Barcelona, Spain

Spain: Exploring Barcelona

I’ve clearly been slacking on updates, but in my defense our internet has been awful at the last few spots we’ve stayed at. My cousin and I are in Ireland right now, but I’m going to try to catch up on the Spanish-soaked days of our adventures. Barcelona was great and Andorra was even better, so I’ll have to rewind and start from the beginning. Let’s go back – waaaaay back – to Barcelona.


WE arrived in Barcelona the evening of the 23rd, checked in at our hotel, and had time to grab dinner at a nearby eatery before heading to bed. While I’ve been to Spain before, Barcelona was unique in the sense that the citizens speak Catalan in addition to Spanish. The flag of Catalunya graces many a balcony and Catalunyan patches sit at most tourist shops. We ended up staying in E’ixample at Hotel del Comte and saved tons of money. While we looked at places in the Las Ramblas area, our place was about a 15 minute walk from there and we were able to secure a great room for about $100 a night. The only downside: the internet was in-and-out during our entire stay.

In any case, with limited time in Catalunya’s capital, we opted for the Hop On/Hop Off bus to make the most of our time in the city. I always find Hop on Hop Off buses a great way to explore a city when you have limited time to see highlights. Barcelona is a city loaded with sites and one that I felt couldn’t be seen on foot in the time we had. For anyone that is also visiting Barcelona with limited time, I would totally recommend the Hop On/Hop Off buses. There are a number of them that run throughout the area and visit all of the main sites within a short period of time. When we woke up the morning of the 24th, we headed down to Catalunya Square and jumped on one of three bus lines to begin our sightseeing adventure. Here’s a bit of a photo tour of our trip… so many sights.

Catalunya Square :)

Views of Barcelona

Columbus Monument
The Columbus Monument
FC Barcelona Grounds
FC Barcelona’s stadium — holds 100’000 people!

And, of course, loads of Gaudi’s masterpieces strewn across the city:

Some of Gaudi's work, BarcelonaGaudi!La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia (pictured above) was one of the top must-sees on my Barcelona list. I have always questioned it’s ‘beauty’ as such (I think it looks like a melting candle), but the fact that construction is still underway after having been started by Antoni Gaudi in 1882 is incredible to me. There’s certainly something awe-inspiring about it!

After our hop on/hop off tour, we headed back, got ready and headed out for paella and sangria to experience true Spanish cuisine (we were informed that true Catalonian cuisine wasn’t anything too special).

S & I in BarcelonaSangria :)

Day two in Barcelona was time for us to hang out on the beach (this was a recurring theme during our summer Eurotrip). We spent most of the day soaking up sunshine and relaxing before heading out relatively early. I have to say that thus far, Barcelona’s beaches are some of the best we’ve seen in Europe. They were a bit crowded with it being a summer Sunday, but the beaches were broad and sandy. To top it off, we were able to rent chairs and an umbrella for 17 euro for the entire day. Perfection.

Beach - Barceloneta

All in all, I liked Barcelona, but I wouldn’t go much further than that. Many of my friends who have visited rave about it but I’ve enjoyed a number of our other trips more, including my time in Marbella earlier this year. Perhaps it didn’t quite meet expectations because it was so hyped up.  The beaches were great and it was so much fun practicing Spanish for a few days but our time in Andorra was so incredible that it kind of blurs my memories of Catalunya. Stay tuned, though — more on that tomorrow.

Happy travels,

More about Shannon Kircher

Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect. Founded in 2009, she has continued to document her international escapes as an expat in Europe and the Caribbean. Additionally, Shannon is the founder of Compass & Vine, a luxury boutique travel design firm, and is the Director of Marketing for the Frangipani Beach Resort. Shannon holds an MSc in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and is a current candidate for WSET Level 3 in Wines & Spirits.