Barcelona is an amazing place to visit, no matter if you’re interested in shopping, walks, architecture, food, markets, nature or night life. It can suit all age groups and tastes.
The airport bus took us to Placa de Catalunya, and it was a short walk down the Ramblas to our hostel, Hostal River. Very good location. We had paella in a restaurant in the elegant Plaza Real, filled with palm trees. We got chatting to a table full of Dutch and a couple of middle-aged Arabs, which gave Mark the opportunity to dust off his French.
The next day we went to the Sagrada Familia. The first sight I got of it, coming out of the underground station, took my breath away. What a spectacular Gaudi masterpiece! It was nice seeing the drooping stone carvings on the nativity (birth) facade and the bone-like portico on the passion (death) facade. The inside too was sumptuously decorated with beautiful pillars and stained glass, unbelievable! It is definitely a must-see. Then we made sandwiches with ham, bread and cheese we bought from the supermarket, enjoying a view of the building before taking the metro to see Barcelona beach (windy and raining), and the cable car across the harbour to the large park on the other side. After that was laundrette time (around €14 for a load, wash and dry).
The day after we went to the Nou Camp stadium and explored the Gothic quarter and the Old Cathedral. We also visited another two houses Gaudi designed, one of which is only 5min from the hotel we stayed at.
The final day saw us take underground to Place D’Espanha where we got the train before getting the cable car to Montserrat. There we saw the monastery and the Black Madonna statue. It was a great day. As far as natural wonders are concerned, it was one of the most marvellous places I’ve ever visited. It compares to Cristo Redentor in some ways. However, much more serene and spiritual a place. Great weather and magnificent views. What lovely Spanish countryside!
Various bars, cafés, internet cafés, clothing shops, supermarkets, restaurants, ice cream places and other amenities around the hotel area. However, on the day trip to Montserrat it is worth taking your lunch and snacks with you.
Montserrat was definitely one of the highlights of the trip! What a special place! I loved it there.
Our five day, four night trip to Barcelona cost €451 for two people excluding flights. (Prices accurate as at May 2014).