Barcelona, Spain

Photo Friday: Barcelona, Spain

It’s been seven years since I’ve been in Spain—and a decade since my last visit to Barcelona—and in that time, I had forgotten just how intoxicating I found this city.

Barcelona, SpainIn my travels to Spain, I’ve learned that you’re either a Madrid person or a Barcelona person. I am the latter. While I find Madrid enjoyable, I feel it could be any international city anywhere in the world, while Barcelona has a distinct, well, Barcelona feel to it.

Barcelona, SpainWeary and jetlagged from a Nashville to Atlanta to Barcelona overnight flight, my parents, four of their friends and I arrived in Spain on Wednesday morning just to drop our things off at the hotel, grab some coffee and get moving.

Barcelona, SpainWe only had two-and-a-half days there and wanted to see as much as possible before we fell asleep on our feet.

Barcelona-22Though all I really wanted to do was grab one of these pods and go to sleep. I don’t sleep a wink on planes.

Barcelona, SpainSeeing as we were staying in the center of everything on Passeig de Gracia, we started with a wander down to Plaza Catalunya and on to Las Ramblas, which even though it was a Wednesday in May, was packed with pedestrians, both locals and tourists alike.

Barcelona, SpainWe found a great marketplace, perfect for eating lunch, but then decided we wanted a sit-down experience so grabbed a table upstairs at Casa Guinart.

Barcelona, SpainThen, we returned to the hotel, as the sangria was working its magic, and I crashed. Hard. Once again, I broke the cardinal rule of travelers everywhere and napped through my jetlag. Oops. I awoke to a 6:15pm call from Neal asking where I was as it was time to go to dinner. Last I checked my watch, it was 2pm! That was one serious nap.

Barcelona, SpainI credit my ridiculously comfortable bed that enveloped me like a giant marshmallow. Our hotel, BCN Design Hotel, was phenomenal—the service, the rooms, the everything—and I just picked it on a whim via Trip Advisor reviews as it was within our budget ($200 or less a night per room), and I wanted to give my parents and their friends a distinctly Barcelona experience by picking a swank design hotel. This beauty definitely did the job.

Barcelona, SpainAfter naptime, it was still light out, so we decided to take a stroll in the opposite direction from where we went earlier as we built up an appetite for dinner.

Barcelona, SpainBarcelona, SpainFor dinner, we found a “topless bar” in which to dine, and I’m pretty sure the guys were disappointed to learn what tapas actually are.

Barcelona, SpainStill, the food was delicious. And yes, there was more sangria.

Barcelona, Spain Barcelona, Spain The thing about Spanish dinners is that they last far longer than you expect. It was midnight before rolled back into the Design Hotel and 2am by the time I had finished tending to work queries back home. So much for an “early night.”

Barcelona, SpainThough the next two days in Spain peppered us with rain and nearly blew us away with strong winds, so I’m glad we got our Barcelona fix while we could.

Barcelona, Spain

  • April 27, 2013

    It looks beautiful! As a solo female traveler I’d love to visit Barcelona but I have heard there are a lot of muggings and pickpockets there and it’s almost a given to have something like that happen. I wear a money belt and am always cautious but having heard these stories for years I am really hesitant to visit that city. In fact it’s the only city on my “don’t go” list. (besides Baghdad, etc!) Any words of wisdom in that matter?
    Laurie recently posted..I think Spring has finally arrived!!!My Profile

    • April 28, 2013

      What! “Don’t Go” list?! That is not what I wanna read as a fellow solo female traveler who is going to Spain in a few months!!! haha I will let you know how it goes 😉
      Maki | Moon River Travels recently posted..FLORIDA | ST. AUGUSTINEMy Profile

    • May 1, 2013

      Yikes! Really? The first time I went, I was a 20-year-old solo female traveler who showed up with a huge pack and no place to stay, and I don’t remember having any trouble. I wouldn’t say Barcelona is any worse than any other big international city like Milan, Florence, Rio, etc. You should always exercise caution no matter where you go; wearing a money belt, keeping a zipped backpack that can’t be cut off your body at the straps by a pickpocket and hiding away your valuables are something all travelers should do, no matter where they go.

      • May 2, 2013

        Agreed! I believe “Las Ramblas” (sp?) is the touristy place where most pick-pocketing occurs, and a lot of prostitutes hang out there in the middle of the night. But I don’t think Barcelona is more dangerous than other cities in Europe – Just always be aware when you’re traveling! :-)

        Barcelona was one of my FAVORITE cities in Europe by far.
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    • May 21, 2013

      Do not worry at all, Barcelona is a safe city, yes there is pickpocketing, but not more than in Paris, or Rome or any other city. Please change it to the “must go this year” list. the city deserves a visit, just look at the pictures 😉

      Kristin thank you so much for your love to my city!!!!!!!!!!!

  • April 27, 2013

    Your trip to Barcelona looks amazing. The contrast of traditional and contemporary architecture is wonderful.

    I host a weekly linking party called “Oh, the PLACES I’ve been!” and would love to have you link up. The link goes up Thursdays at 7 pm EST. Hope to see you there!

    – The Tablescaper

    • May 1, 2013

      Hi there! I’m on Europe time, six hours ahead, so alas I will be asleep at that time!

  • April 27, 2013

    I so need to go back to Spain (and many other parts of Western Europe). I was lucky to visit both Madrid and Barcelona as a kid with my parents, but I want to see them again now that I can actually appreciate a long, late dinner of tapas instead of getting cranky and falling asleep like I did at age 9. That hotel looks amazing too, I’d gladly stay there!
    Emily in Chile recently posted..The Cathedral of Christ the SaviorMy Profile

    • May 1, 2013

      Haha, well, even I was getting cranky after three hours of food and wine and the jetlag taking its toll!

  • April 28, 2013

    It’s been a decade since I’ve been to Barcelona as well, this post took me right back there! Hope you got some sleep eventually:)
    Gwen recently posted..Peanut Butter Banana PancakesMy Profile

    • May 1, 2013

      Still haven’t…but I’ll sleep when I’m dead 😉

  • April 28, 2013

    I’m definitely a Madrid person, but that’s probably because I studied abroad there so I feel like I *know* it better or something. Anyways, I haven’t been back to Spain in nine years, which seems insane to me. I’d actually love to go back to Barcelona, though, and these pictures just make me want to go even more. Especially now that I’m no longer a poor student. I am loving that design hotel!

    • May 1, 2013

      Next time I go to Madrid, I’ll seek your advice then!

  • April 28, 2013

    I am a Barcelona gal and love everything, everything about that city! I was fortunate enough to go there a lot of business, which I extended into pleasure, while I was working in Switzerland and it is my fav city after Paris!

    • May 2, 2013

      Working in Switzerland–that sounds like a rough time. 😉

  • April 28, 2013

    Whooo hoo! Back to familiar turf

  • April 29, 2013

    I’ve only been to Madrid (adding Barcelona to my “must visit” list right now) but I just love Spain.
    Ris recently posted..Going Green for Earth DayMy Profile

    • May 25, 2013

      Oooh you must. I like Madrid fine, but Barcelona just seems so much more what you think of when you think Spanish culture.

  • April 30, 2013

    the facial hair on the guy on the wall in that restaurant will haunt my dreams

    • May 2, 2013

      HAAA! I hadn’t even noticed it. Oops!

  • April 30, 2013

    Looks like you had a fab time… I had exactly the same thing recently visiting Budapest 10 years on. Does it change in a decade or it us?! x

  • April 30, 2013

    Great photos! I’m hoping to get to Spain next summer, this makes me want to go even more.

    • May 25, 2013

      I hope you get there! It’s such a stunning country.

  • May 1, 2013

    I’m researching on barcelona right now. .. thanks for the info!

  • May 2, 2013

    Barcelona is drop dead beautiful! I had heard about it, now looking at the pictures, now I know the reason behind it. These days most of the cities around the world are same, with swanky glass and steel skyscrapers. Cities like Barcelona are a beautiful exception.

    • May 2, 2013

      So true! I like modern interiors to an extent, but when it comes to facades, I’m all about the older architecture.

  • May 3, 2013

    Love your blog! This makes me want to go back to Barcelona just so I can eat all this tasty stuff!
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  • May 6, 2013

    Looks like you guys are having so much fun! Love all the shots of the different exteriors- those are my favorite! What a special time to be traveling with your family too, it’s actually making me want to plan a trip with my whole family!
    jade recently posted..We’re Married! (Part Two: the pre-moon)My Profile

    • May 25, 2013

      If you do, let me make a suggestion: Have everyone be in charge of one day’s activities. Playing tour guide for multiple cities with a large group is HARD, yo!

  • May 6, 2013

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  • May 9, 2013

    Frankly, I can’t get enough of Spain. Although I have traveled all over the world, I make an annual trip to Spain, just because it now feels like home to me. I recently returned from 7 weeks in southern Spain where part of the time I attended the Malaca Instituto to study Spanish. Yes, I am taking my proficiency to the next level. Viva Espana!!!

  • May 9, 2013

    My favorite city in Europe!!! LOVE your pics! That hotel is on my dream list. I’ve heard awesome things about it.
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Bermuda: Day 3My Profile

    • May 25, 2013

      Finally! We share a favorite city! I know Europe isn’t your favorite so… =)

  • May 22, 2013

    so lovely place… anyway, when is the low season for barcelona.. i like to visit this city.. cool. thank you

    • May 25, 2013

      I would imagine low season is probably winter. It’s a bit colder then but not too bad!

  • May 23, 2013

    Great photos of BCN! It’s been a rainy spring. Still raining! As a local, I am ready to say adios, or adeu, to this chilly weather and hit the beaches.

    • May 25, 2013

      It’s been cold and rainy EVERYWHERE in Europe! We actually had a few sunny days in Florence and Cadiz, and then now it’s been 40 degrees F and rainy everywhere else we’ve been since!

  • May 25, 2013

    You are making me so excited (AND HUNGRY) for my trip to Barcelona this summer! My mother and I are going after we attend a friend’s wedding in the south of France. I can’t wait to check out your other destinations and see if you’ve been to any other of my future cities! xoxo
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  • June 14, 2013

    I cannot wait to go to both next month and see if I am more of a Madrid or Barcelona person, and I definitely cannot wait for long Spanish dinners 😀
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    • September 4, 2013

      Hey I myself loved Barcelona… Was there last October… The gaudi architecture is awesome.. Will go again for sure… Love Europe and loved ur clicks…

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