When to go: May – September
There is always something going on in this marvelous country and this period is probably the most happening. From San Fermin (Pamplona Bull Run) to Tomato fights to Flamenco Festivals, immerse in the festive spirit! Also note this period is the hottest and it may get too hot for some in the months of July and August. September is nice and cool yet still warm enough to have a lay down on the beautiful beaches of Barcelona.
(As noted this article would be on Barcelona and Madrid, which was where I focused on for my last trip to Spain)
What to see? – Barcelona
If you haven’t been to see Sagrada Família, you haven’t been to Barcelona. This architecture is one of Antonio Gaudí greatest masterpiece and considered the most iconic attraction in Barcelona. Although the building is still under-construction, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Words cannot describe the grandeur of this church, you have to see it to believe it. Admission tickets give you entry to the interior of the church and access to the museum in the basement, showcasing the history of the construction and original models and design of the building.
(Tip: Head there early in the morning. As it is a very very popular attraction the queue is also a nightmare if you arrive late. Starbucks is round the corner, grab a morning coffee and join the wait.)
Mosaic lizard sculptures and colourful palm-shaped pillars. Yet another magical place designed by Antonio Gaudí. If you’re up for a little walk, I suggest stopping at Vallcarca (metro) instead of Lesseps (metro). By taking this route you get to reach the highest point of Park Güell which offers a fantastic panoramic view of Barcelona, before you actually walk down to the gardens designed by Antonio Gaudí. Within the park there is also a Gaudí museum, which is the house the architect himself lived in for 20 years. A combined ticket to this museum can be bought during your visit to La Sagrada Família.
(Tip: It does get really hot for there isn’t shade in some parts of the park. Gear up with shades, hat and proper footwear to walk in and most importantly bring a bottle of water, you’ll definitely need it.)
Whether you’re taking a stroll along the sandy beach or trying some tapas on a boat, Barceloneta is the place to chill. During Summer, you’ll come across semi-nude babes laying in the sun for a tan or random people playing beach volleyball. No matter what activities you’re interested in, this is a place for everyone to enjoy.
Loewe, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermès. One of the major shopping streets in Barcelona. Along Passeig de Gràcia, you’ll also find other notable buildings such as Casa Amatller by Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudí. If you’re looking for less pricy shopping streets, carry on walking towards Plaça de Catalunya. There you’ll have retail stores for Spanish brands such as Zara, Berksha, Stradivarius, Pull and Bear, and more!
Along the busy streets of Las Ramblas you’ll find Europe’s biggest food market. Do note that many locals come here to buy their food so store owners will get unhappy if you’re obstructing their business so don’t touch what’s on the stand if you have no intention of purchasing. You can nibble on tapas in the market at various tapas bars.
Probably the best fountain show I’ve watched. Very colourful and entertaining. Show timing varies depending on the time of the year but it usually starts after sunset. Even though there is a show to catch every 30mins, each show is unique as different genre of music is used each time ie classical music for the first show, pop for the next etc…
Where to party?
There are plenty of clubs and bars in Barcelona and overall it is a great city to party. If you choose to stay in some youth hostels around Barcelona, the hostels may provide transport and stamps for free entry to certain clubs. I partied at a club by the Beach called Shoko which I thoroughly enjoyed so I’m certain the other big names like Razzmatazz and La Terrrazza would be amazing. Click here for the top 10 best clubs to party in Barcelona.
What to eat?
If you’re a fan of gastronomy, Spain has a lot to offer. Classic Spanish food would be Tapas which always goes well if a glass of wine. The selection is endless so start ordering away!
In my opinion this is probably one of the best ways to get about. It is quick and it takes you to most of your sightseeing destinations. Tickets come in T-10 which is valid for 10 rides and T-DIA which is unlimited rides valid for one day. There are also unlimited tickets available for more than one day. Plan your trip ahead before you purchase the unlimited tickets for you’ll find that most attractions are of walking distance. It may be worth buying the T-10 tickets instead which last you several days.
- Walking tours
As I mentioned most of the attractions are of walking distance, take a stroll in the Golden Quarter which showcase a series of Gothic construction. Barcelona itself is an open-air museum!
(To get to and from the Airport, there is the Aerobus A1 and A2 that gets you to El Prat-Barcelona Airport. Alternatively the Renfe’s R2 Nord train line runs to and fro the airport and city centre. If you’re arriving from Reus or Girona there are bus services at the airport that take you into Barcelona.)
Continue here for Madrid’s article