EUROPE, HOTEL REVIEW, SIGHTSEEING

Barcelona: Part 2

The second half of our trip to my favorite European city, Barcelona, was even better than the first half (read about the first 2 days here).

DAY 3:

On the third day we headed straight to Tibidabo. It was quite far from our hotel, so it took a while to get there. We had to take the Metro, then a bus, and finally the Tibidabo Funicular. It’s far, but it was so worth visiting.

 

IMG_4651The Tibidabo Funicular, basically a rickety old train that take you up to Tibidabo

 

Tibidabo is a mountain with an amusement park and church on the summit. It is the highest point in the city with incredible sweeping views. They say that on a clear day you can see as far as the island of Ibiza from the Sky Walk (the area around the amusement park with views of the city), unfortunately for us, it was a rather foggy day.

 

IMG_9945View of Barcelona from the Sky Walk on a foggy day. Our hotel, the Hotel Arts, is one of the 2 really tall building right in the center of the picture. It’s the building on the left.

 

IMG_9954Tibidabo Amusement Park overlooking Barcelona

 

Tibidabo Amusement Park only operates on the weekends. However, March through December the funicular still runs daily to take you up to the Sky Walk. Since we were not planning to ride anything anyway, we decided to visit during the week to avoid the crowds. Check their website before visiting as there are some exceptions to the days they operate.

Also on the summit of Tibidabo was a beautiful church, the Sagrat Cor. If you want even more amazing views, start taking the stairways up around the church. There’s beautiful views of the city from everywhere you look.

 

IMG_9932The Sagrat Cor overlooking the Tibidabo Amusement Park

 

IMG_9985View of the Tibidabo Amusement Park and Barcelona from the Sagrat Cor

 

IMG_0017Don’t look down with sunglasses on your head, so you don’t lose them like my husband did. This guy loses more sunglasses than anyone I have ever met!

 

IMG_0015View of Barcelona from the other side of the Sagrat Cor

 

IMG_0013I love this view! It must be incredible on a clear day.

 

The church has narrow stairways that you can climb all the way up to the Jesus statue at the very top. If you’re not afraid of heights, it’s definitely worth the climb.

 

stitch stairsNeverending stairways up to the top of the Sagrat Cor

 

UntitledLeft: Jesus statue all the way up at the very top of the church / Right: Us finally up at the top

 

After that we headed back to CDLC, since it’s right by our hotel, to have a light lunch sitting outside by the beach. The weather was perfect for sangria and a sandwich overlooking the ocean.

 

IMG_4657CDLC outdoor seating in Barceloneta

 

IMG_4658 2Lobster sandwich at CDLC

 

At night we stopped by the casino for a bit. We couldn’t resist… the casino was literally attached to our hotel. After playing for a little while, we headed back to the Barri Gotic for our dinner reservations at Pla. It wasn’t my favorite meal, but it was decent.

 

DSC03161Casino Barcelona- right in front of the Hotel Arts

 

DSC03157Dinner at Pla

 

DAY 4:

The final day of our trip (or so we thought, but I’ll get to that later) we focused on Las Ramblas, Passeig de Gracia and some of Antoni Gaudí’s greatest works.

 

DSC03162Breakfast at Arola in our hotel

 

IMG_9839Strolling Las Ramblas

 

We started by walking up Las Ramblas and stopping in at La Boqueria, a vibrant fresh market. They sell everything…. fresh fruit, seafood, smoothies, candy, chocolates, etc. We only tried the smoothies and they were delicious! Although La Boqueria was extremely crowded, it is not to be missed. You might want to try going early in the morning or late in the afternoon. By the time we made it there it was mid-day.

 

IMG_9840Entrance of La Boqueria

 

IMG_9848Smoothies at La Boqueria

 

IMG_9842Candy at La Boqueria

 

IMG_9843More desserts at La Boqueria

 

IMG_9845Fresh seafood at La Boqueria

 

IMG_9849Fruit cups at La Boqueria

 

We then continued to Passeig de Gracia to see Casa Batlló and La Pedrera by Antoni Gaudí. Unfortunately La Pedrera was under construction at the time, so we were unable to see it. Passeig de Gracia is also known for it’s shopping, with just about every big designer having its own store, so we ended up staying in that neighborhood for quite some time. What girl doesn’t want to enter every designer store she passes?

 

IMG_9879Casa Batlló

 

We then stopped for lunch at a popular tapas spot nearby. I had heard great things about this restaurant from 2 different friends and they were so right, Cerveceria Catalana is amazing! It’s an inexpensive tapa place that is always packed and now I know why. Definitely try to eat here if you get a chance.

 

IMG_4627 2Tapas at Cerveseria Catalana

 

Next stop was the Sagrada Familia, the most famous church in all of Barcelona. This church has been under construction forever. I’m not exaggerating… they’ve been working on it for well over 100 years, and now they say it should be completed in 2026. At least they work on it in sections, so it’s still beautiful to see.

 

IMG_9910La Segrada Familia under construction

 

IMG_9912La Sagrada Familia

 

The day we visited the Sagrada Familia the line to get in was extremely long, so we never made it inside. If you plan to visit, you can buy your tickets online ahead of time to avoid the lines.

For dinner we stayed near our hotel and went to Can Majo in Barceloneta for some traditional seafood paella, which was delicious. You have to eat paella when you’re in Spain, but usually the orders are for a minimum of 2 people, so sharing the same dish is required.

 

DSC03164Seafood paella at Can Majo

 

Right after dinner we headed back to our room to pack for our flight home in the morning, or so we thought….

 

DAY 5:

We got up early and headed to the airport for our 10:20 am flight. We checked in and waited as our flight continued to get delayed. At about 1 pm they informed us that our flight was cancelled and there were no other options that would get us back to Miami before the following day. We needed to be back the following day, but since that wasn’t going to happen, we made the best of a bad situation.

We went back into the city and checked into the Majestic Hotel. This was my second choice when booking our room. The Majestic Hotel is centrally located, right on Passeig de Gracia (closer to their airport than Hotel Arts). This hotel was extremely luxurious and the service was wonderful. Having stayed at both hotels, I would say that the Hotel Arts is much trendier with a younger crowd and great views (it’s a very tall building, so most rooms have a great view of the city, beach or both). The Majestic Hotel is more luxurious with a much fancier and older crowd. It is also a much smaller hotel. The views from the rooms are not great, however, they do have a rooftop bar with views of the city. Both are great options, so it really just comes down to your preference.

 

IMG_0047Our living room at the Majestic Hotel

 

IMG_0048Double doors leading to our bedroom at the Majestic Hotel

 

IMG_0049Our bedroom at the Majestic Hotel

 

IMG_0050Our bathroom at the Majestic Hotel

 

Our new hotel was near our favorite tapas restaurant, Cerveceria Catalana, so we had lunch there for a second day in a row. Had we tried it earlier in the trip, we might have visited even more than that.

 

IMG_4698 2Tapas at Cerveseria Catalana

 

We ended up spending the rest of the day in our hotel. We visited the spa for a massage, the rooftop bar for a drink and then spent the rest of the time figuring out our flights. Since the airline couldn’t guarantee us a seat on the plane the following day, we decided to extend our trip instead. I always do a ton of research and plan out every detail of our trips before visiting, but we were extending our trip to another country with no itinerary and no clean clothes (I rarely over pack, so thank goodness for hotel laundry service). The next morning we headed to Brussels, Belgium for an impromptu 3-day visit.

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2 Comments

  • Reply kathryn December 8, 2015 at 11:13 am

    what area is Cervesia Catalana in? we go next week and hope to try it

    great reviews

    • Reply admin December 8, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      You’re going to love it! It’s in the Exiample neighborhood, just like a block or two off of Passeig de Gracia. If I remember correctly it’s just blocks from Casa Batlló, which is probably on your itinerary, so try to plan it for the same day. Expect to wait for a table when you arrive, both times we had to wait like 20 minutes. Trust me, it’s worth the wait.

      Let me know what you thought of it. I hope you enjoy your trip.

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