Updated: Feb 6, 2019
If you've never been to Spain... GO! I promise you won't regret it! Harrison and I were able to go to 5 different cities in about 12 days, and our only regret is that we didn't stay longer!!
Where to stay in Barcelona?
Like many European countries - there are amazing places to stay on a budget - and if you want to splurge! I'm a clean freak - so white comforters and sheets are always a must!
Side note: I found it very difficult to find hotels with queen or King beds (all across Spain). In most cases they are twins or full beds so read the descriptions of the rooms carefully!
Hostels aren't what they portray in the movies. They are wonderful options for travelers on a budget! In most cases - they are the BEST for meeting friends along the way! Many hostels also have a "female only" area - that is a great option for women traveling alone! You can book a room anywhere from $25-$66 a night.
MOODS CATHEDRAL Hostel- great private rooms - white sheets - clean - central location to most walking sites!
This is where we stayed!
HOTEL CATALONIA BORN - Loved this hotel! We were able to get a king size bed here - PERFECT location. We walked almost everywhere! Extremely clean, and GREAT customer service. They helped us plan our walking tour of the city with maps in perfect english!
The Mandarin Oriental in Barcelona is supposed to be amazing and has a great location (and is one of the most expensive rooms in the city). But we passed the W Barcelona and it was BREATHTAKING. It is almost on its own peninsula on the water! Although, not as convenient in the city, the hotel is an experience on it's own. It boasts amazing architecture and wonderful food - this would be a great spot if you were celebrating something - or just want to spoil yourself!
What are the MUST see places/things to do?
Barcelona Soccer Game : I can't stress this enough - plan your trip around a home futbol game! I have been to almost all major sporting events, from the final four (Basketball) to the super bowl (Football)... and Barcelona Soccer was BY FAR the most fun sporting event of my life! SPLURGE for great seats! Even if you don't enjoy soccer - or sports... GO! Trust me - the fans are chanting the entire time - doing full marches across the end zones! You can drink - eat jambon sandwiches (ridiculously great) in the stands and watch the fans if you don't watch a minute of the game! DO IT!!!
You can get Barcelona gear at ANY tourist shop on the street - make sure to bargain and don't take the first price they offer! We ended up getting a jersey, 2 scarves and 5 glass bulls for the price he wanted for the jersey alone!
La Sagrada Familia-
Buy your tickets online before! If you want to go up in the church - you have to purchase tickets in advance - they sell out approximately 2 weeks early! I repeat... purchase your tickets early!!! Most people don't realize that this church is STILL under construction. It is not an "old" church. It isn't set to be complete until 2026! So know that there will be scaffolding on at least 1 side of the church when you get there!
Also - you have to be there at the time you buy the ticket - they let you in 15 minute intervals. You can stay inside as long as you want - but you can NOT be late or early.
Another amazing thing that happened when we were there was a Castell competition (human tower)! We just lucked out - but if you can find out if this is happening - go to it! It's SUPER amazing! I believe it IS the reason apple developed the time lapse on the iPhone! This was outside of the Sagrada Familia.
Gothic Quarter -
Definitely take the time to walk the Gothic Quarter (its an area - not 1 location). We ate dinner here - so we killed two birds with one stone! It is really remarkable, not only the buildings themselves, but also inside the shops and restaurants! Make sure to take note of the displays and fixtures the stores are using (antiqued luggage as tables, etc.)! I was really amazed by the creativity and art that each store owner created! I could have spend days here!
Other Notable Things to Do:
Ciutadella Park - Arc de Triomf
La Monumental - Bullring - FYI they do kill the Bulls!