SEE THE CITY FROM ALL ANGLES: BY BOAT AND CABLE CAR
Going up to the top of the mountains in Barcelona by cable car was such a great way to see amazing views of the city. I can't tell you how breathtaking the views of Barcelona were from up there and it was the type of sight that you could have stared at all day, never quite taking enough photos. I love seeing cities from up a height and I've never seen one that has disappointed me yet - it's just amazing to see the city life from up above in the quiet, whether it's from the top of a building or the top of a mountain. We also went out to see the city skyline on a little boat from the marina and even if you don't want to get a boat, the marina is so beautiful you just have to go and see it anyway!
SPEND SOME TIME AT THE BEACH
Like I said above, Barcelona is a place where you really get the best of both worlds. You've got the hustle and bustle of city life with areas full of history and culture but you've also got some amazing beaches to escape to when city life gets a bit too much. We spent most of our beach time at Marbella Beach as it was closest to our hotel and it was exactly how you want the beach to be - hot sun, white, soft sand, bright blue, choppy sea that's just warm enough to get in...it's such a great way to relax and catch a few rays in between adventures.
PARC DE CITADELLE
Parc De Citadelle is a beautiful park situated in central Barcelona, adding a burst of greenery and nature to the city. It's full of amazingly crafted statues, locals walking their dogs, performers, animals and all kinds of birds and so much more, with the beautiful fountain you can see here almost hidden away at the back. There's also a small lake in the centre of the park and we rented out a little rowing boat for half an hour, drifting along the water with the swans and fresh juices. It was absolute bliss and is definitely a must-do if you're an outdoorsy nature lover.
VISIT THE GOTHIC QUARTER
The Gothic Quarter is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful areas in Barcelona, filled with buildings dating from as far back as medieval times right up to the 20th century and the architecture is simply breathtaking - it's seriously hard to take a bad photo here. The streets are lined with small bakeries, restaurants and independent shops selling little souvenirs and nick nacks that any traveller will love and with the entire area being packed with history, you could easily spend a lot of time here. There are so many landmarks in this area including churches and cathedrals so definitely head here if you like to see places like that and want to get a real feel of old Spanish heritage.
CATALUNYA PLAZA AND LA RAMBLA
Without a doubt, this was my favourite part of Barcelona and we spent so much time here. There are amazing restaurants everywhere with branded stores, independent boutiques and everything else on La Rambla right there next to you, with a Sephora in the shopping centre too (because we all know how important that is!) The plaza is beautiful with bright flowers, shrubbery and huge, detailed fountains and it's so busy and full of life it's hard not to be happy here. My favourite, favourite part about the Plaza though had to be the pigeons. The entire place was full of them and there were little stalls that sold pigeon feed so naturally I bought absolutely loads and spent ages feeding them right out of my hand and they even flew right onto your hands! Just call me the pigeon whisperer!
I hear that La Rambla and Catalunya Plaza are absolutely rife with pickpockets so be careful!
MAGIC FOUNTAIN OF MONTJUIC
No photo can do this spectacular sight justice so if you want to get a real feel of what this beautiful show was like, look out for my Barcelona YouTube video but for now you'll have to make do with the photos. The Magic Fountain of Montjuic is a spectacular show of light, water and music that is absolutely mesmerising - seriously, I've never seen anything quite like it. It's one of those things that is like seeing fireworks as a kid for the first time, hypnotising you with the colours, the light and the amazing effects. This is something I would absolutely recommend if you're visiting Barcelona - you'll regret it if you don't see it!
The show is on every Thursday to Sunday during the summer months starting at 9:30pm but I'd recommend getting there early if you want a good view as it was absolutely jam packed with people when we got there at 9:15pm. Also, be careful as we witnessed a poor bloke jump from a wall he was stuck on because of the crowds and break his arm!
LA BOQUERIA MARKET
You know that first image you think of when you think of the word "market"? Well, that's exactly what La Boqueria market is like but 100x better. It's nothing like some of the rubbish markets we have here in the UK which have become distinctly lacking in recent years and it's full of amazing food, with stalls selling the freshest fish you've ever seen, fresh fruit and veg, drinks, sweets, chocolate, pies, homemade ice cream, nuts and pick and mixes of tapas and paella...The market is absolute sensory delight with brightly coloured treats and stalls and every turn, that bustling market noise, the smell of freshly made food, the taste of the mountain of food you couldn't resist trying. I mean, look at that coconut I have there. It cost €1 and the lady cut a hole in, stuck in a straw and there you go - the freshest, tastiest coconut milk you've ever tasted. Seriously, GO HERE and eat until you burst.
RENT A BIKE
This was one of the most fun things we did during our time in Barcelona. We booked a bike tour (also included the cable car and the boat) with World Experience Barcelona so our third day and it was probably the wisest thing we did. The tour was a small group of around 10 of us, led by two locals who knew Barcelona's best bits like the back of their hand. They knew the hidden gems of the city and knew the fastest way to see things and get around, meaning there was no "hmmm which of these 100 streets is the right one?" and we truly did get to see some of the best parts of Barcelona that we wouldn't have seen otherwise, all the while being told about the traditions, the histories and the secrets of Barcelona itself.
Casa Battlo is a must see for anyone who's into interior design, architecture or is artsy in general. The building was designed by Gaudi in the early 1900s and the entire thing is just a work of art, full of quirky designs, modernist features and a cool little virtual reality guide that you get with your ticket to show you what the building was like before it was turned into a museum. It's a stunning building and it does seem a little random to go inside a house to have a look around but it's not like any house I've ever seen before!
LA SAGRADA FAMILIA
And finally, I'll give a mention to this beautiful building - La Sagrada Familia, a building which I'm sure you've all seen on photos before with it's unique towers. This church was also designed by Gaudi and building work started in the late 1800s, making it one of those breathtaking places that you just wonder "how did they do that?" When we visited, it was covered in scaffolding and was under renovation and although that didn't make it any less beautiful or less worth seeing, it meant we couldn't actually go inside due to there being limited space until the evening, something which I was really disappointed with so make sure you get tickets beforehand if you can!
So there are my top things to do in Barcelona! I could actually go on and on and on and add even more to the list but I would still be sitting here writing this post if I listed every amazing part of the city!
Have you ever visited Barcelona?