“To travel across Spain and finally to reach Barcelona is like drinking a respectable red wine and finishing up with a bottle of champagne.” ~ James A. Michener
A Lively City
Barcelona, in Spain, is such a beautiful city and so full of life. It was not our first time in Barcelona. However, this time we booked our stay in La Ramblas and I liked it. Though it was busy, Paris was worst, therefore not so overwhelming. The location was perfect, right in the center of La Ramblas with La Boquería Market, the Gothic Quarter, Placa Reial, Plaza La Catalunya, and the Barcelona pier, all within walking distance. Our stroll through La Rambla from one end to the other was pleasant, though chilly. We did a little shopping for local products and had some of the local delicacies, too.
Hotel Royal Ramblas
We booked our stay at the Hotel Royal Ramblas and besides the perfect location; it was a decent hotel. The room is modern, nice, clean, and comfortable. Also, no carpets—yay! The linens smelled fresh, too. But again, the bathroom was not. However, it was not as bad as the hotel in Bordeaux. There was a bit of mold in the shower and a few hair strands. Also, I could tell the hotel cleaning crew did not properly mop the floor since I could see the urine stains in front of the toilet. Our room was on the 6th floor. This is the hotel where we had the incident in the elevator I wrote about. If you have not read it and would like to, you can do so here. The overall hotel décor was attractive, and the staff was polite, cooperative, and friendly. They serve breakfast too at an additional cost, but well worth it. Did I mention they have a parking garage at no extra cost? It is quite uncomfortable to drive in and out of, especially when people gathered in front of the garage door and just stare at you when trying to enter the parking garage instead of moving to allow us access.
La Sagrada Familia
Back in 2015, we visited the Basilica of La Sagrada Familia and fell in love with its amazing architecture. Its construction began on March 19, 1882, and its estimated time of completion is in the year 2026. It has come a long way since our last visit in 2015. We opted to buy our tickets online early enough so we could visit the basilica in a time slot that best suited our needs. I am so glad we did because the wait lines were outrageous. The interior is just as impressive as the exterior. It is one place not to be missed in Barcelona. I expect to return to see it fully completed if I am still alive and able in 2026.
We Ventured towards El Tibidabo
Upon a mountain top is an adventure park by the name of El Tibidabo with spectacular views of Barcelona and the pier. We did not know about this place. However, it is impossible to miss it while driving through Barcelona. Once we saw what looked like a castle, it was our mission to find out what it truly was. Therefore, we asked a local and discovered it was a church, Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor, next to an adventure park. The Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor is a neo-Gothic style church which I just realized looks a lot like the Sacré Coeur in Montmartre, Paris. If you are not interested in the park itself, you can still visit the free church square. You will only pay for parking and then take the walk uphill towards the church square, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of Barcelona from any of the two observation decks.
One of the most famous hills in Barcelona is Montjuic. It is where a stunning palace, lovely gardens, and pavilions all come together to offer you a relaxed time. You can also take snapshots of the spectacular panoramic views of the city and the pier of Barcelona. During the evening, the fountain entertains you with a light show. While in Montjuic, we savored a delicious lunch at the mountaintop 5-star restaurant Martinez, a Mediterranean restaurant at Ctra. de Miramar, 38, in Barcelona; while enjoying the panoramic views and sea breeze. I suggest you make a reservation. We were lucky enough to get into a one-hour spot between reservations because they booked it solid.
The Placa Reial is the hub of the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona. It is a public square popular with the locals and the tourists as well. The square is lined with restaurants, pubs, and cafes. A fountain adorns the center and palm trees throughout the square make it an enjoyable place to eat, have a few drinks with your friends, or just people watch either during the day or evening hours. Street performers make their way to the square to put on a show for you until the authorities fetch them away. During the summer, they hold concerts in the square. We enjoyed an evening of drinks and tapas at the Ocaña Restaurante in the square. It was a chilly, rainy night, but that did not deter the people from enjoying their evening at Placa Reial.
We Will be Back Again
There is so much to see and do in Barcelona. On this trip, we did not even cover a fourth of what there is to do. However, it does not mean we didn’t enjoy our time. We loved it! Two days is simply not enough. But that’s okay, it just means we will return to Barcelona. I look forward to my next time around.