We recently spent some days in Barcelona,as an extension to a 7-night western Mediterranean cruise with Celebrity Cruises.
Apart from the food, we love this city as it has everything…. a cosmopolitan feeling, great shopping, plentiful beautiful architecture, a beach, a lovely old town, great tapas restaurants and so on….
The city has become very popular during the last 10 years, one reason being the fact that Barcelona now is the busiest cruise port in Europe.
There is a huge selection of hotels to choose between and it can be tricky to choose which area to stay in.
I’d recommend either close to Placa Catalunya or in the old Gothic area, close to the Columbus statue.
HOTEL H10 UNIVERSITAT
Our favourite hotel in Barcelona is the H10 Universitat (address: Ronda Universitat, 21, E-08007-Barcelona Centre), located just about 200 metres from Placa Catalunya, which I’d call the most central part of the city.
There are several various sized roomtypes to choose between, some even with a small, furnished terrace and some with a small French balcony. Rooms are bright with nice decor and I can highly recommend to choose a room rate including breakfast, as it was really, really good. The selection at breakfast is just about right and I loved everything at the buffet…..especially the yummy serrano ham.
Rooms and public areas have excellent wi-fi (free) and the service provided from the staff was also good, especially at the “Twenty One” rooftop terrace bar. Great ambience at night!
There is so much to do in Barcelona and if you’re there for the first time, I can highly recommend a tour on the Hop-on-hop-off bus, City Sightseeing Barcelona. You can easily purchase your ticket on-line, however, you must print it before it’s valid. Make sure you do this at home or at your hotel as it can be tricky to have it printed around Placa Catalunya, where the starting point is.
There are 3 routes and make sure you do all three of them.
Along the way, make sure you stop at some of the amazing Gaudi buildings to admire the architecture, as well as at the famous church, Sagrada Familia (buy your tickets here online prior to your visit as lines get very long) and, Park Güell, which is a MUST-VISIT!
The Sagrada Familia is hard to describe in words as it leaves you speechless… The whole church and the architecture is one of a kind, yet modern but also very Gaudi and very non-traditional.
Park Güell is one of my favourite spots in the city, despite the hot walk up the hilly roads (especially if it’s July and +35)…. The view is amazing and the park itself and it’s impressive mosaic creations all over is simply stunning. Gaudi’s house is also within the park and well worth a visit.
If you’re a beach person, Barcelona also has a nice beach, very close to the city centre.
The yacht/port-area at the end of La Rambla around the Passeig de Colom and the Maremagnum area are also nice to walk around. A nice dinner place in the evening (or even at lunch time) is the Port Olimpic.
I love walking around town and just enjoy all the different areas. La Rambla itself (walking street from Placa Catalunya to the Columbus statue) is always overcrowded so I tend to avoid it and use the small streets on the side instead. The town is well knows for pickpockets so be aware, as there are always lots of people in the streets.
One of the most scenic and charming areas is the old, Gothis area. Small alleys and lots of small shops and restaurants.
The marketplace, La Boqueria Food Market, is also not to be missed! This market is one of the best food markets I ever experienced and you can find lots of Spanish specialties here!
BEST TAPAS RESTAURANT – SENSI TAPAS (Career Ample 26)
Our favourite tapas restaurant so far in Barcelona is “SENSI tapas”, located in the old, Gothic area. The restaurant isn’t too big and one of those really cosy places with amaaaaazing food!Don’t forget to make a reservation as there are not too many tables. We booked the same day and guess we were lucky as it was completely full.
Service was outstanding at all times during the dinner and we got a really good briefing of all the dishes, and good recommendations.
Seriously, I wish I could have ordered each and every dish as they all sounded sooooo good!
Can’t wait to visor Sensi tapas again to try out the rest…. and yes, and reader some of the dishes…. 🙂
TO THE AIRPORT
If you don’t want to spend money on a taxi to the airport, the airport express bus, AEROBUS, can be highly recommended!
The bus trip to the airport is about 6,- euro and it runs every 5th. minute from Placa Catalunya with very few stops (3-4) along the route.
You can buy tickets online and it takes about 30 minutes to the airport. It’s very convenient and also offers free wifi and a USB port at each seat.
We’ll definitely use the bus again.