Some links in this post contain affiliate links including amazon associate links. I receive a small commission if you use the links at no extra cost to you.
I’d wanted to go to Barcelona for the past year so when some friends living in Australia were heading there as part of their trip, myself and my friends in London booked flights there straight away with Ryanair for only £70.00 return from Stansted!
We spent 3 days and 3 nights in Barcelona which I felt was enough time, anything less wouldn’t have been enough and of course, we always want more time! The trip was more about catching up than jumping from tourist attraction to tourist attraction, however, Barcelona is the perfect city to spend a weekend in with friends and visiting Barcelona on a family holiday is a good idea too.
I felt like we really lived the Barcelona life instead of being standard sightseeing tourists. Our accommodation was great, we found some great lunch and brunch spots and we did do a day of site seeing so here are a few recommendations from my trip.
Weekend in Barcelona
We stayed at Citytrip Barcelona Rambla Apartments and I would 100% recommend staying here. We were in the bottom apartment which benefitted from an outside area with a table and chairs, sun loungers and a jacuzzi (woo!). The apartment was 2 stories with a double bedroom, twin bedroom and an open plan kitchen, dining and lounge area which had a pull out double bed and 2 bathrooms so all in all it was a perfect size for 6 adults and prices start from €525 for 6 people for 3 nights.
It was great to have our own apartment with a kitchen and seating area’s and we ended up spending quite a bit (perhaps too much) time here just eating, drinking and chilling out and as it’s just off La Rambla, one of Barcelona’s most famous streets it’s also in a great location.
I am a self-confessed brunch addict and our 2 friends who were over from Australia live in Melbourne which is the king of brunches so brunch was always going to be on the cards, now how good can brunch be in Spain?? Well, I’m pleased to say it can be very good!
On our second morning, we went to Caravelle which wasn’t far from our apartment and also just off La Rambla. Although there were a few tourists in there it did mainly seem like a local place and a place that you would only find and go into if you knew it was there! I had Avocado on toast with poached egg, tomatoes and feta and although it is a fairly simple dish it was soo good and definitely at an Aussie standard! The coffee was also great and they have good wi-fi so I would highly recommend hunting this place down!
On our last day and looking to top the previous day’s lunch we went to Federal Cafe, a little bit further from La Rambla but our walk there took us through a neighbourhood which seemed very local so it was interesting to see and it seemed like there were more locals there which I always really like. It’s worth finding as they had some great smoothies and juices on the menu along with good coffee and a whole list of brunch dishes! It didn’t quite reach the standard of Caravelle but it was good enough!
Our friend’s boyfriend was on brunch hunt duty and he found both of these places after a quick Google Search.
On the subject of food (and food that isn’t local food), another place we went to which I would recommend is Makamaka Beach Burger Cafe, although this cafe is not quite on the beach (but not far from it), it gives the impression that you are, it has lots of different outdoor seating and a great vibe. We did have to queue up to get a table as it’s quite popular but you can totally understand why.
We spent our first and last day just wandering around aimlessly and actually it was quite nice, the Old Town area of Barcelona which is the area closest to the beach is full of different neighbourhoods which become apparent when walking between them, I think my favourite area was the Gothic quarter.
We also headed down to the beach via the port, walking down by the port was kind of like walking through a market with lots of stalls set up on a floor selling fake shoes, handbags etc which wasn’t overly nice but I guess this is part of the ‘tourist’ side of the city. The beach was nice for a city beach, it wasn’t quite warm enough for us to sunbathe but there are loads of beachside cafes and bars so we got a Sangria (see we did indulge in some local specialities!) and enjoyed being by the beach.
Mercado de La Boqueria is the main market in Barcelona and along La Rambla. They were selling everything you could wish for food and drink wise from fresh fruit smoothies, to bottles of Sangria to take as souvenirs to meat joints to marzipan sweets in the shape of sushi and fries.
Even if you don’t need anything it’s great to go in and have a wander.
In terms of seeing the sites, on our second day, we hired some bikes from a rental place by our apartment for just €6.00 for the day and rode off (shakily at first) to explore the city. We did have some trouble going up to La Rambla because it was so busy and I had my doubts that I would survive this activity however once we found a bike track which then leads to another bike track and another we were ok! We headed to the Arc de Triomf first which is a pretty iconic site and from there we headed to the oh so famous Sagrada Família! We parked up our bikes, took advantage of the free McDonalds toilets (good old McDonalds) and then went to take a look.
It really is huge and pretty impressive! If you aren’t aware then the Sagrada Família still isn’t finished yet! The first stone was laid in 1882 (!!) and it’s due to be finished in 2026, however, I feel that by then they’ll have to start restoration work on the first bits so it may well be a never-ending project of work! Therefore, the cranes and construction equipment are all part of the photos.
We didn’t go inside because you have to prebook tickets quite some time in advance which we didn’t do and I’ve heard mixed reviews of what it’s like inside so I wasn’t overly bothered myself.Next up was Casa Batllo, I really wanted to see this building as apart from the Sagrada Familia I felt it was the most iconic Gaudi piece. We biked there fairly easily long bike paths from the Sagrada Familia although at one point I wasn’t too sure which street to take and we noticed a bike tour, probably on a Barcelona Gaudi Tour, and guessed that they too were going to the Casa Batllo so followed them, and indeed they were!
I was actually really surprised about the location of this building as it’s a long what seems to be the main shopping street and boulevard, I kind of thought it would be along a more hidden street.
Of course, we couldn’t miss it as there were loads of people outside. Again we didn’t have tickets to go inside (and I’ll be honest and say I’m not even too sure what is inside??) but we appreciated it, got a few snaps and then carried on.
This is pretty much as far as our tourist-ness went but as I mentioned at the start, I quite liked it.
In addition to all of this, we also had 1 proper night out and went to a club called Opium Barcelona which is by the beach and was really good! We got a rickshaw there because there was a major lack of taxis (probably because it was a Saturday night), on arrival, there were lots of people trying to sell us tickets for about €30.00 and telling us needed tickets and there was a huge queue but one of us had been online and put us on the guestlist so we got in no problem, with no queuing and without paying, so keep this in mind!
All in all, it was a great trip. I can see why people go back to Barcelona again and again, there’s so much to do and see, there are also so many day trips from Barcelona, and I certainly hope to go back in the future too!
- More of my Spain Posts:
- A Full Travel Guide for Zaragoza – Everything You Need To Know!