Barcelona – Leg 1 of my European adventure
While I have traveled all over the Caribbean soaking up the sun, I had never traveled to Europe. To be honest, it was not really at the top of my list, and now I can’t wait to go back!
I arrived in Barcelona around 2 in the afternoon, leaving myself some time to get some activities in. I had just missed the Feast of Sant Joan the night before. In Catalunya they celebrate the summer solstice by having fireworks, fires on the beach, and parties that go all night. I heard that it is a great time if you are ever able to be there during the holiday. Due to the holiday Barcelona was pretty quiet so we walked around and saw the Cathedral of Barcelona, rowed a boat around Citadel Park, and saw the Arch del Triumf.
The next day we did all of the tourist attractions: Park Quell, La Sagrada Familia and the Magic Fountain of Montjuic. Barcelona is famous for their architecture designed by Antoni Gaudi. His designs are so unique you will never see anything else like it.
Park Guell is a colorful park designed by Gaudi that overlooks the city of Barcelona. It is a must see in my opinion. If you know what day you are going you should get tickets online. They only allow so many people in to the colorful mosaic part at a time, so having a ticket will help you avoid waiting for potentially several hours. You can go everywhere else in the park for free, but it does involve a lot of walking and climbing up stairs so be prepared for that.
La Sagrada Familia is a Roman Catholic Church also designed by Gaudi that has been under construction since 1882. There are so many details inside and out of this church you could spend hours here. Definitely something you have to see in person! It costs about 30 euros to go inside.
Barcelona Magic Fountain of Montjuic: We finished our day by watching the sunset at Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. Shortly after the sun sets the fountain show begins. I was surprised at how impressive the show was. It’s like Europe’s version of the Bellagio water show only with colors as well. The show only runs April through October and Thursday through Sunday.
A few other highlights of Barcelona: we went to the beach, watched the Euro Cup, and visited the Columbus Monument. The beach was really crowded and you have to be sure not to leave your things unattended because people will take it, but a beach is a beach. Watching the Euro Cup was a blast! I have never been a soccer fan but I have officially been converted after experiencing it in Europe. The Christopher Columbus Monument is a fun stop if you have extra time.
What I would do if I had more time in Barcelona: I would go to Montserrat. It is a Benedictine Munk Mountain Retreat. It’s not only religious and historical, but the views look amazing.
What I liked about Barcelona:
- There is so much history in Spain. The buildings and monuments are very old but they have preserved everything.
- The people are chill, I never once felt unsafe.
- There is a great night life, the clubs and bars are open pretty much all night.
- You can get whatever you want for food, you are not stuck to just one type.
Need to know:
- Convert your cash in to Euro’s. It’s easiest to pay at restaurants and tourist attractions with cash and it will have to be in Euro’s.
- Good luck finding a public bathroom, and when you do you will likely have to pay 1 or 2 euro’s.
- Pack comfortable shoes, you are going to be walking a lot!
- Take some sort of small bag with you and be careful with your stuff. Make sure your wallet or phone are not in your pocket because there is a chance you will get pick pocketed.
- Plan for the weather. I went in the middle of the summer and we melted everyday. I’ve heard the winter with the humidity can also be freezing.
- You can get around pretty well without speaking Spanish, but knowing some basic Spanish would definitely help.
- You can get around everywhere you need to by walking, taking the bus, or the metro.
I hope you enjoy Barcelona as much as I did. Safe Travels!