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Travel Guide: Barcelona, Spain

And here’s our full travel guide to Barcelona!

Our Itinerary (click link for blog post):

Day 1: Our hotel in Paral lel
Day 2: La Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila/La Padrera, La Rambla, Barceloneta Beach,
Day 3: Park Guell, Barceloneta Beach
Day 4: Montjuic

Click here to see all of the places we ate in Barcelona and which ones we really recommend.

***Our best tip is to use the Google Maps app on your phone.  Plan in advance, and bookmark all of the locations that you want to see – you can even bookmark restaurants if you’ve been researching those too.  When you get to a landmark, check your Google Map to see what other places you’ve bookmarked that are in that vicinity.  We typically would cluster our stars visually and spend the entire day in one or two “clusters” so we don’t waste time bouncing around town.  With a tot in tow however, make sure to prioritize what you want to see/do in each area.  It’s likely you won’t get to do everything on your list, but at least you’ll hit the stuff that’s really important to you.

Where We Stayed:
We stayed at the Barcelona Universal Hotel which is a nice, modern hotel.  It’s right on Paral lel Avenue where most of the barhopping action takes place at night (we didn’t realize this until our cab driver told us).  It was extremely convenient though because of location.  The metro station was just steps away from the entrance so getting around was really easy which is necessary when you have a little one.  There were also plenty of places to eat!

How We Got Around:
We took a cab to-and-from the hotel, but other than that we used the metro or the bus.  Both were extremely easy to navigate, but, of course, it’s hard to get really confused these days with Google maps telling you exactly where you need to go…

Phrases to Learn:
Most places we went to did speak English or have someone that worked there that spoke English.  Again, this is a very big tourist area due to the cruise port, so it makes sense that this was the case.  Only one place we went to didn’t have someone to help us in English and that was the first restaurant we went to by our hotel.  Regardless, we still would regularly say “hello,” “thank you,” and “please” in Spanish when it was appropriate.  Most people in Barcelona also speak Catalunya, but we didn’t learn any phrases.

Hello – Hola
Thank you very much – Muchas gracias
Please – Por favor

My husband also speaks a good amount of Spanish, so it was helpful to break the ice when he did speak Spanish anywhere.

Things to Keep in Mind:
– Most places are completely closed on Sundays.   The day is observed for family and rest, so don’t be surprised.  Make sure you have enough food/snacks/medication if you’ll be there on a Sunday because it’ll be difficult to find a place open to get something.

– Because most places are closed on Sunday, Sunday is the busiest day for La Rambla.  Cruises also do a lot of their embarking and disembarking on the weekends.  At its busiest, it is a bit of a headache to get through.  I’ve heard that it’s when it’s the busiest that you’re more at risk for pick-pocketing, but fortunately, we didn’t experience anything like this at all.
– Most places close before 9pm – restaurants, markets, pharmacies, etc.  However, the city comes alive around this time. It starts to feel like everyone is out mingling and barhopping.
– That said, the bars stay open until morning. One day, Tristan tried to go out to grab some breakfast for us to eat in the hotel room.  Any nearby restaurants were closed until late morning, and the only place he could grab some food was at bars that had been open since the evening before – therefore he was surrounded by people who were pretty intoxicated. 🙂
– For the crowd that’s looking to enjoy the nightlife, Paral lel is where you’ll find a ton of bars

 

One Thing We Wish We Did:
A part of me wishes we spent more time exploring Montjuic and also going to visit the Barcelona Cathedral.  I’ve heard it’s gorgeous. The other thing I wish we did was try more jamon!  We tried it at one restaurant and didn’t love it, but people talk about it so much that I wish we tried it at different restaurants.  Several tapas that we tried at one place tasted very different at another, but that was one item we never re-ordered (I know, so foolish).  Okay, that was clearly more than one thing, but that’s okay.  There will be a next time though – I don’t know when, but there will be!

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