Sometimes, you can really make the best of a bad situation. On a recent return journey from Europe I missed my connection in Barcelona and ended up stranded for a couple days. At first I felt like pouting, but then I realized this was really a blessing in disguise.[EDIT: Please, at the adherence to CDC and WHO guidelines, I urge you to suspend all unnecessary travel to regions affected by the Coronavirus. This travel post was written in a simpler times and I am hoping for the best for the beautiful city of Barcelona.]
I love Spain but have never been to the Catalonian capital city. Jumping on Hotels Tonight I found a great deal on the luxurious H10 Marina Barcelona and decided to treat myself to a relaxing weekend. Winter is the perfect time to visit with far fewer tourists and consistently warm Mediterranean sunshine. I was really able to soak in the cuisine and culture, finding relief from airline stress. Below are a few of my tips for a long weekend (or any two day period) in Barcelona.
I slept in on my first day and woke up famished so I headed straight for the Mercado De Boqueria. This tourist and locals destination is just of the famous Rambla and dates back to 1217. As the largest market in Barcelona, this central covered outdoor space features a selection of snack vendors and bar service tapas. I indulged in a meat and cheese sampler, fried seafood, and some delectable vegetarian empanadas. The best to experience the market is to walk around and get small dishes to go.
After a big lunch, I needed to get my steps in! Strolling through Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona’s equivalent to Central Park, I came across Cascada Monumental. Created in the late 1870s by legendary Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, this large statue and waterfall combo is a little known stunner. While Gaudi is better known for the spires of Sagrada Familia and the mosaics of Park Guell, this masterful work shows a different side of his talents. I like things a bit off the radar, and this statue lets you experience the genius of Gaudi without the tour buses.
I love Picasso and Barcelona is his hometown. The Picasso Museum is a must see for anyone interested in understanding the artist’s evolution. The 4,251 works that make up the museum’s permanent collection showcase all Picasso’s periods. Opened in 1963, the Museum also explores his relationship with Barcelona. A place of learning and refuge for Picasso, the city left an indelible mark on his work. Lines can be long so make sure to purchase your tickets in advance.
Traditionally a snack to accompany a drink, Tapas is a must try Spanish culinary experience. Two of the most tradition tapas are jamon iberico and patatas bravas (Who doesn’t like meat and potatoes)! The plates are small so take a chance and try something new. My favorite tapas bar is Bar Del Pla because it’s the perfect place to experiment. This romantic gothic cave of a restaurant is a great spot to share a bottle of Rioja with someone special.
Barcelona is an easy city to get around, but there are a few things to remember. Uber is not allowed so download MyTaxi to get a ride. The official language is Catalan, so you might have some trouble even with that B+ in sophomore Spanish. Everything happens late so if you want to hang with locals go out after nine.
Overall, my favorite thing about Barcelona is the relaxed atmosphere. You can just sit back at an outdoor cafe an watch the world pass you by. In the Summer Barcelona has one of the world’s best urban beaches, definitely worth a couple leisurely days!
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