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After spending about 6 days in Barcelona, I can definitely say it is one of my favorite destinations. There is probably just one other location I’ve been that tops Barcelona. The sites, food, architecture, history, and the list could go on, were all amazing. During our time there I feel we definitely did everything we wanted to do. .
Trip Report: 6 Days in Barcelona
Sites to see:
This is by far one of the most amazing cathedrals I think I’ve ever seen. This includes in pictures or ones we’ve seen in person. My pictures do not show the intimate details of the cathedral. You can see this structure at many different places in the city, it dwarfs many of the buildings in Barcelona.
It is still currently being worked on and is projected to be finished (hopefully) around 2026. When you walk around the cathedral, you can see parts of the exterior that are still be constructed.
From what we read the interior is still being worked on and didn’t have a real interest to stand in the line (and pay) to see a partially completed interior.
If you do decide to go in, I’m sure what has been completed is gorgeous. The structure itself is just amazing and is a must see.
This is definitely one of the better known areas and many pictures are taken from here. In order to enter the area where many pictures are taken you have to purchase a ticket. Although I am not opposed to buying tickets, there was a view that was free, with higher elevation and was much better.
Probably my favorite area of Park Guell wasn’t even the famous houses built by Gaudi (although they were really cool), but an area that was on the outskirts of the park. The views from this area were some of the best ones we had in Barcelona.
In order to get to it, you needed to stay on edge of the park and you’ll start seeing an increase in elevation. You’ll get to the monument where there are 2 stone crosses at the top.
There were not many people there and the views were just amazing. I thought this was far more impressive than area people pay to goes to see.
Castell de Montjuïc:
When we went to Castell de Montjic, it was a slightly overcast day, with some slight rain. It is 173 meters above the port level. It was quite a hike, but once you got to the top it was gorgeous.
On your hike to the top, there are some points you can stop off and look at the city below you. There was even a beautiful fountain with little waterfalls that was worth stopping to see on your way to the top.
Once you get to the Castle, you do need a ticket to get inside. If you go to it, you should definitely buy a ticket to get inside. The views are most certainly worth it.
The pricing structure was interesting to me, if you were between the ages of 16 to 29 or over 65 years old, it would cost 3 Euro per person. If you were between those ages, well you paid 5 Euro per person. Either way, it was well worth the price.
We stayed at an Airbnb right off La Rambla. The street is definitely a high tourist area. Lots of little shops, overpriced food, but connects to many other sites in Barcelona.
If you decide to stay on or right off La Rambla, just keep in mind that the street is pretty much busy all the time. The noise level at times were quite high and definitely woke us up a few times.
Shopping on La Rambla:
This is something we found out after a few days there. We had found some plates that were hand painted in Spain, but were marked up quite a bit. Every shop had these types of plates. Typically marked anywhere from 22 euro to 30 euro.
At one shop, we say the price and started walking out, the person working started lowering the price. Every step we took, the lower the price got. Eventually, we figured out that they were willing to haggle on the price.
Once you start wondering the streets off La Rambla, you’ll see many stores with large discounts, again they are willing to drop the price even more. Ultimately, the price is not the price. If you find something you like, you can negotiate it down. This probably wouldn’t work at stores like Nike, but there are many of smaller stores where it will.
Getting Off La Rambla:
Walking on the main road was nice, but wandering down side streets, was far better. The restaurants and stores were not as full of people and the prices (especially food) weren’t as high.
One thing there wasn’t a shortage of was restaurants and bakeries. Everywhere you went there was a little bakery with some sort of amazing dessert to try. We definitely didn’t disappoint ourselves and stopped and every bakery we could.
Tapas were definitely seemed to be a favorite of the area and were located everywhere. There were even all you can eat Tapas Bars for about 13 Euro per person. There were plenty of deals on the street that ranged from 7 to 10 Euros.
Probably some of the best food we had was our last day in Barcelona. We ventured out to the beach area and on our way, we passed by tents of local food. This included, flat bread pizzas, croissants, baked goodies, and many other items. The prices were much better than the local restaurants. The prices ranged form 1 to 10 Euro.
Overall the food in Barcelona was phenomenal! The local food on the street, the coffee, down to the desserts, we were not disappointed at all. Also, calories don’t count when traveling, so make sure you stop at the many bakeries and try everything :-).
Take a Cooking Class!
We haven’t taken a cooking class in any place we have visited, but I can say we definitely will be from now on. We had decided to try one at place called “Cook and Taste.” I would highly recommend them as well.
Our cooking instructor, was fun to work with. She was very informative and made the class extremely fun! There was no shortage of wine in this cooking class too :-). There were both red and white wines and both were amazing.
We made a great onion soup with a poached egg, confit cod on flatbread, seafood paella (included prawns, mussels, and clams), and for dessert, we had a pear covered in a wine syrup with cranberries.
They allowed up to fourteen people per cooking class. When we took our class, we were there with another couple. They were super fun to be around and made the class that much more fun.
It wasn’t cheap at 65 Euro per person, but the food and the experience was well worth the price of admission. If you wanted to tour the market, it was an additional 13 Euro. We had went to a few markets by that point, so we decided not to do that.
Using Credit Cards:
I definitely learned a few things about using credit cards in Spain. Some of which was good, others not so much. My experience was pretty positive though.
I had brought my Chase Sapphire Preferred, which is a Visa, as my main credit card. I was finally able to load my American Express Business Platinum to my Android wallet once we got to Barcelona (that issue is for another time).
The credit card system is pretty fantastic. Every place that accepted credit cards had a portable device that did accept Chip and Signature. They were set up for Chip and PIN, but someday the US will get with the program and finally use that technology.
Not only did they accept my cards, Tap and Pay was accepted much greater than I have experienced in the US.
Some Notes on Credit Card Use:
It has been talked about the exchange rates for different credit card issuers especially with Visa and Mastercard. While we were in Barcelona, the exchange rate was 1 Euro = $1.07. Chase’s rates were higher and gave me less for my money. It was closer to 1 Euro = $1.11 to $1.13
Anytime it was asked if I wanted the store to convert the Euro to Dollars, I declined 100% of the time. I kept track of the rate they wanted to charge and compared it with the charge Chase had. The stores were higher every single time.
Many merchants had a requirement of 5 to 10 Euro in order to use your card. Something to keep in mind if you decide to make smaller purchases.
Since I have a $5,000 spending requirement on my Business Platinum card, I tried to use that card whenever I could.
I came to realize that even though the credit card reader would say American Express, that didn’t mean the merchant accepted American Express.
One huge advantage American Express had over Visa (when accepted) was the exchange rate was spot on to the exchange rate for that day!
Barcelona was an amazing city and has so much to offer. I feel we saw everything we wanted to see in the 6 days we were in Barcelona and if we had more time, I would have wanted to explore nearby areas outside of Barcelona.
The food and sites were fantastic! There was no shortage of great views and beautiful architecture. The food was full of flavor, but the local street food was much better than the food in the restaurants. Either way you can’t go wrong! Did I mention to stop at every bakery along the way?
Using credit cards in Spain was pretty positive. The exchange rate was better using an American Express than Visa, but wasn’t as widely accepted.
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