When I sent a link with cheap flight prices to Barcelona to my husband saying “Birthday present?” I was semi-kidding but when he sent me back a receipt for our tickets I was blown away. I had only ever been to Europe once before (remember my Paris trip?) so I was really excited. What was even more exciting was that it was going to be a trip just for us. I’m so grateful Aaron’s moms were able to fly out here and be with the girls while I enjoyed the best birthday a girl turning 30 could ask for. So here it is, my full Barcelona travel guide. So go ahead and click through to see everywhere we ate, went, stayed, and the best spots to snag a great Instagram picture.!
The Cotton House hotel is worth every penny you spend. They have a rooftop pool, excellent hospitality (that is usually not common in most European cities), a delicious restaurant in house and I think it was the perfect location for exploring the city. My only complaint was that we didn’t specify we wanted an exterior room so our room had no view at all and was kind of dark. So make sure you ask for an exterior room so you get a window and pretty view!
For the second half of our stayed we checked into the SoHo House. I had no idea you could stay there if you aren’t a member (and I’m not sure if this applies to every club) but this was a really nice change of pace for the remainder of our trip. It definitely felt more “American” but we had a stunning room with Marina views, really nice bath products, and super helpful staff that gave us great recommendations for the rest of our stay. It is such a beautiful property that only opened about 7 months ago so definitely stay there if you have the chance.
I also walked through a few other hotels and would recommend the Mercer (if you want to splurge), Hotel Brummel and Casa Bonay (for moderate options) and Casa Camper (for a bargain). We also played around with staying at an Airbnb (my favorites were this and this).
My best advice for landing in a new city is just to hit the ground running. Our first day in town, we wandered around the hotel and immediate surrounding area just to get our bearings. We drank a ton of coffee, grabbed some snacks on our hotel roof, and ate at late dinner just down the street (where I literally fell asleep). Which brings me to my next topic…where you should eat!
A Barcelona travel guide wouldn’t be complete without a complete breakdown of all the food. I’m not lying when I say that all I did was eat this trip. We honestly walked from one food spot to the next. And we had so much more than just tapas. I’m going to break it down for you guys into a few categories to make it a little easier.
Looking for fine dining to make the trip extra special? Try getting a reservation at Tickets, ABaC, Sauc or Petit Comite. Headed to the beach? Check out La Barraca or Pez Vela for my favorite beach spots.
Aside from the food, what made me totally fall in love with this city were the people and the scenery. We spent hours walking down the most charming alleys and would stumble onto a beautiful church, a restaurant, a playground, a plaza to stop and rest our feet. Barcelona was also very clean, safe, and beautiful. The architecture in this city was so incredible. If you aren’t familiar with Antoni Gaudí and his work, look it up. I’m not sure if it was because I grew up near the beach but his work really spoke to me and I could spend hours in his houses.
There’s the obvious must see’s you’ll find on every Barcelona travel guide…
Park Güell (and Gaudi’s house in the park)
Arc de Triomphe
Catedral de Barcelona
And for the not so obvious ….
Thank you guys so much for coming along with me on this journey. I hope my Barcelona travel guide was helpful. You can always see more of my photos from Barcelona and the rest of my travels on Instagram and I can’t wait to bring you along to the next one! Where should I head next? I loved Barcelona so much that now I’m dying to see the rest of Spain – Madrid, Seville, Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza! Any favorites?