EUROPE, HOTEL REVIEW

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.

Riding the Tibidabo Funicular, an old train on a super old track, up to Tibidabo in Barcelona, Spain.The 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.

The view of the city from 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 of Barcelona, Spain.View 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.
The amusement park overlooking Barcelona, Spain in 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 of the city.Tibidabo 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.

The Sagrat Cor overlooking the Tibidabo Amusement Park  in 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 of Barcelona Spain.The Sagrat Cor overlooking the Tibidabo Amusement Park
The view of the amusement park in Tibidabo overlooking Barcelona, Spain from the Sagrat Cor (the church at the summit). Tibidabo is a mountain with an amusement park and church. It is the highest point in the city with incredible sweeping views of the city.View of the Tibidabo Amusement Park and Barcelona from the Sagrat Cor
The view of Barcelona, Spain from the Sagrat Cor (the church at the summit) in Tibidabo. Tibidabo is a mountain with an amusement park and church. It is the highest point in the city with incredible sweeping views of the city.Don’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!
The view of Barcelona, Spain from the Sagrat Cor (the church at the summit) in Tibidabo. Tibidabo is a mountain with an amusement park and church. It is the highest point in the city with incredible sweeping views of the city.View of Barcelona from the other side of the Sagrat Cor
The view of the amusement park in Tibidabo overlooking Barcelona, Spain from the Sagrat Cor (the church at the summit). Tibidabo is a mountain with an amusement park and church. It is the highest point in the city with incredible sweeping views of the city.I 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.

Climbing the endless swirling staircases up to the very top of the Sagrat Cor to see the very best view of Barcelona, Spain. Tibidabo is a mountain with an amusement park and church. It is the highest point in the city with incredible sweeping views of the city.Neverending stairways up to the top of the Sagrat Cor
Made it all the way up to the Jesus statue at the very top of the Sagrat Cor (the church at the summit). Tibidabo is a mountain with an amusement park and church. It is the highest point in the city with incredible sweeping views of the city.Left: 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.

Lunch by the beach at CDLC (Carpe Diem Lounge Club) in the Barceloneta neighborhood of Barcelona, Spain. CDLC outdoor seating in Barceloneta
Lunch by the beach at CDLC (Carpe Diem Lounge Club) in the Barceloneta neighborhood of Barcelona, Spain. Lobster 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.

Casino Barcelona- right in front of the Hotel Arts in Barceloneta. The beachside neighborhood in Barcelona, Spain.Casino Barcelona- right in front of the Hotel Arts
Dinner at Pla in Barcelona, Spain.Dinner 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.

Breakfast at Arola in the Hotel Arts in the Barceloneta neighborhood of Barcelona, Spain.Breakfast at Arola in our hotel
Strolling through Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain.Strolling 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.

You can't miss the famous La Boqueria, a vibrant fresh market on Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain. They sell everything.... fresh fruit, seafood, smoothies, candy, chocolates, etc.Entrance of La Boqueria
You can't miss the famous La Boqueria, a vibrant fresh market on Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain. They sell everything.... fresh fruit, seafood, smoothies, candy, chocolates, etc.Smoothies at La Boqueria
You can't miss the famous La Boqueria, a vibrant fresh market on Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain. They sell everything.... fresh fruit, seafood, smoothies, candy, chocolates, etc.Candy at La Boqueria
You can't miss the famous La Boqueria, a vibrant fresh market on Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain. They sell everything.... fresh fruit, seafood, smoothies, candy, chocolates, etc.More desserts at La Boqueria
You can't miss the famous La Boqueria, a vibrant fresh market on Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain. They sell everything.... fresh fruit, seafood, smoothies, candy, chocolates, etc.Fresh seafood at La Boqueria
You can't miss the famous La Boqueria, a vibrant fresh market on Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain. They sell everything.... fresh fruit, seafood, smoothies, candy, chocolates, etc.Fruit 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?

Strolling down Passeig de Gracia to see Casa Batlló, one of Antoni Gaudí famous architectural works in Barcelona, Spain.Casa 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.

My go to tapas restaurant in Barcelona, Spain is always Cerveceria Catalana! It’s an inexpensive tapa place that is always packed and now I know why. I always recommend it and everyone loves it. You don't want to miss it!Tapas 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.

The forever under construction La Segrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain.La Segrada Familia under construction
The forever under construction La Segrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain.La 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.

My favorite seafood paella in Barcelona, Spain was at Can Majo in Barceloneta.Seafood 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.

Our beautiful room at the The Majestic Hotel in Barcelona, Spain. It is centrally located, right on Passeig de Gracia. This hotel is extremely luxurious and the service is wonderful.Our living room at the Majestic Hotel
Our beautiful room at the The Majestic Hotel in Barcelona, Spain. It is centrally located, right on Passeig de Gracia. This hotel is extremely luxurious and the service is wonderful.Double doors leading to our bedroom at the Majestic Hotel
Our beautiful room at the The Majestic Hotel in Barcelona, Spain. It is centrally located, right on Passeig de Gracia. This hotel is extremely luxurious and the service is wonderful.Our bedroom at the Majestic Hotel
Our beautiful room at the The Majestic Hotel in Barcelona, Spain. It is centrally located, right on Passeig de Gracia. This hotel is extremely luxurious and the service is wonderful.Our 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.

My go to tapas restaurant in Barcelona, Spain is always Cerveceria Catalana! It’s an inexpensive tapa place that is always packed and now I know why. I always recommend it and everyone loves it. You don't want to miss it!Tapas 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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