As you may have seen on my Instagram, Marc-André and I were in Europe for the last three weeks. Our first stop was the beautiful city of Barcelona, which I was so excited to discover. We were both a little nervous to go away for this trip, but we quickly felt at home in this beautiful city. I sincerely loved everything Barcelona had to offer – the sights, the beach, the food, the people and all the activities. I’ll definitely have to go back someday!
During our week in Barcelona, we stayed in this Airbnb and we were very happy with our choice. Our host was very sweet and made sure we had everything we needed. The biggest advantage was that we were centrally located, which allowed us to walk practically everywhere. One day, we even walked from the apartment all the way to the Carmel Bunkers and back! Let’s just say our legs were pretty tired. Speaking of which, that day was definitely one of my favourites of this trip. In one day we got to visit the Sagrada Familia, the Hospital de Sant Pau, the Park Guell and the Carmel Bunkers. On top of the bunkers, we were able to admire all of Barcelona, as well as the sights on the other side of the mountain. You can see photos from the bunkers above and below. Even if you go to Barcelona for just a couple days, this hike is an absolute must!
That day turned out better than expected since it started with a little bit of rain – the only rain we got in three weeks – but it turned out to be another blue sky day. We kicked things off with a visit of the Sagrada Familia, probably the most well-known landmark of the city of Gaudi. I was really excited for the visit since I had heard so much about the church. We had seen it from outside a couple of days before but it was our first time inside.
I found both the outside and the inside to be very impressive in person. I can only imagine the final impact it will have once finished. What I liked the most is how different the architecture is from anything else I had seen before. The facade is very busy and you can stare at it for a long time analyzing all the scenes that are pictured. My favorite part of the church was all the stained glasses inside. They allowed the light to come in a beautiful way as you can see below.
Overall, I have to say that even though the Sagrada Familia is a beautiful visit, it was not my favourite activity in Barcelona. Perhaps because there are just so many tourists or the fact that I had seen a lot of pictures before which boosted my expectations…
Even though Barcelona is the city of Gaudi, I discovered another architect while travelling there that conquered my heart. His name is Lluis Domenech i Montaner, and he is responsible for the Hospital de Sant Pau as well as the Palau de la Musica Catalana. Those two monuments were my favourite ones from an architectural point of view of our entire week in Barcelona.
We visited the Hospital de Sant Pau on the same day that we went to the Sagrada Familia and to our enjoyment, the sun reappeared right on time for our visit. On top of it, we were the only ones there for the english tour, so we had a private tour of the property with our guide. The hospital de Sant Pau was used until 2007, when it officially became a museum. I definitely recommend the visit of this less known monument – the beauty of it will mesmerize you I am sure of it! In fact, you may wish you had gotten the flu 10 years ago just to spend some time in this hospital 😉
As for the Palau de la Musica Catalana, I had read that the inside was even more beautiful than the outside so we booked a concert to be able to see it. The artists we saw were Kayah and the Barcelona Gipsy Orchestra. I didn’t have any particular expectations but I was surprised by all the energy coming from the artists! The were very good entertainers and we had such a great time. Here’s a sneak peek of our evening…
On our second day in Barcelona, we did the best activity of our entire trip – a sidecar tour with BrightSide. I found them on TripAdvisor and decided to splurge a little since the reviews were so good – and I’m so happy I did! The tour was such a highlight of our trip. Our driver was super nice and informative about Barcelona. It was the perfect way to get introduced to the city. He picked us up in front of our Airbnb and we left for a 3-hour long sidecar tour. We stopped at the Sagrada Familia, Montjuic and the Born district where he took the time to give us some insights about the city. He also gave us lots of restaurants to try and bars to go to. This activity is a must – make sure to plan it in your budget if you go to Barcelona!
I hope you enjoyed reading about our first few days in Barcelona! Stay tuned for part two… 🙂