Barcelona has been on my bucket list for ages now. Fortunately for me, it was on my husband’s too. When my Darling Hubs had a milestone birthday this year, I thought: “It’s now or never. Let’s take the guy to Spain.” And just like that, we were boarding our flight.
Ryan was excited about Spain’s history (he’s a major history buff), the sights and the food. I was excited for the fashion, of course!! To see the flagship Zara firsthand (simple pleasures), and take in the easy, casual chic of Barcelona’s natives was Goal #1.
Firstly, we flew into London to visit family and spend a few days with our close friends Jen and Marty. All four of us then packed up and headed to Barcelona. This one was a trip for the record books – we had so much fun!
This trip was so incredible, I decided to round up a few of my favourite sights and restaurants that you must visit when you get to Barcelona. One more thing – not only did we go to Barcelona, we hit up Malaga, Marbella, Sotogrande and Estepona during our month away. This is the first of a series of blog posts highlighting our whirlwind trip!
The Sagrada Familia is a sight to behold. Seriously. The manicness of its design is impressive. This large, unfinished cathedral is the brainchild of the brilliant Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.
Construction of the cathedral started in 1882 and it’s still not finished. In fact, the cost of this building is now astronomical, and ticket sales from visitors now fund its construction.
This building is very “love it or hate it”. There isn’t too much rhyme or reason to the cathedral, with its mosaics, spires, animal figures protruding out of its walls, thousands of statues, and soaring colourful, stained glass windows and ceilings. I love it. George Orwell did not, calling it “one of the most hideous buildings in the world.” HARSH!
Either way – it’s an incredible sight. You owe it to yourself to visit.
Situated on Carmel Hill, Park Guëll is a beautiful public park designed also by Antoni Gaudí. There are lovely gardens of aloe, olive trees, wisteria, bougainvillea, etc. Take in the beautiful mosaic walls, the two stately homes – one of which Gaudi lived in with his family.
Park Guëll is the perfect place for a picnic of Iberico ham, fine cheeses and cava as you enjoy the expansive views of Barcelona. Don’t want to pack food? Stop off at the awesome sandwich shop at the entrance to the park!
Where To Eat
We arrived in Barcelona in the early evening and decided to go for a walk along the lively marina. We worked up an appetite and wandered through the alleyways until we stumbled upon Sensi. Sensi was packed, which was a good sign, so we entered, hoping for the best that we’d get a table. None left, so we sat at the bar, which was ultimately the right choice.
Sitting at the bar allowed us a great view of Charlie, Sensi’s bartender and his awesome mixology skills. That guy makes the best sangrias I have ever, EVER tried. Go easy on them though. They go down a little too smoothly and pack a punch. #drunkos
Sensi is hands down – the BEST tapas I have ever had. We ordered everything on the menu and gorged ourselves all night. This restaurant was so good, we went back a couple of nights later. Definitely a highlight. Be sure to try their Iberic chorizo with red aioli and grilled octopus, and mushroom crema catalona. OH. MY. GOD.
Mirabé is one of the most beautiful restaurants I’ve ever visited thanks to its glass walls, huge decks and cozy yet minimal decor. Located at the end of Avenida Tibidabo, Mirabé offers its patrons the most stunning view of Barcelona. Of note, you can take a gondola back down to the city! Check out my Youtube video to see footage of Mirabé and the beautiful view.
A traditional tapas restaurant, the food was excellent (the prawns!!!) and the service was wonderful. The most attentive wait staff ever.
Last But Not Least…
The Museu Picasso houses the most extensive collection of Picasso’s work in the world. You MUST VISIT. The museum does a fantastic job of showcasing the progression of Picasso’s artistic style throughout his life. And don’t be sneaky and try to take shots with your iPhone. Their security DOES NOT PLAY. We watched some obnoxious tourist get scolded loudly for doing this. Ha!
Make sure you visit the Palau de la Música and take in a flamenco show. The dancing, the singing, the raw emotion!! We stared in shock and awe, mouths agape for two straight hours. Absolutely beautiful! And get there a little early so you can enjoy a glass of cava in this architectural gem which just so happens to be one of the most grand and important performance halls in the world.
Wander around! Barcelona is fun and lively!! So much to see at every corner! Take in the boardwalk and watch the million dollar yachts glide by, shop your butt off on the Passeig de Gràcia and EAT. The food is reason alone to visit! Take advantage too. The price of dinner out along with fine wines and cava is considerably less expensive than North America and a lot of Europe!
Have you been to Barcelona? What did you think? I have yet to meet anyone who didn’t fall in love with it!