My first post in my new Weekend Series will cover my 24 hours in Barcelona, Spain over a weekend way back in September 2016.
I have been to Spain before, did a wonderful 3 week home stay language immersion program in Cadiz and Madrid, which was incredible. But I hadnt been back since that program in 2008.
We fly on a red-eye, as are most US-EU departures, from Atlanta to Barcelona (seasonal service), arrived in the morning just around sunrise. Commute from airport to downtown Barcelona is extremely easy and affordable, the airport shuttle bus goes from the airport direct to key downtown stops, including the central plaza. Getting around, I recommend by foot or just using a taxi, they arent expensive for EU standards and unfortunately no Uber in Barcelona.
On these last minute trips I book my hotels either when I get there or when I get seated on the plane, usually lots of great last minute options that are affordable, I use both tripadvisor and AirBnB to search for options. In Barcelona we stayed at the Casa Bonay boutique hotel, well located, walking distance to nearly everything including the subway but away enough that it is not noisy. Clean, albeit small, rooms.
Things to note for last minute trips or layovers in Barcelona:
- The main thing is that lots of museums require pre-purchased tickets or have time-slotted tickets, so its advisable to book ahead if you already have a short layover planned in Barcelona. Especially for La Sagrada Familia tour, Parque Guell, and the Picasso Museum. We were able to see the exterior of everything as well as gift shop, and Parque Guell is largely open to the public but to get up close and personal to some of Gaudi’s mosaics and buildings you must have a separate entry ticket that is time-stamped.
The sites we were able to hit were as below, now note we were able to “see” all of these in 24 hours only because we didnt have entry tickets nor did we purchase entry tickets to mots places so that saved us some time although it did take away some incredible things like the interior of the Sagrada Familia. But walking around Barcelona, taking in the architecture and food was just as fun.
- Walked from Casa Bonay to La Sagrada Familia, walked around, including the park in front.
- Took a taxi to Parque Guell, walked around, still saw many wonderful mosaics and Gaudi architecture and landscaping.A non-time stamped ticketed part was Gaudi’s home within the park, worth checking out.
- Took a taxi to Casa Mila, unfortunately did not want to spend our short time in line to get slightly pricey tickets to go inside, so just admired the building and gift shop
- Walked down the street to admire Casa Batllo, and Casa Mulleras. Same situation with Casa Mila, but nonetheless very beautiful buildings.
- Returned to the hotel as the room was finally ready, and cleaned up
- Tapas for lunch at Restaurante Casa Guinart in the famous Mercado de Boqueria, which unfortunately was closed that weekend due to the La Merce festival and holiday. The food was good, but pricey and I’m certain there are far better tapas/ seafood places around, I just wish the stalls in the Boqueria were open!
- Walked around various parts of Barcelona, ending up at the Picasso Museum, only to find out the day’s tickets had been sold out, so gift shop it was.
- Walked around some more and stumbled upon various celebrations and events surrounding the La Merce holiday, including dancing and parade and a concert in front of La Catedral de Barcelona, which is free admissions and is quite beautiful, inside and out. Walked by the Mercat de Santa Caterina, another food hall and market which again was closed due to the holiday.
- Walked to return to Casa Bonay, stumbling upon the Palau de la Musica Catalana, admired the architecture.
- Enjoyed sunset on the rooftop of Casa Bonay
- Dinner at Suculent, with a chef hailing from El Buli, and excellent food and local wine selection, in a very small space, so reservations is a must, Casa Bonay can take care of that for you should you wish. Food was delicious, some of the tastiest beef tartare ever (served with bone marrow).
- Following dinner, we had drinks at two bars, one a gin focused bar called Bar 33/45, delicious gin based drinks from a global selection of gins in a hipster, faux garage-esque space. The second was more of a classic style bar, going for a bygone Hollywood vibe, Bar Betty Ford, serving an excellent old-fashioned.
- By this point it was fast approaching 2am and we had a 10am flight to catch, so back to Casa Bonay.
- 8am departure from the hotel for the 45ish minute journey to the airport (including walking to the bus stop). Departure from Barcelona back to Atlanta on Sunday morning.
Below, you can find photos:
Feel free to DM me here, or on Instagram if you have specific questions or want to know more regarding my 24 hour experience in Barcelona.