I am Evgenia and I live in Germany. Currently, I am working as an intern in the marketing department of AB Apartment Barcelona. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I am doing my internship from home, in the city of Cologne. However, I couldn’t resist the temptation of paying a visit to Barcelona! So I packed my suitcase and travelled there for a week. My travel companion was my boyfriend, who was also dying to see this beautiful city.
Memories of a trip fade so quickly, so I decided to keep a journal about my trip, to share with the AB community! Now, I will tell you about my experience and everything you can visit in Barcelona within a week. I hope you choose to travel to this beautiful city as soon as you can and put some of my advice into practice!
Day 1- Friday
Our journey began on Friday, November 12th at 3:30am, when we got up to go to Cologne Airport. The flight was at 7am in the morning, and within 2 hours we were in Barcelona at the El- Prat airport, only 15km from the city centre.
At the airport we took the Aerobús, which took us to Plaza Catalunya in 25 minutes. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to transfer from the airport to the centre, read our blog on the best tips on saving money during your stay in Barcelona.
In the morning:
From Plaça de Catalunya you can directly access La Rambla, the most famous and touristic street in Barcelona. As the check-in of the apartment was not until 3pm, we decided to walk along the Rambla and visit the Boqueria Market, the central market known for its wide variety of fish, fruits and vegetables and all kinds of foods. We decided to eat some tapas of Iberian ham with cheese there. The market is a very popular tourist attraction that, without a doubt, you should visit during your stay.
After lunch, we walked to the apartment, located in the Gràcia neighbourhood, a modern and lively neighbourhood in the north of the city. On the way, we visited two of the most important works of the architect Antoni Gaudí: Casa Batlló and La Pedrera, which impressed us with their spectacular facades. Both monuments should be on your must- visit list in Barcelona.
Upon arriving at the apartment, we left our belongings in the rooms and went to a cafeteria, where we had a beer and ate grilled prawns, a typical dish from Spain. There is nothing better than having a cool drink in the sun and enjoying the atmosphere of Barcelona!
In the afternoon:
The first day in a new city is very exciting. We wanted to discover as much as possible, so, after lunch, we went out again to walk around the centre, in search of more tourist attractions.
We went to the Sagrada Familia, the emblematic work of Barcelona, which is also a World Heritage Site! To appreciate its full beauty, you must visit each of the parts and corners of the basilica, each one more surprising than the last. Don’t miss out on this majesty!
To our surprise, the Crypt of the Sagrada Familia was already closed when we arrived, so we left it for another day. On leaving, we visited the area and found a tapas bar with incredible views of the Sagrada Familia. There we had some tapas and fresh sangria.
Finally, I want to mention the Parish of Sant Francesc de Sales, which we found along the way. It is a very beautiful church built between 1882 and 1885, its neo-Gothic facades are impressive!
Day 2: Saturday
We got up at 09:00am and went around the neighbourhood to find somewhere to have breakfast. Next to the apartment, we found the SMS Delicies cafeteria, where we had a very comfortable breakfast. For two coffees, a freshly squeezed orange juice, a salmon sandwich with avocado and a ham sandwich, we only paid € 14. If you stay in the Gràcia area, I highly recommend this place!
For Saturday and Sunday, we plan to take the Barcelona Bus Turístic tourist bus, to visit the most important tourist attractions in the city. That day, we were very lucky with the weather: 19° and a lot of sun, which for us “Germans” was ideal.
We went to Plaza España and passed by the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc. Going up the stairs, you will find the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. In this area we find a beautiful park, perfect to rest and enjoy nature. Then we went up to the museum, to admire the incredible view of the city. We stayed for a while listening to the sound of a busker and his guitar. Don’t be in a hurry, enjoy every moment in Barcelona!
After an hour or more in the area, we went down to the Arenas Shopping Centre, which used to be a bullring, until, in 1977, bullfights were banned. Now it is a very modern shopping centre that offers tourists a circular viewpoint of all of Barcelona. Admission is free and you can go up the stairs or the elevator.
From Plaça Espanya, we took our bus again to the Estátua de Colón, in the port of Barcelona, a place to walk, enjoy the breeze from the Mediterranean Sea, watch the boats and eat well. In the Columbus Statue area, there is almost always a second-hand market where you can buy a souvenir of your trip or a gift. We take advantage of the good weather to take a walk through the port to Barceloneta beach, an area with very beautiful beaches and many restaurants to taste Spanish food. In addition, it is the best area to try fish and seafood!
From here, we walked to the Gothic Quarter, known for its narrow, winding streets. We went out to the Rambla in search of something sweet to eat. We ate a Bubble Waffle filled with caramel and nuts (too sweet) and continued walking towards our apartment. On the way, we heard drums and music, so we decided to find out what it was. We found a lot of people parading down the street, holding the structure of an animal similar to a dragon or a demon. In the end, it turned out to be a traditional festival in the Gràcia neighbourhood. It was the perfect ending to our second day in Barcelona!
Day 3: Sunday
We had breakfast at a place in Gràcia. Afterwards, we went down to the Pedrera station to catch the tourist bus and go along the southern route of the city. We got off at the Parc de Ciutadella station, where we took incredibly beautiful photos of the fountain and the statue of the horses. We walked there for a few hours.
From the park, we went to the Arc de Triomf (perfect for your Instagram photos), where there is always a street show or stalls.
From there, we returned to Plaza Cataluña and took the blue route with the bus, to get to know the northern neighbourhoods of the city. We passed by the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Parc Güell and the Barça Stadium. When it started to get dark, we went back to La Pedrera.
At 8pm, we had booked to practice Ax Throwing in Barcelona Ax Throwing, the only place that offers this activity in Barcelona. It is only a few steps from Plaça de Catalunya. This place is suitable for those who like adventure and adrenaline.
Day 4: Monday
It was the first day that I was able to work in person at the AB Apartment Barcelona office, who welcomed me kindly while my boyfriend worked in the apartment. The working hours were until noon. So, during those days, we stayed after work in Plaza Cataluña, to continue visiting corners of Barcelona.
First, eat! On the Rambla, there are restaurants that offer lunch menus for tourists with typical Spanish food at reasonable prices. We found a restaurant where we ate a pasta dish for €12 and then we went down the Rambla and into Plaza Reial, one of the liveliest and most atmospheric squares in Barcelona, especially at night!
From there, we took the metro to Gaudí’s Park Güell. If you want to visit it, be prepared for a rocky and steep path. Put on some comfortable shoes! In the park you can walk, observe the fountains, enjoy the most impressive views of the city or watch a beautiful sunset. To enter the park you have to pay a ticket (as in most attractions in Barcelona).
To visit the city and move around, we bought the public transport card Hola Barcelona Travel Card for 4 days, which costs € 30.80 / person. If you want to know about public transport in Barcelona, we will tell you everything in our blog.
Day 5: Tuesday
As on Monday, we worked until one in the afternoon and we met at two to go to eat. That day we wanted to eat paella and we went to a restaurant near Plaza de Catalunya.
Then we went back to the Montjuïc park, next to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, and we visited the Montjuïc Castle, which is a little further up. To get there there are 2 options: the first is to take the metro, change to the funicular and then the cable car, or the second is to go up on foot. We choose the first option, because it is the most comfortable and fastest. Travelling by funicular and cable car is a lot of fun and gives you incredible views of the entire city. The funicular ticket is included in the price of the Hola Barcelona Travel Card and you only have to pay €13.40 for the cable car.
Upon reaching the top, we walked around the castle and had panoramic views of Barcelona. The perfect place to take photos, have a picnic or have some wine!
Later, we decided to go back and go to the Gothic Quarter to eat some churros with chocolate (if you aren’t familiar, you have to try them!) Walking around this neighbourhood at night is very special too, you will find many original shops and bars!
We ended the day by going to Gaudí’s Casa Vicens, the first house he built in Barcelona and for this reason it differs greatly from his other works.
Day 6: Wednesday
We decided to work from the same apartment, to be able to finish earlier, since we had booked a visit to the Hospital de Santa Creu y de Sant Pau, which is open to the public during the week, but only until two in the afternoon, and we didn’t want to miss it!
My advice is that you check the hours of the sites you want to visit in advance, since the hours of each site vary a lot.
The Hospital de Santa Creu i Sant Pau is the largest building complex in Europe, built by the Catalan architect Lluís Domènech i Muntaner, Antoní Gaudí’s professor. From the hospital tower, you can see Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia, connected to the hospital by a single street. To visit this complex of clinics, you’d better take a few hours to enjoy the peace and quiet, and look at all the mosaics and statuettes of angels. With an audio guide you can better follow the route.
One tip: visit the hospital first and then go down the street to visit the Sagrada Familia (if you haven’t visited it yet).
When we left there, we wanted to take advantage of the sun and the good weather, so we decided to go to Barceloneta and walk along the beach. There is plenty of space for sports, you will even find volleyball courts! In the end, we decided to play a match, so we joined a team … The best way to meet new people in town!
The plan for the next day was clear: beach, beach, and more beach …
Day 7: Thursday
Our last day in Barcelona… Everything good must come to an end!
When we finished work at one o’clock, we met in La Barceloneta to enjoy the last rays of the sun before returning to Germany and eating some tapas. Also, we were playing volleyball, like the day before.
At four in the afternoon, we went to Plaza Catalunya, where we met with our Free Tour group to take a guided tour of the old town. This was recommended to me by a colleague from the office. The Free Tour offers free visits to the city (also with free cancellation) and each person pays, if they feel like it, whatever tip they consider. You can also make similar visits with Civitatis.
After the visit, we went to the supermarket to buy bread and ham to prepare breakfast the next day. Finally, we went back to the apartment to pack our bags, since the next day we were going back to Germany.
As you can see, in Barcelona there are many things to see and do, even though we didn’t have time to see everything that we would have liked. Therefore, plan your trip well and you will make the most of your stay in Barcelona, and do not worry about a little rain, Barcelona is perfect in all seasons of the year!
My tips to enjoy your trip to Barcelona to the fullest:
- Travel outside of the summer season: At this time there are fewer people and you can enjoy the tourist attractions without spending a lot of time queuing. Also, the flights are cheaper!
- Book your tickets in advance: this way you will enter without queuing and waste less time.
- Hire a free tour: they offer guided tours of the city, and they are both in Spanish and English. They will tell you details of the city unknown to tourists and they will give you good advice on where to eat or what other activities you can do in the city.
- Get around by bike or on foot: It’s the best way to discover the city… And on top of that, you save money!
- Buy the Hola Barcelona Travel Card: If the previous advice has not convinced you, buy this transport card. This way you will get to other places faster and save yourself a lot of time (and foot pain!)
- Make a list of the attractions and activities you want to visit or do in Barcelona, look for them on the map and make a plan.
- Visit viewpoints and observe Barcelona both by day and by night: they offer you spectacular views of the city that you will never forget.
- Bring a blanket to be on the beach and spend a few hours enjoying the sea.
- Do not eat only in the most touristic places, go to the most local places: you will not only save money, you will also taste authentic Spanish food!
- Take part in local festivals: it’s the best way to feel the rhythm of life here in Barcelona.
- If you know Spanish, talk to the people of the city (even the waiters!): It will not only help you to practice and improve your Spanish, but you will also get useful tips
- Don’t spend money on expensive hotels! Renting an apartment in Barcelona is the best option to save money, you will have much more privacy and it will be the best way to rest after a long day exploring the city😉