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Friday, 16 October 2015

A Weekend In Barcelona; Barcelona Hidden Gems - Part 1

uk travel blog
When Hotels.com asked me if I wanted to explore a European city I could hardly say no. My mind said 'go somewhere you've never been', Italy was naturally top of the list (I cannot believe I am yet to visit Italy), but my heart said Barcelona (again). I've visited Barcelona once, a few years agoand since then, it's still remained my favourite city in the world (so far). If you read my blog a lot you'll know that I've been fortunate enough to visit quite a lot of cities/states around the world in the past few years but most of them have been miles away from home and I always jump at the chance to go on a European adventure. Barcelona did something to me the first time I visited and I had this urge to go back. I grabbed as many Summer outfits as I could find, got my bikinis back out and packed a bag. It was time to go back to the place where my love for travel began... Hola Barcelona!
Barcelona beach
Barcelona hadn't changed one bit. The beach was still as beautiful (and busy) as it was the first time I went, the sea still as perfect too. Visiting in September meant the crazy tourism had calmed down a little. Barcelona was much quieter this time round than the last time I visited (in the height of Summer). 

I've already visited most of the touristy things so I went to Barcelona with no plan really. If you read my blog a lot you'll know that I like to get the touristy things out of the way and then just get lost, no worries if you've missed that, you can read my top travel tips here. I'm a big fan of finding places people haven't found before. I like to wander down hidden streets and generally just find new things.
w hotel barcelona
We started off by strolling along the beach. We stayed in the Melia Sky hotel which was just stunning. I was quite worried after reading bad reviews but I cannot fault the hotel whatsoever. Last time I went to Barcelona I stayed right on La Rambla, so in the heart of everything. I was quite worried about staying further out but it only cost 10 Euros max in a taxi to get pretty much anywhere so it was okay, plus Barcelona has a really good underground system. It also meant we were in a really nice neighbourhood (Poblenou) close to the beaches with amazing, local, hidden gem restaurants. Sometimes it's good not to stay bang in the centre. We walked for 10 miles on the first day, from one end of the beach to the other. It was so lovely to just put my camera away and just wander. 

We got back to our room and were greeted with my favourite treats, champagne, chocolate strawberries and macaroons. Happy Em.


We checked in at 'The Level'. The Melia has a special floor if you pay a bit extra. This floor was amazing, with stunning, panoramic views of Barcelona and free nibbles, champagne, drinks and anything else you could wish for from 7am-11pm. It was the dream really. Not to mention the epic concierge service and gorgeous views. We sipped some champagne and looked out onto Barcelona.


The view from our room was pretty spectacular. 



I was challenged by Hotels.com to do an unrooming video on arrival. Make sure you watch it above and see what I thought about the room in 30 seconds. It was pretty hard on an iphone to show you a room in 30 seconds but hopefully you get the gist of it!

Playsuit, similar here.

We chilled out in our cosy room after a long day of walking before dinner and then it was time to sample some Barcelona delights.

On our first night we headed back to my favourite restaurant ever. I ate there on recommendation as it's apparently 'the best restaurant in Barcelona' and I promised my guest wouldn't disappoint. I have been dreaming about this place ever since the first time I visited and just had to head back again. It's called Cerveceria Catalana and make sure you get there early because you will queue for at least an hour. We got there at 9 and were told we couldn't get a table until 11pm so we went across the road for some pre-dinner fuel first. People in Barcelona like to eat late. 

Another glass of sangria down and it was time to head to our table.

 cerveceria catalana
I always ask waiters recommendations and this was recommended to us. If anyone can tell me what it is that wold be greatly appreciated as it's probably one of the most delicious (yet horrible looking) dishes I've ever tasted. It was like really thin fries, complete with a fried egg and sauce on top. It sounds awful but I promise, looks can be deceiving. It was heavenly. 

 cerveceria catalana
The baked camembert seriously didn't disappoint either. 

Neither did the mini burgers. We pretty much ate the whole menu with wine for around 50 Euros. Top quality food, top quality service and a great atmosphere. 

barcelona travel guide
The next day was spent strolling around. I like days without plans. 



We stumbled into the Gothic Quarter and I fell back in love with Barcelona's charm...

gothic barcelona
It looks like you'll never find a quiet street away from the tourists in Barcelona but just keep strolling and I promise, there's enough to go around for everyone.








 La Boqueria Market
I finally got the chance to head to La Boqueria market. It's closed on a Sunday so I didn't get the chance to visit last time but this is most definitely a must see in Barcelona.

 La Boqueria Market
It's the most amazing market I've visited


 La Boqueria Market barcelona
I somehow restrained myself and managed to leave without the whole market.

It's like every food you could ever imagine, all under one roof. 

sabo skirt



We strolled through the local park opposite our hotel once I'd devoured my chocolate strawberries...

nou camp
and then headed to Nou Camp to watch Barcelona play.

I've always wanted to watch a Barcelona game and finally my dreams came true. 

That evening we headed to a local tapas on a busy, local street near our hotel. In true me style I went for the one that 'looked the cutest with candles'. I made a good choice though as the food was delicious.

This bread was amazing, you brush it with garlic and then put the tomatoes on top.


I could easily live on tapas. 

Sagrada Familia

The following day we did some touristy stuff, we paid for a bus pass and hopped around the city (if it's your first time in Barcelona I'd highly recommend doing this, it's probably the easiest and quickest way to do all the touristy stuff).  The Sagrada Familia is still one of my favourite things to see.


We walked around Park Guell too.

Top - American Apparel (identical here) / Skirt - American Apparel (similar here and here). 


park guell barcelona
take me anywhere with good views and I'll love you forever. 

park guell barcelona


We made a quick pit stop for a lolly before discovering more of Barcelona. Part 2 coming your way very soon!

Have you ever visited Barcelona? Do you like the look of Barcelona? Do you like Europe? Are you going away anywhere soon?

Lots of love,
Em x

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