82 degrees with clear skies & a UV Index of 9.
Beach day? I think so!
My first full twenty-four hours in the Catalan capital & it is a sunshine filled day. I decide to head straight for La Barceloneta to enjoy my morning soaking in those Mediterranean rays. Luckily, there is a metro stop on the yellow line, which conveniently brings you straight to La Barceloneta. So, I pack my backpack with headphones, a towel, a personal favorite The Alchemist (a wonderful read for a trip abroad), and most importantly some sunscreen because the sun in this region is unforgiving!
As I approach the beach, I am surprised to see everything surrounding it. Along the boardwalk, you have a strip of various classy restaurants, which turn into some of the cities wildest nightclubs come midnight, souvenir shops, and adorable side streets & alleyways that are perfect for getting lost in. This is where the real charm of this district lies. They even have their own flag, which the residents proudly display! Pride is a dominant quality in this Catalan region & you quickly notice it.
I grab a cold drink and find a spot to lay down and rest my toes in the soft sand. The water is slightly colder than expected, but ideal to cool off in & completely refreshing. I walk out of the sea back to my towel feeling entirely rejuvenated. I put my headphones on, laid my head down, & read about half of my book. The hundreds of other tourists didn’t even phase; I was in such a state of bliss that nothing else mattered. The perfect start to my day.
It’s about lunchtime, so I head towards Port Vell where I stumble upon million dollar yachts, merchants selling all sorts of knick-knacks, and of course tapas restaurants! You must try tapas when in Barcelona. They’re smaller appetizer size dishes perfect for sharing with your family & friends over a bottle of sangria.
I go about the southern part of the city walking towards the iconic Christopher Columbus statue at the entrance of Las Ramblas. After reading up on it & being told to be attentive to the pickpockets, I casually stroll through this popular road full of all sorts of pop-up shops selling anything from gelato, gofri, hand crafted jewelry, and more. You also have ticket booths for local shows & soccer matches at Barcelona’s Camp Nou. Hostesses invite you to sit down & enjoy a delicious paella dish. You can most definitely spend a great portion of your day here at Las Ramblas.
I decided to venture off into the Gothic Quarter, which offers a shopping experience unlike any other. This is where you’ll find unique storefronts selling pretty much anything & everything. Within this district, you’ll find some of Barcelona’s best gems. For one, the Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia, which has a neo-Gothic façade that will catch the eye of anyone passing by it. Decorated with gargoyles, as well as other mythical animals the 500+-year-old church is a must see when wandering through the Gothic Quarter. This was a place that I had to revisit multiple times during my time in Barcelona. By far one of the most beautiful cathedrals that I had seen throughout Europe.
After purchasing a few interesting knick knacks, I started heading up Passeig de Gràcia, which is basically the Fashion Avenue of Barcelona. Located in Eixample, this avenue is one of the largest in the city and one of the most important. While many flock here for Prada bags or Valentino sweaters, it is also home to some of the famous architecture of the late & great Antoni Gaudí.
Casa Batlló is one of Gaudí’s masterpieces decorated in a skeletal aesthetic & a colorful mosaic. A representation of modernism, Casa Batlló was home to the Batlló family, which was known for their contribution to the textile industry. When I stopped by here, it was far better than I even expected. The audio tour that’s offered helped explain everything in great detail to me. It allowed me to enter into the artistic madness that went on in Antoní Gaudí’s mind. Beautiful colors ran throughout the entire building, and at the very top floor was a balcony to take a fun selfie on! Casa Batlló surely did not fail to impress.
After Casa Batlló I needed to fuel up with something to eat & drink. If you want a meal that will have your taste buds reminiscing for years after, then please go to Bro Burger. I don’t know what this burger was made up of but if I had to guess it was a unicorn patty sprinkled with pixie dust. Perhaps I was in a state of extreme famine, but this was the tastiest burger I had to date.
Once Bro Burger satisfied my needs I proceeded toward the hills. Park Güell is a personal favorite of mine and once you visit you’ll quickly understand why. The entrance is decorated with the works of the architectural genius of Gaudí. His work is throughout the entire city, so it’s difficult not to remember the name. Park Güell offers a lot with a plot of uphill land leading you to an unforgettable sunset view at the top of it. You can walk through the entire park and get lost in its mystification.
A little secret to fill you in on is the hidden swing decorated with flowers overlooking the park. It lies within the park and is secluded from the rest of hustle & bustle. It wasn’t an easy find. In fact, I never knew it even existed. If you’re curious and adventurous enough you can stumble upon this hidden beauty. If you aren’t able to find the swing, don’t stress too much. There’s plenty more to see.
After an exhausting 12 hours, I decided to head towards the large cross at the top of the hill to finish off my day. It was exactly where I wanted to be, and I was rewarded with an opportunity for incredible photos, a spot to take in the beauty of this Mediterranean marvel, and an acoustic guitarist setting the mood for an end to a wonderful first day in Barcelona.
About the author:
Kevin is an adventure enthusiast who has managed to travel through 20+ countries as well as 20 states over the past two years, all while juggling part-time jobs & obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Sciences. The devout explorer uses his photography & writing to tell unique, passionate stories about his travels. When he’s not hiking up active volcanos in Indonesia or camel trekking through the Sahara Desert, he’s most likely editing his photography portfolio or typing up a new entry for his blog http://mytravelthoughts.com/ . To find more of Kevin’s photos you can visit https://kevinczopek.pixieset.com/
La Barceloneta district – Barcelona