited that we actually did get up early and jet lag was a non-issue. Sam was up before me and was the best and headed to a local bakery to pick up some pastries for breakfast. We seriously had some of the best pastries we've ever had. One was a chocolate croissant and the other was a coca de crema. The coca de crema was our fave by far!
After breakfast, we headed to La Sagrada Familia. We'd both been to it before but it's always so cool to see the progress that has been made. It seriously had made significant progress from the last time that I had seen it!
After walking around La Sagrada Familia and the park next to it, we grabbed the subway line that's right there and took it all the way down to La Barceloneta. La Barceloneta is where the beach is.
Since it was February, it was too cold for a real beach day but it was 60 and sunny so we stopped at a cafe right on the beach for some sangria. Cava sangria is what I've been loving recently.
The food schedules are a little different in Barcelona, with lunchtime being around 3pm and dinner being around 9pm. This is good to know ahead of time because places may not be open for serving food if you're on American meal time.
From Barceloneta we headed towards the port. We were ready for lunch (and a bathroom break) by then so we decided to stop at one of the nice restaurants in Palau de Mar. Bonus is that all these restaurants have outdoor seating. We ate at Palau de Mar by Cal Pinxto and had a great time getting super stuffed with delicious food.
We ordered sea snails, pan con tomate, and paella. SO good.
From there we were exhausted and almost in a food coma so we headed back to the apartment for naptime!
By the time we woke up it was dinner time and we wandered around the Eixample neighborhood until we found a spot that spoke to us. We found it and it was incredible. It's called Bar Tomate and you HAVE to go.
By Wednesday our travels and adventures started to take a toll on us. We spend the morning relaxing and sleeping in which we didn't regret at all.
Once we were ready to get the show on the road, we headed to the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarters) and got off at the Jaume 1 subway stop.
Our first stop was to the Picasso Museum. Picasso spent a lot of his formative years in Barcelona trying to get a sense of his style. His museum focuses mainly on his earlier pieces. It's pretty cool to see how his style changed over time!
From there we visited La Catedral which is an impressive cathedral. There's also a little outdoor market in front of it. If you go during Christmas time, this is where they sell all the handcrafted Nativity scenes. It's incredible and every should experience it!
Later, we continued walking around and stopped by the church Santa Maria Del Mar. This is another amazing church and I remember one time when I was little walking by there and seeing a wedding take place inside and every since then I was just in awe of how amazing the church was.
I started to get hungry, of course, and we stopped for a snack at a random bar.You really can't go wrong with a random bar. Here we ordered croquettas to snack on and some drinks.
Afterward, we started walking back towards the Eixample neighborhood where Passeig de Gracia is and on the way ran into Plaza Cataluna which is a huge plaza that links Las Ramblas with Passeig de Gracia and Rambla Cataluna.
Then it was time for drinks and tapas at El Nacional which was one of the places we were most excited about. El Nacional is this really cool concept where it's an old parking garage I think, that they turned into a giant upscale area for bars with different themes. It's seriously incredible. It was really dark inside so I couldn't get great pics.
Afterwards we were really craving Asian food and wanted to go to a highly rated restaurant called Mosquito, but it was WAY packed and so we ate at a restaurant called Udon, which was just ok.
This day the weather was a little bit rainy so we thought the aquarium would be a great activity. We always talk about going to the aquarium so this was our time to do it! The Barcelona aquarium is one that I have always looked forward to going to.
Afterwards we headed to walk towards Las Ramblas and on the way passed by the giant Christopher Columbus statue pointed towards America. Super cool!
As we walked up Las Ramblas, we stopped at Plaza Real for a snack. This plaza is probably one of our favorites that we stopped in and I highly recommend it.
We then continued our way up Las Ramblas and then headed home to regroup for a bit.
Dinner was at El Japones, which was an AMAZING sushi restaurant. We discovered it because we looked up the owners of Bar Tomate to see what else they owned. It seriously was incredible and did not disappoint.
Friday was our low key day where we went shopping. Some of the fave shopping stops were Mango and Massimo Dutti. Also we didn't buy anything at H&M but they have a brand new H&M inside a gorgeous old building and it is INCREDIBLY beautiful. It even has a Flax & Kale restaurant inside!
While we were walking around shopping, we took some time to look at Casa Batllo and La Pedrera which are a few of Gaudi's apartments he designed.
We ended up cooking dinner at the apartment, which was awesome because we were tired. Also groceries are INCREDIBLY cheap there so if you want to save some money DEFINITELY consider cooking in.
Leading up to planning a trip to Spain, one of the things we wanted to do the most was go to a Barca soccer game. As chance would have it, we scheduled our trip to arrive the day after a game and leave the day before a game. SHIT. HOW DID WE DO THAT.
We were determined to get some kind of sports game in because, I may not know a lot about sports but I do really enjoy a sporting event.
We found that on Sunday Barcelona's other professional soccer team Espanyol would be playing and decided to go for it. Espanyol's stadium is outside the city and hard to get to, really your only option is Taxi.
The game was so much fun and I loved getting the chance to experience my first live European soccer game.
We headed back to the apartment after the game to regroup and decided we were going to make time to do the things we hadn't yet since it was the last day of the trip.
We started by walking down to Parc Guell, got a little lost, wandered around and stumbled on some INCREDIBLE views of the city where you could see all the way out to the ocean.
From Parc Guell we were in my grandparent's old neighborhood so we walked to see their old apartment and the park where I used to play.
Then, it was time to take the subway and head all the way back down to the beach, this time though getting off at Port Olympic which was a port built for the Olympics in 1992.
One of Sam's favorite spots in Barcelona is Park Cuitadella so I was really happy that we were able to walk through. It's the most gorgeous park and everyone there is just hanging out and having a great time.
From there we walked back towards the city passing through L'arc de Triumph and stopped at La Foga which is a cute little restuarant with pretty decor and a pretty solid tapas menu.
We then ended the evening by walking back up Passeig de Gracia, stopped for a glass of wine, kept walking and stopped for some chocolate crepes, and headed back home to close up the apartment and pack. We also ordered Dominos for dinner, which was pretty alright with me!
Living well: We did so much walking around in Spain that it really helps you snap out of jet lag fast!
Side of bliss: I ordered Domino's pizza our last night because everything was closed by the time we were ready for dinner. I was totally cool with it and it was delish.