I have been so excited about writing this post and I did write it as soon as I returned but unfortunately blogspot deleted the post, so here I am, writing it for the second time. As you'll have realised by now if you're a frequent reader of my blog, I love writing the occasional lifestyle post. I've been doing a few more travel and restaurant reviews, people who like beauty generally like nice food and good places to travel to so why not. After a great response to my Girls Guide To Paris, I thought I'd do the same after my trip to Barcelona. I am breaking this up into two blog posts, because we managed to cram so much into our four days in Barcelona, this first post talks you through my first two days. Whether you're planning a trip to Barcelona or not, hopefully, if nothing more, you will enjoy these photos but if you are planning a trip to Barcelona, I've included some tips which really helped us get the best out of our four days in Barcelona...
Getting To Barcelona: We flew from Liverpool airport, bright and early. 6am to be precise. We wanted to arrive in Barcelona early enough so that we could enjoy a full day there. It meant that the flights were more expensive, but surely it's worth it for a longer day, yep, of course it is. We bought our flights from Skyscanner and used Jet 2 on the way there and Ryan Air on the way back. Surprisingly, Ryan Air were incredible to fly with.
How To Get From Barcelona Airport To Your Hotel: Once you arrive at the airport in Barcelona, you obviously need to get to your hotel. I'd have personally just done the standard British-girl-lost-abroad thing and jumped in the nearest and dearest taxi. To get into the centre of Barcelona it's 30+ Euros in a taxi from the airport, fair enough if you want to pay this, but something just as easy, is the aerobus. Luckily, we'd done our research and as soon as you walk out of the airport, you can't miss these huge blue buses. You can buy your ticket on the bus and it's 6 Euros, this bus takes you almost anywhere. We got off at Placa De Catalunya (the main square), picked up a map and walked to our hotel (it was only a 5 minute walk) check in wasn't ready, so instead, we sampled the local ales...
I of course opted for a jug of sangria. The going rate for half a jug of sangria in Barcelona seemed to be around 5 Euros. Some places charged 8 Euros for a jug, whilst others charged 12 Euros. In the Spanish supermarkets, you can buy sangria for 1 Euro, after all, they are famous for their sangria.
We arrived at our first hotel, The Hotel Pultizer, where we spent two nights. The room wasn't ready to check into until 2pm, which is standard for most hotels, we arrived at about 11am so had a full day of exploring to do, the hotel staff tended to our every need, they took our bags from us and looked after them until we checked in, they then showed me to the bathroom where I could freshen up and get ready for a day of exploring.
When we did check in, I really could not fault the hotel in any way whatsoever, in fact, I was blown away by everything about the hotel. We chose to spend our first two nights here as we wanted to be very central for the start of our trip. It's safe to say that The Hotel Pulitzer is about as central as you can get (here is the link if you want to stay there, I would recommend it). It's a 30 second walk to the Placa de Catalunya (main square) and Las Ramblas (the main shopping street) not to mention a Zara and Sephora all within 500m walking distance from the hotel. The great thing about this hotel though, is that it's on a quaint street away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it almost feels like you're a local in this hotel, with views of Barcelona from your private balcony, yet you're still so close to the centre. The staff were literally incredible, I left my glasses in the bathroom whilst freshening up (typical me) and luckily, a maid had already picked them up for me and left them behind reception. The bar staff were so helpful when it came to helping me find my glasses and made sure that I didn't leave the hotel without them.
Our balcony was so beautiful and authentic, it was like something you'd see on a film, where you wake up on a morning to balcony doors wide open and the view is simply idyllic.
The room was perfectly romantic and being an interior design obsessive, it lived up to my high standards. Everything was pretty perfect. This stuff is seriously Pinterest worthy.
It's very hard to show you just how good our room was on photographs. The room was large, with the comfiest bed (I felt like Princess and The Pea) and our own lounge area. We had a lot of wardrobe space which is good for me, I am not, I repeat not a light traveller.
My dress is from an Ebay shop.
The view from our balcony was truly beautiful. It's made me realise that I want to grow old like this, I'd love to sit on this balcony and read my newspapers whilst sipping green tea.
I am a sucker for nice hotel bathrooms. This was a pretty gorgeous bathroom, including our own bathrobes and slippers. I love nothing more than getting cosy in an over sized hotel bathrobe.
I loved the touch of giving guests a little box each in the bathroom, one for her, one for him and one for both. This is the coolest thing I've ever seen in any hotel.
Whilst in Barcelona I became obsessed with Blaklabel t-shirts and keep stealing Jacks. He has nearly the whole collection now so it's only fair that I take a few off his hands. It's not a Spanish brand, it's a brand new British brand and boy does it make me proud to be British. After working part-time in a well known clothes shop for nearly four years, it's safe to say that I know good quality clothing when I see it and really do appreciate it. These t-shirts are top notch when it comes to quality (and they come in the most gorgeous little cylinders) top marks for presentation. Doesn't he look great? (The elephant, not Jack).
We spent our first day admiring the Gothic quarter and walking around La Ramblas. La Ramblas is so big, you could easily spend a few days just exploring that part of Barcelona. Our hotel was well within walking distance of La Ramblas and the Gothic quarters of Barcelona. La Rambla is literally huge, there is so much to see and do, you could spend 4 days there. La Ramblas is full of shops, Zaras everywhere, Berskhas, Mango and then authentic little tapas, sweet shops and more.
The Gothic Quarter is easy to find, just keep walking down Las Ramlas and turn left and you can't miss it. It's so easy and fun to get lost in Barcelona, each winding street takes you somewhere new and exciting.
A huge tip for anyone travelling to Barcelona: Cover up your shoulders. It's difficult when you're a tourist and you're wanting to soak up the sunshine so just pack a jacket or a cardigan in your bag. We (and many other people behind us) got rejected from entering the cathedral in the Gothic Quarter because our shoulders were on display (and my whole back oops). After this, I made sure I always had a cardigan in my bag. It's common sense really but I completely forgot.
The streets of Barcelona are beautiful, look up, look down and I guarantee 95% of the time you'll find something beautiful.
The tapas bars are beautiful but surprisingly, we found it difficult to find a really good one until the very end of the trip. I'll let you in on that secret in my second Barcelona blog post.
There are some beautiful looking restaurants in Barcelona, but unfortunately, we only found one good place to eat in our whole stay. Keep reading to find out more about that one. Blaklabel features again here, I feel like I should apply to be their new photographer, these t-shirts are very nice to photograph. I'm all for supporting talented youths and that's why I love Blaklabel so much.
Our plan in Barcelona really was to just get lost. We wanted to do the tourist things, but we also wanted to find exciting, authentic things. It's easy to just walk around Barcelona and be fascinated by everything, it's a really beautiful city. Every street excited me a lot.
A trip to Barcelona wouldn't be complete without sampling the local gelato.
We came across this exciting ice cream shop and they let us try a bit of every flavour before we bought them. We felt suitably fat when we left the shop. Ice cream in Barcelona is probably the best ice cream I've ever had though. I'd strongly recommend getting the banana flavour.
All of the above was just seen walking from our hotel, down La Ramblas and into the Gothic District. There literally is so much to see and do and we probably only saw half of it.
We chose to eat around La Ramblas. We fancied authentic tapas and we wanted to walk through the winding streets in the evening. On the way, we watched street performers, it was really nice to see, particularly when this couple got up and began dancing. Barcelona doesn't seem to come alive on an evening until at least 8.30pm, we ended up eating at nearly 10pm every night and at this time, the city really was alive.
Blak label t-shirts made their second appearance of the day, but this time, in the Gothic Quarter ready for dinner. I love this photo because the background is just beautifully Gothic. My bag is from Zara.
We walked for miles and finally stopped off at a random tapas restaurant. Unfortunately, we were complete tourists and went for a set meal, it wasn't great I'm afraid. I wouldn't recommend that you get a set meal when it comes to tapas. We were both still starving after this, (24 Euros) and didn't want to spend anymore money in there so we found a gorgeous baguette shop and for 6 Euros we grabbed one and shared it whilst walking down La Ramblas together, romantic huh? Baguette shops seem to be open til about 11pm in Barcelona so do not fear if dinner wasn't up to scratch, you can always fill up on some Spanish carbs...
It was time to rest our sleepy heads after a tiring day touring Barcelona (and this was only day 1). If you do get a great hotel which is central, such as the Hotel Pulitzer, you can use your first day exploring that whole area so it worked out really well for us. There was literally so much to do near our hotel, that we could have stayed in that vicinity for our whole trip.
To my excitement, we arrived in our room to find that chocolates had been left for us. I squealed, a lot.
We got the Barcelona tour bus from Placa De Catalunya and they give you a free, really handy map which shows you the bus route. The queue was huge to get the bus from the square but it went down pretty quickly. You can do three routes: Red, Blue or Green. We started with the Blue route, I think the whole route is around 2 hours long and takes you around all the best tourist sites. We got off pretty quickly at the Casa Batllo, a house designed by a pretty famous guy called Gaudi. If you don't know who Gaudi is, his work is just phenomenal and well worth seeing so do check him out online to see what the fuss is about.
It's really hard to show you just how good his work is, everything is designed by him, I liked this particular house because everything was like a whale or fish scales. For the price of entering, you get a little audio guide which teaches you a lot about him and his work. It's actually really educational.
The houses that he designed are extraordinary, this particular one is themed like the ocean. Whether you like this kind of stuff or not, it really is interesting. Barcelona is taken over by Gaudi's work.
The ceiling in the attic is like a whale. My skirt is from All Saints and my face looks horrific. Make up is a no-go in 30 degree heat.
We hopped back on the bus. Our next stop on the bus touristic was La Sagrada Familia. A beautiful church which was designed by Guadi but unfortunately he died in a tragic accident and couldn’t finish his work. When we arrived, the area was full of tourists as you can imagine on a 30 degrees day in August. We walked around the whole building and people were queueing all the way around. It would have taken about 2-3 hours to get in if we queued. Luckily, we saw that you could book online, so when we got back to the hotel, we booked there, it cost the same price, but it meant that the day after we could jump the queue. This is something I would really advise if you’re going to Barcelona, avoid the queues and book online as this place is really worth seeing (you'll hear all about it in part 2).
Instead, we hopped back on the bus and went to visit Guadi's park Guell, again designed by him. I personally loved this. You have to walk up a really steep hill on the way, but we came across this sign and popped inside.
As you can see, it’s rammed, but it really is beautiful. This is a free park. There isn't much to do once you get to the park, but there are some nice shops and restaurants on the hill up to the park.
The views from this park are really phenomenal, particularly when its bright sunshine like it was when we visited. In August, Barcelona is very busy, I can imagine that this would have been a little bit better if it wasn't so busy as it was very difficult to get photos.
After a quick walk around this area and a few moments getting lost in the Spanish streets surrounding the park, we visited Camp Nou (Barcelona Football Stadium). We were debating whether to visit or not, as it is very far out, but I’ve always been a huge sports lover and with Barcelona being one of the best football clubs in the world, football lover or not, you’ve got to go and visit this stadium. A tip here if you’re a student: show them your student card for discounted entry. We knocked almost 8 Euros off the general ticket price. Whilst on the tourist bus, you do see a lot just driving through Barcelona so it didn't really matter that it was a bit of a trek.
Camp Nou is somewhere that you could spend a whole day at if you’re a football fanatic. Memorabilia galore. Take your boyfriend and you'll for sure get the girlfriend of the year award. The stadium is pretty cool too I guess...
My favourite thing about Camp Nou is that you get to go into the players dressing room, unfortunately there were no naked football players, but I did take note of the fact that they have a Jacuzzi in their changing rooms. Living the life of luxury or what?
We arrived back to some beautiful champagne and some more chocolates on our bed. After another long day in Barcelona, we were so excited to relax in our robes for a bit and get ready for a hectic evening of wining and dining.
It was time to celebrate how incredible our first two days in Barcelona had been.
It was time for dinner. We ate at a place called Brown33, it looked delicious on the outside. The mozzarella to start was hands down the best mozzarella I’ve ever had (they forgot to bring Jack’s starter so we shared it). The service here was the worst service that I have ever had in a restaurant so I wouldn’t recommend going here.
Another Topshop number for me. These are the fountains which were very close to our hotel, on the Catalunya square.
We wandered through our beautiful hotel and headed up to the terrace bar to celebrate and say goodbye to The Hotel Pulitzer.
The gorgeous Terrace Bar looks over La Ramblas.
A little bit tipsy and running on adrenaline, it was finally time for bed. Barcelona life is tiring, the days are long, everyone moves very slowly. You can wake up at 9am and fill yourself up on a hearty breakfast, I'm the biggest lover of breakfast so was very impressed when I saw that The Hotel Pulitzer served REAL freshly squeezed orange, scrambled eggs, cereals, meats and everything else that you can wish for. Our hotel was a breakfast lovers paradise, particularly because you can sit outside in their gorgeous outdoor terrace and eat it. Being at a hotel with such a good breakfast made me excited to wake up so early. Make sure you fill up because you're likely to be sight seeing until 6pm and then not eating dinner until at least 8.30pm ( we found that Barcelona is not lively until at least 9pm in most places). In two days, we saw so much in Barcelona, my next blog post will be discussing the beaches of Barcelona and how difficult it is to decide whether Barcelona is a city break, or a beach break. Lets just say, our next two days in Barcelona were very different to our first two. Keep an eye out for that blog post.
Lots of love, Em x
Have you ever been to Barcelona? Would you like to go to Barcelona? What's your favourite city break? What have you been up to this Summer?
P.S, I've been shortlisted for the Cosmopolitan 'best new beauty blog' award and I am speechless, I'd love to have your vote. You can vote for me here. Voting ends in two days, it would be incredible if you could spend a minute of your time to vote for me. Thank you so much, it means the world to me.