Monday, 8 June 2015

In need of a holiday? Jet off for a sunny city break in Barcelona.


As a surprise for my boyfriend’s 20th, I decided to be spontaneous and book two flights to Barcelona at the end of March. Since Adam’s birthday was in December and I booked the flights in October, I have to admit that this was a pretty big secret that I really did struggle to keep (I resulted in telling everyone other than him, just to contain my excitement – yes, I am mentally 5 years old). However despite the huge struggle to keep my mouth shut, booking the flights that far in advance really did pay off as I managed to bag a bargain and got two returns (4 nights, 5 days) on easyjet for about £120. Booking our flights was about as far as I had planned, until I booked our hotel in December which was called Century Park Hotel. I can’t remember the exact price of the hotel, but I know that it was good value for money and I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Barcelona. The location of the hotel was great – about 20 minutes drive from the airport and a 10 minute walk from the city center. Our room was really nice and modern, with its own ensuite and suuuuch a good shower, like seriously. I also paid for us to have breakfast every morning in the hotel which was really lovely, and consisted of a continental buffet which included the most amazing doughnuts (yes, I did eat one every morning). The only negative I would say, is that the hotel wasn’t a massive complex or anything so it didn’t have any lounge or bar areas where you could be when you weren’t in your room. However as we were to find out, city breaks are pretty tiring as you are out and about all day, so all you really want the hotel for is a bed to collapse into anyway!

Our flight arrived late at night, so on our first full day we decided it would be a good idea to get our bearings, and go on a ‘hop on, hop off’ bus tour of the city. We booked our tickets online through the company ‘Barcelona bus turisitc’ as this was the company recommended in our Lonely Planet travel guide. The tour was really great – the bus went on three routes: green, red or blue, and you could choose and switch between which route to travel on, depending on which sites you wanted to see. The tour company also provided us with free earphones so that we could listen to the audio guide should we want to. I think this was actually probably one of my favourite days, it was a really great way of traveling around the city and getting to see places that we may not have otherwise.

On our second day, we visited the Camp Nou stadium and museum which was also a present for Adam’s birthday. I’m personally not a massive football fan, so the museum and tour wasn’t one of my favourite sights. However the stadium is apparently the biggest in Europe and is undeniably impressive, so that was pretty cool. Even though it wasn’t my favourite, Adam certainly enjoyed this experience and I would say that for any football lovers, this is a must see.

On our third day, we travelled by metro which is A LOT cheaper than London’s underground; and visited La Sagrada Familia (a large Roman Catholic church, for those who don’t know) which is obviously one of Barcelona’s main tourist attractions. Although incomplete, the Gaudi designed church is a world heritage site and so is an obvious must see. The church’s interior is absolutely stunning, filled with huge stained glass windows and spiraling towers – an architect’s paradise. Once again, we previously booked our tickets for this online – and I would seriously recommend doing the same should you visit, as the queues to get tickets were ginormous, and you also save money online too – bonus!

The bus tour, Camp Nou, and La Sagrada Familia were the three main activities that we planned for our city break – which probably doesn’t sound like much, but in reality was actually really action packed and pretty tiring! Barcelona has some great shops, so we obviously did a lot of shopping inbetween as well! As our hotel didn’t have its own restaurant, we ate out every day for lunch and every evening for dinner – which was expensive, but really nice. One of the best places we found for dinner was ‘Buenos Aires Grill Restaurant’ which does the most delicious steaks – definitely worth a visit!

Barcelona was both mine and Adam’s first city break experience, and I can happily say that we both thoroughly enjoyed it! If you’re bored of Britain and are looking for a quick getaway in the sun, I would definitely recommend you considering Barcelona as your choice of destination :) For those of you that are considering it, here is a list of the top 5 things I think you should take with you:

1. The Lonely Planet pocket guide to Barcelona – a great resource of information to keep on you should you need it!
2. Sunnies!
3. A cabin bag rather than a suitcase! This can save you money as it counts as hand luggage – and is plenty big enough to fit all of your clothes, and any new ones that you may bring back!
4. A good book for the flight and when you have a spare minute to chill.
5. 100ml toiletries kit for shampoo and body wash etc as you can’t have any liquids above 100ml when using a cabin bag. Don’t worry though, most makeup is usually below this anyway!

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my trip to Barcelona, and that perhaps I have inspired you to go on a trip of your own!

 
 
 
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