After a quick flight down from London and an easy Aerobus into town, we were in Barcelona by lunch time! It was just as well as we were hungry to eat and explore the city. A place worth checking out is Veggie Garden, which is a very popular vegan restaurant in the middle of Barcelona. The restaurant offers a three course meal, with wine and bread, for under €10!
After a fairly relaxed afternoon strolling around the Gothic Quarter and picking up a gelato on Las Ramblas, we had rooftop drinks at Barcelona Raval Hotel. Although I had previously lived in Barcelona for a year, we had no idea about this hotel bar. The hotel is blessed with amazing 360 degree views of the city. Such a great place to watch the sunset and a great end to a first day in Barcelona.
Another realisation we had visiting Barcelona this time was that it is possible to ascend the Columbus Monument at the bottom of Las Ramlas! It is a small elevator and a small viewing platform from the top, but it offers a different 360 degree of the city and a great perspective of the trees along La Ramblas.
Barcelona is such an easy city to navigate and it was great to get a cable car up Mont Juic and in just 25 minutes we were enjoying a coffee overlooking the city.
Another highlight from the day was getting the hop on and hop off bus towards Tibidabo. Tibidabo really does have the most stunning views of the city. It is a great location to capture sunset and also take in the scale of the city as it spreads in from the coast. There is also an amusement park at the very top, which is the coolest place for a theme park!
On the way back down we ate at my favourite restaurant in Barcelona. My favourite restaurant in Barcelona is a vegan and vegetarian pizza restaurant called Dolce Pizza & Los Veganos. It has loads of options for vegetarians and vegans. Including pizza, burgers and pasta dishes; I always had the chorizo pizza though with a nice cold Estrella after a nice warm day!
After a lazy start to the day, we headed to Poblenou to look at some street art, which is not so well known and so isn’t too busy, but still very impressive. Some of the art is over 5 metres high and over 20m long and full of vivid colours.
In the afternoon, we enjoyed the highlight of the trip; a helicopter tour of the city. The helicopter tour goes along the coast from near the W hotel to Poblenou. Then it goes inland near Sagrada Familia and then to the Camp Nou. We had great weather and the 12 minute helicopter trip was over before we knew it! It is the best way to appreciate the grid design Barcelona has, which is just so visually pleasing from the sky but hard to appreciate from the city level. Barcelona has a strict grid pattern, crossed by wide avenues, designed in the 19th Century. This visionary design by Catalan urban planner Ildefons Cerdà, considered traffic and transport along with sunlight and ventilation in coming up with his characteristic octagonal blocks!
In the morning we headed to a bakery for breakfast. There is a vegan bakery in Gracia, which is really good. It is a bit expensive, but the food is very nice. Gracia is a lovely part of Barcelona, which is not quite as tourist as Gothico but has so many stunning squares with lovely cafes and bars.
In the afternoon we had a bit of a surprise and ended up doing a Ferrari experience of the city. It was a lot of fun, ridiculously fun, even from the perspective of someone who isn’t mad on cars. And the tour drives up to the top of Mont Juic and so we got out and enjoyed looking out over the city once more, from the Ferrari!
In the early evening it was then home time again after such an amazing time in Barcelona. Hopefully we will get a chance to visit again - when Messi is playing and the sun is shining!
Photography | @ianharper_
Canon 5D Mark III & 24-70mm