You have 48 hours in Barcelona, what do you do?! It was March, the last trip seemed far too long ago, so we flew out on the Friday after work and back Sunday afternoon. So actually ground time was probably less than 48 hours. But it didn’t stop us squeezing in sight seeing, beach time, eating, drinking, sunbathing and a hell of a lot of walking.
Has anyone ever looked at Barcelona on Google Maps and just can’t work out where the best place to stay might be? That was totally me when trying to pick the hotel for this short trip. I opted for the Hotel Arts (thanks to Julia at work who had reccomended it, Claire who found an amazing price for me!) This hotel is a Ritz Carlton property, so right up my five star street, and is amazingly located right near the beach and port. It’s the opposite end of the beach front than the W Hotel is, so if you know where that is you can kind of get your bearings. The hotel itself has bars, restaurants (one with a Michelin Star), the BIGGEST rooms i’ve ever seen, and an amazing set of swimming pools to soak up the Spanish Sun.
Can we just talk about the view from our room and the pool for a second?
I wish we could have hung out at the hotel a little bit more, because it was stunning. The staff were probably up there with some of the most attentive of any hotel i’ve stayed in. Constantly asking if you needed anything, offering you complimentary bottled water or drinks and snacks around the pool.
As we were there on such a flying visit, before we flew I made sure I had a list of things in my notes of places I wanted to see or places I wanted to eat. I do this with pretty much every country I visit to make sure I don’t come home disappointed. If you see somewhere on Instagram that looks cool, make note of it because the chances are you’ll never find it again.
Gothic Quarter & Las Ramblas.
I could have spent hours just wandering through the medieval streets of the Gothic Quarter, which are filled with trendy bars, coffee shops and traditional Catalan restaurants. I knew Barcelona was famous for its architecture, but actually seeing it all in real life is just something else. Onto Las Ramblas, which is probably the part of Barcelona that everyone has heard of. Keep an eye out for the Casa Batlló one of Antoni Gaudí’s insane pieces of work. Unfortunately this year, it is undergoing some renovation work, which we didn’t know about before we decided to venture on a 10KM walk from sight to sight, ending here… (So here is just a photo of one of the pretty streets we walked along).
Another must see in this area is the Barcelona Cathedral, which was built (they think) in the thirteenth century. I mean I’m no Sheldon Cooper when it comes to maths but even I can work out that was a heck of a long time ago to construct something as grand as this.
The Cathedral sits in a square lined with shops, restaurants and bars (can you see a theme here?) I can imagine losing a lot of time sitting watching the world go by, watching the many street performers or musicians.
La Sagrada Familia
Probably one of the most Instagrammed spots in Barcelona. I know I must have looked at about 1000 photos for inspo before we went. The walk to get here from out hotel is not for the faint hearted. We decided to set out on the Sunday morning, early, to make sure we got here before the crowds arrived. I think it probably took about an hour to walk there, so it might be advisable to get a taxi if you’re not prepared for a morning hike before your 9am coffee.
Another masterpiece from Antoni Gaudí, which is still actually unfinished. His work on the church is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I cannot quite fathom how something so huge, and so detailed, was built before the use of all the crazy machines and equipment we have nowadays. As you can quite clearly see, my knowledge of “things used to build churches in 2019” is limited.
There is a park opposite that you can go in to get your much wanted gram shot, as well as walking around the church to the other side of the pond. Plan your visit wisely to avoid too many other people in your pictures. You can also buy tickets to go inside and take a guided tour etc, but for our 48hour flying visit, we didn’t have time.
Have you even been on a trip if you haven’t been to brunch though? I take mine without the bottomless Prosecco please.
I wanted to find somewhere really nice for breakfast/brunch on our first morning, so to Instagram I went. I find it really useful when I find a restaurant online to always check Instagram. One to see the official page and two, see other people’s posts. This way you can check out real photos of the real food they serve, and not just stock images.
Off we went to the cute little place called “Brunch & Cake” (Address: Carrer d’Enric Granados, 19, 08007 Barcelona, Spain) with its use of fresh organic ingredients, vegan friendly treats and squid ink/peanut butter coffee (Yep, that’s a thing). I took one glance at the menu, saw the brownie pancake’s and you don’t have to tell me twice to order something sweet. The tipping point to this order was the “homemade Nutella ball” and that it was technically all healthy… as much as it doesn’t look it.
On the topic of food…
With SO many restaurants to choose from. Where do you start? We must have spent all day scrolling through lists and lists of places to eat, from super fine dining, to Pintxos, to Tapas and Paella. But we just couldn’t agree on somewhere. Both of us decided we wanted Tapas, but we also wanted it to be a little bit different. When we stumbled across this little gem.
Llamber Restaurant (Address: Carrer de la Fusina, 5, 08003 Barcelona, Spain) it had amazing reviews online, so I called up and booked a table for 8pm. We ate probably far more than any two people should eat in one sitting, ploughed through two bottles of red wine and had to (with a tear) turn away pudding as we were both so full up.
The artistry of the food was something that stood out for me, the way it almost told a story with every dish. The flavours, the colours, the taste. All of it was just incredible, and actually really reasonably priced. My favourite things that I must point out was the edible coal (charred sweet potato) and the pumpkin fritters (I actually can’t remember the exact name, but that’s what they tasted like).
We finally were able to get our hands on an electric scooter (after many failed attempts last year in LA). I personally HATED every minute on them. I don’t know if it was the sheer mass of people, or the fact that said sheer mass of people just would not bloody get out of my way. I’m not sure if there is some sort of rule when you are on something motorised that it should actually be you that moves? But honestly, I struggle to drive a real car, let alone scoot, and steer, and look where I’m going in a different country, and look out for cars… OH and without wearing my glasses. My Bad.
When we got to an empty open stretch on the beach though, I will admit, they were kind of fun. I was just still a little shaken by the car that nearly took me out flying from a side street. Hire with caution people!!