36-hours in Barcelona, Spain: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR THE WANDERLUST
Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city, is known for the arts, food and city scene. With a history that dates back 2,000 years, this port city is one of Europe's commercial importance to the Mediterranean. Thanks to Gaudi, Barcelona was his canvas, and he decorated it with his Modernisme art style which gives you an excuse to visit churches, his house or even a park. Many tourists start their Mediterranean Cruise in Barcelona, which is a great excuse to visit the city, but why do you need one. Hopefully, you will plan a couple of hours before or after your cruise to soak in this historic city.
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Flying from the states, one would be tempted to take a quick nap, but that will throw off your sleeping clock so why not take a food tour instead. Thanks to Bite Mojo you are able to sample a bit of Barcelona’s food culture. A self-guided tour you can choose from two options: Gothic Barcelona or El Born Food Tour. We decided the Gothic Barcelona which this area has always been known for fine dining, dating back to Roman Days.
Barcelona is known for a particular language known for Catalan, a Latin-derived language, and this group of people knows how to eat with more grace than any other nations. The cuisine consists of ancient Roman and Visigoth customs with the inflated of Medititarian culture and Arabian influences. Hopefully, this can cure your jet lag from the states. Arm yourself with your iPhone and take in the sites and foods of the gothic area.
While taking breaks from the delicious food, meander towards the Barcelona Cathedral which has been rebuilt into different styles over the century. I would tell you all the steps, but to be honest I got confused, and in conclusion, it is just amazingly gorgeous. If you love architecture, you will enjoy the outside and the inside of this church. Inside, they have many shrines devoted to different saints. If you have time, and the lines are not long, you can climb up to the top of the church and enjoy the view of Barcelona. Please make sure you light a candle and say a prayer while you are in this particular place of worship. If you do, the church's geese will be extremely happy with you.
As the sun starts, to set you can hop into a taxi or walk to Las Ramblas. This tree-lined pedestrian street which is home to kiosks that sell newspapers, souvenirs, and flowers. My personal favorite is the pavement cafes and bars where you can enjoy some sangria and Jamon Iberico. End the evening with strolling down this street and enjoy a little shopping. Some souvenirs to buy in Barcelona are vermouth, espadrille, Cava, A bota, and Spanish Fans.
Hopefully, you have your tickets in advance, because you do not want to miss Casa Milà (La Pedrera). This is Antoni Gaudi’s most iconic work of civic architecture. This building consists of two blocks of the apartment each with its own entrance structured around a courtyard. From every angle, you can see Gaudi employment of rigor and methodology still keeping concern with functionality.
Once done with the Casa Milà, head over to another beautiful museum dedicated to Picasso. Picasso demonstrated an extraordinary artistic talent which he experimented with different theories, techniques, and ideas. At this museum, you can enjoy some of the permeant pieces like Seated Man or The Pigeons.
Once done enjoying Barcelona’s art culture, hop on over to La Boqueria, the largest public market in Barcelona. It opened in 1840, this market has a plethora of fresh fruits, meats, and wine. One can definitely buy enough items to have a lovely picnic. With a belly full of food, meander to La Manual Alpargatera which is Barcelona’s original espadrille shoe store. They have been around since 1941, and customers love the ecological footwear made of natural materials, such as fiber: hemp, jute esparto, cotton, linen, etc. So fit in like a local, and buy yourself a pair of inexpensive, but high-quality espadrilles.
Close out your day at Barcelona’s oldest bar, Bar Marsella, which is known for their absinthe bar. Famous artist like Picasso and Hemmingway use to visit this bar frequently.
Hopefully, you love architecture, because the last and final piece I suggest you visit Basilica of the Sagrada Familia. This was Gaudi’s absolute masterpiece, that is actually to this day not complete. The idea of this temple dates back to 1866 when Josep Maria Bocabella I Verdague founded the Spiritual Association of Devotees of Saint Joseph. At this time, he started campaigning for a temple that was to be dedicated to the Holy Family. When I look at this beautiful basilica, you can follow the story of the holy family from start to finish. It really gives you an excellent depiction of what happened in their lifetime and why God sent us Jesus. The magic is when you enter the basilica because to me I feel like I am in an enchanted forest. With the stained glass constructed in a way, the evening shadow casts a beautiful hue of golden red sunlight. Feeling energized in the cozy daylight, you are able to sit in church pews to pray to the Lord Jesus. The alter in this church is something that I have never seen, with Jesus on the crucifix surrounded by candlelights looking to give him strength and peace.
With such a jam pack itinerary, it is time to relax on one of Barcelona’s beaches. With sun 300 days a year, these beaches always have something going on. The six significant beaches are Nova Mar Bella & Llevant, Mar Bella, Nova Icaria an Bogatell, Sorromostro, Barceloneta and Sant Miguel, and Sant Sebastia. The one that is closest to the Gothic Quarter would be Barceloneta, and Sant Miguel which starting in April are lined with beach bars and chair vendors. A perfect place to end your stay.
What to pack for your Barcelona Vacation
The airport you will want to fly into is Barcelona Airport - El Prat (BCN). There are many options to get to the city. One of the easiest is taking a taxi which will cost you about 35-45 euro. If you are feeling like taking the train, your best link to the city would be L9 Metro link with a single ticket costing 4.6 Euro for a single ticket. Last option would be taking the Aerobus which is an express bus from the airport to the center of the city costing you 5.90 Euro for a single ticket.