You have so got to love Barcelona and all it has to offer. It is the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region and is widely known for its art and architecture. It is no surprise that emblematic constructions by the Catalan architects Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Doménech i Montaner have been declared world heritage sites by the UNESCO.
The city’s origins are Roman, and its long history and economic dynamism have made Barcelona a cultural city, which can be seen in the historic artistic heritage and the promotion of the most innovative artistic trends.
Places To See
Barcelona has so much to offer every tourist if you’re into history you sure will find everything you want right here. There are so many Cathedrals and Museums you can stroll around snapping each and every corner that will stay in your memories forever. Some of the most popular are, Basilica Of La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona Cathedral, National Art Museum Of Catalonia, Barcelona Museum Of Contemporary Art.
The fun does not stop there, one of our favourite parts of Barcelona was the the Gothic Quarter, it is the centre of the old city of Barcelona. It stretches from La Rambla to Via Laietana, and from the Mediterranean seafront to Ronda de Sant Pere. It is a part of Ciutat Vella district. This part of Barcelona is pretty as a picture, you can wander until your feet fall off, remember Barcelona is a huge city, be prepared to cover many miles as you go, be sure to pack some comfortable shoes as you certainly do not want to be hobbling back to your hotel. If you have children with you, be sure to make many pit stops as you go, there are hundreds of cafes, restaurants, patisseries, and even the famous McDonalds to keep them smiling, with a quick refuelling you will be back on track in no time.
Whilst there we decided to do a spot of shopping. Barrio Gótico is definitely the place to be. On the Portal de l’Angel you can find all the big department stores and famous Spanish and international brands like Zara, Mango, and H&M. This wide shopping street is located between Plaça Catalunya and the famous Cathedral. However, if you are looking for something more local and a bit more special, you should go to Carrer Avinyó. It is a side street branching from Carrer de Ferran and goes all the way down to the harbour. The whole street is full of exclusive small boutiques, which sell original clothes, jewellery and home accessories. Aside from the cute boutiques, you can also find the American Apparel and Adidas Store.
Lunch at Sweet Dreams
If you’re feeling a little peckish after walking around and around, why not make a stop and tantalise your taste buds with a little sweet delight. There is a street called Carrer Regomir. Here, you can find “Sweet Dream’s, the perfect place to have lunch. From the most beautiful-looking and tasting cakes to ice cream, cupcakes and cookies, they have it all! However, if you don’t have a sweet tooth, they also have delicious fresh, homemade bagels. In the back of the store are some small tables where you can enjoy your lunch in peace. Take time to relax a little, after finding this hidden gem you sure will agree it was worth looking for in the first place.
If you are hard core and want to keep going, grab some food whilst you walk, there are plenty of places that do take out, you have a wide choice in Barcelona from churros, fruit pots, kebabs, ice cream, sandwiches, hot dogs, chicken skewers, potato wedges, fish sticks, the list is endless, you will not go hungry. The cost of food is reasonable ranging between €2.50 and € 6.00 for on the go food. Restaurant prices again vary, some are more up market than others so these will tend to charge more for a dish around €14.00, but if you’re on a budget eating in some restaurants will start at €5.00 working their way up. Always search for bargains because there is plenty.
The Beaches & Restaurants
If you spent hours shopping and eating in the hustle and bustle of the city, take a moment and remember there is another side to this fabulous place, the beach! Yes, miles and miles of glorious golden sand, and clear waters stretching 5 kilometres along the coast. There are also other towns that have beaches that also stretch a good 95 km, it has a 100 beaches of all kinds, fine and coarse with tiny coves to venture into, there’s also naturist beaches…, and all of them just a short drive or train ride away from Barcelona.
Barcelona is synonymous with the Mediterranean and a time-honoured seafaring tradition dating back to Roman times, a perfect place for all you history lovers. The sea has made it a crossroads of cultures; a fun, relaxing place where there’s room for everyone; a place with a wide range of resources, infrastructures and activities to suit people of all ages and backgrounds.
If you enjoy sailing, water sports or just like to relax by the sea, Barcelona offers you all kinds of services and facilities so that you can enjoy your favourite activities while you admire the city’s coastline and beaches.
If you not up for any kind of water sports don’t worry, there’s plenty of beach bars and restaurants situated right on the beach where you can hang out, giving you time to chill and decide what’s next on your list. The Bars and Restaurants are all reasonable prices; they all offer a wide range of food and drinks, some very tasty cocktails, and a good place to shade if it gets too hot. They do cater for children as well; you will find a good range of snacks and meals on the menu at most places for little ones. The views from these beach bars are stunning, probably why they’re always busy!
The weather in Barcelona is great, temperatures start to rise in April, May then it continues to go up and up until you hit August.
August is the hottest month of the year in Barcelona and the heat rises to sweltering levels that can prove to be unbearable. It can also be very humid during this month, so the climate can be like a sauna.
The average daytime temperatures are around 28°C (that is about 82°F) whereas the average minimum temperatures drop down to 19°C (that is about 67°F), so grab your sun cream factor 50
and keep applying it, it’s so easy to burn without knowing it due to a light wind.
As you head into September, October the weather is still very good compared to us in the UK, the temperature is warm but not so humid, December is the only month where it will drop to 11 Celsius.
When we went to Barcelona we stayed at the Barcelona Princess a beautiful 4-star Hotel that had a lot to offer. Our stay was a special one as it was my Husbands 40th Birthday, so this was a surprise for him. We were impressed with what we found. The hotel had an impressive 363 rooms, over 23 floors with a swimming pool as a bonus on the top floor. The rooms were delightful, equipped with everything you need, a spacious bathroom and shower, hairdryer, complimentary soaps, shower gels, caps, shoe horns, sewing kits, very well thought out for our arrival. The room was large with a king bed, TV, minibar and a view to die for. Yes, I had chosen well.
Travel and Cost
we flew into Barcelona with Thomas Cook, who offer reasonably priced flights. We booked into the Barcelona Princess which again offered great room prices even in July one of the busiest months. It is more of couples and business trip stop over hotel rather than a family friendly one. It’s situated about 25 minutes out of the main town centre, although there is a huge network of transport that can take you into the town quickly enough if you want to. The Metro Station is a three-minute walk from this hotel, and also the Train Station again not too far away. The Metro is every 3 to 5 minutes, we found this perfect as waiting in that heat would have been a little tricky. The Metro is busy and accurate, the underground network is crazy, when looking at maps it can seem a little daunting, but we figured it out in around an hour. With so many lines here and there it is very easy to get on the Metro on the wrong side of the platform and not notice until you set off. So yes we did quite a bit of jumping on and off until we actually figured this out. The cost of Metro tickets are not too bad around €23 each for a three-day pass, this is great you can then travel around Barcelona as and when you please visiting all it has to offer without worrying about the cost of travel all the time. The bus service again is regular and is a little cheaper, people do tend to grab the bus in from the Airports, or if they’re travelling from one of the other Holiday Resorts like Lloret De Mar or Salou, or if they’re travelling from the other side of Barcelona. The roads are a huge network of transport that runs brilliantly; we couldn’t fault it at all.
Just take care when crossing the roads, especially with kids; they do tend to set off from traffic lights a little early you may find yourself dodging them as you make a run for it to the other side.
Barcelona to us is a very special place, it holds all we love. We will visit this beautiful country many times as it holds a sense of home in our hearts.