Trip Highlights: Barcelona, Spain
Category : Uncategorized
Though comprehensive trip reports can be interesting, I find them to be too much and too long to read, and often times, boring. So that’s why I’ll provide some highs and lows.
That being said, I’m more than happy to chat about specific aspects of the trip and location.
A Brief Intro
Part of our motivation to head to Barcelona from London was two fold:
- I booked this return trip pretty last minute and due to the Thanksgiving holiday, there were limited return options; the flights from Barcelona to NYC were direct and had availability that was business class (though I’d have flown back economy, too).
- Barcelona is located near the Mediterranean making it one of the warmer destinations in Europe at this time of year.
What I Liked About Barcelona
The Art and Architecture
So much about Barcelona is centered around it’s history with art and architecture – think Picasso and Cubism. Of course there are other things to do there, but it seems that a lot of the tourist industry is built around some of the more weird and interesting architectural designs you’ll come across.
In fact, most of the souvenirs had similar mosaic motifs that mimic the architectural design around the city.
Here’s my recommended order for seeing the architectural masterpieces of Gaudi:
- Parc Guell – Though we saw this on our second day, there is a guided tour (about 10 – 15 people) that is relatively short at one hour and very much worth it. Usually I avoid this tours, but we found it to be informative not just about the location but about Barcelona’s premier architect, Gaudi. Because the city features so many of his works, this tour will lay the groundwork for understanding the other sites. I’d defiitely do this first!
- Casa Mila/La Pedrera – Though overpriced, admission includes a tour and access to the roof which provides spectacular views of the city and some truly mind bending architecture by Gaudi.
- Casa Batllo – We didn’t pay to go up, but the beauty is really the outside of the building.
- La Sagrada Familia – An extremely massive church, also designed by Gaudi, but never finished due to his death before completion. It’s currently slated to be finished, based on Gaudi’s detailed notes in 2026.
Other cool sites include the Gothic Quarter and the Picasso Museum. (The Picasso Museum is free on Sunday’s from 3:00 PM – 8:00 PM. Definitely worth the wait in line!)
Unlike London, I found the city to be fairly inexpensive. Rides to/from the airport cost about $35 – compared to a cab from London-Heathrow to the city which can be more than double. The attractions, food and the metro were also pretty cheap.
Though the metro there is perfectly fine, downtown Barcelona is pretty condense (I guess this doesn’t make it practical to have a lot of metro stations?). The city – and the most popular sites – are located within 20-30 minutes of each other. Sure, the metro works, too, but the weather was really pleasant for walking around. It’s also a great way to get a feel for a city.
What I Didn’t Like
Like many cities in Europe, Barcelona is probably a bit more fun in the warmer seasons. There’s a beach that gets pretty crowded in the summer months, but it being November and all…
It truly is a an art lovers paradise, but you can hit most of the popular places in 2 – 3 days.
Bottom Line – Is it worth a visit?
I love experiencing new cities and cultures, so yes, I would say it is definitely worth the visit. However, unless you’re taking day trips to the surrounding cities, you don’t need much more than 2 – 3 days to see the best of the city.