Hola Barcelona…….Capital city Of Catalonia…….Unconventional way to Explore Spain
Spain’s Landscape gives you all that you need as a traveler, an adventurer, a historian, a romantic soul. You ask for it and you can find something in store for you, in one city or the other.
We planned the trip in a way that we have a bit of all. Starting from Barcelona, in my series of Spain travel.
Barcelona has all from a charm of an old world to the big city grandeur. It all depends on what you wish to soak in more, and accordingly, you either choose to stay towards the old Town or Placa De Catalunya or a bit towards the coastline. Barcelona has a cosmopolitan and international vibe which makes it popular with travelers. Architecture, Art, History, Food, there is a lot traveler can choose to suit their Travel Aspirations, here in Barcelona.
We chose to stay a bit away from the city due to some Hotel choice in consideration and the Air-BnB options close to the old town are exorbitantly costly.
How Hilton Diagonal Mar and Location turned out to be just perfect
Choosing Hilton Diagonal Mar was More of an economic strategy. But it turned out to be quite adventurous. The location away from the city and very close to the subway and great bus service from just next to the hotel was like an unplanned convenience we were blessed with. This place has large Parks all around and a Huge shopping Mall overlooking the hotel.
I know I can’t start talking about my the trip with a park and shopping while in Barcelona. But they came handy on days when we were tired from days City visit and could just chill around before slipping into our beds.
Also, the connectivity to the airport, Though it’s a long long distance, It is well connected. The Barcelona city Travel Cards in hand, the Subway was the obvious choice.
We boarded the subway from the airport to Diagonal Mar, But You have to brave through a few changes over at a few stations, and some do not have an escalator access. When we actually lost all our energy while looking at the long stairs at one point, we walked out and took a cab to the hotel.
On our way from the hotel to the airport, we found that there is a straight bus route, with just one exchange in the middle. All in all, if you have just one bag per person to handle, and Kids are a not reluctant to climb up and down the stairs, do attempt the train travel. Else there are a bus connectivity ( A1 And H 16) or airport transfer buses to Placa De Catalunya and ahead from Catalunya, one can take another bus to Diagonal Mar.
The costs are a big count while thinking about this. Plan it accordingly. I tend to be a bit penny-wise……… (without taking into account the other half of the saying) sorts on my trips especially on traveling.
Barcelona city travel card
With our stay a bit away in the city and four of us. Barcelona has extensive subways and buses, with 2.20 euro s of a single one-way ticket. We were looking at a 72 hours stay span, so The Barcelona travel card at 20 Euro each ( valid for 72 euros from first validation ) became super economical.
One can check out T10 card meant for 10 trips, as it can be used amongst multiple people if you travel as a couple for a day or two.
Barcelona for us – In a relaxed way, Stretch it out if you wish or do it in a jiffy
Barcelona has some very well identified interest points for the tourists.
The Old city or the Gothic Quarters
Almost most of the historic charm comes packed in this area of the city > one can start at Placa De Catalunya and head in one direction, passing by one can visit the Barcelona Cathedral, leading to Gothic quarters, passing by the streets and enjoying the cobbled streets and thin lanes, rumbling with tourists, flea markets and something or the other happening around the corner.
The streets through Gothic quarters would lead you to La Rambla , a busy street running through the popular old town, Looks busy almost any time of the day ( I know it as I visited the street twice), buzzing with cafes and souvenirs shops ( a Spanish version of our Janpath and area around in Connaught in Delhi ).
Choice of food is enough from Tapas Bars Lined on both sides of the street, beautiful outside seating, Music almost at every cafe is pleasing to ears. I wish to mention this one. With some super hungry kids and with us, when we settled for a cafe and some pasta and Tapas,( The main Street around on La Rambla looks like that its only about Tapas), the Tapas option fail to satiate us and we went looking for something more, and that is when we found this Lebanese food. This is when we hogged our way to a happy tummy.
Lesson Learnt….Start looking for food much before you get Hungry, List Food options ( at least a few to name and look for) At the beginning of the day when u decide the days Itenary, for unwarned hunger pangs.
Busy Pathways, Rather busy cafes, and then U see a super busy market La Bouqueria In the middle of your walk across La Rambla. La Boqueria is a market with food ingredients overdose.
The market with a diverse selection of goods, one can find varieties of meat to cheese and fruits, YOu name it and You shall for sure find it.
Spend some time scanning the shops in this market and you will find some new ingredients which you have barely heard or seen. I am sure You can somewhat enhance your culinary knowledge while scrolling through the market. Just need some inquisitive Eyes and wish to explore.
Note: LA Bouqueria is closed on Sundays
Sagrada Familia, Picasso, Gaudi at The Block of Discords
After you are done with the old town the next best attraction is Sagrada Familia, The famous massive unfinished Church. Book Your tickets in Advance and do book the access to the top of at least one of the towers at Sagrada, as they lead you to a good height and Barcelona city view from there, is worth an effort ( though they have elevators to take you up )
Also, Carry a Scarf or dress up in a way that your shoulders are not bare as they have some religious inhibitions on this.
Craving for good food and you are around Sagrada, Search La Taqueria on Your Map, And this little Mexican Cafe has some Amazing Food, Value for money. This one Meal is that we still remember and talk about.
One can head to the Block of Discords after a brief visit to Sagrada. This street has most of Antoni Gaudi’s Masterpiece buildIngs. Antoni Gaudi Is a famous architect from Spain with his distinct style, which is very evident all around in Spain, with the so venires sold to the replication of his art at cafes.
I am not an ardent admirer of Art and Architecture, So with a visit to the Casa Batllo, at the street of discords( tickets were booked in advance on the insistence of my Historian friend), I felt I know it all about the Art of Gaudi. Choose to visit the rest of the buildings Like Casa Morero, Casa Amatller If You wish to and are on a lengthy Trip to Barcelona.
A visit to Museu Picasso is a must for Picasso admirers. I am sorry I skipped it as I see my world differently, But My friend who made a trip could value it better and be in all praise for it. In fact, she kept discussing the paintings till quite some time through the day and I felt like I too have made a trip to the museum.
A Visit to Norte Dame Any time of the day during the visit, Kind of completes the landmark monuments of the city, It is also very close to the Palca A halt en route is suggested.
Night Life In Barcelona
Barcelona nightlife is quite swanky. Every area has its list of popular Nightclubs. From the Boulevard Club at the La Rambla to the Wild Rover Irish Pub, for a quick easy on the pocket night out to the more sophisticated ones at the Hotel Lounges or pools side Bars and Pubs.
I am sure if you are heading To the city to check out its nightlife, in particular, Check This out.
We did not visit any as we lodged in Hilton And The posh Puro Pool and Bar parties by themselves are talks of the town, and we completely enjoyed ourselves an evening at the poolside partying away ….
Beware of pick pocketing
La Rambla and the area around Old town Is popular for mugging and pickpocketing. to our serious research, we had read on enough incidences like the popular pigeon poop trick( where you are distracted by dropped pigeon poop and can be robbed of your belongings). Actually, the whole incidence got so much on us that right from our time when we landed in Barcelona we wanted to make sure we do not have any such stories to narrate. Be extra careful, and You should be saved from any unpleasant encounters.
Barcelona Had already set The score Card High and we Geared off with Our exploratory Antennae completely charged on a high Note….ADIOS BARCA………HOLA SPAIN
More from my photo album and some instant captures can be seen on Highlights from Instastories