A Life Uncorked
A glass of champagne with the Cathedral and a sunset behind in Barcelona, Spain

Sights & Sips In Barcelona

August 23, 2017 10 Comments

It makes me sick to my stomach to think that just a few weeks ago, my family and I were in the beautiful, enchanting city that is Barcelona and that within a matter of days, so many lives would be forever changed by the pure evil that it takes to execute a terror attack. It's a sad reality of our world today-that we must always remain vigilant because of the possibility that something like this could happen anywhere we are. I don't know how to fix it. But I do know this: we cannot live our lives in fear. We must still travel to all of the beautiful places on this Earth to expand our world views and not ever let the idea that something might happen stop us from doing so. My heart goes out to all of the victims and loved ones of this week's attack in Barcelona.

Barcelona is still a wonderful city, rich with history. It deserves to be celebrated and visited on every occasion! Here is my guide for how to enjoy this city on your next trip.

A balcony in Barcelona

When my family had the idea to go to Barcelona this summer, I immediately said “sign me up!” I had only ever heard glowing reviews of this city. The culture, the architecture, the people, the food…most important part for me! And let me tell you, Barcelona lived up to every expectation I had. For a short trip, we made the most of the city by checking out all of the sights and by eating all of the food (and, as usual, drinking all of the drinks!) that were available. Any city that hangs its hat on tapas, seafood, and sangria is fine by me!

The Cardno family selfie at Parc Guell with a view of Barcelona in the background

 

How To Get To Barcelona

Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) is easily accessible from many points internationally. The airport mostly serves domestic European destinations, but there are many options for direct flights from several points in the U.S.

 

Where To Stay

I can’t speak more highly of the H10 Montcada Hotel. If you know me, you know I’m a complete sucker for a boutique hotel. I love anywhere with a personality! Well, this place was no exception. The hotel is situated in the perfect location in the center of Barcelona, just steps from so many sights around town, there is an awesome view from the rooftop bar, and they even treated Joe with a birthday surprise of dessert and champagne delivered to the room! I may or may not have helped him out with both of those treats 😉 Joe looking out the window at a beautiful sunset from H10 Montcada Hotel in Barcelona

A gift of champagne and dessert from H10 Montcada Hotel in Barcelona

 

Getting Around Town

No need for a rental car here. The airport is only about 20 minutes away from the city center, so taxi cabs are usually the best method of transportation. There is also an underground Metro and a citywide bus service. Or, if you’re like my mother and can’t miss a good open-top bus tour, they have those as well!

 

The Language

Barcelona is in the heart of the Calalonia Region of Spain. Residents of the city widely speak both Spanish and Catalan, but many people, especially in the tourist areas, understand English.

 

Sights To See

Catedral de Barcelona

This gorgeous Gothic cathedral was constructed in the 14th century and its architecture is swoon-worthy. If you intend to enter the building, plan your outfit accordingly! Shoulders must be covered, but not to worry, there are ladies selling shawls outside if you are exploring the city in tank top weather. And, if you’re lucky, you might catch a fun folkloric dance performance outside!

A view of the entrance of Catedral de Barcelona

A group doing a folkloric dance in front of Catedral de Barcelona

 

Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is one of Barcelona’s most iconic modern sights. Construction began in the 1880s by famed Barcelona architect Antoni GaudĂ­ and is still unfinished even to this day! This work in progress is expected to be finished by 2026 and is now considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pro tip: if you plan on taking a tour of the inside of the building, it is a must to reserve your tickets in advance as it is not unusual for the tickets to sell out days prior.

The view from the bottom of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

 

MontjuĂŻc

This hill that overlooks the city includes several sites all within easy walking distance. As an added bonus, part of the hill has hidden escalators for the tourist whose legs may have grown weary (me, of course)! Start at the base of the MontjuĂŻc hill and your first stop is the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. Right behind that is the Olympic Stadium, home of the 1992 Olympic Games. Entrance is free to the stadium, and there is also an Olympic Museum close by. Beware though, the museum is closed on Mondays! From there, the TelefĂŠric de MontjuĂŻc cable cars are a must! The gondola takes you high above Barcelona and treats you to the most beautiful views at the MontjuĂŻc Castle. In all, this bundle of a trip will take about half a day.

A view of Montjuic from below in Barcelona

Estadi OlĂ­mpic LluĂ­s Companys in Barcelona

A comparison next to Rafael Nadal's footprint in Barcelona

A shot of the Montjuic Cable Cars in Barcelona

View from the Montjuic Castle in Barcelona

Walking around the Montjuic Castle in Barcelona

Flags strung over the courtyard at Montjuic Castle in Barcelona

 

Camp Nou

This is the ultimate experience for the sports fan. FC Barcelona is the second most valuable sports franchise in the world and after seeing this stadium, it’s easy to see why! The Camp Nou Experience offers you a walking tour of the stadium and FC Barcelona museum areas for around €20 per person and is open year round. Visit the field, sit on the bench, score a goal…ok, maybe not that one, they don’t let you anywhere near the perfectly manicured grass!

A shot of the Camp Nou stadium seats that reads "Mes Que Un Club" in Barcelona

 

Parc GĂźell

Another GaudĂ­ masterpiece, this park is decorated entirely with mosaic tiles. There are free entry areas of the Parc GĂźell, but to witness the Monumental Zone complete with colorful, zigzagged benches, a mosaic lizard, and an unforgettable view over Barcelona, you have to book your tickets ahead of time as they only allow a handful of visitors into the area at a time to avoid wear and tear on the structure.

A shot of the entrance at Parc Guell

Katy and Joe on the benches at Parc Guell with a view over Barcelona

 

Playa del Bogatell

What better for a quick break from city life than a visit to the beach?! Playa del Bogatell is just a short cab ride away from the city center and worth a walk along the coast!

Katy looking out over the Balearic Sea at Playa Bogatell in Barcelona

Katy and Joe's feet in the Balearic Sea at Playa Bogatell in Barcelona

 

Where To Eat & Drink

Casa Lola

Sangria to go?!? Yes, please! This is a cute little walk-in bar that lets you leave with these things I so fondly named “sangria purses”!

A shot of the take away sangria offered at Casa Lola in Barcelona

 

7 Portes

A great dinner spot, 7 Portes has served people ranging from Picasso and DalĂ­ to Robert de Niro and Harrison Ford in its time. The restaurant does some awesome fresh seafood.

The outside patio at 7 Portes restaurant in Barcelona

 

Sagardi

I think this was the winner for our favorite little eatery in Barcelona! Sagardi is a casual tapas shop that specializes in bite sized eats known as pintxos. Help yourself to whichever of these tasty treats catches your eye and pay at the end based on how many toothpicks you accumulate. This is the perfect spot to grab some sangria and watch the world go by!

All of the tapas options at Sagardi restaurant in Barcelona

 

TelefĂŠric

Tapas, rose, and a square frequently visited by street performers (or as my mom dubbed them “a muscular flash mob”!). Teleferic does an afternoon tapas break right! Their fois gras was voted best tapas in Barcelona, so you know it’s good.

A shot of the tapas and rose at Teleferic in Barcelona

 

OcaĂąa

One of our favorite finds of this trip was a beautiful square situated just off of Las Ramblas called Plaça Reial. All kinds of restaurants and bars surround this plaza making it the perfect escape from some of the more tourist-heavy areas nearby. Take your pick: red, white, or cava sangria!

A shot of a glass of sangria in Placa Reial in Barcelona

 

La Terrassa del DO

Also located in Plaça Reial, this restaurant belongs to the DO Boutique Hotel. This is the kind of place where you’ll want to order some paella, a few bottles of wine, and get carried away in the magic of Barcelona! Accordion and guitar players, and rose peddlers may stop by and offer their services. If you’re looking for a laugh, pay them and sit back and enjoy your serenade!

Joe kissing Katy's cheek in Placa Reial in Barcelona

A guitar player at La Terrassa del Do in Barcelona

 

Taller de Tapas

There are several locations of Taller de Tapas across Barcelona, one of which is located right next to Camp Nou. This is a great spot to snack and sip before heading to the stadium for a tour or a game!

Laura and a pitcher of sangria at Taller de Tapas in Barcelona

 

Xiringuito Bogatell

It’s hard to beat a restaurant with a front row seat to the sea! This restaurant, located on Playa del Bogatell has the best pulpo (aka octopus…yes, octopus!) and tuna tartare we ate all trip!

A daiquiri and a caipirinha on Playa Bogatell in Barcelona

 

What are some of your must-dos in Barcelona?

10 Comments

  1. Reply

    Mallory

    August 24, 2017

    All of your pictures of Barcelona are beautiful, but I think the picture of Joe and your mom enjoying the serenade has to be my favorite 🙂 Great post, KC!

    • Reply

      Katy

      August 25, 2017

      Haha thanks, Mal! If I had to choose a pic that showed their relationship best, it would be that one! 😛

  2. Reply

    Aunty Jenny

    August 24, 2017

    Loved it Katy – brought back lovely memories of our trip a couple of years ago and made me want to go back! Gorgeous photos too!! Keep them coming! Xxx

    • Reply

      Katy

      August 25, 2017

      Thanks Aunt Jenny! We loved it in Barcelona!

  3. Reply

    Pamela

    August 24, 2017

    Katy …. really enjoyed this blog! Close to home for a visit!!!. It was written with beautiful sentiment. Your family seem as happy as you x

    • Reply

      Katy

      August 25, 2017

      Thanks Pammy! We had such a wonderful time on our trip. Missing you all!

  4. Reply

    G . A. Eleanor

    August 23, 2017

    The offer to carry your bags on your next adventure still stands!
    Loved this piece on Barcelona.
    Wonderful city!

    • Reply

      Katy

      August 25, 2017

      Haha! We’ll always have a spot available for you!!

  5. Reply

    Papa

    August 23, 2017

    Another masterpiece Katy👍🏾.keep up the good work!!

    • Reply

      Katy

      August 25, 2017

      Thanks Papa! Miss you!

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