3 Days in Barcelona Spain: The Highlights
I have always wanted to go to Spain. There is something about the vibrancy of the culture that pulls me in. The language is intoxicating. I took my first foreign language course when I was 16 years old, it was Spanish 101. I fell in love with the way words rolled off my tongue. I felt like I was learning an ancient language of romance and pizzazz.
I soon learned that I had an affinity for languages, a real passion. My ear for the linguistics kept me striving along in my Spanish studies leading me to almost minoring in Spanish in college. I don’t have much opportunity for using my skills at home. Once in a blue moon, a Hispanic patient will come along whom I quickly take over the assessment and interventions of their case. This trip so Spain brought me to the linguistic world that I adore. If words are not enough to lure you to Spain, there is the music, dancing, food, and exotic street art! You cannot look anywhere without seeing something of beauty!
We finally arrived in Barcelona airport at 10:00AM, 24 hours after we had first awoken. We faced 4 flights and 2 delays before our grand arrival but we were here!
What to See?
There are countless things to see and do in Barcelona! We found the city to be breezy as it was situated perfectly on the water. The locals were laid back and not in a hurry. Tourists, on the other hand, were zooming all around us as if it was a competition to see all the sights first. We let them zoom and, instead, enjoyed leisurely strolls through our new city. Here is a glimpse of the sights we saw in hopes it helps you plan your Barcelona getaway!
We made our way through the Barceloneta area, AKA the beach, and found a marina surrounded by a park. We watched the sailboats come to dock and napped along the grass with the locals. What a relaxing welcome to the city! Address: Moll del Dipòsit, 08039 Barcelona, Spain
Placa de Catalunya
This area is the city centre where the old city meets the 19th century! The beautiful square is home to a large fountain, thousands of pigeons, and children chasing said birds. Address: Plaça de Catalunya, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
We got off at metro stop Universitat and were shocked by the hordes of people we encountered. Yep, we were in the right spot. La Rambla connects Placa de Catalunya and Port Vell. It is known for its shopping and eateries geared towards the annual visitors! There is a large median that houses kiosks selling snacks, water, and travel mementos and pedestrians who are cramply scurrying along.
We stumbled upon this open-air market that has been opened since the 1800s and filled to the brim with food stalls. They sell everything from raw meats, seafood, dried nuts, crepes, empanadas, spices, and sweets. This is where the locals shop. Address: La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
La Sagrada Familia
In 1883, Antoni Gaudi, took over the design of the Sagrada Familia, while also working on other projects. He worked on the temple for 43 years, until his death in 1926, where he was later entombed in the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia. As of today, 70% of the work on the temple has been executed, and the goal is to complete all of the architectural work by 2026.
We were unfortunately not able to see this magnificent piece up close as road closures prevented this.
Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
Catedral de Barcelona
The Gothic Cathedral that stands today was built on the foundations of the primitive paleo-Christian basilica and the subsequent Romanesque Cathedral. Construction began in 1298! It is now in a lively plaza surrounded by sidewalk cafes, children playing, and live music!
Address: Pla Seu, 3 Barcelona
We ventured to the neighborhood of Gracia where the Gaudi-inspired roofs are prevalent. Here we entered the park complete with Austrian gardens, Museo de Gaudi, and scenic views a plenty. It was hot but we managed to find shade, often. There were musicians scattered about to serenade you for a few euros and foreigners selling ice cold bottled water for “1 euro, 1 euro never”.
After 1914, Gaudi worked solely on the Sagrada Familia and did not take any other commissions. The park was envisioned by Gaudi but given over to the city in 1923 for completion. I recommend taking bus lines: 24 – 31 – 32 – 74 92 or the tourist bus 112 which all stop near the park, but the closest bus stations are for the 24 and 92 lines. Entrance to the park costs 8 Euro/adult and it is open every day from 10 AM. The park closes at 6 PM between December and March, at 7 PM in November, at 8 PM in April and October and at 9 PM between May and September. We entered for free and did not pay to see the rooftop up close. There is plenty to see otherwise! Also take in the sights at Turó de la Rovira and the old civil war bunkers at Carmel! Address: 08024 Barcelona, Spain
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We had the pleasure of trying out 3 breweries while visiting! I was surprised at the beer scene in Barcelona because I was expecting it to be riddled with wine!
- Edge Brewing
- Garage Beer Co: Lots of Good IPAs
- BlackLab Brewhouse & Kitchen: **BlackLab was a start-up project founded by an American brewer and a Chinese-Spanish restaurateur in 2014. We got the Terraplane Porter!
- BrewDog Barcelona
- Chivuo’s: located in Neighborhood Gracia. The owner spent time in California where his love for craft beers was ignited!
Where to EAT
- Paradiso- A pastrami bar turned speakeasy in the heart of the city. To enter, you have to walk through a meat freezer and scarlet curtains. Once inside, the room opens into a vintage gold and mahogany room and long polished bar. I was transported back to the 1920s! We tried the Great Gatsby cocktail which was strong but sip-worthy. The drink was inspired by the F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel of 1924. This drink is the indulgent blend of whiskey and amaretto swirled with lavender bitters and smoked with vanilla and chocolate tobacco under a glass dome. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to make, but the bar backs are entertaining and a joy to talk to. At a price of €12 each, you may be drinking VERY SLOWLY! (still worth it)
- Eyescream and Friends: This was such a fun experience for your inner child! The shaved chocolate gelato is the BOMB!! Address: Passeig de Joan de Borbó, 30, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
- TAPAS! You can find a tapas bar on nearly every corner! A tapa is really an appetizer or finger foods. Most of what I tried, was served on bread like a bruschetta. Expect to find lots of seafood tapas due to Spain’s proximity to the coast!
The Neighborhoods: Where to stay?
If you happen to fall in love with Barcelona, like we did, you may consider getting your residency here! This post helps you take the steps to get your NIE number fast!
- Gracia: Hipster area with yummy bakeries! This area was once outside of Barcelona. Here you will find some of the best scenery overlooking Barcelona! We stayed one night before flying home and would have loved more time here!
- El Raval: Local alleyways, green spaces, and sidewalks filled with cafes converge in the Old City. This is where we stayed on the first part of our trip. We loved coming home at night to see the locals out socializing with their pups.
- La Barceloneta: Close to beaches, marinas, and nightlife. During the day locals stroll along the on bikes and roller blades before indulging in the best Paella at night!
- Sants-Montjuïc: One of Barcelona’s largest neighborhoods, and its residents choose between countless local cafes and bars, enjoy the ease of accessible public transportation, and visit the art museum based in their neighborhood.
- Sant Antoni: A sprawling market, relaxed tapas bars, and chocolate con churros lend to its homey appeal.
- El Born: El Born has an artistic edge with a noble background! Many eateries and vermouth bars are scattered EVERYWHERE!
The Barcelona Attack: Our Experience
We decided to get off the bus early in favor of more sightseeing. We were heading back towards Las Ramblas when an old-fashioned alley caught our eyes. You know the alley, cobblestone streets, colorful flowers spilling off stone balconies, and rays of sunshine highlighting the dark wooden doors. Thank God it changed our direction!
Once at a café, on the other side of the alley, we obtained wifi only to realize that a terrorist attack had taken place not 20minutes prior in Las Ramblas. We heard distant sirens and watched the helicopter hovering above. Turns out, a young man rented a white van and angrily ran it, zig zagging, through the large pedestrian median. 13 people were killed and 100 injured! ISIS claimed the attack and Barcelona was in a state of mourning! The following day, a moment of silence was held at noon, of which we paid our respects alongside thousands.
Once the shock wore off, we called our family and friends and sought refuge at a brewery. The metro and buses had stopped running for a bit and with roads closed we stayed put. Tourists were the targets. The terrorists knew Americans and Brits were vacationing in Barcelona and wanted to make a statement. I will not be silenced nor afraid to travel. I will not stop seeing this amazing world or stop connecting with beautiful souls of all cultures! Travel on, we must! #TodosonBarcelona
|Metro||9.95 card allows you to ride 10 times (5 rides per couple)|
|Bus||2.40 per person per ride|
|Train to Madrid|
|~200 (for two people)|
$162 for 4 nights (2 people)
Be Well and Travel Often!