I’m back in Barcelona. That’s literally the 5th time I have written that sentence on my blog. I’m back in Barcelona with my husband after spending the whole year banging on about how amazing this city really is. I’ve even hinted that there’s a very good chance he’ll want to relocate to Barcelona. Prior to this trip he thought I was exaggerating but it only took him 48 hours to inform me to change the return tickets back to Zagreb, to extend an extra week. Of course I had no problems doing so, Barcelona stole my heart almost 5 years ago. Wow! Five years ago, half a decade away from Sydney. A lot has changed since my first visit here, literally in every single way.
Considering my home is now Croatia and I have spent the past 12 months everywhere else in the country except for Zagreb, I was looking forward to stepping outside the borders and revisiting my favourite city in Europe, Barcelona. I didn’t think I would adapt to it as much and as quickly as I did, but it won me over…again. I didn’t really have many expectations, I had already seen most of the touristy things to see but I was looking forward to showing my husband why I love love love this amazing city. He gets it now so I no longer sound crazy.
Here’s a list of things you need to do and see while in Barcelona, starting with the least important….
Yes, shopping! Least important because most people have immediate access to luxury fashion stores, where I live I don’t.
Hermes, Gucci, Dior, Valentino… you won’t find these stand alone stores anywhere in Croatia. You’ll find boutiques that stock select stock and employ staff who won’t respect you until you drop some cash (Hey, welcome to Croatia) but won’t give you the service synonymous with purchasing luxury goods. That’s why I no longer spend any money on shopping in Croatia, the customer service is embarrassing.
In Barcelona, it’s a whole different ball game. Passeig de Gràcia is a long street devoted to luxury high end boutiques, think of it as Sloane Street in London. If you continue walking up La Rambla, passed Plaça de Catalunya, the street begins on the right side of the fountain. I hope that makes sense. My husband and I spent a lot of time building our accounts in numerous luxury stores on Passeig de Gràcia, it’s definitely missing in our lives in Croatia. I think it’s time to move, what do you think?
TWO. Visit Casa Milà
Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera is a modernist building that was commissioned to Antoni Guadi between 1906-1912. It was his last project before his passing. Casa Milà is also listed on the UNESCO World Heritage site and this work of art can be found on Passeig de Gràcia on the corner of a large intersection. You simply cannot miss it as it’s true to Gaudi’s aesthetic, there are no straight lines and the exterior of the building resembles wave-like features. You also won’t be able to miss it as there will be plenty of people taking pictures of it outside, holding up the sidewalk. The tour of Casa Milà begins on the rooftop that will give you stunning views of Barcelona where you’ll also notice Sagrada Familia in the distance. During peak season, it’s best to purchase tickets online for a designated time.
Address Provença, 261-265, 08008 Barcelona, Spain
THREE. Explore Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló is one of the more interesting buildings you’ll come across in Barcelona simply because it’s a work of art, inside and out. Unmissable during the day or night, you’ll want to explore inside and find out what all the fuss is about. Casa Batlló is another family home commissioned to Antoni Gaudi in 1904 and is commonly referred to as the ‘House of bones‘ due to its freakish looking exterior features. Last time I was in Barcelona, I collaborated with Casa Batlló on my experience and you can find out all the finer details about the fascinating home here.
Address Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
THREE. Camp Nou
Camp Nou is home to Lionel Messi, Ivan Rakitic and Luis Suarez, it’s home to Barcelona Football Club. Camp Nou means ‘The New Stadium‘ and is the largest stadium in Europe, it literally can hold up to 99,000 people inside! Insane! In real life it really does look massive and takes a few hours to complete the guided tour of the stadium. The tour begins at the museum which shows off all of the club’s trophies and memorabilia and quickly ascends into the change rooms, pitch and up to the media and VIP boxes. This tour is mostly appreciated by those who love and respect The World Game.
Address C. d’Aristides Maillol, 12, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
FOUR. Wander Around La Barceloneta
Probably my favourite part of Barcelona, La Barceloneta is a beachside neighbourhood nestled between two 5 star luxury hotels, Hotel Arts and W Hotel. You’ll be able to sunbathe or swim in the waters of Sant Sebastià Beach or visit one of the numerous beach front restaurants scattered along the promenade. You’ll often find people running up and down or exercising at the public gym by the sea.
I wouldn’t recommend walking around here alone, especially at night as it can be quite dangerous due to the number of immigrants hanging around in groups. Also, do not walk down any narrow alley ways alone when it gets dark.
FIVE. Visit “Gaudi’s Park in Barcelona”
Park Güell is another Gaudi masterpiece, designed between 1900-1914 and located north from the Gracia neighbourhood. It is one of the most famous landmarks in Barcelona, unsurprisingly also UNESCO listed. The park is fairly large and mostly free however, accessing the central park will require a time and ticket to get in and they mean that literally. Only a limited amount of people are allowed inside each half an hour, so book online as lines to get into this area can be fairly long.
We purchased our tickets at the door and had to wait 45minutes to get into the central part. You can experience most of the park without having to go inside the paid for part. There are plenty of photo opportunities with uninterrupted views of Barcelona, you’ll even come across a football field if you wander for long enough.
The weather was beautiful but that changed within an hour so my pictures when from sunny skies to literal storm clouds.
Good luck to anyone who thinks they’ll be able to get an influencer-style photo with no people around. There was literally a line for this shot below.
Address 08024 Barcelona, Spain
SIX. Arc de Triomf
The feature image of this post was taken at Arc de Triomf which back in 1888 served as the entry to the World Fair. It’s located in Parc de la Ciutadella and there are often market stalls on the pavement in the lead up to the arc and the general park area is fairly social. It was once the only green park in Barcelona for decades. I just don’t know how anyone gets photos without a soul in sight because literally there are people everywhere passing by from all angles. This monument is free to see and open all hours of the day.
Address Passeig de Lluís Companys, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
SEVEN. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
I must admit, I’ve never been inside the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya but I have walked around outside and taken a million photos. It’s on the bucket list for the next visit!
EIGHT. Visit Sagrada Familia
I’ve saved the best till last. In my opinion and I’m sure many can agree, nothing beats Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. I’ve visited Sagrada Familia several times now and still got goosebumps as I laid my eyes on the spectacular building all over again this time round. Sagrada Familia is another work of art by Gaudi and has been under construction since 1882. Despite the finish date being postponed numerous times in the past, is not expected to be complete until 2026! Regardless, it’s one place you must visit while in Barcelona.
Make sure you book online or get your hotel concierge to book on your behalf because like most other monuments in Barcelona, you’ll need tickets with a designated time prior.
Address Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
Certainly no Sagrada Familia but almost equally as striking and impressive, Barcelona Cathedral is located in the Gothic quarter. Visitors are able to go inside with a ticket. Years ago you were able to walk around the pilgrim that was part of the Cathedral for free but now that is now closed off to paid visitors only.
One place I really wanted to see this trip was Tibidabo Amusement Park which is located up on Tibidabo mountain but towards the end of the trip both my husband and I got sick. I guess we’ll have to save that journey for our next visit to beautiful Barcelona!
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WONDERING WHERE TO EAT IN BARCELONA?
We stayed two weeks in Barcelona, extending an extra week after Luka loved it so much after a few days. Our first week was at the Hotel Arts on La Barceloneta which was great but I also don’t think you need to stay in a luxury hotel in this city. There is so much to do and see, you literally only need a place to sleep and shower in. As much as I love the Hotel Arts and have stayed there before, I only saw our room and the lobby, nothing else. We were always out and doing something, I don’t think it’s necessary to stay in a top hotel. On our second week booked a luxury flat off Booking.com in the posh Gracia neighbourhood for a fraction of the price we paid at Hotel Arts. To be honest, I wish we booked this from the start because location wise it was the better and within walking distance to all the main tourist attractions Barcelona has to offer.
As for the weather in November, Barcelona had the typical Mediterranean climate. It was certainly much warmer than Croatia and I didn’t need several layers to feel comfortable outside but at the same time, the weather was a little unpredictable where random rain just poured with not much warning. You definitely couldn’t go swimming at the beach during November.
There really isn’t much more to say, I truly love Barcelona and have been repeating this sentence for almost half a decade. Each time I revisit, I leave loving it more and for whole new reasons. I’m happy that my husband is almost a fan of Barcelona, so convincing him to return won’t be so difficult.