Barcelona 2016: first trip of the year

So my first trip of the year was to the beautiful, BARCELONAAAAAA!

After discovering Ryanair was having a sale in October – with the only catch being the restricted flight dates of 4th – 7th January. You can’t go wrong with booking a flight for £35 return! Luckily for me, most of my friends like travelling. I booked with my friend Susan since our availability matched and we were both dying for a quick new year escape.

The hotel we stayed at was Tryp Condal Mar a 4* hotel. The cost came to £96* for a four-night stay with breakfast included. 

Day 1: Thursday 7 January

The morning we were due to fly out started hectic, there was a moment when I thought I was genuinely going to miss the flight and wanted to cry. After a quick dash through security, our faith was restored and we made it just in time since our flight was slightly delayed.

Note to self: stick to the casual look in the airport, comfort always wins.

As I’ve mentioned before Ryanair is a budget airline. The pricing for the food for is definitely unjustifiable, so being the stubborn little madam I am, I decided to protest my hunger throughout the 2hr journey. Although it didn’t seem like I was missing much from what looked like microwave kids meals.

When we landed we headed to find a taxi as we hadn’t booked a transfer. I was told that the journey wasn’t far but I’m usually sceptical of taxi’s from outside an airport since they often run on a metre. The hotel we stayed at was just outside the city centre, so I knew it would be a bit of a journey. When we arrived at the hotel we were greeted by Jesus, he was enthusiastic and extremely helpful especially over the next few days. I’d definitely recommend either using their metro to your hotel as long as it isn’t too far as this is probably a cheaper method, or pre-booking a transfer directly with your hotel or through reliable searches before your flight.

After settling in, we headed to the local corner shop for snacks and in true British style ended the night in the shopping centre eating McDonald’s.

Day 2: Friday 8 January

I can’t lie I was a bit too excited to wake up and eat breakfast. One of the things I was informed by my friends was how great the breakfast was. It definitely lived up to its reputation! From bacon, sausages for meat lovers like me to a beautiful spread of fruits, yoghurts and muffins, croissants. Everything you wanted was provided and the staff were more than helpful. If you, like me struggle to simply pour chocolate over you churro.

After breakfast, we wanted snacks so we headed to Diagonal Mar shopping centre as it was only a five-minute walk away. The location was proving to be perfect. If you wanted a stay that was outside of the hectic city centre but with a great transport system. We even stumbled across a nearby beach while trying to find the metro. It felt like a scene in 90210, as the beach was a local gym spot too for residents. People were surfing, walking their dogs and jogging and it was a lovely scenery change from the hectic busy streets of London. The temperature was around 19-21 degrees so there was no need for a coat.

Our plan for the day was to do a museum tour but we ending up the 150 minutes (free walking) Gaudi tour. Now if I’m completely honest at this point I had no idea who Gaudi was. However by the end of the tour I wanted to know more. Andi was an amazing guide who was fluent in several languages. The tour showed us around the controversial and famous Gaudi buildings. All of which are beautifully constructed starting off at the Four Cats and ending at the La Sagrada Familia.

La Sagrada Familia
La Sagarda Familia

Al the knowledge I gained, gave me an extra buzz for the city and made me feel even more connected. One of the most important things I think about travelling is to make sure you engage with the culture of the city and take yourself out of the norm of things you know. Which is ironic because after the tour we headed to Hard Rock Cafe, how Spanish!

The experience was similar to any other Hard Rock Cafe’s which a similar menu. We had an amazing waiter who went above and beyond to make sure we were satisfied and even left us a cute little note! Despite being out for most of the day, we decided to go out and test the Catalonian nightlife. It’s safe to say this night probably will be one of my favourite nights out. We stumbled across a bar where we started off our pre-drinks before heading to the main strip of clubs.

Girl standing on steps of museum in blue dress, wearing black hat and black boots

Day 3: Saturday 9 January

The plans for the day was to visit Parc Guell which reminded me a lot of the Atlas Mountain trip when I went to Marrakech in Morocco. Some parts require you to pay but we stayed in the ‘free zones’ as the views were practically much the same.

In the evening we went to meet up with Susan’s sister for dinner who were also visiting Barcelona. We were disappointed to find that the Magic Fountain of Montjuic (Font Magica de Montjuic) was closed so headed off to eat at a restaurant I found via TimeOut Barcelona called El Foro.

I chose steak and chips for my meal and as always my eyes were too big for my belly. Weirdly enough there was meat hanging in the restaurant, although we couldn’t confirm or deny if this was what they served. The service was amazing, although if you don’t want wine with your meal you’ll need to ask for a different drinks menu.

Day 4: Sunday 10 January

The first stop was Arc de Triomf and then onto we Barcelona de zoo. As they’re both within walking distance and the admission into the zoo was around €20.

We ate at a restaurant called Ribs, an American diner based place. Again I’d decided I wouldn’t let the food defeat me but for the price, it was beyond filling and satisfying. I feel like I just repeat myself with the service but they were amazing hosts and even after I’d accidentally left my passport on the seat the waiter came and found me as I was heading to the toilets in the shopping centre which I was beyond grateful for!

Depending on what you plan to do, Barcelona for a weekend will be a very reasonably affordable trip in comparison to other European cities. I had €115 left by the end of the trip out of the original €280 I started with. So budget in advance!

Barcelona has an amazing metro system which is something that I loved about the city. As we stayed just outside we opted for the two-days unlimited travel which costs us €14.95 and included trams too. It’s definitely worth your money so you can hop on and off at different metro stations to explore plus the trains run late on a Friday and an all-night service on a Saturday night. So you can save money and won’t have to rely on taxis.

Anyone who is considering visiting Barcelona I would 100% recommend this destination whether you chose to go with a group of friends, partner or even a solo trip it’s a beautiful city with loads of stuff to do all year round. The weather is lovely, the nightlife is amazing and there is a deep-rooted culture which is waiting to be explored. I’ll definitely be going back again!


*prices were accurate of the time this post was written and based on deals at the time.

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