Maybe it was Ed Sheeran's new song "Barcelona" or maybe it was all of the beautiful Gaudi Architecture (and red wine), but Barcelona Spain officially has a place in my heart. These are my must-do's and more importantly, MUST EATS for 3 days in Barcelona.
THINGS TO DO:
Maybe you've heard of the architect and genius Gaudi, maybe you haven't. I'll be honest, I didn't know who he was until looking into this trip. Regardless, his work is a must see and is scattered throughout Barcelona in various types of work ranging from homes, parks, and Cathedrals. Even if you think you're not interested in architecture, you'll be interested in his! Going to Barcelona and not seeing Gaudi's work would be like going to NYC and not seeing the empire state building or statue of liberty. It would just be wrong.
La Pedrera was one of Gaudi's main residential buildings. The curved, multi-story building with iron balconies is topped with sci-fi like sculptures, like something out of Star Wars. Every piece of Gaudi's work is extremely well thought out and detailed leaving you wondering how his work is even possible. You'll get to understand his style, his love for curved lines, underwater inspiration, and understanding and use of light.
TIP: Be sure to book your ticket ahead of time online here. It is worth investing in the fast pass to avoid the lines.
Casa Batllo was a restoration done in 1904 by Gaudi, of a conventional house that was originally built in 1877. Some of the building is still used as residential and office space today (how do I get an apartment here?!) Right away you are immersed in Gaudi's love for nature, particularly sea life, as well as curved lines and mosaics. A custom font was even created to label each door. What was once heavily scrutinized for breaking all of the bylaws for Barcelona Buildings, is now recognized as one of Barcelona's best.
TIP: Again, be sure to book your ticket ahead of time online here.
This isn't your ordinary walk in the park. Parc Guell, Built between 1900 and 1914, the gardens are not only stunning, but also feature some of Gaudi's most iconic buildings, including his home. A portion of the park is free to enter (woohoo!) However, if you are interested in some of the more iconic views of Barcelona (like the cover photo of this post) you will need to purchase a ticket (only €7).
TIP: Pre-book your ticket, pack water and wear practical shoes!
LA SAGRADA FAMILIA
How do I even put La Sagrada Familia into words? A Cathedral that has been under construction for over 100 years and counting might insinuate it's pretty massive and detailed, but that would be an understatement. Gaudi started the Cathedral when he was 31 years old and worked on it for 43 years before dying suddenly in a tram accident. From towers you can tour, to fruit inspired mosaics, to tree like pillars and a balcony for a 700 person choir, all of this is just the tip of the iceberg. Be sure to pre-book your ticket here and listen closely during the audio tour because you don't want to miss a thing!
This fully functioning basilica was constructed in 1339 making it Barcelona's oldest Cathedral. Upon entering, you are met with its Gothic facade and slightly creepy ambiance. There are several things you should know before visiting the Cathedral. Because it is still in use today, it is required before entering that your shoulders are covered and your dress or shorts are at least knee length. If you fail to meet this requirement, you will be turned away. Upon entering the Cathedral, towards the left, about halfway through the room, you will spot a woman seated inconspicuously. This is where you can visit the roof for only €3 and since this isn't well signed, it would appear that not many people really know about this opportunity which gives you the roof to yourself, at least until the next person figures it out! Another must see are the geese that are located on the right side upon entering the Cathedral. Fun fact: they like carrots.
TIP: If you find yourself wanting to visit the Cathedral but didn't pack anything with sleeves, throw a scarf over your shoulders and you're good to go. It is free to enter the Cathedral but be sure to check their hours before heading that way.
PLACES TO EAT:
Ah, my favorite part of travel, eating shamelessly and worrying about the consequences later. Barcelona was some of the best food I've ever had and I'm really excited to share it with you. So let's dig in!
Direct translation: Big mouth. Boca Grande is located on a side road just off Rambla De Catalunya (a central area in Barcelona). They really nail the perfect ambiance for locals and tourists to enjoy delicious food, good drinks, and plenty of laughs. Must eats from the menu are the truffle gnocchi, padron peppers, buratta, and a bottle of red wine! We were also told that celebrities often hit up Boca Grande, but don't let that intimidate you, everything was still reasonably priced and casual! Check out their menu HERE.
There is also a cool cocktail bar just upstairs called Boca Chicas, however this is a little overpriced at €20 for a single cocktail. (yikes)
Tragaluz felt so fancy, but again, was so reasonably priced. The interior has a stunning green house vibe with perfect decor and an elevated sense of service. Coincidentally, Tragaluz is located just a few steps away from Boca Grande meaning it's also on the quiet side street and very centrally located. Upon arriving, you'll be escorted up a set of stairs and through their kitchen (so cool) and then to your seat. Sadly, I've only showcased our starters because by the time our food came I was too excited and forgot to take photos, so don't let the photos fool you into thinking this is the kind of place with fancy small portions. IT'S NOT. We were STUFFED when we left.
Check out their menu before you visit HERE
CARPE DIEM Yes, their name is kinda cheesy, but don't worry, the food and experience is everything but! Sadly, I only have one photo of this restaurant because we sad outside and it started to get dark (and again, easily excited by food). Unlike the other two resturants, Carpe Diem is located on the beach which makes for amazing views! The menu is more Mediterranean but there is an Indian twist with incense and lavish decor. The restaurant also doubles as a club so if you're looking for a night out, this could be your spot! See more pictures and check out their menu HERE.
Obviously there is so much more to see, do and eat in Barcelona and I would love to hear your suggestions, as I can't wait to go back! Some last minute take-aways, beware of your belongings, as the city has a reputation for pick pocket's. Skip the beach unless you have more time to travel to one further away, as this one is quite touristy and overrun. Lastly, always order the Burrata :) Enjoy your trip and don't forget to pin this for later!