Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not good at staying in one place for too long. :) Add a long stretch of dreary Belgian weather to that, and I'm itching to get on a plane for sure. So last week, after one rainy day too many, we decided to pack up our bags and escape for a little Winter family getaway for 3 to beautiful Barcelona! Though I was a little nervous about Gabriel's very first plane ride (he's always in for an adventure, but when he's not having it, you'll know it too ;)), it turned out to be exactly what we all needed: a couple of days of sun, palm trees, yummy food & popsicles, and taking in all the gorgeous sights of one of my fave cities in Europe. So if you're in the mood for a change of scenery, here's a little list of my Barcelona hotspots guide - or what to do, see, and eat in the city of Gaudí!
MUST-SEE / PALAU DE LA MÚSICA
For someone who's as into colours as I am, Barcelona is heaven on earth! High on my list of colourful spots to visit was the stunning Palau de la Música, a huge concert hall that was built in the 20th C, and is ridiculously Instagram-worthy, both inside & out. :) The stained-glass dome will surely sweep you off your feet, especially on sunny days, when the light-filled auditorium feels truly ethereal, making for an almost spiritual experience (even with a restless 5-month-old! ;)). I loved strolling around and taking in all the beauty - the simplest & most gratifying experience, I think. Definitely a must-visit!
Practical: Carrer Palau de la Música 4-6, 08003 Barcelona
With its many beautiful sights and sunny spots, the Plaça Reial area can get super touristy, but if you just go with it, it's actually a super nice place to hang out and engage in some good old people spotting. :) It's one of Barcelona's most vibrant spots, with its typical palm tree-lined fountain and signature architecture (and supposedly great nightlife, but we didn't see much of that #momlife :)). And speaking of great architecture, it's of course impossible to go to Barcelona and not gaze at Gaudí's many architectural miracles. The Sagrada Familia and Casa Milà are obviously gorgeous, but Casa Battló is my absolute favourite, with its green/purple/orange façade and quirky balconies. I just couldn't stop staring (and our always-fascinated-by-everything little boy either!). It just looks like it was plucked out of a fantasy novel, don't you think? In other words: absolutely perfect for curious minds - adult & baby alike! :)
Practical: Passeig de Gràcia 43, 08007 Barcelona
MUST-EAT / BRUMMELL KITCHEN
And now onto: the food! It's no coincidence that Barcelona is one of my favourite cities, given its pretty epic food scene. There's really something for everyone, from cute beach bars to hip Japanese restaurants and power food hotspots. I had heard a lot of good thing about Brummell Kitchen, a part of the namesake hotel. And though its patio was super practical for our baby-and-stroller situation, I thought it could've been a bit more cosy & light. I had the spinach quinoa salad with mashed avocado & flatbread and homemade ice tea, both very tasty and nourishing. Overall, it's a nice spot to enjoy a healthy outdoor lunch in Fall (cosy knits and sunnies included!), and to balance out your obligatory daily after-lunch ice cream. :)
Practical: Carrer Nou de la Rambla 174, 08004 Barcelona
MUST-EAT / TRÓPICO
Trópico is what I call a no-fuss restaurant, that's easily frequented by locals and tourists alike. It has a super laid back vibe, complementing its traditional Spanish façade (so pretty!) and simple interior. The food is exactly the same: no fuss, but real good. We were super hangry when we arrived (ha!), so we ordered a bunch of stuff, including parsley eggs & rice, maple syrup pancakes with berries, a green salad with beans & sweet potato, and the prettiest fruit shakes. I'd highly recommend this spot for your Sunday brunch, because price/quality wise, it is super great!
Practical: Carrer Marques de Barbera 24, 08001 Barcelona
MUST-EAT / FOOD MARKET LA BOQUERIA
One of my all-time favourite things to do on a city trip is go to a food market, and La Boqueria is actually the biggest one in Barcelona, open everyday except Sunday, from 8am-8.30pm. Nothing beats the charm of the chaos that comes with outdoor food shopping, taking in all the scents, noises, and colourful treats. I love it so much! :) It's also the perfect spot to score some offbeat souvenirs (think fresh spices or local specialties), perfect to relive your sweetest memories at home. No need to bring lots of money; everything is super affordable, the only thing to remember is to come with an empty stomach.
Practical: La Rambla 91, 08001 Barcelona
Have you been to Barcelona recently? Any hotspots to add? I'd love to hear for our next trip! :)
Stay tuned for more highlights from Barcelona, including my fave hotel and my no. 1 spot to visit with a baby!