There’s nothing quite like a sunny city break, especially in a city as pretty and full of culture as Barcelona.
I have been to Barcelona before (you might have read the post here), but last time was October and the city had a different vibe. This time, it was even busier, more vibrant with the summer sun giving the streets a golden glow. Four nights is a great amount of time to stay, but there’s so much to see that I’m already planning another trip!
After a small delay, we finally arrived in Barcelona on a sunny Tuesday morning. Last trip, I stayed on Avenue Diagonal, but this time we stayed at the H10 Marina Barcelona which is located near to the beach in the relaxed
Villa Olímpica. I stayed at the H10 in Marbella last year and was so impressed that I was confident our stay in Barcelona would be fantastic – and I wasn’t disappointed! We stayed in a Junior Suite for three of us (me, my mum and sister) and had plenty of room with floor to ceiling windows giving us a lovely view over Barcelona.
One of the main concerns I had with sharing one room between three was space, but the layout of the room means you don’t feel crammed in – there were twin beds and a sofa bed which could fold up during the day so it was ideal. The bathroom was my dream bathroom, lots of marble, a bath and a separate shower (I have when the shower is in the bath in a hotel) and a glass, almost glittering double sink, all complete with grey ‘Privilege’ robes and slippers. The staff were fabulous too and breakfast was so yummy, including a glass of cava to start each day off (it would have been rude not to).
Anyway, back to the first day. The hotel is only about a 10 minute walk to the beach and marina so we headed here for some lunch and the strongest cocktail I have ever tasted. I’m not sure if it was the early start or the fact I hadn’t eaten yet, but let’s just say I certainly felt like I’d had a drink! After some relaxing and compulsory buying of a large bag of Lays crisps from a supermarket, we headed back to get ready for a quiet night. There are lots of lovely restaurants along the beach and I really wanted to go to Carpe Diem where I went for a drink last time, but due to my nut allergy problems I just didn’t trust to be able to eat the food. We ended up in the Pacha restaurant and it was a-mazing, everything we ordered was just cooked to perfection and the presentation was top notch too which always helps.
After a sleep in our comfy beds, we decided to go explore. It may be a little bit of a walk, but we decided to ditch taxis or the metro and see the area by foot as we headed to Las Ramblas. Being this side of the city meant we had a beautiful walk through the Parc de la Ciutadella, making our way through the cobbled streets of the Gothic Quarter which has so many lovely little shops to look at. One of the displays of the shops caught my eye, a beautiful selection of bead bracelets with a contrasting tassel. I, of course, bought two because when do you not need multiple tassel bracelets in your life? Eh? Never, that’s when.
After making my first purchase of the trip, we walked down Las Ramblas to the marina and across to the Maremagnum shopping centre. We couldn’t help ourselves having a look around some of the stores and picked up a few pieces in Bershka including a YSL Blogger inspired bag for under £13 (more on that in a future post). We headed back across for a lovely lunch of wine and pizza and I wondered if we could just move here and I could set up life as a pizza blogger? We continued the food loving vibes by heading to the La Boqueria food market for a look around and a drink of a questionable bright pink juice which was great for Instagram photos, maybe not as a refreshing beverage but there you go.
After a glass of the 2.70 Euro bottle of cava we sourced in the Lidl around from the hotel (shout out to the bargain of the holiday), we headed to Arcano for a feast of steak, more cava and yum dessert. The staff are always so lovely in here and it’s so understated, a really chilled location for a quiet dinner.
The beauty of going to Barcelona is that you get the best of both worlds, top class sightseeing with a beach holiday right on your doorstep. Barcelona’s beaches are so nice and clean; busy but still pleasant. We got three sunbeds and a parasol on the beachfront (40 Euro, but so worth it) and soaked up the sun and atmosphere. It was just what we needed, an ultimate unwind of reading, walking along the sand and ordering yummy cocktails from Carpe Diem! They also serve lunch on the beach, but nut allergy problems once again, we just picked up some baguettes and juice from a deli just up from the beach for a quick snack.
We continued the day of relaxation with quiet drinks in hotel and ended up having dinner there too. The staff were just so perfect at dinner, a really quiet meal which was the perfect end to the day. We headed to the roof pool bar to finish the night off with cocktails overlooking the Barcelona sky with an acoustic music performance setting the scene.
City breaks are so full-on, sometimes you just need to take a sightseeing shortcut and what better way than a hop-on/hop-off tour bus?! There is a bus stop a few minutes walk from the hotel and, for 28Euro per adult, you can an all-day ticket which can be used on both the red and blue routes, allowing you to see the whole of Barcelona. We decided to stick to the red route for the day, jumping off at the top of Las Ramblas for a spot of retail therapy.
Incase I’ve not mentioned before, Barcelona is amazing for shopping. From designer to high street, there is just so much choice and things to see (and buy!). I picked up a few pieces and got lost in one of the giant Zara stores for a while before we grabbed a quick lunch and ate it in the main square before getting back on the bus. I will admit we were the only passengers who came on laden with shopping bags, but maybe everyone else was just yet to hit the shops? I drove past Wilson Boutique Hotel, where we stayed last time, and got so nostalgic, it is just such a lovely city that I have such good memories of on my last trip too.
As our last night, we decided to go to Barceloneta at the marina. I’d been impressed last time, but I cannot fully say it was a positive experience this time unfortunately. The charming woman who ‘greeted’ us was sadly one of the rudest people I have ever come across, it was like something out of a really bad comedy film, as if it was put on how awful she was at customer service. It did leave us with a bitter taste after what turned out to be a lovely meal, but it is something we are still laughing about now. If you wouldn’t laugh, you would leave a crazy TripAdvisor review wouldn’t you? Anyways, the meal itself was lovely and sipping a glass of bubbly overlooking the sunset was a pretty lovely way to spend our last night minus the crazy lady on reception! Making our way back to the hotel, I tried to take in as much as I could. It really is a beautiful city, I can’t wait to go back!
Until next time, Barcelona…
We stayed in a Junior Suite in the H10 Marina Barcelona for 4 nights with breakfast. We flew from Edinburgh via Ryanair.