A city break in Barcelona: a photo diary

After a missing debit card and a glitch in the Uber app, Eloise finally joined me in Manchester, ready to fly away to Barcelona the following morning.

Luckily, my Grandparents live just ten minutes away from Manchester airport so they kindly put us up for the night and we quietly left for the airport at 4am.

We booked our flights in February when we both were lonely and single but by the time the trip actually came around in May, we were both in peak honeymoon periods of new relationships!

The flight from Manchester to Barcelona was quick but I suppose it always helps when you’re super excited! We decided to stay in a hotel near the airport rather than central which was ideal for getting to and from the airport because they provided a free shuttle service which only took ten minutes! To get into Barcelona, we had to hop on a bus for 30 minutes which was frustrating in a way because once we were in the centre, we had to stay there. However, the bus route was quite scenic and we grew quite fond of it by the end of our trip.

We travelled from the 8th-11th of May which was lovely but I personally could have stayed one more night because I truly fell in love with Barcelona and was blown away by how different each part of the city was! One more day of exploring would have been perfect.

On arrival, we (Eloise) had to fight a giant spider (tarantula) off her suitcase and I refused to get off the bed in fear that the spider would crawl back into the room… That was an exciting start to the holiday, for sure.

We showered and headed into Barcelona to get lost between the pretty streets. As we were walking around, admiring the beautiful buildings and the small, independent shops, my foot started feeling strange. I lifted my foot off the ground and noticed that the sole of my platform espadrille was hanging off. Forgetting I was in Spain for a minute, I popped ‘New Look’ into my Google Maps app to hobble for over half an hour with a broken shoe to end up at a hairdressers called… You guessed it… ‘New Look’. ONLY. ME. This could only happen to ME. After another walk around, we found a huge ZARA and I replaced my shoes. So, a big shoutout to ASOS for that.

Anyway, I’m sure you’re here to read about the lovely things I experienced in the amazing city that is Barcelona rather than the traumatic moments so here’s what we got up to while we were there…

Wednesday, 8th May

On the first day, we simply explored the pretty streets into the early evening. Sadly, most of the day was consumed because my shoe broke so it was just a day of walking around. Luckily, Eloise loves getting her steps in so it wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t like strolling around Leeds or Bradford and the weather was glorious so we couldn’t complain.

Thursday, 9th May

Day 2 was definitely better. We explored a different area of Barcelona and it was much nicer than where we’d been the day before. We found a lovely cafe chain. (Can’t remember for the life of me what it was called.) But the pastries were DIVINE. So that was breakfast sorted most days while we were there.

We walked through a park with some funky painted walls towards the Gothic Quarter where we were doing the SANDEMAN’S free walking tour. I had done one of these in Berlin and thought it was amazing. They do them in most cities and basically you pay what you think the tour guide deserves after the tour. The Barcelona one was just around the Gothic Quarter but it was so informative. Our guide was incredible and she even took email addresses at the end and sent a long email out with recommendations for bars, tapas and places to visit! I highly recommend you do one of these tours if you’re ever visiting a new city because it’s a quick, easy and fun way to soak up some culture while you’re there!

After the tour, we explored the area where the tour ended and stumbled across a gorgeous park called Parc de la Ciutadella. It was the most amazing weather so we genuinely just lay down in the grass and soaked up some sun before exploring the park even more. There is a huge fountain in the park and a lake where you can take little boats on and it was just the nicest place to escape the craziness of the city centre!

We finished the day with some delightful tapas and aperol spritz which was totally deserved after the amount of steps we’d done that day!

Friday, 10th May

This was the hottest day while we were there. My thighs were rubbing together so badly that I had to sit down and wait for Eloise to run to the nearest chemist to get me some talcum powder. (What a hero she is.)

If you were expecting a blog post about an action-packed weekend to Barcelona then I apologise because honestly, we just walked around a lot and enjoyed exploring an unfamiliar city. So I do apologise that this post is basically me explaining that we walked a lot…

We rambled down Las Ramblas (lol) and went into the market which was SO busy. I noticed a lot of people warning me about pick pockets before I travelled to Barcelona. Luckily, we weren’t targeted but if it was going to happen anywhere – it would be here! There were fresh flowers, fresh fruit, meats, cheese… Everything! It was incredible but the crowds were quite daunting so we grabbed some fresh fruit and got out of there.

We went down to the harbour on the Friday and it was SO nice down there! If we had an extra day, I definitely would have been happy spending a lazy day by the beach – it was certainly warm enough! We sunbathed on some steps by the sea for a bit and chatted about life before heading back into the city. I wanted to visit the Palau de la Musica which is a breathtaking music venue, the architecture is magnificent and there are tiled pillars wrapping around the building that look so pretty! Unfortunately, there wasn’t an available time for a tour while we were there but I’ll definitely be going back!

It just so happened that one of Eloise’s friends from America was also in Barcelona so we met her for lunch with her friend and the dining experience was… Interesting. We were basically told the menu and there were about 2 options for each course and the staff barely spoke any English so none of us had any idea what we had ordered. The food wasn’t unpleasant but the experience definitely was. It was bizarre not being able to order food that we wanted. It was a very different experience to one I’d had before but I won’t be doing it again. After lunch, we went into a few of the independent shops and they sell the loveliest souvenirs!

Eloise and I went back to the harbour after and I got some chocolate churros which were SO tasty. We chilled out on the grass and waited until the sun started set and then we headed back towards the city centre, stopping for some tapas and sangria on the way.

Saturday, 11th May

Our last day was my favourite. We visited Parc Guell which is located up a mountain so prepare for a bit of a walk! Also, a quick heads up if you do want to visit Parc Guell – you must book in advance to get into the bit where Gaudi’s art is because I saw a lot of disappointed people getting turned away! It wasn’t super expensive but it is only impressive for about 10 minutes so if you’d prefer to spend your money on tapas and sangria – I understand!

The park was designed by Gaudi so it’s pretty quirky and the views are beautiful! We wandered around here for a while and sat on the famous wall. A very kind man offered to take our photo with the view in the background, he was very excited about the shot he got but Eloise and I were in hysterics when we saw it afterwards, he literally focussed on our faces and didn’t get any of the wall OR the view in. Bless him for trying though. I’m going to pop the pic below so you can all have a giggle…

It gets funnier every time I look at it.

After Parc Guell, we got the tube to see the famous La Sagrada Familia. We didn’t actually pay to get in here, I’d heard that the views were incredible but we were also told that it’s a waste of money. It was impressive from the outside anyway but I think I would like to visit one of the towers one day – maybe when it’s completed and isn’t surrounded by scaffolding!

It was really nice around there and a lovely place to explore! We found a great little tapas restaurant and indulged since it would be our last meal before our flight.

We headed back to our bus station, grabbing one more ice cream before heading back to rainy Manchester and hopped on the bus back to the hotel to get the shuttle service.

It was a fabulous little break with one of my best pals. I would highly recommend Barcelona if you’re wanting a holiday with a good balance of exploring and relaxing. Although we spent most of the time walking around and seeing new places, I enjoyed every second and thought it was an incredible city!

Have you been to Barcelona? Watch my Instagram highlight from the trip HERE!

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