I’m taking a 24 day, 6 country, euro trip, featuring friends and some solo adventures. I’m starting this trip in Barcelona, with two days in this city before I travel to Belgium. Being this was my first time in Europe, I did a bit of research before I left, but decided I would explore and discover new locations as I spoke to locals making any adjustments from there.
I stayed at Hostal Nitz Bcn, in the Gothic Quarters, because what’s a euro trip without a hostel! This hostel offered private rooms, and a great location, I was in walking distance to everything.
I typically use Uber to move around because of the better rates, but it wasn’t available, so we negotiated a rate, then hailed a taxi. The first mission in Barcelona was to buy ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ in Spanish because the Spanish version wasn’t easily attainable in the states. We chatted up our taxi driver about why we were here and asked where we could find Pan’s Labyrinth. Luckily, our taxi driver was well read and, pointed out we could find, El Laberinto del Fauno, in any ‘Case del Libre’. — book obtained
We checked into out hostel around 1 PM before we headed into the Gothic Quarters. We walked through the Gothic Quarters to Eixample taking time to mark off landmarks and get a lay of the area. On Paseig de Gracia we found a nice tapas restaurant called Tapa Tapa to pop our ‘authentic tapas’ cherry.
- Bikini trufat de mozzarella amb pernil ibèric
- Cassoleta de musclos a la planxa
- Brie a la planxa, trufat i amb dos sèsamas
This place was delicious! After stuffing out faces we walked to Barceloneta beach. This is the closest beach in Barcelona, shared by locals and foreigners alike. Even though this is a beach area this is one of the best beach towns I’ve seen. The restaurants come pretty close up to the sand and have very reasonable rates for food.
We walked the beaches, scoped out a few restaurants before we got coaxed into buying tickets to Opium, a beach front night club. We were told nightlife in Barcelona is a late night affair, people start to get ready at 11PM, have dinner before they head out to a club. Their parties start to pick up around 2 AM. I’m used to Jersey parties winding down at 2 AM.
After we bought our tickets, we headed back into town to a local place called ‘La Planta’. I can’t remember who told me to go here, but now I’ mtelling you, GO HERE. This place is a hidden gem filled with locals. I watched a man decide to use his scooter seat as a table instead of skipping out on food since the tables were filled. I knew this place had to be legit!
Thankfully we were able to squeeze in at the bar and order a few tapas and red wine. The menu had 6 tapas & 3 wines you could choose from.
I ordered red wine with a pincho de butifarra, which is a type of sausage and one of the most important dishes of the Catalan cusine.
We ended our food journey and night at Alcoba Azul. Alcoba Azul has an interesting backstory, which I learned about when asking about the well in the middle of the floor.
This place was an underground tunnel, transformed into market where people would come to fill up their buckets with water from the well. Until Alcoba Azul was transformed to a restaurant, this continued for decades.
We started our day with a walk to Sagrada Familia. Sagrada Familia is a unique and spectacular piece built by Antonio Gaudí. Even if you don’t know who Antonio Gaudíis, you will inevitably and instantly be able to recognize his unique work, which incorporates colorful mosaics, natural elements, and skeleton balconies through-out Barcelona.
Placa de Catalunya
We continued on to Placa de Catalunya, where we did a self-guided waking tour, props torick & steve audio tours. Placa de Catalunya is one of the main squares in Barcelona, which holds plenty of restaurants, markets, large shopping centers, department store, and a bustling nightlife.
We did a modified version of the tour stopping at:
- Placa de Catalunya
- Las Ramblas
- Walked Aviguda Portal de l’Angel
- Els Quatre Gats Restaurant (where young Picasso would spend his time)
- Font de Santa Ana
- Casa de l’Ardiaca
- Cathedral (Exterior)
- Placa Sant Felip Nori
- Jewish Quarters
After we finished the tour, we walked random streets for a few hours, stopping in different restaurants for small bites to eat, grabbing snacks, while looking for gifts to take back home.
We headed back to the room around 7PM to nap before waling over to Opium. We left our hostel at 12 AM, and it was as if everyone in the town was out. The beach was flooded with people, vendors were still out sells goods and now drugs.
We stayed out until 5AM and people were still laid out on the beach, people were still partying hard, there were still lines to get into the clubs. This was a whole new level of partying for me! Thanks Barcelona for the great introduction to Europe!
Opium Tip: We bought VIP tickets the day before so we didn’t have to wait on line. I’d recommended this. Our tickets said + 15 euros at the door, but don’t let them convince you that you need to pay 15 additional euros, because that 15 is for a ‘free drink’, which you’re just paying more for. The 5 euros is enough to get in and skip the line.