I only had a quick trip to Barcelona before my Royal Caribbean Cruise. I flew into Barcelona the morning before the Symphony of the Seas departed and I wanted to make the most of my time in Barca without getting overwhelmed by everything there is to see, do and eat.
Having been to Barcelona before, I knew what I wanted to see (again) and what I wanted to do for the first time. A little planning goes a long way so I booked a ticket to Park Güell in the late afternoon, knew where I wanted to eat and played the rest by ear.
Even if you haven’t visited a city before and only have a limited time there, nailing down a few specifics will make the rest of your time enjoyable and as relaxed as possible. In the case of my quick trip to Barcelona, I was able to stroll the city without feeling rushed or exhausted the whole time.
Now on to a few recs for any first, second, or third timer…
Where to stay
Hotel Praktik Rambla
A 10-minute walk from La Rambla, Hotel Praktik Rambla is the perfect hotel for your Barcelona visit. With friendly check-in, coffee and pastries available at no extra cost, free wifi, and cozy, comfortable rooms at a moderate price, I can’t recommend this hotel more.
I also recommend…
Soho House Barcelona
Airbnb (mostly so you can buy food at La Boqueria and make it at home)
Hotels in the Gothic Quarter or just north of La Rambla
Where to eat
El Quim de la Boquería
Located inside Mercado de La Boqueria, the famous public market on La Rambla, El Quim is a must. It’s first-come, first-serve so expect to wait for a seat to open up. Trust me, it’s worth it.
When it’s time to order, have some cava, potatoes with spicy sauce, two fried eggs with squid, and wild mushrooms in port wine. It’s so damn good.
Another first-come, first-serve spot in the Gothic Quarter, El Xampanyet is an amazing tapas restaurant. Grab a standing spot at the bar, and order anything they recommend. Including a bottle of their house cava. It’s a busy place so plan on being fairly close to a fellow patron. I’m not one for crowds, who is really, and this is hands-down one of my favorite dining experiences, ever. That’s saying a lot.
What to do
Antoni Gaudí is a legendary avant-guard Spanish architect. From Casa Batíllo to Park Güell to La Sagrada Familia, you’ll have lots of options when it comes to viewing some of Gaudí’s work… even if you’re only in Barcelona for a quick trip.
Walk around la Boqueria
The Mercado de La Boqueria is a historic public market in the middle of La Rambla, arguably the most popular street in Barcelona. La Boqueria is the best place to get a real feel for life in Barcelona. Walk around, take some pictures, grab a fresh juice and, if you’re staying in an Airbnb, some ingredients for a happy hour or early dinner before heading out for the night.
A million thank yous to Royal Caribbean for inviting me on the Symphony of the Seas! You can read all about my first cruise experience with Royal Caribbean by searching “Royal Caribbean” on my blog. If you’re interested in cruising with Royal Caribbean, learn more at www.royalcaribbean.com. All opinions and images are my own.
If you want to check out my other travel adventures, head over to my Travel section.