Barcelona | Travel Diary

Back in February, Kyle and I went away to a much coveted destination: Barcelona. I've actually been umming and arghing about this post as quite frankly, I got back and I was pretty disappointed with the quality of photos - I want to the great city some justice. And what a babe it is. For some reason, I was never that excited about going, but knew it was somewhere I would regret not seeing. I also found myself living more in the moment whilst there - less reaching for my camera and more for the hand of my travel buddy. I suppose that could have something to do with why I'm a little 'meh' about the photos - my priorities were elsewhere.

This was booked just after Christmas and as like many others, we were trying to scrape back as many ££ as possible. Now we're usually Airbnb all the way type of travellers, but with it being February, hotels were actually the cheaper option and after a weekend of searching, Hotel Grums seemed like the perfect all-rounder. A quick summary: location - fab (very quiet and only 5 mins from Las Ramblas). Service, top notch - attentive and helpful. Cleanliness, 5/5. The room was a great size with good lighting and a bed that I should have requested the make of. The only thing we can't comment on is the food - we're not really hotel breakfast kinds of people. Definitely consider if you're planning Barcelona in the future.
We're pros at the whole travel on a budget thing and with Barcelona being renowned for being a pricey old city, it was a challenge we rose to. It's not too bad for food, but excursions are where you'll see the hit. We paid for a 2 day hop-on hop-off bus tour, which I find really great value, particularly in larger cities. It was early February, so a great deal of shivering and wind swept frizz involved, but I would recommend - you get to see as much as possible whilst giving the ol' feet a rest (very important when all you're usually office based all day). 

The architecture is of course one of Barcelona's main selling points and it didn't disappoint. We particularly fell in love with the Gothic Quarter getting lost down the narrow winding streets where independent jewellery, clothing and coffee shops will greet you. It really felt luxe and European, a secret village within the city.

We didn't venture into any of the tourist attractions - they didn't really appeal or fit into the whole budget, but there isn't a lack of choice. Whether it's Catedral de Barcelona you're interested in or many of the mysterious buildings found in the Gothic Quarter there are numerous guided tours to choose from and the next time I visit, I'd be sure to have a look into one of them as there's so much history to soak up.

If you're in the mood for a little more walking, Park Guell on the Northern Face of the city is a place to go. I'm always partial to a good park and with great views of the city along with unique structures, grab a picnic and head up there. It is free to access although the option for admission into a more optimum viewing plateau, which seemed a bit silly as there were plenty other places to go. Plus, it's a great quad workout.

Sightseeing aside, my number one priority on trips away for me is the food. With Kyle being a pretty fussy eater, finding somewhere we can both eat takes a lot of menu stalking and annoyed discussions. I'm usually good with planning ahead, but this break kind of crept up on me. We tended to fill ourselves up during the day with bits here and there - finding hole in the wall pizzerias were the highlight. There are a few markets in Barcelona, but the main one being La Boqueria located just of Las Ramblas and filled with food for all. From fruit juices and veg stands to chocolate and fresh seafood and meats. It's also a great option if you're on the hunt for bakeries - empanadas are a must try!

Top tip with the whole budget thing I'd recommend venturing down the side streets off Las Ramblas - there are so many places to choose from and stepping away from the tourist hotspots, you'll likely to get better quality of offerings too. The only restaurant meal we had was at Santa Anna, a modern little set up with jugs of sangria for 7 Euro and the best paellas I've had. Go.

Another highlight of Barcelona is it's a city with a beach. Early February may not have been the best time to head down for some sun soaking, but a great beach nonetheless. Great views and surrounding restaurants with large pavements perfect for rollerblading and dog stalking. A few degrees warmer, it would have been a great place to spend more of the day. Just up from the beach is the harbour with a huge range of boats and yachts - we spent a good amount of time watching the wealthy walking to and from their prized possessions. Maybe one day we'll be so lucky...

A lengthy and although not the most recommendation heavy post, I hope this was of some help. Barcelona truly is an amazing place to be. It's almost a mix between Berlin and Rome in terms of culture - laid back attitudes with a great community feeling and socialising at the forefront. Whether you visit on a budget or not, it's kind of irrelevant - there's something for everyone. We enjoyed it only spending £200 each and made some great memories.


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