Last week I had a few days away in Barcelona. I’ve never been before & everyone I spoke to said “you will love it” & “watch your bag!” They were right about me loving it – my favourite city so far, but we had no problem with pickpockets & didn’t witness any crime in the 5 days we were there. The weather was perfect for sightseeing, despite the forecast – fine & dry but not too hot.
As there were six of us we decided to book an apartment, partly as it was much cheaper but also to give us more flexibility.
We booked our apartment through Fewdays Barcelona – who were very helpful & efficient, it was a well equipped apartment in a great location near to the Arc Du Triomphe (yes they have one too!), and 10 minutes walk to either, Placa Catalunya, (shopping district, La Rambla, Casa Batllo), or to the old town, for the Picasso Museum, Gothic area etc.
I think you could stay in Barcelona for several weeks & still find things to see & do, we had 5 days & didn’t see everything we wanted to. We also didn’t think we would have to pre book so many of the main attractions as it was late in the season. That proved to be a problem as we wasted alot of time queueing to buy timed tickets, which we could have done in advance before settting off each day.
In particular Casa Batllo or House of Bones, the Gaudi designed home for the Batllo family, this is a must see & we had to queue for over an hour to buy a ticket for the queue to get in!! It was worth it though:)
Casa Batllo (house of Bones)
The rooftop & chimneys of Casa Batllo
We also did not pre book tickets for Park Guell, the Gaudi Park, which is quite a way out of the city centre, none of the guide books we had, or the website suggested this. We had timed tickets for the Sagrada Familia (the Gaudi Cathedral) for 5pm on one of the days so thought we would go to Parc Guell on the same day – they are quite near each other. We arrived at around 1.30pm thinking we had plenty of time to visit, sadly the next available time for entry was 5pm, so we could only visit the free areas of the park not the main attraction.
Gaudi’s Apartment at Parc Guell
If we had booked online in the morning we may have been able to do both, however the free areas are beautiful & have great views of the city & Gaudi’s apartment is in this area and we were able to see this (for an entry fee).
The Sagrada Familia is another ‘must see’ it is a truly incredible feat of engineering, architecture & design, still unfinished but getting close! The interior is awe inspiring & Gaudi’s passion for nature & how that influenced his design is evident everywhere.
The Sagrada Familia – Gaudis Unfinished Cathedral
We also spent a day exploring Mont Juic, we toured the castle, enjoyed the views, saw the fountains & visited the Poble Espanyol living museum, this is a collection of regional buildings transplanted to create a village representing all the regions of spain. There are regional crafts such as glass blowing & leather working, an art gallery with some works by Picassso and bars & restaurants, the museum stays open til midnight & is well worth a visit.
We also managed to fit in a city bus tour, a visit to the Picasso Museum, the Gothic Cathedral, the Archaeological Museum, several nice meals in beautiful squares, a bit of back street wandering, a flea market, the very special food market- La Boqueria and a football match!
I have to say that we totally ran out of time & have a long list of things to do another time – can’t wait to go back!