Spain was one of the countries I was most excited to visit… I had heard so much about the food, people and way of life. Barcelona oozes Spanish culture in every facet.. from its lazy neighbourhoods, to the bustling tapas bars and stunning architecture. It is easy to feel the exhaustion as you navigate this expansive city in the sweltering heat. It is equally easy to feel rejuvenated whilst sipping on sangria on the sidewalk of a busy street, or in a trendy rooftop bar.
- Make Sagrada your first point of call. Visiting Sagrada Familia is the best way to acquaint yourself with Barcelona. Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece does not fail to impress. As soon as you enter, you are met with a spectacular show of multi-coloured lights streaming in through the huge stained glass windows. The rainbow display is truly amazing! Be sure to take the lift right to the top where you will be greeted with sweeping views over the city, with the Mediterranean sea glistening in the distance.
- Check out Gaudí’s casas. Casa Milà and Casa Batlló are two of his most imaginative works of architecture. Casa Milà wih its unusual iron balconies and decorative ornamentation is completely unique and wonderful! Casa Batlló looks like something out of a freaky fairytale. With its chameleon-skin roof, bright splattered paint effect across its facade, and skull balconies, it looks like an enchanting, yet mysterious house. The building is truly spectacular though; the best vantage point is from right below when you look up and just see an array of kaleidoscopic colours!
- Visit a Spanish market. If you are a foodie, you cannot resist the allure of Mercado de La Boqueria. Situated in the famous La Rambla, the market is a treat for the senses. With stalls selling everything from fresh seafood to tapas and cold beer, stall-hopping and sampling the Catalan delicacies is the best way to spend a lovely afternoon in Barcelona.
- Binge-eat paella! If there is one thing I OD’d on when I was in Barcelona, it was paella! Being a rice lover, I ordered this delicacy in every restaurant. If you walk around the Gothic Quarter area, literally every restaurant will advertise cheap paella deals. However, whilst I believe you can’t go majorly wrong with paella when in Spain, to truly have the good stuff, go to Pitarra in the Gothic Quarter. Their seafood paella – rich, creamy and laden with shellfish, just melts in your mouth. If you’re more of a tapas person, enjoy the freshest gamba (prawns) and chilli octopus.
- Hit the beach. Barceloneta beach is one of the best city beaches in the world. With the hot sun and cool breeze, it is wonderful to take a walk along the beach or chill in one of the beach bars. Sipping on a frozen strawberry daiquiri whilst taking in the vibrant culture of Barcelona, was one of my favourite things to do on my trip.