January was a stressful time. 2 very demanding assignments due and an exam that I felt very unprepared for. The only thing getting me through these couple of weeks was the fact that at the end of it I was going to Barcelona for a long weekend. My boyfriend got me the trip for my 21st birthday and I was so excited to finally go to this city.
My first tip would be to buy the 4 day metro ticket which includes travel to the airport. You can get them from ticket machines in the stations. I think it cost about €28 but it meant we had unlimited metro travel for our whole trip, and the metro takes you everywhere you need to go. Also you can find some really good Airbnb’s – the one we stayed in was really central.
We packed as much into our time in Barcelona as possible. On our first full day we visited Park Güell, Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila (La Pedrera) and found an all-you-can-eat tapas buffet on Las Ramblas, called iTapa. Our trip was basically all about architecture and food. Almost everything we saw was designed by Antoni Gaudi. We paid to go inside the Sagrada Familia and it was definitely worth it. Last summer we went interrailing and visited a lot of cathedrals and basilicas, but this is definitely one of the best. We also paid to go into Casa Mila and on to La Pedrera (the roof). They offer a student ticket which cost around €16 each. The roof is amazing but we were a bit disappointed by the rest of the house. You can learn more about Gaudi and his work, but the apartment is full of old fashioned furniture and information and we just weren’t interested in that. But the design of the roof is definitely worth seeing, and you get great views over Barcelona.
Just off of Las Ramblas you can find Plaça Reial which is a square with a few restaurants. We used the theory that we’d go to whichever restaurant was the busiest, and it actually really paid off. Restaurante Pizzeria Rossini is a small Italian restaurant hidden in the far corner, and their food was amazing.
Our second day was equally packed. In the morning we walked over to the Mies Van Der Rohe Pavilion (€2.60 student ticket) before walking up to the National Art Museum of Catalonia and the Olympic Stadium. From the top of the hill you can take the funicular down to Parallel. We went on to Casa Batlló, another one of Gaudi’s architectural designs. We didn’t pay to go inside though, as we’d been to Casa Mila the day before, and you can still appreciate the building from the street. We then ate at Restaurant La Poma which was really good too. We finished the day by walking down to the beach which wasn’t that great in all honesty, because it was raining and windy, but I’m sure it’s lovely in summer.
That night we didn’t end up going out for dinner until at least 11pm. Worried restaurants wouldn’t be serving food anymore, we dived into one of the first restaurants we came across. This was honestly one of the funniest meals I’ve ever experienced. We were the only people in there and the menu was one of those really cheap looking ones, laminated and full of stock images. Both of us were unsure but we ordered drinks anyway. My boyfriend ordered a large beer and I got sangria. What arrived was basically a bucket of beer and a fishbowl wine glass. The beer glass was so big it easily held 4 pints. They’d trapped us in the restaurant with these massive drinks, so with no other choice, we ordered what we thought would be the safest food to get from here. My boyfriend described the calamari as “ropey” and it literally was. Not the best meal to finish our trip with, but I was in tears from laughing. Not all bad I guess.
Overall our long weekend in Barcelona was amazing. We left wanting to come back again in Summer, and also considering switching to an architecture course at uni. It’s such a good city for a weekend break, and if you’re into design and architecture it’s definitely worth a visit. Apart from the one bad meal, we loved everywhere we ate. You can even order a pint with your Big Mac! I don’t know the exact cost of it all because I didn’t organise the flights and accommodation, but I think we spent about €300-€350 over the whole weekend. You can probably do it for a lot cheaper if you make your own food and don’t get tricked into buying a €10 beer. But as a capital city it makes a pretty affordable weekend getaway. Definitely recommend.