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Sunday, 28 January 2018

Barcelona Travel Guide

Hello, happy Sunday (if you're reading this on a Sunday of course...)! I hope everyone is well. I unfortunately have not been 100% the last couple of weeks fighting through the coughing and sneezing, myself and Tom took a trip to Barcelona! We had such a fabulous time and enjoyed every second of it. I certainly was not going to let this cold defeat me. Having said that, I would love to go back and experience the city again (minus the Lemsip). Perhaps one summer we will head back and maybe even stay closer to the beach because we loved it that much! I thought in light of my very speedy weekend there, I would follow up with a few tips and tricks on what to do during a weekend in Barcelona...enjoy! 

| How to TRAVEL to Barcelona |

Travelling from Manchester Airport, we found quick and easy direct flights which were also fairly cheap. We flew with Ryan Air and unfortunately our return flight got a little caught up in the notorious Ryan Air cancellations that recently occurred. We flew out Saturday early morning and were due to fly back Monday evening. Unfortunately as a result of the cancelled flights, our return trip was brought forward to Monday morning. In hindsight, it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Travelling to Barcelona in January, the temperature was around 17-18 degrees, making it perfect ambling temperature which meant we got everything we wanted to do done within the short weekend. Having said that, I certainly don't feel like I have 'been there, done that'. The short and affordable flight makes Barcelona an easy destination to return to in the warmer months even if just to visit purely for the food, sun and sangria. 

Travelling from the airport, we jumped in a taxi and stayed right in the heart of the city, with the journey lasting around 25 minutes and costing 30-40 euros. During our stay, we mostly walked however as we wanted to fit in a flying visit to the Park Guell, we took a taxi there and back (each cost around 9-10 euros). If your visit to Barcelona was any longer than a weekend and you're an avid hiker then by all means walk it, however as the taxi on route was on a constant incline, we were so glad we made the decision to drive.

| Where to STAY in Barcelona |

On this trip, we stayed right in the heart of the city just a stone's throw away from all the high street stores including Zara, Sephora and Uniqlo. Travelling in January, it was the perfect place to stay however during the warmer months we would be tempted to revisit and stay closer to the beach. Having said that, the walk to the beach was only a 20-30 minute walk. We stayed in the Hotel Midmost, what caught my attention when booking this hotel via initially was the decor. The modern moroccan style interior with a focus on whites golds and navys, I fell in love with every little detail (and we are ey eing up those moroccan style bathroom tiles for our next house!). Right from the moment we first stepped into the hotel, the staff were friendly, very helpful when booking tickets and went the extra mile by giving us a complimentary room upgrade, free chocolates and free breakfast! 

| What to EAT in Barcelona |

One word...TAPAS! Every bar and restaurant we stumbled across featured one of our favourite dining style of tapas, tapas and more tapas! We tried so many new dishes and filled up on all types of Spanish specialities. The two places we went to and would highly recommend were El Viti (on route to see La Sagrada Familia) and Ciudad Condal. Both were busy and to avoid evening queues at Ciudad Condal, we dined at around 7pm. Having said that, only then did we luck out that a larger group happened to be leaving so we could be seated straight away. We then ordered a wine (or two) and paced ourselves through an entire feast but hey...when in Barcelona right? ;) Final tip...always end the meal, with churros!

| What to DO in Barcelona |

So many things to see and do all within a weekend. I was sceptical but it is doable. There's definitely lots I'm sure we didn't see however we did everything I was hoping to and still had time to do my favourite...wander and get lost! The three main things I wanted to do were to visit La Sagrada Familia, the beach and finally the Park Guell. Gaudi clearly makes a strong impression on your visit wherever you end up. 

La Sagrada Familia cost us 15 euros each and was pre-booked by our hotel upon our arrival for a specific time slot. Queues were not too busy for us however we weren't travelling in peak season so it may be advisory to prebook in summer. The Park Guell, as previously mentioned was a fair walk so in the shorter space of time that we had, we chose to take a taxi. At 8.50 euros entry each, I'm glad I saw it but quite honestly wouldn't rush back. We in fact preferred the walk around the outskirts of the Park which was free of charge and had much better views over looking the city. Finally, a visit to the beach saw luxury yachts and of course the impressive W Hotel that stands out like a shard of glass from the water. As beautiful as it is, it did seem a fair walk away from the city and may be better to book there if you're after a beach holiday in the summer. We also stumbled across a flea market which to Tom is all 'tat' but I was in my element. I would have loved to have found a little keepsake but with a 'hangry' man by your side and not much spare luggage space we swiftly moved on. I will however be back one day...perhaps then with a big suitcase ;)

A final place I'd been recommended to visit was the Gothic Quarter. The cathedral here stood out so much that we were just as impressed if not even more so than our trip to La Sagrada Familia. WELL worth a visit and the entire area is surrounded by narrow streets to get lost in, fashion and beauty shops, art galleries and of course, more tapas bars! In addition to the Gothic Quarter, the well known Las Ramblas was an enjoyable walk simply for a browse (with tourist prices to bear in mind). However there was a shop I discovered called Friday's Project that I fell in love with. & Other Stories meets Zara price tags = my heaven! A final tip I would point out would be that as with most European cities, Sunday meant that many high street stores were closed, as was a fantastic looking food market called La Boqueria which it's safe to say, we'd be going back just to experience that! We did feel like we missed out there and Tom is still huffing and puffing at the fact we missed it...I say all the more reason to book in another trip!

| What to WEAR in Barcelona |

Travelling to Barcelona in January was somewhat of a surprise in terms of weather. Whether we got lucky or not, we had bright blue skies the entire weekend we travelled (20th-22nd) and temperatures reached 18-20 degrees. By the beach it definitely felt a little cooler as a result of the breeze but most of our time was spent wandering the city itself with the tall buildings blocking that sea breeze. What's more, the evening temperatures only dropped by 2 or 3 degrees so we only put on one extra layer for the evenings and were absolutely fine. I spent most of the weekend in jeans, ankle boots and a jumper with no need for any other layers. On one occasion I did buy a t-shirt to wear when the sun was shining so hard that a jumper became too warm. If you're looking to explore the city over a shorter period of time and therefore walking around a lot, I'd just ensure your footwear is comfortable and don't doubt January as a travel month. I'd also not bother with evening attire or heels, whatever you wear during the day will easily take you through to the evening as the evening attire remains fairly casual over there.

Here are links to some of the things I wore:

Missguided High Waisted Black Jeans -
PLT Fringe Jumper - 
Ralph Lauren Ankle Boots (similar) -
French Connection White Chunky Knit Jumper (similar) -
All Saints Long Black Jacket (similar) -
M&S Black Fedora Hat (similar) -
Nude Coach Cross Body Bag (similar) -

Vlogging Camera - 

In light of all the information, I can of course only talk from my personal experience. If you want to see my BARCELONA VLOG you can do on my Youtube Channel here. I've also mentioned in a few previous videos that myself and Tom are going to look into European city weekend breaks more this year so any suggestions of cities to visit, comment down below! 

Much love

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