A Weekend In Barcelona
With the first of our 2018 marathons on the horizon in Barcelona, I thought I’d share my recent experience of the beautiful city with you all.
The marathon itself will no doubt be the main focus of the weekend for our Barcelona team, but there is also plenty of free time in the itinerary to explore! Barcelona is a city packed with plenty to see and do, and planning a few must-sees for your weekend is a great way to stay motivated as your training steps up a notch. I've put together a quick rundown of my weekend to give you some ideas.
We arrived in the early evening, and set straight off on the hunt for dinner. Being the foodie that I am, I had already done plenty of research and had pre-selected a few restaurants and tapas bars to visit.
We decided to head to La Acoba Azul, a tapas bar in the city's Gothic Quarter. From the outside, it looked so tiny and dark it was barely recognisable as a bar - if you decide to go, you'll need to keep both eyes peeled! The food was some of the best I've ever tasted and a far cry from the kind of tapas you'd get at home - no patatas bravas or calamari in sight. I'd highly recommend it if you're keen to try some of the best local cuisine.
After dinner, we went for drinks at the nearby Sor Rita bar. It was similarly small and quirky, the walls covered in multi-coloured photo frames and the bars lined with mismatched stools. It's the perfect place if you're on the hunt for a quiet, reasonably-priced drink.
The area surrounding La Rambla is packed with small bakeries which quickly became our go-to for breakfast. Pastries cost around 30 cents each - ideal for carb loading!
After filling ourselves up with croissants, we hopped on the metro and headed to Parc Guell. This is without a doubt a must-see whilst you're in Barcelona, particularly if you're lucky enough to get some sunny weather. The park's high up positioning gives it unbeatable views over the city and, although it is a bit of a tourist trap, you can get some peace and quiet by taking the stairs all the way to the top.
Originally intended as a housing estate for Barcelona's upper class, the park contains a few scattered buildings designed by the famous Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudi, who is known for his unique and eccentric style. If architecture is your thing, you can also visit the Gaudi museum which is in the centre of the park.
On the Saturday night, we headed to one of Barcelona's live music venues to see a band called Fink. Although not the most cultural activity, it was definitely a highlight of the weekend! There are a wide range of venues for all tastes in Barcelona - the Sala Apolo is one of the best for big names and indie bands, Jamboree for live Jazz, or BeCool for house and techno.
I'd found out from our AirBnB hosts that the Picasso museum offers free entry on Sundays, so after another carb-heavy breakfast, we headed straight there. Unfortunately, it seemed we weren't the only ones to have received this tip; the queues were so long they filled several side streets of the Gothic Quarter and we were told the wait would be a massive three and a half hours.
Determined to do something a bit cultural with our day, we decided to book a Flamenco show for that evening. There are a range of shows on offer in the city and you can pay anything from €10 to €100 to see one. We opted for a lower-end €15 show, Los Tarantos Barcelona, which lasted for half an hour, just to get a taste. Once the performance was over, we were directed downstairs to a basement bar where we were lucky enough to see a fantastic Jazz band playing without needing to buy a ticket - two shows for the price of one!
On our final day, we visited one of Barcelona's most famous landmarks and another of Gaudi's unfinished masterpieces: the Sagrada Familia. Entry costs €30 and you usually need to book a slot a few hours in advance. If you decide to wait, you could spend some time exploring Eixample, an up-and-coming area of Barcelona nearby which we were sorry to miss. But being conscious of time pressure on our last day, we decided not to wait and to admire Sagrada Familia from the outside.
After lunch, we hopped on the tube back towards La Rambla and wandered down to the beach. Even in November, it was warm enough for a relax on the sand and a quick dip of our toes in the sea - the perfect way to conclude one of the most varied and fun-filled city breaks I have ever had.