My wife and I recently enjoyed a wonderful, two-day stay in Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia and second largest city in Spain.
We started planning for our 48-hour excursion into the city after booking a cruise that departed from Barcelona and sailed into the Mediterranean. Norwegian Cruise Lines enticed us with a steal of a discount; for 60% of the normal fare, we got to enjoy the beautiful Mediterranean Sea and received complimentary drinks, tips, and Wi-Fi.
As we had never been to Barcelona before, we added a few extra days to our trip to get some time to explore the ancient city. We arrived a day before sailaway and stayed for two days after our cruise disembarked. After spending two full days there, I felt that we had only touched the surface. If I had more time, I would devote at least 5 to 7 days to really experience Barcelona.
Mercado de la Boqueria
The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, also commonly called Mercado de la Boqueria,
is one of Europe’s largest food markets. It is in the busy Las Ramblas shopping district.
The market has 889 stands consisting of poultry and eggs, pork butcher shops and delicatessen, butchers, regional specialties, fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, offal shops, olives and tinned food, fish and seafood, groceries, bars, and other non-food items.
The market is worth a visit, even if you do not have an apartment with a kitchen to stay at. There are tons of dry foods that can be purchased to take home. The bars feature typical tasty Spanish tapas to pair with glasses of wine, sangria, or sherry.
Cost to Enter: Free
Monday to Saturday, 8:00am to 8:30pm
Closed on Sunday.
This museum houses the most extensive collection of artworks by 20th century Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. The museum features a permanent collection of young Picasso’s works and jewelry leading up to Picasso’s Blue period. It is particularly married to Picasso’s relationship with Barcelona. The museum features an extensive gift shop, offering a range of Picasso books and branded items.
Cost to Enter: 12 EUROS
Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 7pm
Barcelona Cable Car
The Montjuïc Cable Car is the city’s shortest public transport line and by far the most spectacular. The cable car provides an astounding view of the city from above. You can start at the Port station and ride up to the top of to the top of Montjuïc mountain, where you will find a beautiful park with spectacular views of the city below. There is a snack bar at the top of the cable stop with a lovely patio for enjoying snacks and drinks.
There are several cultural attractions accessible nearby.
Parc de Montjuïc: From here you can access numerous cultural centres, like Fundació Miró, the National Art Museum of Catalonia, Poble Espanyol, and Barcelona Ethnological Museum. You can also visit one of the most symbolic zones of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games: the Olympic Ring.
Castell: This stop is a stone’s throw away from the old military fortress, which dates back to 1640 and now plays host to cultural activities.
Mirador: This is the highest stop. From here you can enjoy incredible views of the city of Barcelona. Very close by are the Miramar Gardens and, just a few minutes away, the Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens.
16.50 EUROS (Roundtrip Cable Car Only)
Hours: 11am to evening (varies)
La Sagrada Familia
The most iconic attraction in Barcelona is the unfinished Roman Catholic church, Basilica de la Sagrada Família. We did not visit the Basilica this trip due to my wife having recently broken her ankle.
The Basilica’s design was the brainchild of Antoni Gaudi, a visionary architect who broke all the rules. Today, after more than 135 years since the first cornerstone was laid, the construction continues. It is estimated that the construction will be completed in 2026.
Cost: 26 Euros
Hours: Monday through Sunday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Where to Stay:
A great 4-Star hotel located in the heart of Barcelona’s bustling Las Ramblas district. The Hotel 1898 has two bars and lounges, including a spectacular rooftop bar with a pool and restaurant where a talented chef is cranking out fresh tapas, croquettes to pair with signature cocktails, and Spanish wines. Our room was spacious and well appointed with a large marble bathroom.
Superior Room with King Bed, 231 Euros
An amazing 4-Star luxury hotel located in Barcelona’s historic center. This hotel features oversized rooms and suites with luxurious appointments and views. A deluxe breakfast is offered daily in the basement and features a variety of food stations and wide selections of breads, meats and cheeses. Hot cooked items are prepared upon request.
The hotel features a spectacular rooftop with bar and splash pool, offering fantastic views of Basilica de la Sagrada Família.
Junior Suite with King Bed, 163 Euros
Where to Eat:
There are so many food options everywhere you turn in Barcelona!
We loved these during our visit:
The Nou Cellar is located near the Picasso Museum in the “Ribera” district. It is a small and narrow space decorated with wood accents.
It specializes in typical Catalan cuisine. During lunch hours they post price-fixed, 3-course menus with a complimentary glass of wine for 13-20 Euros.
They have great authentic dishes, wallet-friendly wines, and friendly servers.
A must visit!
This forty-year-old iconic seafood restaurant in Barcelona has the best terrace on the beach.
They specialize in dishing out the best Mediterranean seafood with the freshest ingredients.
Diners love their fresh seafood, paellas, and Spanish hams.
We tried the Galatian Octopus, Seafood Fideo, and Pasta with Lobster and Prawns.
They also have a great selection of cocktails and Spanish wines.
Carrer de Pepe Rubianes, 34
Telephone: 932 215 033
Seafood lovers delight!
A tiny, twenty-one-seat tapas bar specializing in fresh seafood. You get a bird’s eye of the young and talented chefs at work. They feature local organic vegetables and certified sustainable fish. Try the 9 Tapas Tasting Menu for 40 Euros with their handpicked selection of organic local wines from 20 to 30 Euros.
Expect a wide selection of ultra-fresh seafood.
•Anchovy & Foie Gras
•Japanese Style Mackerel
•Calamari, Shitake & Wasabi
•Autumn Truffle Flan
•Spicey Beef Tartar
•Pork Cheek & Kale
You need to book weeks in advance online!