One of our main goals for our time abroad is to explore as much as possible, so we’ve agreed that every long weekend we’ll be off on an adventure. Our first, back in November, was Barcelona. Neither Dave nor I had ever been to Barcelona, so we were really looking forward to having three whole days to see all that it had to offer.
We stayed at a smaller hostal in the north of the city and spent out days walking the streets enjoying all of the different neighbourhoods and their distinct charms. From Gràcia to La Barceloneta, and along Las Ramblas, we tried to spend a little time in each area to get a full view of life in Barcelona.
An expansive city, I could write about Barcelona for days, but for the sake of being concise, I thought I would share my three favourite things we did/saw/experienced in Barcelona.Sagrada Familia
In many ways, Barcelona is a living tribute to Antoni Gaudi, but nothing exemplifies that more than the iconic (and still-in-progress) Sagrada Familia. Started in 1882, the Basilica is STILL under construction; construction hit the mid-way point in 2010, and the hope is that it is complete somewhere between 2020 and 2040.
In this day and age it’s hard to believe that a project can remain unfinished 133 years after it was started, but upon walking up to the Basilica and seeing the intricate detail it starts to make sense.
We hadn’t planned on taking a tour of the Basilica, but when we first saw it in person, we knew it would be worth it. As per the suggestion of many guidebooks, we bought our tickets online. For just €15/each (we opted to go without the guide) we were able to skip the hours long lineup and explore the Sagrada Familia: inside, outside, and the incredibly interesting Sagrada Familia museum.
In total, we spent nearly an hour wandering throughout the site. We were awestruck by the design, the detail and the scale of the church. It really is easy to see why it’s the number one tourist attraction in all of Spain.
The first two days of our trip Barcelona was covered in a thick foggy haze, thankfully, on day three this was gone and we were able to take the trip up Montjüic to experience the beautiful birds eye views of Barcelona.
Thanks to repair work the trip was a bit longer, and funicular-less, than anticipated, it was still well worth the extra time. Accessible by public transit, we took the bus partway up the mountain and then spent the rest of the day on foot.
Our first stop was the Olympic Stadium.
Walked down towards the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC).
Finally made our way down to Plaça d’Espanya.
The views of Barcelona from the mountain were amazing; seeing the Basilica stand above the other buildings was quite surreal and really hit home how it is such an iconic and integral part of Barcelona.
Despite being listed as one of Lonely Planet’s Top Ten Attractions in Barcelona, I wasn’t really all that excited about the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, that is until we happened upon it during a desperate search for a washroom along Las Ramblas.
A bit hungry, but mostly intrigued by the throngs of people flowing in and out, we decided to explore the market. Immediately upon entering we were overwhelmed with the smells and sights of the fresh produce, seafood and other offerings of the various stalls. It could definitely be described as a sensory overload, but in the best way possible.
We sampled our way through the market, while marveling at the beautiful and sometime obscure foods on display.
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