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Monday 15 January 2024

Barcelona visit


I've visited Barcelona first time in 1997 and it remained in my memory as one of the most beautiful and inspiring cities ever and now, 27 years later I was so happy to visit it with my family.

We managed to get the fantastic fare for the airplane tickets through Wizzair and it was around 500 euros for the 5 of us and it was almost that much to rent a charming loft from AirBnB for our stay in Premia de Mar, in the suburbs of Barcelona. The train station (R1 line connected to the city centre in 30 mins) was literally across the apartment building that was in the quiet zone full of shops and small restaurants working till late, so it was very handy. The transportation (T-mobilitat or TMB) was great, but we had some problems with tickets (that weren't working) so my hope that it will be running a bit more smoothly and efficiently in the future. It was also challenging to figure out the zone of Premia de Mar, as it was listed as zone 4 for the trains (Rodalies) only, while in TMB group transportation, offering various tickets like T-usual, T-casual or T-familiar which we mostly used, was in the 2nd zone.

We mostly used trains, even to arrive to the airport (R1 +R2), although it was easily approachable with Metro or bus and it only takes about 15 minutes from the Barcelona's Pla├ža de Catalunya. 

Just upon our landing at the airport, we had an unpleasant episode with the Car Rental agency "Do You Spain" and my strongest suggestion is to avoid this agency, due to lack of professionalism and to rent a car directly from Rent-a-car agency, in our case it was from Europcar, that was very professional.

We rented a car because our flight was arriving late (planned for 10 pm, but it landed at 11.15 pm), because we were 5 ( a bit challenging for regular Taxi) and also because we wanted to visit Montserrat the next day, which is exactly what we did.

We enjoyed it so much. There's a car parking just before the monastery settlement (the ticket was 7 euros for entire day). We eat there at the Montserrat Restaurant, where we enjoyed beautiful views.

After that kids wanted to visit La Roca village but the weather wasn't very collaborative, so we mostly rushed to arrive to our apartment and also to leave the car at the airport.  

On our second day, we had the privilege of visiting one of the most beautiful and enchanting places in Barcelona - the Sagrada Familia. It was a particularly special experience for me as it was the first time I could enter and fully appreciate the interior, considering my previous visits coincided with the basilica's construction.

Taking advantage of the opportunity, we purchased our tickets in advance, a week ahead, directly from the official Sagrada Familia website. This allowed us to secure our desired date and time slot for the visit, ensuring a seamless and delightful experience. In fact, we followed the same approach for all our other planned activities, opting for the convenience of online ticket purchases.

For lunch, thanks to my sister, we discovered a hidden gem, the Puertecillo fish restaurant, located in close proximity. The experience was simply delightful. At Puertecillo, you have the unique opportunity to handpick your fresh fish and specify your preferred cooking method, whether it's fried or grilled. The simplicity of the process and the absence of service charges create a homely atmosphere, making it not only a culinary delight but also an affordable dining experience.

Our afternoon was dedicated to the most enchanting Park Guell.

We walked by the Casa Vicens in our way back to the city's centre. I wish we had some time to visit the interior and taste the churros with chocolate served there, in their cafeteria.

Next day, we started with the Arc de Triomf, partially visited Parc de la Ciutadella, partially Montjuic (to visit the Museum of Joan Miro), partially L'Aquarium, and finally we reunited late afternoon to visit the Picasso Museum together.

We had a brunch break at the wonderful Born - Honest Greens cafe in the Gothic Quarter.

On our final day, we embraced a much-needed sense of relaxation, given that our feet were practically pleading for respite after days of incessant walking and running since our arrival. We leisurely strolled past the architectural marvels of Barcelona cathedral, Casa Batllo and Casa Mila (La Pedrera), taking the time to explore quaint stores nestled in the heart of the city.

A particular highlight was our visit to La Boqueria, a culinary haven where color overflowed in abundance. It wasn't just a feast for the eyes; the vibrant market also tantalized our taste buds, creating a delightful symphony for both the senses.

Looking forward to the next time,