Earlier this year my best friend Amelia and I found cheap (I’m talking less than $300) flights to Europe and couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I’d already been to Barcelona but it was the cheapest city to fly into, and Amelia hadn’t been yet so we decided to just do a quick stop in Barcelona before heading off to see more of Europe. We did 4 cities in 10 days. Let me repeat that. FOUR cities in TEN days! I figured I’d highlight some of the mentionable moments and tips for those crazy enough to attempt such a trip.
FIRST STOP: BARCELONA
We landed in Barcelona late at night and found our way to our Airbnb, which had approximately 3 million stairs to our flat. However it was adorable with a little terrace looking over the alleyway and the sweetest Airbnb host to give us a rundown of the flat and things to do in Barcelona, along with the yummiest tomato chips. We were exhausted and starving after our 11-hour flight and right outside our door was a little restaurant called Casa Lolea. Boy did we luck out by stumbling on this place because it honestly had the BEST sangria I’ve ever had. We wanted to order what the locals would so the server suggested the Catalan Tomato Bread (pan con tomate). You cut a tomato in half and then rub it on a slice of bread and then drizzle with olive oil. It was good but not as good as the sangria. We tried to go back the next night but they only had a few tables and didn’t have room for us.
The next day was a doozy. We started with the Runner Bean free walking tour of the Gothic Quarter. I highly recommend free walking tours in any city you’re visiting. First of all, they’re free! Well you just tip them what you think they deserve. They give you a great overview of the city you’re in, share the history and fun secrets and you get to meet other people traveling as well. We started in Placa Reial just off La Rambla. Look how adorable.
We took a stroll through the Gothic Quarter and learned a lot about the history of the city and the reason for the difference in city structure and culture. I loved the gargoyles atop some of the buildings. We saw the roman columns, walked under the cool bridge and were exposed to some of the aftermath of war. 10 out of 10 would recommend. I had done the Gaudi walking tour on a different trip and would also recommend that. We saw Gaudi on our own on this trip.
So after the free walking tour we did some more walking. The taxis were on strike blocking off a road in the middle of the city while we were there so we had no other choice but to WALK everywhere. So we walked to Sagrada Familia which is grand and beautiful but also very crowded with tourists and under construction. I wonder if it’ll ever be finished. And then we tried to take an uber but after getting canceled on 3 times by the only 3 ubers in the city we just started walking to Park Güell, which is uphill at the top of the city. Park Güell is this beautifully weird park that Catalan artist/architect Antoni Gaudi built. Its my kind of funky weird art park. It’s a MUST SEE if you’re in Barcelona.
By this point our feet were so tired we finally attempted to figure out the bus. Which was super easy after I downloaded an app and we should have done it 20,000 steps earlier. We made it back to our flat and yelped the nearest restaurant to get paella. I won’t let you know which one it was because we were SUPER not impressed with the food or sangria so I would not recommend. This is when we tried to go back to Casa Lolea for more sangria but they were so packed we couldn’t fit.
The last day in Barcelona we only had a half-day so we decided to check out the Picasso Museum. Which was surprisingly interesting. I mean, Picasso is world famous but most of the museum was his art before his strange shape people paintings. Who knew he was good at all types of painting? I especially loved the pigeon paintings – look them up. Unfortunately photography is prohibited in the museum so I have nothing to show for our visit but trust me and check it out. Up next… BUDAPEST.