Barcelona weekends

I made it to Barcelona for a quick 48 hours back when I was doing a semester abroad, in college. It was November, and cold. I liked the city, and I remember being impressed by the museums and the architecture that we visited. But truthfully, one of the main things I remember from that trip was that my roommate’s purse was stolen and, along with it, the digital camera that stored most of our memories. (Ah, the days before iPhones). I’m not sure I even saw the beaches.

In May, I made it back there with my parents and my fiance for a long weekend. It always blows me away how much of an impact the weather can have on my perception of a city. This time, 70 degree temperatures and sunny skies greeted us. When you have weather like that, it means that just sitting at a sidewalk café, playing cards, in view of Sagrada Familia, becomes picture perfect. We were so infatuated by the city that my father’s catch phrase became “I’ll make it back to Barcelona in this lifetime”.

The city was not just one that we loved visiting, it seemed so live-able too. I was daydreaming about moving there, living in a quaint apartment in the old city and biking down to the beaches on the weekends. I can’t wait to get back.

{ more after the break }

placa reail in barcelona

{ palms and arches in placa reial }

top 3

1. Check out Gaudi’s work

We took a hop on, hop off bus around the city which allowed us to see most of his work, and took us out to Park Güell. The park is a “can’t miss” destination but there are flocks of tourists almost any time of day. If you wait patiently by one of the benches, you’ll eventually get a coveted spot with views of Gaudi’s work in the park, and the whole city behind it.

2. Bike the boardwalk

The beaches were one of the biggest surprises on my return trip to Barcelona. I normally think of city beaches the way I think of cold pizza – disappointing, but with a weird appeal.  Not so with Barcelona’s beaches. These were all appeal, and no weirdness (unless you have an aversion to nudity).  Close to the city, you’ll find more of a scene. The restaurants on this prime real estate offer cabanas and bottle service.  But gorgeous, white sand beaches stretched for miles. We biked to the end of the boardwalk, where there was barely another soul in sight. Try Bike Rental Barcelona (+34 666 057 655) for reasonably priced beach cruisers.

3. Beers at sundown, in the Plaça Reial

One of the best things we did was spend hours walking around Barri Gotic – the historic neighborhood off of La Rambla. There’s something magical about Spanish street life.  Day or night, you feel like the city is vibrating with life. Plaça Reial was one of the most striking plazas with its tall palms and symmetrical architecture surrounding you. There are many tapas restaurants where you can sit and enjoy the evening life.  Or, act like a local and perch on the edge of the fountain right in the middle of the plaza. You can buy cold beers from the vendors milling around for about 1 euro a piece.

Beach Cruisers Barcelona

{ what’s cooler than my mint colored beach cruiser? }

Gaudi Architecture Barcelona

{ street view of gaudi’s work }

Inside Park Guell Barcelona

{ up close view of gaudi’s work at park guell }

Beaches in Barcelona

{ not your average city beach }

Sand Castles in Barcelona

{ intricate sand castle work on the beach, barcelona }

Placa Reail Barcelona

{ another view of placa reial }

Barcelona Boardwalk, Palm Trees

{ palm lined boardwalk in barca }

View from Park Guell in Barcelona

{ gaudi’s work and city views }