Oh, Barcelona. Like every other place we’ve been so far on our European adventure, it will always have a small piece of our heart.
I’m so glad you’ve joined me on this virtual journey throughout Spain! Barcelona is the last stop, and then we will jump across the Mediterranean over to Italy! But, before we get too excited for that, I wanted to share our last day in Barcelona, because it was a perfect ending to our time in Spain.
If this is your first time here, then welcome! This particular post is part of a series, my European Travel Diaries, where I am sharing our stories from our summer trip to Spain and Italy. If you haven’t had a chance to read my previous posts, let me catch you up about where we’ve been so far. First, we spent one day in Barcelona. We then took an awesome high speed train down to the southern part of Spain, to Sevilla. And we loved it! You HAVE to check out my post about Sevilla! Here is the link to “48 Hours in Sevilla, Spain“. Then we spent one day Madrid, where we played tourist, walked around the entire city, and ate at the oldest restaurant in the world!
Now, here we are. Taking a morning train back to Barcelona for one more day of fun, before we catch a morning flight over to Venice, Italy. But first, Barcelona!
How we got there.
Train! The ride from Madrid to Barcelona was 2 ½ hours.
All about our hotel.
If you read my first post about Barcelona (if you didn’t you can do so here) then you will remember that we stayed in a hostel our first night. While the location of the hostel was amazing, we decided to go with a hotel this time around. Because Barcelona hotels were so pricey, we ended a little further away from the Gothic District, but right next to a metro, so it didn’t really affect us that much.
We stayed at the Pestana Arena Hotel. Again, after arriving at 11:00, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that a room was ready for us! Yes! That meant we could drop off our bags, change, and hit the streets of Barcelona running!
What We Saw.
We started off our journey by taking the metro, and then walking to la Sagrada Familia, or the Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family. What a cool place! It was nothing like I had ever seen before! I honestly don’t even know how to put it into words. Just check out my pictures and videos 😉
Remarkably, la Sagrada Familia is still being constructed, as you can tell by my pictures. Construction began in 1882, and the temple was (obviously) passed from designer to designer until now. There is so much detail on the outside of the Sagrada Familia, and I strongly encourage you to read about it here. It is just such a fascinating place with a fascination architectural history!
You can enter la Sagrada Familia, and it only costs €1 to do so! However, I believe that you have to get tickets online ahead of time, so unfortunately we weren’t able to see inside.
Then we walked. And we walked. And we walked some more. Connor told me that we were walking towards a metro station to take a train to our next destination, Parque Guell. He lied. We walked.
Now, Barcelona isn’t terribly huge, and walking from place to place isn’t terrible if you’re in good shape. Unless, of course, you walk to Parque Guell. Why? Because it sits on a hill overlooking the rest of Barcelona. My loving husband, being ambitious as he is, led us on a hike. Up a hill. In 95 degree weather.
Looking back, it actually makes me laugh, because as miserable and hot as we were, we actually had a lot of fun on our trek! We got to see parts of the city that many other tourists pass by. I definitely wouldn’t recommend walking to Parque Guell from la Sagrada Familia, but it ended up being a memorable experience for both of us.
There are two main sections of Parque Guell. One, is the free park area, where you can just walk around and enjoy views of the city. Very pretty, very much uphill. The second part is the monumental area, which is featured in many photos of Barcelona. You do have to pay for tickets to the monumental area, but they are worth it for the views!
After our visit to the park, we took the metro back to the Gothic Area, and ate at the same wonderful restaurant that we did our first night in Barcelona. It was the perfect way to end our day, and a perfect way to relax before a busy travel day ahead.
When purchasing tickets for the monumental area of Parque Guell, you are allotted a time slot for entrance. We bought our tickets at the gate around 3:00, and weren’t allowed in to the monumental area until 6:30. That was a little bit of a frustration, but one that was solely our fault and we could have avoided had we done more research beforehand. Oh well! When in Barcelona, right? We decided it would be worth it to go back to the hotel and shower and rest, and then return to Parque Guell in the evening.
I highly recommend going to the Parque Guell in the evening! Like I said, we were there earlier in the day, and you can tell from my pictures that the haze had not yet lifted over the city at that point. But, by 6:30, the haze was gone, the sky was clear and our view was perfect!
We took the metro (yes! No more walking!) back to our hotel, which was not only cooler than walking all the way back, but also only took 20 minutes, as opposed to the hour it took walk. So, coming back to Parque Guell later in the day was a nonissue once we got transportation down.
The metro system in Barcelona is pretty dang awesome. We thought it was fairly cheap and super easy to figure out. We are well versed in both New York City subway riding and Washington DC metro riding, so riding the metro in Barcelona was no big deal. Actually, we thought the system was really nice!