I spent a weekend in Barcelona before heading to Sweden. My main purpose of traveling there was to attend the Reggaeton Beach Festival (woot woot!). However, I also managed to squeeze in some sightseeing and visited Parc Güell for the first time!
Now, this wasn't my first time in Barcelona, but it was the first time since I started blogging.
So let me talk you through accommodation, some awesome places to grab food (you know me, I try to find amazing food places anywhere I go), the festival, and the park.
But first, some history (as always)!
A tiny bit of history
Did you know that Barcelona was founded by the Romans under the name of Barcino in the 1st century BC? I personally prefer its name now, but hey. At one point, the Count of Barcelona, Wilfred the Hairy (I LOVE his name), founded the nation of Catalonia.
After a long period of thriving, Catalonia and its language suffered under the political oppression of Franco’s dictatorship, only recovering after his government.
Hosting the Olympic Games in 1992 gave Barcelona a huge boost and helped anchor the city as one of the most important sites for tourism in Spain.
Fun fact: bullfighting has been prohibited in Catalonia since 2012!
I stayed at the Sweet BCN Youth Hostel for 3 nights. The location of the hostel is great because it’s really central and in a nice part of the city. I was staying in a mixed room of 8 people. The facilities were really clean and in good shape. The bed was a tad cramped, but I wasn’t expecting it to be spacious anyway. They have 3 individual shower rooms with toilets and a separate toilet. The reception was super helpful and friendly. All in all, I would recommend the hostel because of value for money, service, and convenience (they did not pay me to say this, and if they did, I would tell you:))!
Don't take my word for it though, look at what other people have said:
I discovered some great places for food in Barcelona! And also some average ones. To start off with, I went to Cervecería Catalana, and it was ok. Just your average tapas for average prices. The atmosphere and the decor are quite nice though, and it’s located really centrally. So, I would recommend coming here if you’re stuck in the centre and don’t want to eat really pricey, not-so-great food.
Now for the awesome places! Somewhere (no, not just any place, this is literally the name of the place!) Café is a trendy café/restaurant, perfect for brunch. It has a very hipster vibe, with neon lights, street-art style decor, and quirky menu options. I chose the avocado toast (why would you ever not have avocado toast??), and my friend had a pulled-pork pancake. My avocado toast was perfect, while my friend found hers “interesting” (literal quote). Make of that what you will. I also want to give a special shout out to the excellent matcha latte that was so yummy, I had to order two.
An even more awesome food spot: I visited Las Sorrentinas, an Italian (?) pasta place. And I absolutely loved it!! It's a magical little restaurant where you can customise your pasta! I don't know if you've heard of Vapiano, but it's a similar concept, just in a chain restaurant, and more authentic.
So. Many. Choices. The pasta is all made fresh, and they have so many varieties! And for those of you who like filled pasta (like me!), they have different types of those too, such as tomato or spinach ravioli (and by that I mean the dough is made with those things, how AWESOME) with various fillings. And then, you get to choose your pasta sauce (all homemade too, including fan favourites like classic tomato sauce or green/red pesto). To top it all off (pun intended), you can choose toppings for a little extra.
It was one of the best pasta dishes I've ever had in my life. I'm not exaggerating. The pasta (I went for tomato dough filled with pumpkin) tasted fresh, the sauce was amazing (I went for green pesto, and I consider myself a bit of a pesto connoisseur, if I may say so). If that didn't make your mouth water, wait until you have your food at Las Sorrentinas...
Last, but not least, ice cream is an absolute essential (especially if you're visiting Barcelona in summer, but no judgment if you get it in winter)! I got mine from a charming little place called Biscuiter.
I highly recommend their ice cream (or nice cream, as they call it)! It was very very tasty. I had the oreo flavour!
Reggaeton Beach Festival
I've always loved listening to Latin music, especially since I started dancing salsa and other Latin dances at uni (in 2011). There's just such a summery, beachy vibe to it. And of course, I love dancing, and this type of music is amazing to dance to.
This was the first year the festival was held, and they're doing a whole tour all over Spain now! Check out their Facebook page here.
If you're wondering what essentials to pack to go to the beach this summer, here's a great list for you!
My highlights were:
- Juan Magan
- Danny Romero
- Sebastian Yatra
- Piso 21
The weather was great that day! I also loved that they had a wardrobe to check in your stuff, and the coupon system for payment worked quite well too.
The only negative thing I would mention would be the organisation of the event. They didn't have many food options, so I didn't have dinner there. We weren't told when artists would be coming on, so we just had to wait, and sometimes, they were running 2 hours late. Finally, the last band (Piso 21) had sound problems and then were told to finish up after 3 songs, which was really sad.
I will definitely go again next year because it was great value for the 15 euros I paid for promotional early bird entry! I just hope they're fixed the organisational issues to make it an even better experience the second time around.
This park, named after artist Gaudí’s patron Eusebi Güell, is one of the most famous attractions in Barcelona. In 1890, Güell assigned Gaudí to a project where nature and housing would coexist perfectly. Even though the project fell through due to lack of demand, the resulting park is stunning and still attracts many visitors every year.
The first thing that struck me was that the park was huge! I hadn't expected it to be such a vast stretch of green. And then, I entered the paid section and saw these gorgeous and weird columns.
It didn't take long until I came across the houses with their quirky roofs and stunning mosaic ornaments.
And what a lovely day to visit, as well (actually, maybe a bit too hot, since the sweat was dripping into my eyes...you win some, you lose some). Look at the attention to detail on the roof and the windows! The inside of the Gaudí museum (one of the houses) was a stunning blue (my favourite colour!). The visit is included in the paid ticket.
From one of the windows in the museum, you can see the main square. I love the harmony of the pillars and the mosaic patterns. It all merges so well with the green around the buildings.
As you follow the steps up towards the main pillared construction, you can see the famous mosaic salamander. I just had to pose with it!
The highlight of the park is definitely the main pillared construction with the astonishing mosaic ceiling. The colours pop so nicely against the beige tiles, don't you think?
The last part of the park is the one with the most spectacular views over all of Barcelona. It's also the place with the most famous mosaics by Gaudí.
So there we go! Those were the things I did and saw in Barcelona. I had an amazing time and will definitely be returning:)
Remember when I said at the beginning of this post that I went to Sweden after this trip? Here's my post about Stockholm! I would love it if you checked it out <3