24 Hours Series: Barcelona
What’s a girl to do when she needs an adventure and all her friends can’t keep up? Toss the anxiety aside and plan a solo trip to Barcelona. Spain has been on my top list of countries to visit. From the culture to the landscape to the wine (I mean food!), I had only ever heard positive reviews. So, on a short weekend (sensing a theme here?), I did some research, packed my bags and headed out on my very first solo trip to another country.
While I prefer to travel with friends, traveling solo has its perks. For a whole 24-hours, I got to call the shots. I went where I wanted, slept where I wanted and ate what I wanted. I didn’t have to worry about anyone else’s agenda. It was so relaxing!
Barcelona is a large city, made up of 10 districts, which gave me so many options to really make this the experience that I wanted. With 24-hours of traveling freedom, I set out on my trip.
Venice to Barcelona
I boarded a Vueling jet from Venice direct to Barcelona, which cost about 80 euros and lasted only two hours. When we landed, I headed to find the car service I set up through Roman Llort and Press i Car. Booking arrangements could not have been easier and the communication from the service was exactly what I needed. I hired a driver to save some time, but if that is not an option, there are shuttles that will take you from the airport directly to the boardwalk.
Airport to City Center Options:
- Aerobus: Check the schedule, but it usually operates every five to 10 minutes. You can catch the Aerobus from either Terminal 1 or Terminal 2. It will then take you to the city center and you can head to either Plaça Espanya or Plaça de Catalunya. One way costs 5.90 euro. If you arrive after 21.55, you can catch the Nitebus.
- Train: The RENFE train service runs about every 30 minutes to and from Barcelona airport to the city center and takes about 25 minutes. Look into buying the T10 card for multiple, free transfers.
I arrived at the Renaissance Barcelona Fira around 3pm on Saturday. After checking out everything from the rooftop bar/pool to the cafe downstairs, I was so excited. Everything was so beautiful and chic. I was eager to head out and explore. From the hotel, I went to La Rambla street – one of the most famous streets in Barcelona. It’s about a 30-minute walk or 10-minute cab from the hotel to the downtown area, which was buzzing with crowds of people.
Just a few feet further and you’ll hit the soft, sandy Platja de Sant Sebastià – the longest beach in Barcelona. I walked the entire La Barceloneta boardwalk. It’s a nice, relaxing stroll that’s filled with beach restaurants, bars, and people getting ready to start the night’s adventures. To be honest, all that was on my mind was getting a glass (or pitcher) of the famous Sangria and some tapas, which you can find just about anywhere. I chose the W Hotel, at the end of the boardwalk and headed in. Head up to Eclipse rooftop bar on the 26th floor at sunset. After spending a few years playing in China, I’ve developed the life skill of being able to talk to people, things, walls, myself…so meeting people was easy and the conversation flowed!
I finished my evening at 9 Reinas – a steakhouse with great veggies and some of the best empanadas in Barcelona. It’s worth a stop if you’re ever in town. If you aren’t looking for something too formal, La Pepita is a fun restaurant with great food, but it will be PACKED.
In my opinion, the best part of a night in Barcelona is going on a bar crawl. There are so many spots to see in the city. A lot of people will tell you to check out Chupitos, a bar with 150 shots on the menu (I would save your time and skip it unless you love shots). Another fun bar, which is a little on the touristy side, is the Dow Jones Bar. The bar is Wall St. themed and drink prices depend on the demand of the drink throughout the night. It’s an interesting concept and makes for a fun experience, especially when the stock market “crashes” and drink prices are slashed.
Where to go in Barcelona
I had arranged a tour with Roman Llort and Press i Car to sightsee the next day and we managed to see the most famous stops:
- Old and New Olympic Port
- Montjuic Hill
- National Palace with the Magic Fountain
- Sagrada Familia and Passieg de Gracia
- Park Guell
During the tour, we stopped for lunch at a small, local spot suggested by Roman. The entire menu was tapas and it made for a lot of excitement on my end. If you see Raciones on a menu, it’s a tapa just a bigger portion size. Wherever you eat, some traditional tapas include Croquetas, Chipirones, and the Catalan tapas, Pan con Tomate. I’d also recommend ordering a cider or white wine, pair it with something light if you’re going to be touring all day!
- Las Ramblas
- Gothic Quarter and Cathedral
- Boqueria Market
- Football Barca Stadium
If you have time, I would definitely recommend heading to Bunkers Del Carmel for an amazing viewpoint. It’s open 24 hours and is free. Check it out at sunset when the city begins to light up… it’s magical.
After touring the Barca Stadium, it was time to leave the city and head to the airport. My mind and my heart were racing with thoughts of all the beautiful art and architecture, vibrant people, and mouthwatering cuisines I had experienced. Barcelona, I loved the city and cannot wait to head back.
What’re your favorite spots in Barcelona?