Everything You Need to Know About Erin’s Fabulous Weekend Getaway in Barcelona

Travel to Barcelona

As a little girl, my father used to dance me around the house singing Jo Amar’s “Oh Barcelona!” at the top of his lungs. It seemed like such a magical place back then. In person, the Catalan capital does not disappoint. Barcelona is a bustling city with a thriving cultural center. It lives up to its magical reputation with amazing museums, incredible restaurants and also a vibrant nightlife. There’s a reason many artists have dedicated songs to the city including Freddie Mercury and Ed Sheeran. Erin and her family took advantage of the magical sights, the shopping, and the food when they were living abroad last year. To help inspire your bucket-list trip to Spain, here’s everything you need to know about Erin’s fabulous weekend getaway in Barcelona.

You can read all about the Busbee family’s exciting excursions abroad while living in Spain, here.

Inside La Sagrada Família
La Sagrada Família

What to Do

Barcelona has some of the most unique and inspiring architecture in the world. A tour of the city’s parks, museums and churches is a must. Start your excursions with tours of Antoni Gaudí’s whimsical architecture, including Casa Batlló. It’s so easy to see why it’s been likened to Claude Monet’s Water Lilies. In addition, the dreamy structure is covered in shards of stained glass that shimmer blue and green.

It’s practically illegal to go to Barcelona and not visit La Sagrada Família, Gaudí’s extraordinary temple dedicated to the Holy Family. It’s also known as the world’s largest unfinished church. Catedral de Barcelona might not have the hype of La Sagrada Família, but it’s a must-see. The giant temple looms large against narrow lanes and matchbox shops. Then, round out your church-hopping experiences with Santa Maria del Mar. Ask any local to pick their favorite church and it would most likely be this Gothic beauty.

Sights To See in Barcelona
Park Guell, photo courtesy of BCN.Travel

Sights To See

Park Güell is an almost make-believe landscape. And home to Barcelona’s famous mosaic lizard and spiral towers that look like fairground slides. Note that you need to book tickets in advance online and arrive promptly for your allotted time slot.

If you want some fun family activities, check out Tibidabo fairground. It’s a charming amusement park on a summit next to the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor. You’ll love its retro-styled attractions, such as a Ferris wheel with color-pop seating pods, built for the views as much as the screams.

La Rambla
La Rambla, photo courtesy of

La Rambla is Barcelona’s most famous street. A nearly one-mile pedestrianized boulevard from Plaça Cataluyna to Port Vell, it’s a selfie-lovers dream! A casual stroll brings you to old-school florists, gelaterías, and delicious candy stalls.

Lastly, but certainly not the end of the list of things to do, is the Picasso Museum. Spread over five palaces, there is a downstairs, a courtyard and Gothic archways that lead into white studios that illuminate his works. Visitors flock here to see Picasso’s work, but the special setting is why they come back again and again.

El Palauet Luxury Suite
El Palauet Luxury Suite, photo courtesy of

Where The Busbees Stayed

Between the towering Gaudi architecture and the bustling beach that splays outward from the tail end of Las Ramblas, Barcelona melds the medieval with the modern. There’s no better way to experience that than via a well-curated collection of hotels. Erin and her family stayed at El Palauet Barcelona. The rooms are so beautiful! Erin took the opportunity to shoot some great photos in her room which you can see here. It’s located on Passeig de Grácia, one of the major avenues in Barcelona full of designer retailers and famous architecture.

Other Places To Stay

Few hotels capture Barcelona’s glorious heritage quite like El Palace Hotel Barcelona. The former Ritz retains a Baroque opulence throughout. From the stately marble-columned entryway to the ballrooms dripping with ornate chandeliers to the vast main hall. You’ll find elegant mirrors, gilt, and Louis XVI-style furniture.

The landmark Hotel Arts occupies all 43 floors of Barcelona’s joint-tallest building. Though celebrities have enjoyed eye-popping views from one of the duplex penthouse suites, it’s also very possible to stay here for less than $250 a night.

Design-lovers flock to Barcelona and the The Hoxton, Pobelnou is likely to be the place they book. From the minute you step foot into the open-plan bar, restaurant, and reception, you can’t help but marvel at the inspiring decor. There’s a range of options to suit various budgets, and if you’re looking for something special be sure to book a room with a view of La Sagrada Familia.

El Quim de la Boqueria | Travel to Barcelona
El Quim de la Boqueria, photo courtesy of Alamy

Where to Dine

Forget the awe-inspiring Gaudi architecture. The number one reason to visit Barcelona is the food. Few cities in the world can rival the Catalan capital for its gastronomic offerings, which range from world-renowned Michelin stars to unassuming tapas bars, and everything in between.

Casual Dining

For lunch and a can’t-miss atmosphere, plan a visit to La Boqueria. It’s Barcelona’s oldest market (started in 1217) and today houses more than 200 stands. The ultimate foodie can revel in traders’ shouts, the clink of glasses, and sing-song greetings, “Holaaaa!” What will really get you is the smell. Ocean-salty, freshly fried fish, rows of baked goods, fresh fruits and so much more!

Despite being featured in pretty much every guide to Barcelona Tapas ever written, Bar Cañete has deservedly maintained its reputation as a local joint. Come early and surround yourself with tourists, but at Spanish dinner time (10 pm), most of your fellow diners are speaking Catalan.

Billed as the vegetarian restaurant that is “veggie for non-veggies,” The Green Spot does indeed manage to please vegetarians and carnivores alike—ideal if you’ve indulged in a few too many plates of fried croquettes and calamari while in town.

Alkimia restaurant
Alkimia, photo courtesy of Condé Nast Traveler

Fine Dining

For finer dining, Michelin-starred Alkimia’s menu is made up of a balanced series of dishes with flavors and textures blended together seamlessly. Chef Jordi Vila has a particular affection for the sea, and it shows in dishes like the razor clams, hazelnut hollandaise, and sherry suquet (or Catalan seafood stew).

Indulge all your darkest carnivorous desires at Solomillo, a meat-lovers’ paradise. “Solomillo” means “sirloin steak,” and theirs is dubbed the best steak in Barcelona. The menu is customizable. Pick your type of beef, weight, and how you want it cooked, plus optional sauces and accompaniments.

Is Barcelona on your travel bucket-list? Please share if you’ve already visited and any recommendations you may have in the comments below.

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