a barcelona travel diary

22 Aug 2022

I'm a pretty well-travelled person. My parents were the sort of parents who really valued travel in the early years; hence, I had visited seven different countries before I turned two! That wasn't something that slowed down as we got older either and we continued to take European trips almost every year of my childhood. One place I had never actually been to though was Spain. The classic British destination. While everyone else was out seeking sun and beaches we were wandering around some old dutch cathedral or tasting cheese (I've been to the Netherlands 10 times). That all changed though this summer when I finally took my Spanish virginity with a trip to Barcelona!

About Barcelona

What do you need to know about Barcelona? It is a city in northern Spain and is the capital of the Catalonia region - a region that has been fighting for independence since as early as the 1850s. This is something that resonates a lot with my home of Northern Ireland where nationality is also a big part of our identity. It is the second largest city in Spain and is primarily known for its interesting architecture, hosting the 1992 Olympics and of course, its football club. It's also the setting for Carlos Ruiz Zafon's classic novel The Shadow of The Wind which I had just read just before coming so I had my eyes peeled for all o the sights mentioned in the book.

Flight and Arrival

We flew with EasyJet from Belfast International Airport. There are a lot of issues with flights at the minute so we did experience a few delays on both the journey there and the journey back but on the whole, it was smooth enough. In order to enter Spain from the UK, you needed to show proof of COVID vaccination and we also had to get our passports stamped which was the first time I'd needed that for travelling within Europe (Brexit huh?). EasyJet has its own section of the airport which is a long way from everything else so bear that in mind if you're travelling with them, but once you're through security it's all well connected.

There are many ways to get from the airport to Barcelona city centre and vice versa and we ended up trialling two. There is a train station and metro stop at the Airport which we used on the way out - We struggled to find out how to book tickets for the Metro to get to where we needed to go so we ended up just getting train tickets to Barcelona-Sants and walking the rest of the way. Then when we returned at the end of the trip we just caught the Aerobus which is a direct connection from Plaça de Catalunya to both airport terminals and is definitely a good way to go. But had we not got the train we never would have heard a busking and playing Bella Ciao which as a huge La Casa De Papel fan was a nice little welcome to Spain treat for me.

Where We Stayed

We stayed in a little AirBnB apartment in the Eixample region. It was a little bit out of the city centre but it was very close to many different Metro stations so we were always very well connected. There were also lots of places to buy groceries and eat nearby so it was definitely a great location.  The Metro in Barcelona is very well connected and runs late into the night so there is no risk of you getting stranded somewhere and not able to get home. We also had a little balcony because we were on the fifth floor which meant that we could go out and enjoy the sun if we wanted to.

What We Did

We had seven days in Barcelona which was quite a long time so we managed to do a lot of different and interesting things throughout the trip. Some days were busier than others so instead of breaking it down day by day - I'll just tell you some of my favourite things that we did while we were there.

Barcelona BusTuristic

The very first thing we did on our first full day in the city was hopping on a bus tour. We opted for the two-day pass because it was better value for money. The two-day pass was £34.56 per person and covered two bus routes one covered the city while the other was more into the hills and focussed on Gaudi things. I definitely recommend doing this bus tour because it gives you a better understanding of the city and also lets you see things you maybe weren't expecting to see or planning on visiting. Booking on to the tour also gives you lots of discounts and various different attractions all across Barcelona which we definitely availed of.

Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

Our first stop was the MNAC. I love an art gallery, The National Gallery in London is one of my favourite places ever so I always need to explore at least one while I'm away. This gallery is GORGEOUS. It's a huge marble structure situated on top of Monjuïc hill with waterfalls cascading down to Plaça d'Espanya below. Inside is equally as impressive with towering ceilings and galleries filled with Catalonian art. There was  JMW Turner exhibition on when we were there and I'm a HUGE Turner fan so that was another big draw for me. I could have spent all day there but we had more to see. An admission ticket is valid for two trips within 30 days so if you don't get to see everything at once you can come back later (we, unfortunately, didn't).

Montjuïc Cable Car

We caught a cable car up to the very top of Montjuïc mountain which gave you an incredible view across the city and really gave a scale as to how vast it is. Once at the top there is the possibility to go inside Montjuïc Castle to explore but we opted just to head back down to ground level again and took the cable car back.

Sagrada Familia

You really can't visit Barcelona without paying a visit to the world-famous Sagrada Familia. Photos really don't do this building justice. It is truly spectacular. Every time you look at it you see something that you didn't see the last time. We didn't end up going inside because it was just too expensive for it to be worth it but I'm sure if the outside is anything to go by the inside is just as elaborate and ornate and jaw-dropping as you would expect.

Park Güell

Initially, we had planned to stop here on the bus tour but after alighting and climbing up another big hill we found out it was fully booked for the day so we ended up just returning the following day after booking a slot in advance. Park Güell is another Gaudi masterpiece. You can see Gaudi imprinted all over the city but Park Güell gives you another dimension. Originally created by Antoni Gaudi and friend Eusebi Güell as a vision for the city it is full of buildings and monuments with a unique Gaudi flair and is very much worth coming to see. I definitely recommend setting aside a day for it because although we didn't spend overly long there it was nice to have a leisurely pace and not feel rushed to be doing something else. Also, make sure to pre-book your tickets if you want to avoid disappointment.

Taller Gingell

This was a little ceramics studio that my dad came across randomly but it was such a lovely experience that I'd recommend it to anyone visiting Barcelona. As part of their community tile project, the Gingells let you loose with their clay to create some tiles some to leave behind as part of the project but one you get to bring home as a memento of your holiday. 


Not exactly in Barcelona but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit another country while I was so close if for nothing more than just to say that I've been. We took the bus from Barcelona Nord Bus Station and travelled three hours across the border into Andorra. Andorra La Vella is pretty much a shopping haven as everything is tax-free but we had a good time just wandering about and taking in the sights of the towering Pyrenees mountains on every side. We took the bus back later that day and were home in Barcelona by 10pm. All in all a fun little adventure and also got my passport stamped again to top it all off.

Flamenco Show

We finished off our trip with a flamenco show complete with some complimentary sangria. We opted for the show in City Hall and it was such a nice way to close out the trip as it felt quintessentially Spanish and not something we would ever do at home.


I couldn't close off this post without mentioning some of the best food stops we stumbled across. My top three picks are from four different categories. Fine Dining, Quick Bites, Pastries and Drinks (the four main food groups).

Les Quinze Nits

We got recommended this place by someone from the church we attended on Sunday morning. It was a three courses for €18 kinda vibe and it was very good. It was also situated in the stunning Plaça Reial  which is located just off La Rambla in the Gothic Quarter. I had Andalusian Calamari, paella and some ice cream and it was just delightful.

Pasta Market

It's situated halfway down La Rambla and I feel like it's come straight out of my dreams. It is a build-your-own pasta bar so you choose your own pasta, sauce and toppings and they make it for you. It's like Subway only with Pasta! It also tastes very good and is very affordable so it's a win win. 

@aliceruthmyles build your own pasta is my dream come true #restaurant #pasta #traveltiktok #exploremore #barcelona ♬ SNAP - Rosa Linn

365 Bakery

We stumbled across our first 365 beside La Sagrada Familia but soon found out that there are many of them across the city and they became our go-to coffee and pastry stop. They do the most delectable White chocolate stuffed and dipped croissants that I think I'll be dreaming about for the rest of my life.

La Boqueria

You can't go to Barcelona and not visit La Boqueria food market. We mostly went for the juices which come in a whole assortment of different fruit flavour combinations. But there are also many other different kinds of food on offer that it a must-visit stop for foodies.

So that's my trip to Barcelona! Have you visited Barcelona before? Did I miss out on anything that I should remember for next time? Let me know down below!

The first time I did one of these posts was back in 2019 when I visited Naples and it's still one of my favourite posts to this day so definitely also check it out while you're here.

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