Barcelona Recap: Part 1

Arc de triomf Spain

Hola, amigos! As of last Wednesday, I’m officially back in the U.S.A after a week in Barcelona, Spain. My husband and I decided to take a much-needed, kid-free getaway. We had some airline miles and upgrades to use up before the end of the year, so Barcelona called our name.

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So I’m sure you are asking, why the heck did you guys go to Barcelona? If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you know Kurt and I both love to travel. We both want to visit everywhere in the world and have been known to take some unexpected trips from time to time. You know, like the time we spent a weekend in China or took our kids to Morocco for Spring Break. We know we are crazy, but when we found cheap flights pop up for Barcelona, we both knew this trip was meant to be and started packing our bags. 

I’ll admit, it took a lot of time on airplanes to get to Barcelona. My husband had to travel to NYC for work a couple days before our trip so I ended up taking a red eye and meeting up with him in New York. I spent about 6 hours in the city and then headed back to a different airport so we could board our plane to Spain. After a 9 hour flight, we grabbed an Uber (yes, works exactly the same as it does at home) and headed to our hotel.

These tombs on the side of a mountain date back to the 1800's

We saw the most amazing tombs built into the side of the mountains on our way into the city. A quick google search told us these old cemeteries date back to the 18th century and were such a unique welcome to Barcelona.

It only took about 20 minutes to get to our home for the next 4 nights (we switched hotels for nights 5 and 6). For the first part of our trip, we stayed at the Hotel Arts Barcelona, which is a Ritz Carlton property. The resort grounds were absolutely stunning, perfectly located right by the beach with views of the entire city and water from our room. We landed pretty early in the morning, so first thing’s first. We decided to hit up the breakfast buffet.

The most amazing view of Spagada Familia
I wore this AMAZING Sherpa lined hooded wrap cardigan on the plane

I don’t talk about food all that often on my blog, but this breakfast buffet was to die for. We had the buffet included with our room rate and absolutely gorged ourselves on food each morning. Yes, they had traditional American breakfast fare, but the meats and cheeses were beyond impressive.

I’m not going to bore you guys with the minute by minute play by play on our trip (that might never end) and instead, focus on the highlights from our first few days in Barcelona. Even with that, I’m still going to have to break my trip down into two posts just because of the sheer amount of photos I took. Let’s start with what is probably Barcelona’s most famous tourist attraction: Sagrada Familia.

Sagrada Familia

If you scroll back up to the city view from our hotel room, you can see Sagrada Familia off in the distance. It towers over the city and was designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi back in the late 1800’s. Now here is the crazy part – the basilica is still under construction and they expect it won’t be finished for at least another 10+ years. I’ve traveled all over the world and have seen a lot of churches, but this one is truly spectacular. I want to go back and see it again when it is finished!

Las Ramblas

This famous pedestrian city street features some of the most high-end shopping, cute restaurants, markets, street vendors and other miscellaneous activities you can find in Barcelona. If you want to wander around the city, stop in a store, grab a stein of sangria and take in the views, this is where you’ll want to go. We came back here on a few occasions because it is just flat out fun.

The Beach

One of the best parts about Barcelona is the fact it is located right on the Mediterranean Sea. Our resort was right on the water near some of the swankiest restaurants and nightclubs. We visited during December so it wan’t exactly swimsuit weather right now, but I had no problem sitting on the beach in a pair of leggings and a pullover with the sun on my face. Speaking of weather, it was usually in the 60’s most days and got down to the 40’s in the evening. Much warmer than most of Europe this time of year.

Arc de Triomf

Yes, there is an Arc de Triomf located in Barcelona. Paris’ more famous sister is actually spelled differently, but does look similar in nature. This promenade was full of tourists taking pictures, bubble artists, dancers and other excitement. It’s a must-see in my opinion if you are in Barcelona.

The Markets

There are a ton of little markets all over Barcelona, but one of my favorites was St. Josep La Boqueria. It’s located right on the main drag on Las Ramblas and mainly sells food, drinks, and other gift items. If you want to try the local meats, cheese, tapas or sweets, this is absolutely the place to be. It was basically your local farmer’s market times twenty and everything we tried was beyond delicious. 

Gothic Quarter

If I had to pick a favorite place in Barcelona, it would probably be the Gothic Quarter. This is one of the oldest parts of the city and is made up of narrow streets (most were too narrow for a car to fit down) that wind around town. Similar to Las Ramblas, this is another area where you should plan to walk around, check out the churches and shops, stop and grab some tapas and soak in every moment in this vibrant city.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Barcelona recap, which I hope to have up later on this week. Who has been to Barcelona before? Anyone visited any of these spots before?