Barcelona: Beautiful, Brilliant, and Bright
Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There, I said it. It’s a big statement to make, but then again, Barcelona is all about big statements. A lot of that can be credited to Antoni Gaudi, who designed some of the city’s most recognisable, and unique, attractions. The became obsessed with Gaudi’s Barcelona the first time I visited. When coming back for my honeymoon, it became so important to me that Daniel fall in love with Barcelona as much as I had.
We booked the Deluxe Apartment/Penthouse at Wello Eixample Apartments. The large room was accompanied by a balcony overlooking Barcelona’s courtyards and apartment blocks. We liked sitting here with wine and snacks while observing the neighborhood. It was walking distance from La Rambla and the local metro, so all mornings started with a nice stroll through the neighborhood, picking up breakfast at the bakery next door. Also, it can’t go without being mentioned that our room had its own elevator entry! It felt so luxe without the crazy price tag attached.
Just a short walk from our apartment, Casa Batlló was the first attraction we went to. The vibrant and colourful exterior inspired by nature is a perfect introduction to both the building and Gaudi. Gaudi built the Casa Batlló without using a single straight line or angle, which is such a fascinating insight. I’d highly recommend the audio-guide for Gaudi’s attractions. They offer a huge level of information and context to details, helping you develop a deeper appreciation for the things you’re looking at.
We’d booked Gold Priority tickets. One of the highlights was having access to the Modernist Hall, which held original Gaudi works and possessions, including his working desk and university degree. The kids in us particularly loved that we were allowed to touch everything. Naturally, we sat on all the chairs and ran our fingers over everything we could. If you are a fan of Gaudi or are just interested in history, I’d highly recommend going to the Modernist Hall.
La Boqueria and La Rambla
I’ve read that La Boqueria is a bit of a ‘tourist trap’ with overpriced goods. Apparently, a local would never shop there. Regardless, it is an experience difficult to find anywhere else. As you walk around, you will pass unique ice creams, delicious sweets, smokey meats, and colourful spices. Take your time at each stall, picking up little bits and pieces from each. It will make for a great casual lunch or dinner.
La Rambla is busy and colourful. As a prime people-watching location, we pulled up a chair at Luzia for some tapas. As a vegetarian, finding a tapas location that offered more that patatas bravas as a suitable option was difficult. It seemed like most of Luzia’s tapas menu catered to vegetarians, so I was really excited. We sat by a window, worked out way through our tapas, and washed it all down with a white wine sangria. The combination was perfect, and this all made for a perfect break from the crowd outside.
The Gothic Quarter
We didn’t have much of a plan when visiting The Gothic Quarter, simply to just walk around, which is exactly what we did. We weaved our way through laneways, alleys, and residential streets as we enjoyed our surroudings. One of the highlights from The Gothic Quarter that has stuck with me since our visit, has been visiting Plaza de San Felipe Neri. The small square is home to both a churh and school, and was bombed in 1938, killing 42 people, most of whom were children. We dropped into A Restaurant and took a seat by the window for a few drinks while we talked about our travels so far. While we sat here, school was dismissed for the day, and it was quite eerie to watch childern reunite with their parents for the day while reflecting on what happened there not that long ago.
Camp Nou and FC Barcelona
Daniel loves football (or soccer, whatever you want to call it). When we booked our honeymoon, he checked every league’s schedule to see if we can catch a game. He’s not a huge Barca fan, but lucky him, they were the only team playing a home game during our travels. We ordered tickets a couple of months before the trip, and on the day, made our way to Camp Nou, stopping at a local vendor selling merch.
Whether you are a football fan or not, the atmosphere and experience of watching FC Barcelona in Barcelona is incredible. The first time I saw them, they not only lost, but didnt even score a goal. They still lost this time, but we saw Messi score a goal, which was really exciting.
Ugghh, when I tell you I love Gaudi…
This is easily one of my favourite buildings in the entire world. It sounds lame but I got emotional. It meant a lot to me to get to visit again with Daniel and show him something so incredible in the world. There are really no words to describe it, you just have to see it (and experience it!). Sagrada Familia towers over Barcelona’s skyline, and the level of detail in every inch of this cathedral is unbelievable. It’s too big too fit in one frame when standing near it, so walk to Plaça de Gaudí to get a photo that fits both you and the building in it.
The Sagrada Familia is expected to be complete in 2026, which marks the 100 year centenary of the death of architect Antoni Gaudi. As we left in awe, we agreed to come back in 2026 (and hopefully once or twice before then too).
Park Güell and La Barceloneta
On our last full day in Barcelona, we made our way to Park Güell to take in some natural scenery, and bask in more Gaudi goodness. This was one of our slower days. We perched ourselves on different spots in the park and chatted while commenting on our surroundings. We purchased tickets for the Monumental Axis. There were maintenance works, so some of the charm was admittedly lost, as you had to wait in a queue just to sit on the benches overlooking the skyline, and could only sit there for a photo. This didn’t affect how enjoyable our experience at the park was, it’s just something to take note of.
After exploring all the different nooks of Park Güell, we made our way to La Barceloneta to take in some sun and sand. We stopped by La Deliciosa for a drink on the sand before walking up and down the beach to admire all the dogs on their walks, and waves crashing the shores. The day started to get pretty hot, so after our pizza lunch nearby, we made our way back to the apartment and relaxed for another dinner at La Rambla.
I think Barcelona is one of the most versatile holiday destinations. Ideal for couples (hello!), families, friends, and solo travellers/backpackers, the city boasts so many gems that you cannot find elsewhere. It’s home to some of my favourite buildings in the world, and is definitely one of my favourite cities in the world too.