The Best of Cataluyna, Spain!
Since I was living in a teeny, tiny town an hour outside Málaga, Spain to teach English, I was able to score a cheap Ryanair flight up to Barcelona for a few days! I spent about 3.5 days exploring the city and surrounding sites before deciding to check out more of what this famous province had to offer!
I got in later and used the afternoon to rest at my hostel. I had stayed at a hostel in the Paral-lel neighborhood that has now changed names and was sufficient, but would instead recommend finding a cozy Air BnB in the center. My personal recommendation would be around the metro stops for Passeig de Gràcia, Paral-lel or Parc de Montjuïc (make sure to visit here at night time for a fun music and light show at the fountain!)
I had decided to do a hop-on, hop-off bus tour to get acclimated. These all leave from Plaça de Cataluyna, a centrally-located square. Let me save you some time and money, use the very well-marked metro and do a DIY tour! You can go in the order you want to and it will help you get around the city like a pro using public transportation (which always makes me proud when I can master it!)
We passed by the mind-bending sights of Casa Batlló and Casa Milà, and most awe-inspiring of all, La Sagrada Familia. But I would be dedicating another day to fully exploring and appreciating its interior.
After taking in those architecural beauties, I decided to hop on the metro once again to visit Las Ramblas. This street is perhaps one of the most famous sights in the city, just be careful as pickpockets are in abundance here! Since you're nearby, definitely visit La Boqueria Market! It is a food market with tons of stalls serving a variety of moutherwatering food and drinks! I opted for a fresh-squeezed juice while I strolled through the colorful stalls.
Later that evening, I took the metro to visit Parc Güell. Though it was definitely still busy later on in the day, I recommend that time to visit. After exploring as many multi-colored tile mosaics as possible, taking approximately a zillion panorama photos and attempting to take in the sweeping view over the city, I got an ice cream at a nearby shop to enjoy while strolling back down the hill towards the metro.
Day trip to Girona and Besalú. See Girona section
I left my accomodation bright and early to get a chance to fully explore La Sagrada Familia. Whatever ticket you choose, please pre-book as you will get to skip the massive line of tourists waiting to buy their ticket and go straight to the collection queue. Whichever tickets you choose, please allow a couple hours at least to view both the inside and the mind-boggling detail that Gaudí had put into this structure. My words will never do it justice, so instead take a look for yourself!
To cap off this glorius day, I chose to visit Tibidabo; which is an amusement park overlooking the entire city! The park is on a hill that is over 1,600 feet tall. You can actually take the bus right to the park entrance from from Plaça de Cataluyna!
I just puttered around and people watched before taking the opportunity to check out the incredible view of the city. If you can't tell, that was probably my favorite way to explore Barcelona (from above)! I've heard the cable cars are also a great way to see the city from above as well!
Headed back to the airport to fly back down to Málaga to get back to work as a Language Assistant! I still made time before my flight to take a quick stroll through the Barri Gotic, Barcelona's ancient Gothic Quarter and stumbled onto an outdoor flea market and lots of grafitti. Highly recommend visiting this beautiful neighborhood if you have time!
While I did enjoy all the gorgeous architecture and character the city had-- Barcelona was not my favorite city in Spain by far. The city is totally worth a visit just to see all the incredible buildings! I did however very much enjoy my day trip to Girona and Besalú!
*I visited back in 2013. But I did try to keep this as updated as possible!
**I have chosen to use stock photos as back in 2013 my photos were taken on a measly digital camera!