We all knew this was likely to be the last year all four of us could go away together this this – as we were finishing up with college and some of us were starting full time work and others were continuing on with studies. So we decided to go to Barcelona for a few nights – the others had been before but this was my first time – so I let them take the lead on the trip in terms of what to see and where to stay.
We flew out first thing in the morning from Dublin Airport and arrived into Barcelona – El Prat Airport. We made our way to the accommodation – Barcelona City Street Hostel, Carrer de Dénia – it was outside the city a bit but there were metro stations on every corner so it wasn’t hard to hop on one and get to the main tourist areas.
When we landed we went to one of the wee ticket kiosk desks at the airport, before getting the RENFE train to our accommodation, to each purchase a T10 ticket. “The T10 is a multi-person travel card valid for 10 Barcelona metro and bus journeys from 1 to 6 zones. Multi-person means you can share the card between several persons travelling.” – ref:
This made travelling to and from all our main areas of interest so easy! Every time you use your T10 ticket the machine would leave a line on the back to indicate how many times you have used it – so then you could plainly see how many turns you had left before it’s finished. The T10 ticket was definitely good value for money as there was so much we wanted to see and do in Barcelona – I believe the T10 ticket in the airport metro station only costed approx. €10 (it states online the 2017 price is €9.95)
Our first day in Barcelona was pretty much us finding our feet. We dropped off our luggage at the accommodation, got some local cuisine in our bellies and became tourists.
The weather at this time of the year was great for sightseeing purposes – most days. We had one day of rain but the others were glorious. Locals were wrapped up warm in their winter gear – but for us being from Northern Ireland – it was surprisingly warm. We did purchase some scarfs; as mornings were brisk enough but when you were underground waiting for the trains; you weren’t long losing a few layers to cool down.
We took it easy the first day and took time to plan out what to do on what days – as we wanted to keep the best days for the outdoor sites.
The only tourist attraction we pre-booked was the Sagrada Família – as they only let in a certain amount of people at the one time; to save congestion and to allow everyone to have an enjoyable visit but also because then you can pick a particular time slot – this makes it easier for planning out the rest of the day.
This place is so beautiful! Best time to go is in the morning time; when the light shines in the whole place just lights up in an array of amazing colours. Queues can get pretty long here also so definitely a good idea to get here early or if you do book your time slot before hand; you could do what we did and have a quick Costa around the corner while you wait.
The next day we spent at Park Güell – another place I would advise to arrive early at. We got here early enough – I believe about 9am/10am and after we bought our tickets on site we still had to queue to get into the main area where everyone takes their pictures – Nature Square – from here you have such an amazing view and is very much worth the wait to get your spot on the mosaic wall/bench and take that memorable picture. You then have the lovely gardens to walk around where there is beautiful stonework and statues.
The rest of our time was spent indulging in the authentic spanish cuisine – mostly paella -I do believe I ate paella every day; whether it was for lunch one day or dinner the other – it was just so nice.
We done a lot of walking on this trip but only because we wanted to see as much as possible. The architecture we came across when we walked around Las Ramblas was outstanding – so many beautifully designed buildings, quaint little boutique stores and delightful coffee shops.
> Get up and about early to beat the queues.
> Pre-book attraction tickets where/when possible.
> Highly recommend purchasing a T10 Card for travelling in and around Barcelona. You can share it will other people at the same time.
> You don’t necessarily need a city centre accommodation when visiting Barcelona – there is metro stops located all over the city and it really is so easy to get about.
> Plan out your visit and leave yourself plenty of time to take all the sights in. There is so much to see and do it’s unreal. The one thing we didn’t really have time for was Casa Batlló; but I did get a lovely picture of it from the outside – just had no time for the tour unfortunately.
If you are thinking of going to Barcelona or have been yourself – please do get in touch to share your experience and whatever tips and advice you can offer. I’m thinking of going back again soon with Scott and this time I won’t have my friends there to guide me – Eeek! It’s much easier to follow than it is to lead.