Barcelona- an awesome city break

Barcelona- an awesome city break

February is a great time of year to escape the grey days in England and look for a little winter sun! We decided on Barcelona.  We took a short 2 hour flight with Ryan Air from East Midlands Airport.  Stepping out into a very comfortable 18 °C, was just what we needed.

Booking through Air B&B we found a very comfortable flat, booked for four nights in the Gothic Quarter, as it seemed a good central location within walking distance to most of the top sights. (If you’ve never used Air B&B before you should check it out click here).   Here’s an article by Stag Kiss Budapest on how to find the perfect air bnb accommodation

Check out what we saw and recommend if you take a trip to Barcelona.

La Rambla

Our first stop and the nearest to our flat.  This famous street, is one that attracts a lot of tourists (and pickpockets, so beware and only carry what you need to, everybody says it – but it is a real warning! with common sense you will  be fine).  We started at the top – a long street with street performers, shops and restaurants.  Although busy, it must be a lot more crazier in the summer months.

Walking down the centre of this long pedestrianised street, the restaurants are all geared towards tourists and tend to be a bit more expensive than if you head off into the side streets and go off the beaten track.

About a quarter of the way down on the right is a narrow entrance to the market.   Wow,  if you love food you are going to love this – its like Harrods food hall on steroids!.    Meats, seafood, chocolates, fruit – its all there.  Again more expensive that other markets as its in a tourist location – as we found out when Marianne posed for a picture and maybe got a bit personal with the strawberries (picture of the strawberry on instagram) and then ended up buying half the stall.  I’m sure she did it on purpose so we had to buy fruit !

I was in food heaven !


Port Vell

At the bottom of La Rambla  it opens out and across the road is the sea front.  A bridge takes you over to a large shopping centre full of known branded shops, restaurants and a cinema.  This leads onto the main port where you can spot exclusive super yaghts and it a great spot to sit and watch the sun set over Barcelona.

I hope that ferry stops !

La Catedral

Located in the Barri Gotic (gothic area) is La Catedral.   If you go in the morning, as we did, it was free to enter.  It was a very beautiful cathedral with a nice courtyard housing a pond, orange trees and geese.   Out side the entrance is a large pedestrian area with stalls and entertainers.

Arc de Triomf

The Arc de Triomf was built in 1888 as an entrance gateway to the Barcelona world fair.  It’s an impressive structure and located on a long straight pedestraniased walkway with the Parc de la Ciutadella at the bottom.

Parc de la Ciutadella

A short walk from the Arc de Triomf, is this beautiful park.   The history of the park is not quite so beautiful – After winning a war, in the early 18th century, King Felipe V demolished this part of the city to create a military citadel so he could control Barcelona.  Then a hundred or so years later, this was destroyed to create a large park where the people of Barcelona could escape the mayhem of city life.

In the North West corner of the park is the Font de la Cascada –  with a beautiful fountain.   Worth the steps if you want a nice aerial view over the park.

Chris doing another fountain drink shot !!!

Basilica of the Sagrada Familia

This is a must visit attraction if you go to Barcelona.   Towering above the city sky line is this magnificent building, which started being built way back in 1882.  Yes that’s right 1882 ! This is Antonio Gaudi’s most stunning work and with still many years of construction to do, numerous cranes tower over an already very tall building.

Marianne’s dad, David and friend Pam were also in Barcelona and we arranged to meet them at the entrance to the Basilica.  We waited at the entrance next to the lake, which was clearly the entrance as visitors were queuing to enter.  It was fascinating watching the street vendors selling their selfie poles, fridge magnets, etc. who would get a warning from their look outs, then pack up in a panic and flee when the police were nearby only to set up again as soon as the police had left.

After nearly an hour we decided to go in on our own and then realised that the tickets were sold on the other side of the building, and you then had to walk back round to enter.  It didn’t make any sense but as we joined the line for the tickets we spotted them, when we asked the ticket office if ‘this’ was the front ? they explained that the the front had not actually been built yet !!

There are a number of ticket options available.  If you only have a short time a basic ticket will be fine at 15,00 €.  There is also an option that includes an audio tour, which is the option we choose it was very informative and gave lots of facts that you wouldn’t normally know.


We also made sure our ticket covered the lift to the top.   Not to be done if your scared of heights as it is very high but gives you a great view over Barcelona.  The spiral staircase down seems to go on forever and you will definitely be a little dizzy by the time you reach the bottom.



Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

Abbreviated as MNAC this is the national museum of Catalan Visual Art.  If you like art the this is a must. However even if you are not into art, the area around the museum is well worth a visit.


The museum sits on top of a hill  over looking the magic fountain.  There are escalators up to the top for those that are unable to take the stairs.  Its a wonderful place to sit and listen to the entertainers with an amazing view of the city below.


Behind the museum is the park – Sant-Mont Juic.    A large area of parkland  – we strolled through on the way back to town.  En route we came across an old amphitheatre. I couldn’t resist running down to the front to bellow out a couple of lines of Shakespeare to Marianne.  Although a word of warning there is moss on the stones and some are very slippery as I nearly ended my rendition by falling off the stage!!

Romeo Romeo


We had a great time in Barcelona and it is highly recommended.   If like us, you are foodies check out our post  on our eating experiences in Barcelona.





14 thoughts on “Barcelona- an awesome city break

  1. It is about 15 years since I was last in Barcelona – la sagrada familia has grown a lot since then! Would love to visit again as last bed all of Gaudi’s art everywhere! And I remember the food was pretty good too!!

    1. Yes we really did enjoy our visit – It is a shame Gaudi never managed to finish his work before he died and I think it’s amazing that his vision is still being built.

  2. I though the beach was a huge surprise when I visited Barcelona, and it was lovely to sit there in the sun on an October day when in the UK the weather is usually gloomy 😀 I have to confess though, I was very disappointed with the Sagrada Familia; I know it is the top attraction, but I didn’t know it was still heavily under construction and there was nothing inside to actually see other than part of a building site. The architecture is wonderful, but, for me, I wish I hadn’t paid the entrance fee lol. No trip to Barcelona is complete without a stroll down La Rambla though! #feetdotravel

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Yes there is a lot of work happening at the Sagrada Familia. Internally, when we visited it, there wasn’t work happening, however there were lots of cranes building more towers. Not many large cities have a nice sea front and like you we were both surprised how nice it was.

  3. I’ve been to Barcelona a few years ago and loved it! It’s such a beautiful city with great architecture, museums, and delicious food 🙂 My favourite bit was Park Guell. Have you been there?

    1. Yes Barcelona is a great city – we didn’t make it to Park Guell. Oh well that must be a good excuse to go back!

  4. This is a great guide to visiting Barcelona, full of useful information. We have only had two days in this city and hope to go back. Have pinned for future reference. #feetdotravel

  5. Great guide to Barcelona. I have been to Barcelona but I missed these places you mentioned. Basilica of the Sagrada Familia is a place I would love to visit. I pinned this for later use. Great photos and thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. I’m yet to visit Barcelona, even though I lived in Spain for a year and a half! Been everywhere, but Barca. Ha! Love the food and your potos of that jamon hanging there made me really crave for it! Overall a great guide! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Wow you guys have hit so many cool places in Barcelona – it looks like an amazing city break and I am ashamed to say, I am yet to visit Spain! Definitely somewhere I’ve wanted to go but just hasn’t happened yet. Will definitely use your post to help me plan!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.