Hi, all! Your first question about this post is obvious…. why would you only spend ONE day in Barcelona?!
This was the start of our first European adventure. As you may have already guessed, Cameron was a little nervous to travel across the pond. I wanted to fly to Europe and bounce around a bit via public transportation, but he wasn’t quite ready for that. So we compromised on a Mediterranean cruise! It gave us the opportunity to get a taste of several new countries and also gave Cameron a comforting home-base each night.
First stop, Barcelona! We left Tampa on American Airlines and connected through Philadelphia and straight to Barcelona. We planned the flight times so that we left Philadelphia in the evening around 7:00 PM. This allowed us to time dinner and sleeping perfectly. We took off, had dinner (which was surprisingly good), took a couple ZzzQuil, put on a movie, and were in Barcelona in the morning!
*Travel tip: if you don’t have a good travel pillow buy this one! I never travel without it – J-pillow Travel Pillow, Head, Chin and Neck Support, British Invention of the Year, Travel and Neck Pillow for Airplanes, Cars and Trains, Machine Washable, Black
I’m a planner so we were ready to hit the ground running. We grabbed a cab to take us to the Renaissance Barcelona Hotel (I had points so the night was FREE!), changed, and headed for the nearest City Sightseeing bus stop (this is my favorite means of transportation in any new city where it’s offered). We bought the tickets ahead of time so were able to swap in my online voucher for passes as soon as we found a bus. https://city-sightseeing.com/en/home
First stop, Sagrada Família. More amazing and beautiful than any pictures will ever show! IMPORTANT: Buy your tickets ahead of time! We were able to walk right in while others were waiting in a line that wrapped around the block. Don’t worry when you see cranes, the church is not closed for renovations, it has just never been completed in the 100+ years since construction began.
Next stop, the audio tour through Casa Batlló. *Again, buy your tickets online beforehand!* The audio tour is great and allows you to learn about Gaudi’s life and vision as you walk through this gorgeous work of art.
After Casa Batlló, we swung by the beach and had a late morning snack. No matter where you stop in Barcelona, you’re going to eat delicious food. I’m a food and beach fanatic so this was the perfect spot. The sand is completely different than the soft and cool ‘sugar sand’ I’m accustomed to in Tampa Bay but it was still gorgeous!
After our snack, we jumped on the bus to head for Park Güell. When you hop off at the bus stop, the walk is straight up! Have a little pep talk with your calves to make sure they’re ready. This was the one place that I did not buy tickets in advance for. You can pay to get into the monument area but we chose to just walk the park for free. We went as high as we could and eventually found an AMAZING lookout point. You have to wait in line but it is worth it to have a view of the entire city.
After the park, we stumbled upon a little restaurant called Bar Casi. They do not speak English and we do not speak Spanish, but we figured it out and had a fantastic late afternoon lunch! I definitely recommend.
After eating, we hopped back on the bus and rode the entire route just to take in the city and catch some views we wouldn’t have time to see. After going back to the hotel to freshen up, we ended our day with a great dinner at a little restaurant called aQistoi. We had their sangria and 6 different kinds of empanadas! The gentleman working was so hospitable. Everyone should stop here for a meal!
We fell asleep pretty early and then woke up to head to the cruise ship in the morning. Next stop, Marseille!