beauty • travel • lifestyle

October 13, 2016


If you follow me on instagram, there's no way you missed the fact that I was in Barcelona this past summer. It's a city I had heard such great things about but had never gotten around to visiting. However, in 2014 (when I first started this blog) I took a trip to Sevilla and Granada, a trip that I loved every minute of. So it's safe to say I was ready for a round two of Spain. This particular trip took me to Barcelona, and then for a week on gorgeous Mallorca - but more on that part later. For now, I'm going to tell you about Barcelona and of course, share some of the photos that I've been harboring in my iPhoto for the past few months. It's time they be shared...

Stay: We stayed at the Cotton House Hotel Barcelona. It's owned by Marriott, but remains a boutique hotel and part of their Autograph Collection, which means it has the best of both worlds; big hotel amenities with a boutique feel and level of service. Upon arrival, the room wasn't ready yet, so we were given the Vichy Suite for no extra cost. The suite was beautiful; complete with two floors, a beautiful spiral staircase, two bedrooms, a sitting room, and a large private terrace overlooking the Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes. The hotel was uniquely designed and definitely boasted serious #interiorgoals like no other (check out that rooftop pool), not to mention...served the most delicious breakfast each morning in a dreamy setting.

See: While this post couldn't possibly contain all the places you should see in Barcelona (that would go on for days) - it does contain my top recommendations of what to do if you've only got a few days in Barcelona. 

First off, I recommend reading a bit about Gaudí on your journey over, if only to better understand and enjoy the major Gaudí tour you'll no doubt be going on. His beautiful structures and works of art are peppered throughout the city; which make up one of the two major types of architectural movements seen throughout the city's past. The style is called "Modernisme" and it was started by Gaudí during the turn of the 20th century. The unmissable sites (and examples of Modernisme created by Gaudí) are of course, the beautiful church of La Sagrada Familia, which wowed me beyond what I had expected, and Park Güell. La Sagrada Familia is still an ongoing project that was started by Gaudí in 1882, which is, in itself, incredible. The use of light inside the basilica is unlike anything I've seen before and is something I recommend everyone experience at least once. I know that I will make a return visit once the project is finished, so I can admire it once again. 

Park Güell is another must-see by the architect. The beautiful park was built in 1900 and is perched atop Carmel Hill, in the Gràcia district of the city - so needless to say - it's quite a hike to the top. You'll need to carve out an entire afternoon for this trip, as you'll want to wander the beautiful gardens, explore the beautiful Gaudí House Museum, and definitely don't miss the views from the cross-topped Turó del Calvari. I recommend wearing your most comfortable footwear and keeping your eyes open for some very authentic tapas restaurants on your way up (I'm getting increasingly hungry just typing these words). Also, make sure you don't miss a stroll by Gaudí's Casa Milà and Casa Batlló, even if you don't do the full tours inside the buildings. 

Other must-sees include the stunning 13th century Barcelona Cathedral (which I'd recommend taking the tour for), La Rambla (a famous shopping street), Plaça Reial (square located in the Barri Gòtic area of the city, where the lanterns were designed by Gaudí), Parc de la Ciutadella (stunning gardens with zoo), the El Born district (home to many tapas restaurants and Museu Picasso), and my personal favorite La Boqueria (a bustling food market filled with local delicacies). I also enjoyed walking down to the water's edge; both in the city center by the docks, and Barcelona beach.

Eat: El Nacional is a fun restaurant to go for a bustling vibe and to people watch. I loved that the space contained many different dining options within one restaurant. I loved the brasserie-style dining area, which had a nice varied menu with options of fish, meats, stews, and even a pasta option. I had the canneloni with béchamel, which I highly recommend!

Tapas 24 is another Barcelona gem that provides a really authentic and fun tapas experience. You will most likely have to wait to get in, but you won't be disappointed, it's worth it!

Cera 23 was another delicious restaurant with Spanish-style cuisine and a really cozy atmosphere. I recommend trying the buffalo burrata and the typical style steak - which were both delicious (and I'm not a huge fan of steak usually).

Have you visited Barcelona before? Do you have some of the same favorites?

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