It has so far been an interesting year for the Brickeys of Florida. And with a few changes, an opportunity to fly last minute to Barcelona, Spain fell into my lap. My wanderlust heart couldn’t ignore the pull and so I went. One day after deciding, I was on my way to meet my two friends in Barcelona. It was a quick trip, and we did a lot. Below I dive into how you too can spend 48 hours in Barcelona.
A Quick Note about Getting Around
Download the MyTaxi app (iTunes and Google Play). Barcelona uses this app to call rides quick and easy, and it’s significantly cheaper than Uber. If you don’t want to use the app, there are plenty of taxis to jump into on any street.
The most frugal public transportation, however, is the metro. I purchased about $10 in euros and I didn’t run out of cash for multiple trips. Also, the metro is so fast. You’ll wait maybe 5 or so minutes for your next train. Just a word of caution, Barcelona is the pickpocket capital of the world (exact words from a friend living there). Watch over your purse at all times, and especially on the metro.
If you’re on a mega tight budget, then this is a super walkable city. It’ll take you longer, but it’s definitely doable.
Day One – An Artistic Adventure
Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401
Start your first day bright and early at one of Antoni Gaudi’s famous architectural buildings. Gaudi started the design of the basilica in 1883, and it’s still in construction to this day! The building’s details are so intricate that each section is like a surprise that you may not have noticed before.
Before heading over, make sure to buy tickets online and start early to avoid crowds and waiting in lines. We decided to just buy admission and not the tours, which was lovely on its own so we could wander and enjoy each part in our own way.
Lunch in La Boquería
Address: La Rambla, 91
Barcelona’s largest market, la Boquería is the perfect place to munch on what Barcelona offers. Try jamón and manchego cheese cones, croquettes filled with spinach, mushrooms or more ham, fresh fruit bowls, crispy empanadas, and artisanal candy like turrón. We walked around a picked things here and there, and shared for a fun, affordable lunch.
Address: Carrer Montcada, 15-23
Walk on over to the Picasso Museum which houses the largest assortment of Picasso’s work, many of which are from when he was young (there’s a ridiculously amazing painting he won an award for when he was only 15 years old!). There’s plenty of his latest works during Cubism that people know, but one thing I loved was a small sketch where he practiced his signature. It really humanized the famous artist for me. The museum is in several old converted houses, so walking around inside them is an additional treat.
Shopping and Dinner in the Gothic Quarter
Bormuth Address: Plaça Comercial, 1
Walking around “old Barcelona” you can enjoy the narrow, cobblestone streets and little shops with reasonably priced goodies.
There are many restaurant options, and we chose a tapas restaurant called Bormuth, which I highly recommend if you want legit (aka not touristy) tapas. We ordered Vermouth Rojo to drink (SO GOOD. It tastes like a red sangria that’s not as sweet), patatas bravas (fried potatoes with a spicy sauce), jamón and manchego cheese (a thinly sliced, delectable ham and cheese plate), and pescadito frito (fried anchovies which were surprisingly delicious and you can eat the bones!).
Day Two – Sweeping Views of the City
Address: 08024 Barcelona, Spain
Start your morning early at Gaudi’s other famous – and most photographed – spot in Barcelona. To guarantee your entry time, buy tickets online. You’ll want to go as early as possible to avoid crowds. For instance, we arrived at 8:30am (the earliest possible that day) and the crowds started flooding in by 9am.
Walk around and enjoy all the unique spots full of colorful tiles, curving walkways, gardens, and the views of the city from the iconic, photogenic balcony.
Castell de Montjuïc
Address: Ctra. de Montjuïc, 66, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
If you want more views and history of the city, take a taxi to the top of Montjuïc. The castell is a big fort with many cannons and gardens. Inside, you can buy tickets to enter and bonus fact: if you’re 29 or younger, you get a discount! It was only 3 euros (normally 6 euros!). There are some outstanding views from up here. And if the weather is lovely, you can see the mountains and beyond the water from all around.
When you’re ready to go inside, each room has museums and interactive educational entertainment. I never knew the sad, bloody history of Barcelona until I visited Montjuïc. It adds to the character of a city that a tourist spot just can’t give you.
The Aerial Tramway
Address: s/n, Avinguda Miramar, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
When you’re ready to leave Montjuïc, walk down the hill and enjoy the gardens (and earn your steps!). Or there’s also a stop called Teleférico Del Puerto for the the aerial tramway (or gondola or cable car) where you can enjoy panoramic views and travel down to the beach in Barceloneta to the tram spot called Port Cable Car. (FYI – If the weather is bad, then they will close the tramway. You can take a taxi, uber, or walk all the way down instead.)
Enjoy the beautiful Sant Sebastià Beach and watch surfers, the sea, or people and dog watch in this seaside neighborhood. If you’re hungry – or simply want a good glass of wine – stop by one of the many beach restaurants. We visited Barceloneta around sunset and watched the sky turn blue, pink, and purple while enjoying the refreshing, clean air. You don’t realize how refreshing the air can be when you’re deep in the city until you’re standing by the ocean.
Afterwards, walk over to Rambla Catalunya, a neat pedestrian walkway – the widest in the city – with many shopping stalls and restaurants with outdoor seating. Plenty of options to try paella! Just be careful with your belongings. This area is known for pickpockets!
Here are more pictures from our trip! So much food, sights, and coffeeee.