Since we got engaged (yeah, I’ll shut up about that at some point), we’ve been squirrelling our salaries away to save for our upcoming wedding. But we couldn’t handle planning such an event without a little break to recharge and forget about decorations and guest lists for a bit. I’d never been to Spain despite it only being a 90 minute plane ride away, so it was an easy decision on where to go. Barcelona had been recommended to us so many times, I think we knew where to book before we even decided on a break! So in July, we packed away the table plans and the lettering stamps and jetted off for a long weekend in Barcelona.
A new airport, a new suitcase
The flights were oddly cheaper if we flew from City airport in East London. So, excited to experience a new airport we booked a taxi for 6am and hoped the roads from West to East London were clear enough for an easy ride to the check-in desks. Luckily they were! I was also lucky enough to get a brand new suitcase from a lovely PR in time to take with me to Barcelona. Isn’t my luggage* pretty?
City Airport wasn’t particularly impressive (I don’t know why I thought it was going to be something special), but compared to Heathrow and Gatwick everything went without a hitch and I quite liked walking the tarmac for a change.
A design hotel with an impressive view
We picked Barcelo Raval from the list of gorgeous places to stay in Barcelona. I originally had my heart set on the W but it didn’t work with our budget – next time it will happen! Barcelo Raval was a great alternative. It’s a design hotel, so it did mean that it took a while to figure out how to work everything out (seriously, I stood in the shower for 10 minutes trying to find where the water came out). But it also meant that it felt luxurious. Everything was thought out, like the little touches of pink striplighting on the bed and a nightlight for the bathroom. Also it turns out Barcelo gives good view.
Lovely. It’s got a 360° view which is lit up at night and includes almost all of the most famous landmarks in Barcelona. The coin-operated binoculars weren’t great, even though you didn’t actually have to pay for them, but they made for great photos.
La Rambla, the bustle and the beach
The first thing we did after settling into the hotel was to walk down the famous La Rambla. A two minute walk from Barcelo Raval, the avenue was buzzing with tourists and felt a bit like The South Bank in London, only louder (and better weather). There was plenty going on so we checked the nearest information centre and got maps to make sure we didn’t miss anything. We didn’t stop off at the nearest Starbucks, nope. Definitely didn’t^.
I always like to take it easy on the first day of a holiday. Trying to pack in too much too soon can be tiring and I wanted to make sure it was a long weekend in Barcelona to savour, so we spent a couple of hours walking up and down La Barceloneta beach. And we saw some balls. Ping pong balls, volleyballs, man balls. Yes, there are man balls on Barceloneta beach, and some of them aren’t pretty. We soon stopped giggling and headed back to the hotel for our first taste of tapas.
“I miss patatas bravas”
I think Tapas is my food. It was meant for me. I’m a picker, a nibbler, a snacker. It’s why my Dad calls me Mouse and why I don’t eat 3 solid meals a day. So finding Spain’s love of Tapas for once made my appetite a non-issue. No-one asked me if my food was ok, because I ate it all! And boy was all that calamari good. Our favourite dish was patatas bravas, potato wedges or chunks covered in a delicious spicy sauce. If anyone has perfected a recipe for it, send to me!
Sightseeing in Barcelona
I’d been told how amazing all of the main sights are, which is part of the reason why we booked a long weekend in Barcelona. From the beaches and Antoni Gaudí houses to museums and government buildings, Barcelona is packed with beautiful places to see.
Casa Batlló – the Gaudí house with the lizard style roof and masquerade balconies. I recommend getting the audio guide for this house as there’s a lot of detail on what Gaudí used the house for and how he made it look so stunning.
Casa Milà (La Pedrera) – another Gaudí house with a roof you don’t realise is there. Walk around the Escher-like columns and take photos of the view.
Park Güell – Surprise! Gaudí again! The park is lovely to stroll around on a lazy afternoon, when it’s hot and a little bit sleepy. Families take picnics and sit under the trees for shade.
La Boqueria – a traditional food market just off the Ramblas. There are so many colourful sights and smells – fresh fruit, aged meats, sweets, smoothies…
Sagrada Família – the icing on top of a very beautiful cake. Save this church until the end (and pre-book tickets online) so the holiday finishes spectacularly.
Have you been to Barcelona before? Want to go? Tell me what you did or what your plans are in the comments!
* denotes a sponsored link. I was given the suitcase to take on my long weekend in Barcelona.please note: some header images are from unsplash.com