Julie Spain 26 Comments

Hola!! Greetings from Barcelona! It’s been a very busy week for Tim and I. The two of us have been visiting sights around the city, taking day trips into other parts of Spain, and sampling as many tapas as possible. This leads us to the end of our trip, Ironman Barcelona, less than 24 hours away. Here is how we spent our time in Barcelona.

Tapas, Cava, Vermouth, and Rooftop Bars

Barcelona operates on a different schedule than many other cities we have visited. Breakfast is served until 12:30 pm, lunch does not start until 1 pm, and many restaurants do not open for dinner until 7 pm or later. And of course, you have to throw in that midday siesta!! Let me tell you, once you start drinking wine and cava at lunch, that siesta is almost a necessity.

Tim and I love tapas. These small plates allow you to sample more types of food than ordering one big dish. And these small plates fill you up fast!! Our favorites are the patatas bravas, anchovies, shrimp, and fresh fish.

Patatas Bravas

Tapas Barcelona Spain

Bodega Biarritz


Vermouth is popular here, as is cava, Spain’s sparkling white wine. Tim and I love the rooftop bars with views over Barcelona.

Cava Barcelona

Julie Rivenbark in Barcelona

Barcelona Rooftop Bar

Can’t Miss Gaudi While in Barcelona!

Gaudi and his quirky, beautiful, whimsical, and very creative architectural designs are a must-see while in Barcelona.

Pedrera Barcelona

La Pedrera


Sagrada Familia Ceiling

Ceiling of the Sagrada Familia


Park Guell

Park Guell


Casa Batllo Barcelona

Our favorite, Casa Batllo


Casa Batllo

The View from Tibidabo

One of the highlights for us were the views from Tibidabo, a small amusement park perched on a hillside overlooking Barcelona. This is Sagrat Cor, the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Tibidabo Barcelona


Wandering the Gothic Quarter

A visit to Barcelona would not be complete without a stroll through the Gothic Quarter. Or, you could spend all day here, like we did. More tapas, some shopping, and exploring some of Barcelona’s most interesting streets.

Gothic Quarter Barcelona

Barcelona Plaza

Barcelona Gothic Quarter Street

Barcelona City Street

Barcelona old and new

Passeig de Gracia

There are modern areas in Barcelona, as well. At least once a day, Tim and I would walk Passeig de Gracia, on our way to a Gaudi house or tapas restaurant. This street reminds us of the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

Passeig de Gracia

Day Trip to Montserrat

A visit to Montserrat is the most popular day trip from Barcelona. Located about an hour and 20 minutes north of the city by train, this small range of mountains is home to a monastery. Yes, seeing the monastery was nice, but we loved the views over the countryside.

Montserrat Spain

Girona, Spain

We loved Girona. This is another day trip, but with a high speed train to get you there, it’s a comfortable journey. This is great for anyone who loves exploring small European towns. While we were there, we learned that it is a filming site for season 6 of Game of Thrones!! What do you think we will be posting about in the future?

Girona Spain

Arya steps Game of Thrones Girona

Next Adventure: Ironman Barcelona

On October 2, Tim raced Ironman Barcelona. For those of you not familiar with the distances of this triathlon, Tim swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles, and then ran a marathon. Sound crazy? The distances seem even longer in kilometers (it’s 180 km on the bike…yikes!).

Read all about his race in this post: Racing Ironman Barcelona

More Information for Your Trip to Spain:

Planning a trip to Spain? Read all of our articles in our Spain Destination Guide.

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Comments 26

    1. Post

      No, I don’t. To go that far you might want to see if there is a bus that travels between Barcelona and Andorra. Cheers, Julie

  1. I love your blog but, sincerely, recommending only Barcelona when traveling to Spain is like recommending Mc Donald’s when traveling Tuscany or France.
    Anyway good job!

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      Thanks Cali. So far, we have only been to Barcelona (with day trips), so that’s all I have written about. There’s a lot on our list to come back and see. Cheers, Julie

  2. First time visit to Spain. If you only had one and 1/2 days in Barcelona (1/2 day Saturday and full day and evening on Sunday) what do you recommned seeing our 1/2 day on Saturday and then Sunday. This would be the end of November. We like to see some art, but don’t want to spend hours in a museum with such short time. We are traveling with my 18 year old son. We are staying very near the square. Thank you for your advice.

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      Hello Laurie. Take a look at our Barcelona itinerary. I recommend doing Day #1 on your full day. On your half day, you could visit the Sagrada Familia (book your tickets in advance!). Maybe you could squeeze in Park Guell afterwards, or take the trip up to Mt. Tibidabo for great views over the city. If you want to visit an art museum, you could substitute the MNAC Museum for one of Gaudi’s houses. Cheers, Julie

  3. My friend is afraid of heights…can someone who is afraid of heights go up to where the amusement park is with me and just not ride the actual rides? I am looking to get a great photo of the church, but since she is terrified of heights, I don’t want to upset her by pushing her to go there. I am also asssuming that taking a taxi up there would be less scary for her?
    Thank you and great blog!

    1. Post

      Yes, your friend can visit the amusement park at Tibidabo even if she is afraid of heights. There is plenty of space to walk around and enjoy the views without getting near any edges or drop-offs that might be scary for her. However, she definitely should not ride the rides, especially the “bucket ride” that we rode in order to take a photo of the church. If the funicular is challenging for her, then a taxi will be the better way to get there. Have fun in Barcelona! Cheers, Julie

  4. Hello! I am just wondering where is the best place to stay in Barcelona? My husband and I are going this coming June. We would like to stay somewhere close to everything, like the Metro, Restaurants, Cafes. Do you have recommendation for a cheap hotels and airbnb? Hope to hear from you. Thank you!

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      Funny you ask. On my to-do list for today is to write an article about where to stay in Barcelona! I hope to have it published by tomorrow. If you need recommendations sooner, check out our Barcelona itinerary and at the end are 2 recommendations on where to stay (where we stayed). Cheers, Julie

  5. Hi! I’m going to Barcelona soon, this post really helped me, thanks! I was wondering where is the view from Sagrat Cor? How did you take a photo of it from above?

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      Right next to Sagrat Cor is a small amusement park. There is a ride where you stand in a bucket, similar to a hot air balloon bucket, that is attached to a long, rotating arm. This arm turns and once you are at the highest point, you get this view of the church. It’s awesome but those with a fear of heights might want to give this a pass. Cheers, Julie

  6. what season is best to visit spain? we are looking to do a few weeks and include Madrid, Granada, Seville, Valencia and Barcelona. Right now we are thinking early September. Thanks

    1. Post

      We were in Barcelona in early October and it was great. Still warm but also still a little crowded. In early September, I would still expect hot temps and some crowds, but I think it would be a nice time to go. The best times to go are probably May and October. Cheers, Julie

  7. Hi Julie! Thank you for your blog, it is nice to be able to read about a place before going there. I admire you and your family. You guys are blessed to be able to travel, experience and visit beautiful places. We will be traveling to Barcelona on July and I was wondering how many days did you guys spend there including the Montserrat and the Girona trip? We will arrive July 9 and return July 13. I do not want to rush our time but enjoy the place and trip as well. Is this enough?

    1. Post

      We spent about 7 days in Barcelona, including 1 day for Girona and 1 day for Montserrat. So we had 5 days in Barcelona. With 5 days you will be able to get to most of the big sites but it may feel a little rushed (but it will still be a lot of fun!). The advantage of having more time is being able to take a nap midday. It really helped between the wine at lunch and those 10 pm dinners in Barcelona. Cheers, Julie

  8. Hi Julie: wonderful blog. . We are a family of six and will be traveling to Barcelona for 4 nights/3 days. Any recommendation on where to stay. Also, I would love to have the kids swim/hike. Any recommendations on that front?

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      Hello Florence. You can take your kids to the beach right in Barcelona if they want to go swimming. If you want to go hiking, consider making a day trip to Montserrat. You can hike up the mountain, it’s not too difficult and the views from the top are great. We stayed at a budget hotel that was just OK (somehow I can’t even remember the name of it). I recommend looking on Booking.com or TripAdvisor for hotels. Those are the websites we use to find our hotels when we travel. Have fun in Barcelona! Cheers, Julie

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  9. Hi! I’m leaving to Barcelona and also taking a Day Trip to Monserrat and you’re blog post was very helpful and very easy read! I was wondering if you had to buy entrances to Casa Batlo and el Tibidabo. If so, do you suggest we buy them in advance? Thank you!

    1. Post

      Yes, I would recommend buying your Casa Batllo tickets in advance. It costs a little extra money but it cuts down how long you have to wait in line. For El Tibidabo, there is a general ticket that allows you to ride as many rides as you want. I think we just spent a few Euros to purchase a ticket for one single ride (and did not purchase the general ticket). I do not know if this is still an option. But you do not need to buy your Tibidabo tickets in advance. Cheers, Julie

  10. Hey Guys, Great photos!! I am travelling to Spain in September and I really want to get that elevated view of the Sacred heart church on Tibidabo. Can you tell me from where you took it? Thanks Joe.

    1. Post

      In the Tibidabo amusement park, there is a ride that gives you that view. I don’t know the name of the ride but I will describe it. The ride sits smack in the center of the amusement part (which is very small, so it’s easy to see). There are two bucket/carts, one at end of a long axis. You get into the bucket, the ride rotates 180 degrees, putting you at the top. From here, you’ll get your view. The ride is slow, it’s not a thrill ride, unless you have a fear of heights. But the view is amazing and the ride is cheap. If you read our Best Things to do in Barcelona post, there is a photo of Tibidabo and you can see the ride. Cheers, Julie

  11. Hi! I am glad you had a lovely time in Barcelona. The pictures remind me of our family vacation last Summer but we didn’t look so glamourous as you in the roof top 😉

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