Lately, I haven’t had much time to sit down and gather my thoughts. I finally have some down time so I thought I’d post about my latest trip before heading off on my last adventure of the year. Tomorrow, I leave for Amsterdam and then I continue on to Germany, Poland and Denmark before heading back to Canada just in time for Christmas. Back in October, I visited Barcelona for some rest and relaxation in the sunshine (I’ve never been so happy to see the sun)! Barcelona is such a great city to explore; there is so much to see and do and it’s easy to get from one attraction to the next either by walking or using the metro. If you’re visiting for a few days, it’s worth purchasing a T10 card that will allow you to take 10 journeys, saving you a few euros. Here are some of my favourite things about Barcelona…
- Sagrada Família – This stunning Roman Catholic church was designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Work began on the church in 1882 and it continues to this day. It is expected to be completed by 2026.
2. Mercado de la Boqueria – Located just off La Ramba, this market has every kind of food you can think of…and much more! I visited the Mercado daily; marveling at all the colourful and unique displays (I may have purchased a few items as well – who could resist all those sweet treats?) 🤤
3. Park Güell – This is a public park designed by none other than Antoni Gaudí. It is located on Carmel Hill and is filled with sculptures, buildings and a museum dedicated to Gaudí himself. I had seen many photos of Gaudí’s work but in person it is another story; I really felt like I was in a Tim Burton movie!
4. Montserrat – One of the most incredible things I’ve ever done. From Barcelona city, you can take the train part of the way and then a train or cable car up to the top part of the mountain. I chose the train because I’m not great with confined spaces. It was a little scary at times as there is no railing separating the train from the cliffs below but don’t worry – it’s perfectly safe! It really was a spectacular ride up – the sun was peaking through the clouds; providing a surreal view of the mountain range in the distance.
Many people make the journey to this mountain top monastery to see the Black Madonna. Religious retreats also take place here, as visitors participate in overnight hikes in order to see the sunrise from atop the mountain. Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey was one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen; the architecture is breathtaking. Currently, there are approximately 70 monks residing at the monastery. I’ve learnt that you do not have to be religious to appreciate the beauty of a place such as this; I will never forget how peaceful it made me feel.
5. Museu Picasso – I am an art lover so to see a collection this extensive of Picasso’s work was really incredible. The museum houses over 4,000 works by Picasso; including The First Communion and Science and Charity.
6. Palau de la Música Catalana – This UNESCO World Heritage Site and concert hall was built in the early 1900’s by Lluís Domènech i Montaner. The exterior of the building is incredibly beautiful, especially at night. Guided tours of its interior are offered every 30 minutes daily in a variety of languages.
7. Casa Vicens & Casa Batlló – Casa Vicens is Gaudí’s first masterpiece. It was his first commissioned work; paving the way for his future architectural success. It is currently a museum and cultural space that allows visitors from far and wide to see just how talented and creative Gaudí was. Casa Batlló was another masterpiece built by Gaudí in 1904. The details of his work are really something to see in person; photos could not possibly do them justice.
8. Tapas! – Barcelona has some of the best food (and drinks – mojitos here are to die for) that I’ve ever had. Patatas bravas, tacos, nachos, ceviche, churros…my mouth is watering just thinking about these delicious bites. Food is very cheap and because the portions are smaller, you never feel too full after a meal. Spanish people tend to eat dinner much later than I’m used to so I was often one of few people dining at my usual dinnertime of around 6-7pm. Barcelona is well worth a visit just for the food alone 😉