Continuing from my London post, I shall now go on and tell you more about my trip to Spain, Barcelona. I took a flight out from London to Barcelona just a few days before Christmas. Barcelona has such amazing architecture! I loved all the buildings that I saw and how rustic things were. The weather was not as chilly as London and things there were a tad cheaper because of the exchange rate.
I have come up with some tips or should I say the must-dos when you’re in Barcelona. I’ll be breaking them up into 5 sections as shown below.
Shopping in Barcelona is pretty exciting especially when ZARA, Mango, Pull and Bear and Stradivarius are all screaming at you especially along the stretch of Passeig de Gracia (it’s like our version of Orchard Road but with stand still stores). Those stores I mentioned (My favourite has to be ZARA of course) are also a tad cheaper as they originate from Spain unlike here in SG where the prices are marked up so damn high. Another shopping place I highly suggest you visit would be at Port Vell. The shopping mall there is called Maremagnum Shopping Centre and has everything you want in that mall. It even faces the beautiful port, how amazing is that!
2. Sight Seeing
Sight seeing in Barcelona is a must. The beauty of the city, history and culture would leave you wanting to explore even more. I did tons of sigh seeing and especially loved those by Antoni Gaudí’s . Gaudí’s work is admired by architects all around the world as being one of the most unique and distinctive architectural styles. His work has greatly influenced the face of Barcelona architecture and you will see countless of stunning examples of Gaudí’s work all around the city from Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and Casa Batlló. They’re all so breathtaking so be sure to have a camera to capture all the pictures you’re gonna be taking! Other sight seeing spots that are highly recommended are to Camp Nou, Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) and Las Ramblas.
For me, I took the 2 day busturistic pass that brought me around to all these sights, therefore not needing to worry about bus/metro/taxi fares. Additionally bus rides around Barcelona are stunning especially when seated at the upper deck. Do check out Busturistic (It’s the blue bus not red, there are 2 such companies doing these tours) for more information! The stop I boarded on was at Port Vell which was a walking distance from my hotel. The bus frequency was about 15 minutes and were very clean! A bonus is that there is wifi on the bus itself! Always a big YAY for free wifi!
Tapas! Paella! Churros! Bread! Seafood! Yum! I have to admit, Tapas was something my family and I had almost every day whilst we were in Barcelona. Well I did have Paella at this real fancy restaurant but I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I felt so sick after just a few bites from it and all I did was nibble on the bread they gave instead. I’m not a huge fan of paella partially because of the wetness/how it feels in my mouth… BUT with that said it’s just something not to my liking. Paella is something you have to try especially when you’re in Barcelona.The paella I had was at this really quaint and well furnished restaurant called Elche. The portions are big and are normally shared between 2 pax. As I’m more inclined towards the whole idea of Tapas and did much research on where I should find the best Tapas in Barcelona, well I have to say, I definitely did find the best Tapas joint ever! The restaurant is called Cerveceria Catalana. It can be rather tricky to find especially when you have to walk through lanes/blocks to find it but it’s worth the hunt! (Do check my tripadvisor out for more information on my experience at Cerveceria Catalana). It can get really crowded so try heading there around 5pm to avoid large crowds! Nevertheless, the food is just so scrumptious and fresh tasting! Would definitely urge anyone reading this to visit Cerveceria Catalana as it would be a dining experience to remember, your stomach would gratefully thank you! As for other restaurants, try avoiding those by the main roads with tons of their staff luring you in to try their food as I can tell you honestly that they are over priced and not delicious at all. For seafood, visit La Paradeta. It’s a seafood food chain with restaurants around the city! It is a self service concept where you choose the seafood you want with your very own eyes and choose the method of how you want it to be cooked. There tend to be language barriers so try using google translate or simple words so as to convey what you want efficiently. For churros and desserts, many small cafes around offer them! A ever so famous one would be Chök – The Chocolate Kitchen. They’re more towards selling delicious donuts/cookies. Churros however are everywhere in Barcelona, just be sure to look out for the word Xurreria instead!
4. Accommodation and Transportation
My accommodation was a package deal that came along with my airfare (British Airways). I stayed at TRYP Apollo hotel located at Parallel. I must say, this hotel exceeded my expectations and the free buffet breakfast was just marvelous. The rooms were all clean, toilets new and beds really comfy! The buffet breakfast has such a wide spread, I had so much difficulty choosing what to eat in turn over eating as I just wanted to have everything and anything! What I liked was that their bread were all freshly made and had dairy free/healthier options such as Soy milk, oats, wholewheat bread and freshly squeezed juices. For transportation wise, getting around was easy as where I was staying was a walking distance from everything. Well, if you already can’t tell, I love walking! So for me, walking was no problem. However if you prefer taking the Metro, it is equally accessible with the metro just in front of the hotel. Taking the taxi is also an option and is not as expensive. I took the taxi from the airport to the hotel (vice versa) and especially after all the shopping back to the hotel when I had too many shopping bags to carry. It’s preferable to take a taxi once it’s rather late as the streets can get really empty and quiet.
5. Finding your desired location
Things can get rather crazy especially when you’re trying to get to your desired destination. Due to the language barrier and how there are many streets and blocks in just one area, you are bound to get lost in Barcelona. I suggest using google maps and google translate as it helped me a whole lot however with that I still did get lost. I had to ask for directions in a Spanish accent (well I tried my best to sound Spanish) so that they could roughly understand what I was saying. Well big kudos to Dora as I picked up some Spanish from her since a young age! Try asking those working in the stores to help you if you were asking for directions. Another thing would be to roughly have a gauge of what you are looking for be it a picture or street name on hand. I kept pictures and street names on my phone which I had with me throughout the trip.
Before I end off this post, please feel free to check my Instagram/Tripadvisor account out for more pictures. This was my very first time in Barcelona and definitely not my last! I loved seeing all the building architecture the most! Every building had it’s unique touch! Gracias Barerlona!