As some of you may know, I used to work for Ryanair. Part of the benefit package includes unlimited standby flights at a discounted price. After one year of service, you can gift these tickets to friends and family too. After my one year anniversary in Ryanair, I received 5 complimentary tickets. However, as I was leaving the company, they were going to go to waste. So… I thought it would be fun to book me and Andrew a last minute day trip to Barcelona!
Our flight departed from Dublin airport at 6.15am and we arrived into Barcelona at approximately 10am (+1 hour). We hopped on the city bus to the main square which cost just 6euro each way and was so handy as there was a bus every 10 minutes.
The weather was fairly disappointing on arrival. Rain, clouds and a just a bit gloomy. However, we were too hungry to pay much attention to that! We looked up a spot to go from brunch called Milk and went, pretty much, straight there. The restaurant had a waiting list when we arrived, and we had to queue up outside. As we waited the queue just got longer and longer!
The decor was pretty cool. Designed like a millionaires drawing room with plush hand made sofas, flirtatious pillows, gilded picture frames, antiques chandeliers and incredible wallpaper by 50’s designer Florence Broadhurst. Library (esque) with a hipster twist, I would call it!
The menu is incredible – I chose The BB Deluxe Burger while Andrew opted for the Mediterranean Toast, with coffee on the side.
We did a lot of walking in our short time here. I would recommend wearing comfortable runners for a trip like this. I learned this the hard way and came home with sore feet and a collection of blisters from my sandals. Not ideal.
The Gothic Quarter
After breakfast, we wandered the winding roads of the Gothic Quarter. We popped into side streets and quirky shops. I really enjoy doing this in new cities and I find that you see so much more of the local culture when you go a little further from the beaten track.
Arc de Triomf
A short walk away, there is a small park – Passeig de Lluís Companys. Here is where the Arc de Triomf stands tall. It was such a beautiful stroll and I can imagine in the winter time it is so picturesque.
The park was filled with street performers, merchants and bubbles. Lots of bubbles – and I loved it.
Barcelona is home to the artist Gaudi, and on almost every corner there are remnants of his work. Gaudi replaced the original exterior of Casa Batlló with one filled with fantasy and imagination. He used stone and glass to create a wavy shape, which was plastered with lime mortar and covered with a mosaic of fragments of coloured glass and ceramic discs. It is just beautiful and definitely worth a visit. While we didn’t have the time to go into the exhibit, we really enjoyed stopping to take a picture of the exterior.
We then hopped on a bus and headed to Barrio de la Salut, to the home of Park Güell in the north of the city. This ceramic paradise overlooks the entire city, with incredible views. I would definitely recommend paying this a visit.
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia is probably one of the most famous attractions of Barcelona., and from Gaudí. The build started in 1882, and is not set to finish until 2026!
Wishing to create the perfect church, Gaudí wanted to portray the life of Jesus and the history of faith. The towers symbolise Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the twelve disciples and the four evangelists. Also, the facades portray the three key moments in the life of Jesus: the Birth, Passion and Resurrection of Christ.
I was pretty exhausted by the time we got to La Sagrada Familia, but I was mesmerised by the detailed architecture and immense scale of the building. A must see in my eyes.
It would be pretty insane to go to Barcelona and not eat some form of Tapas. So, we had lunch and dinner (of course!). After leaving La Sagrada Familia we walked about 5 minutes to a place called Inter Tapa for a small snack. We shared pan con tomate and calamari and treated ourselves to a local beer and glass of prosecco.
Later we went to a restaurant called La Tramoia. It was just off the main square and a short walk back to our bus home. We chilled here for an hour or two just watching the world go by. We got more tapas including pimientos de padron (salted green peppers), patatas bravas and chicken with honey mustard salsa. The food was delicious.
We took the bus back to the airport and flew out of Barcelona at 9.45pm. It was a long day, but definitely doable. I would probably have stayed the night to avoid rushing around and would definitely have booked tickets to La Sagrada Familia and Park Güell in advance had I known that they would have been so busy. I will without a doubt be paying Barcelona a second visit in the near future. To be honest, similarly to Berlin, it is one of the few European cities that I have liked so much I would live there…
- Use public transport – get your self on the bus instead of using taxis. You will save yourself a fortune!
- Eat tapas, but not in the tourist spots! Go off the beaten track when possible.
- Book tourist attractions in advance – like a few months!
- Chill out in the parks – they are stunning and I wish we had more time to relax in them
- Visit Camp Nou. I was raging we didn’t plan our trip around a match. Definitely on the list for next time!
- Go to La Boqueria Market for the best selection of local food in one place
- Be careful of your bag and don’t carry valuable items in easily accessible places!