Barcelona Hotels Articles

March 28, 2010

A Weekend in Barcelona

In December 2005 my girlfriend and I took a weekend’s city break in Barcelona in eastern Spain. At the time of booking our choice of destination was a toss up between Barcelona, Paris and Rome, none of which either of us had ever been to. For no particular reason, Barcelona came out on top and I’m very glad it did as we both had a fantastic time. This article is a brief summary of our weekend.

Having just moved into a new house, we didn’t have a very big budget to spend on this holiday so we found ourselves a couple of cheap flights to Barcelona, a low cost hotel near the city centre and bought the first guide book we could find. The weather when we touched down could probably best be described as abysmal but this didn’t dampen our spirits.

After finding our way to our hotel and dumping our bags, our first port of call was the nearest metro station (the metro is Barcelona’s equivalent of the London underground and is a great way to get around). We bought a three day unlimited pass for roughly €14 (£9.60) and hopped on a distinctly punctual and un-crowded train bound for La Sagrada Familia. If I were to recommend just one sight to see in Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia would be it. Gaudi devoted 40 years of his life to the design and construction of this extremely elaborate cathedral and building is still ongoing today. From the ground the building is extremely impressive and its spires each reach to a height of 300 feet with plans to extend this even further.

We paid €8 each to gain access to the cathedral and museums. Although an elevator is available inside the cathedral to take visitors to the top of the spires (at an additional cost) we chose to walk up the 400 plus steps to see the view from the top. The staircase is narrow and steep and I would only recommend the climb for those with strong legs and a head for heights! The climb was definitely worthwhile both for the views across the city and for the balconies along the way where you can stop at take a close up look at some of the hundreds of intricate carvings that decorate the exterior. We also took a walk around the museum and enjoyed the scale models and early photographs of the construction.

After some lunch we took a walk along La Rambla, the main street in Barcelona, towards the marina. Along the way you will see a great variety of stalls selling all sorts of goods from souvenirs to live birds. There is also a good deal of performance artists and street entertainers to watch which kept us amused for a couple of hours. We finished the day with tapas at a small restaurant before retiring for the evening.

The following morning, at my insistence, we took the metro to Collblanc to take a tour round the famous Nou Camp, home to Barcelona football club and renowned as one of the world’s greatest football stadiums. After wandering around outside the stadium for about half an hour trying to work out how to get in, we found the ticket office and paid €11 euros each for the tour. The stadium is vast and as a football fan it was a great experience to walk through the player’s tunnel and stand on the pitch side. The tour took us through the behind scenes areas of the stadium including the away changing room, the commentary gantry and the chapel that was installed to allow the religious players to pray before games.

We finished our visit with a trip around the museum, where trophies and pictures of Barcelona’s many successes are displayed. The photo of myself next to the European cup still hangs on the wall of my lounge. Although we didn’t get to watch a game as there wasn’t a home match being played the weekend we were there, it was still an extremely enjoyable and worthwhile excursion.

The afternoon was spent with a walk around the marina and a visit to L’Aquarium, a sea life centre with more than 450 different species of marine life. The entrance fee set us back €15.50. Many of the aquatic creatures were quite unusual and enjoyable to watch but the highlight of L’Aquarium for us was the underwater tunnel. This is an 80 metre long passage beneath an enormous tank, with sharks, rays and other fish swimming inches above your head.

Our last evening was spent eating Mexican food and drinking cocktails in a small, modern and trendy Mexican restaurant called Margarita Blue followed by several more drinks in the Hard Rock Café (how shamelessly touristy) and then on to Razzmatazz, a huge nightclub famous for live music. Needless to say, drinking late into the night didn’t make for the most enjoyable of flights home the next morning!

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