Barcelona is one of the main cities in Spain (after Madrid) and the capital of Catalonia. It’s a city with distinct areas that tell the story of its development from medieval to modern times. Both the mountain (Montjuic) and the sea (Barcoleneta) play a crucial role in the city’s life. The 1992 Olympic Games were held in the Parc de Montjuic, led to the construction of several pavilions and buildings that are now attractions to visit. In addition, Barcelona is known for the Sagrada Família, for the historic buildings such as Casa Milà and Casa Batlló, for the Old City and Ramblas. The city has a lot of incredible things to visit and good places to eat.
At the beginning of August 2019 I went to Barcelona for 5 days with my boyfriend. I had already been there in 2012 but it’s always good to return to Barcelona . We had two main goals for this trip: visit the city’s main attractions and rest a bit.
As it was a trip decided at the last minute, I only bought the flights in the previous month (July). I decided just to purchase the flight from Porto to Barcelona because the returning one was very expensive and I wanted to think about another solution. The solution was to make a stopover in Madrid and stay there one day to go to Parque Warner (you can read about this park here). The flights weren’t ridiculously expensive… we paid about 110.00€ per person for the 3 flights with a 10-kg bag and reserved seating. From Porto to Barcelona and from Madrid to Porto we traveled with Ryanair, but the middle flight was made with Vueling.
Like I said before, this trip was to visit but also to rest. Because of that, we didn’t mind staying in a hotel far from the center (it was a way to save some money too). We chose the Hotel Barcelona Princess for our 5-days/4-nights stay and we paid 433,77€ in total for a double room without breakfast. The hotel is located in the Sant Martí area, close to the beach and next to a shopping center. Having a swimming pool was a favorable point for our choice. I really liked the hotel! Our room was quite big and the facilities are great. However, if my vacation goal was just to visit Barcelona, I probably wouldn’t have chosen it (because it is far from the center – 20 minutes by metro).
Now I’m going to tell you a summary of each of the 5 days I spent in Barcelona. In the next posts I’ll tell you more details (don’t miss! – follow me on Instagram if you want to know whenever I publish a new blog post).
Day 1: Flight, Passeig de Gracia, Plaça de Catalunya, La Rambla and Port Vell
We went to Barcelona from Porto on the 06.30h flight (2-hour duration). When we arrived there, we took the bus and then the metro to the hotel. The check-in process at the hotel was very quick but the room wasn’t ready yet and the receptionist asked us to wait 30 minutes. We could also leave our bags in reception, but we decided to wait. With the bags already in the room, we left the hotel and we took the metro to the Avinguda Diagonal. Before we started the itinerary we had planned for the day, we needed to have lunch! We ate in a nearby Rodilla (spanish sandwich restaurant chain that I really like!). After lunch, we started our way to Passeig de Gracia, where Casa Milà and Casa Battló are located. These two buildings, designed by Antoni Gaudí, are the ultimate representation of Spanish modernist architecture. At the end of Passeig de Gracia is located the Plaça de Catalunya, the largest and most central square in Barcelona and where the Ramblas street start. We went down the Ramblas, we visited the Mercat de la Boqueria and took some photos on Palau Guell. At the end of Ramblas street there’s Mirador de Colom, a status built in honor of the discoverer Christopher Columbus. The final stops of the day were La Gamba del Mariscal and Port Vell, near by Barceloneta beach. Since we were very tired (we woke up very early because of the flight) we decided to go to the hotel and have dinner nearby.
Day 2: Plaça de Espanya, MNAC, Olímpic Ciutat and Montjuic Castle
In the morning we decided to go to the hotel’s pool and relax in the sun . After having lunch, we caught the metro to the Plaça de Espanya. This square is one of the most important in Barcelona and was built on the occasion of the 1929 International Exhibition. Here is located the Shopping Las Arenas (old bullring). Then we continued through the Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC). The museum on that day had free access, so we went into to visit but also to cool off a bit (this day was very hot!). The next stop was the Olympic Ciutat, where we saw the Praça d’Europa, Palau Sant Jordi and the Estadi Olímpic Lluis Companys. This olympic city was built for the 1992 Olympic Games and remains well maintained. It’s now a tourist attraction for anyone visiting the city. After, we took the bus to the Montjuic Castle, an old military fortress, which dates back to 1640, built on top of Montjuic hill. The views of Barcelona from there are awesome! It’s possible to see the city side as well as the beach area. After all this we returned to the hotel and we still went for a swim in the pool. We had dinner close to the hotel because on the next day we had to wake up very early!
🗓️ Day 3: Park Güell, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Sagrada Familia
We woke up really early this day! We wanted to get to Park Güell before 8.00h because the entrance is free (we saved 10 € per person! Not bad!). Park Güell is a huge park with peculiar colored architectural elements created by the architect Antoni Gaudí. It was considerer, by UNESCO, as a World Heritage Site. When we arrived there we were surprised with the amount of people that were already there! We visited the park, took some pictures and were blown away by the city views. Then, we went to the Hospital de la Santa Creu I Sant Pau, a hospital designed in Catalan modernist style in 1901 by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, having been completed in 1930. We continued on our way to the Sagrada Familia and our goal was just to see this huge monument from the outside (we had booked online tickets to enter the next day). After that, we had lunch and returned to the hotel. Our afternoon was spent at the pool resting. We went to dinner at a great restaurant called The Fresh Poke.
Day 4: Montserrat and Sagrada Familia
Another day that we woke up very early! After having breakfast we went to the Plaça de Espanya to catch the train to Montserrat. The train ride takes about an hour and then you still have to change to the funicular. Montserrat is a rocky hill where Monestir de Montserrat and Parc Natural de la Muntanya de Montserrat are located. The monastery is so beautiful and serves as a place of retreat for Benedictine monks. We spent the whole morning exploring Montserrat and then we returned to city center, more precisely to the hotel. We had lunch and then we went to the pool! At 18.30h we went to the Sagrada Familia because we had bought tickets to enter the monument at this hour. The Sagrada Familia is Gaudí’s most important work and the most visited monument in Barcelona. Construction works began in 1882, but Gaudí died leaving the project unfinished. Supposedly, the monument is expected to be finished in 2026 but I don’t know if it will be true (at least I noticed progress since I was there in 2012!). For dinner we went for some tapas at Bruc33Tapas. Then, we returned to the hotel because we had to pack.
Day 5: Barri Gotic, Palau de la Musica Catalana, Parc de la Ciutadella and L’Aquarium de Barcelona
Fifth and last day in Barcelona! We checked out and left our bags at the reception. The first stop of the day was in the Barri Gotic where we visited the Plaça de Sant Jaume, the Pont Gotic, the Carrer del Bisbe and the Barcelona Cathedral. This last attraction we went in I had to put a scarf over my legs because I was wearing shorts. Then we visited the Palau de la Musica Catalana which honestly was the attraction that surprised me the most. I wasn’t excepting such beauty inside! After the visit we took a break in the middle of the morning to eat something because we were hungry. The Parc de la Ciutadella was the next stop. I love this place! I think all the green contrasting with the blue of the sky and the sea gives it an special character. We visited the park, took photos of the Arc de Triomf and then stopped for lunch. It was a very hot day and it was difficult to walk outside at lunchtime! During the afternoon, we visited the L’ Aquarium de Barcelona that has 35 aquariums and is home to 11 thousand animals of 450 species. Then, we went to the hotel to pick up our bags and took the metro to the airport. We had the Vueling flight to Madrid at 21.30h. Like I said above, I went one day to Madrid to go to Park Warner.
And that was our trip to Barcelona. Everything went well, it was possible to visit and rest. We got a great weather, even too great (there were days when it was really hot!). Whenever I can I will go back to Barcelona!
You can download here this travel itinerary. Be aware that this itinerary doesn’t work for everyone but you can adapt to your needs!