A new blog post is finally here. I’ve been very busy with university and work that I never found the time to write a new post. Moreover, I did not have any adventures to write about. Sometimes sitting at home in my room, studying and not really doing anything depresses me. I feel alive in nature, traveling and being active. Looking back, I miss last year a lot. But I am so grateful for the opportunity to travel. I feel like it truly changed my perception on life. To stop letting social constructs define your actions. Do whatever makes you feel confident : Because girl, you deserve the world and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Before I dive deep into an essay on self-love or stressful Uni life (which is not bad honestly I really enjoy it as well, it’s just different). let’s just get to the point.
Basically I was sick of slouching at home feeling sorry for myself. I knew it was time for another adventure. This time not into the jungle though, more like a concrete jungle. Barcelona. I wanted to get back into my Spanish and the beautiful palm tree-dotted City was what I needed. They say it has everything: culture, beaches and the mountains surrounding the city. And I couldn’t agree more. Perhaps I must add that there are also a lot of noisy motorcycles. But that is all part of the charm.
I arrived last Sunday at my host family’s apartment after a long metro ride. Their building was within walking distance to the main tourist sites as well as my Spanish school. I was warmly welcomed by Anna (she studies at university in the city) and her mother. I joined them for a late lunch, which was a normal time for the Spanish (everything is later here) and then went out exploring the city.
I honestly don’t know half the places I passed because I rarely used the metro. I just walked from one place to the next always coming across cute parks and squares, stores and buildings.
Here is a list of places I went to. And so should you when you come visit:
1. Sagrada Familia
Ok this is an obvious one. No one visits Barcelona and misses this majestic church from Gaudí. The style is so unique and there is a park with a small pond just behind it with the perfect picture opportunity. If you are only on a short trip this is a must! I went here twice during my week in Barcelona and every time it took my breath away. I never went inside though but just walking around the outside was breathtaking. The details, shapes, colors …
2. Park Güell
I only made it into the free part of the park. There is a rumor that the entrance is free before 8 am and 6:30 pm but it ended up being 7pm and it’s dark around that time, so I didn’t get to go in. I recommend you buy the tickets online a day before going. It’s about 10€ and probably better than waiting in the dusk just to finally enter as the last ray of sunlight vanishes behind the mountains. But the park in general is beautiful and you can still see other sculptures and buildings of Gaudí including a palm tree backdrop. I also got a free water bottle from a man selling them there. That was very kind 🙂
3. Bunkers del Carmel
This place was my favorite out of them all. The view is spectacular, especially at sunset, though it is quite popular! It is a hike up the hills but this part of Barcelona has a different, more quite charm to it. Especially since it is so easy to get there by metro! There are lots of fruit stores on the hike there to buy snacks for a picnic with a view. The streets are very beautiful and you can see all of Barcelona and the ocean.
4. Boquería market
This place has everything. Especially really cheap fruit to grab on the way to the beach! Strawberries, coconuts, papaya…you name it they have it all here. There are also food stands with empanadas, jamón = ham, which is very popular you’ll see stores all over the city. My host family always had some in their fridge. A staple food. Since I’m vegetarian I didn’t have any, but Barcelona has a lot of vegan / vegetarian friendly cuisines as well, no worries 😉
5. MACBA Skaters
This is where the Art Museum is located, but really it’s where all the cool kids hang. This is perfect for people watching. There are always skaters showing off their skills (and style). The whole energy and atmosphere is so relaxed and cool. Go there and see for yourself.
This Barrio was very close to where I was staying but I somehow never made it here until my last day. This is a rather quiet area where the locals live and I loved it. Small cobblestone streets, beautiful rustic buildings, markets, organic health stores and lots of street art! This place has all the hidden spots. I really loved a mural of Frida Kahlo (she is an amazing artist as well) that I spotted hidden on a street corner:
7. Barrio Gotíco
This is Barrio is right next to Las Ramblas, the main shopping street (which is not that picturesque unless you enjoy walking in a sea of people) but the moment you step off the main, crowded road, into one of the alleyways on the side – it’s a different kind of magic. Very small, winding alleyway with boutiques and little restaurants. This is the historic part of Barcelona. There are lots of corners and hidden spots to discover. I came across a beautiful square with mandarin trees and a small fountain.
8. Restaurants/ Food
Traditional food is a must when traveling! In Spain that is going to Tapas Bars. They are all over the City and quite cheap! Tapas are bite-sized appetizers and cost about 1-2€ each. Tortilla (potato with egg), jamón, fish, sausage, croquettes…and mostly served on a piece of bread but this varies from the restaurant.
Otherwise I really liked “Flax & Kale” and this place is for all the vegetarians out there. It really is amazing and with very healthy vegan options! I loved their Kombucha as well.
There are also an amazing assortment of bakeries in Barcelona. There was one just outside my school and I always grabbed a lunch sandwich there and is called “Baluard” . Everything was very freshly made and so delicious!
In general Barcelona has a lot of markets and also 24h supermarkets with lots of cheap fruits and vegetables!
9. Park at the Beach/ Arc de triomph
The Arc de Triomph is another site to visit. There are always street artists performing dances and tricks right in front of the big Arc that is just a walk down from the Avenida Diagonal. By continuing past the Arc down a palm tree street (oh what a surprise :)) you reach a park with a big water fountain, more palm trees and flowers. The best place to relax in the sun! I loved it as it was very quite and peaceful. Definitely recommend it, when you are sick of the traffic or crowded metro rides.
10. The Beach
If you follow Las Ramblas all the way down you reach the port. From there it is another 20 minutes walk to the Barceloneta Beach that Barcelona is famous for. Solely walking next to the dock is beautiful with the palm trees covering the City to the left. The Beach is almost always full of people and don’t be surprised if people pass by, as you are tanning on the sand, wanting to sell necklaces, drinks or pester you into getting a foot rub. Otherwise it is very beautiful, the ocean never disappoints in my opinion 🙂
I know there are just 10 points in the title but here’s a bonus: Learn Spanish when visiting Barcelona. Stay at a locals home. Go to a Spanish School. The whole trip is so much more meaningful if you truly immerse into the culture and language. Spanish is a beautiful but also quite easy language to learn. Give it a try 🙂
Hasta luego amigos!