Anna Belle’s perfect day in Barcelona

annabelle

Meet Anna-Belle! She’s a travel blogger and currently a resident of New York city as a postgraduate student at NYU. She’s travelled the world and  has a passion for yoga and diving, but I met her when we were still in high school. She was 16, I was 18, and we’ve been friends ever since. Back in 2010, she spent her erasmus in Barcelona, and got to know the city pretty well. This is her perfect day in the beating heart of Catalunya.

“Barcelona is really one of those cities for me that kinda have it all. The weather, the sea, the architecture, the culture, the food, the old and the new all rolled into one. I got to know Barcelona because we used to take our family vacations on the coast 2h north of the city and we occasionally drove down. But it wasn’t until I lived here and spent half of my time wandering around, being lost but happy that I truly got a feel for this city that has so much to offer. I often go back to visit for a day or two.

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AB & I in Barcelona in 2010

My perfect day consists out of a lot of wandering, good food and just feeling the buzz of the city that is energizing but not overwhelming at the same time. My absolute favorite day in Barcelona looks somewhat like this:

I usually start my day in the old town center, Barri Gotic, with some good coffee and pastries. The ensaimada is my absolute favorite and a great way to fuel your day. This is also where my apartment used to be and I can stroll around in the old town for hours, getting lost in between the houses and the small streets. Just wander a bit and take it in, get lost, there is no destination. When you think about old and authentic Barcelona, this is it. Walk by Plaça del Pi where you’ll find artists with their paintings and the beautiful Arxiu Parroquial de Santa Maria del Pi. Have a look at the little shops on Carrer d’Avinyò and continue to the the town hall on Plaça Jaume.

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Take Carrer de Brisbe to the Gothic Cathedral, my favorite little street in all of Barcelona. Stop by the beautiful Plaça Reial before crossing La Rambla into Raval. Plaça Reial is also a good place to start the day and have your coffee and pastry in the sun while admiring your beautiful surroundings. Wander around the streets of Raval a bit more, pass by the Universitat de Barcelona and their beautiful library and go to MACBA (Plaça dels Àngels 1). Visit the museum or look at the skaters taking over the square and stop by the shop. Have lunch at Bar Lobo (c/Pintor Fortuny 3), one of my absolute favorite restaurants in the city for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This place feels as sweet and relaxed as home cooking, without having to do any of the work.

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Bar Lobo

After lunch take a subway all the way to the Vallcarca subway stop and follow the stairs or escalator all the way up to highest point of Parc Guëll to admire the incredible views over the entire city. Stroll through the park, sit in the sun and close your eyes for a moment, gaze at Gaudì’s amazing work. If you like Gaudì’s style, the shops near the entrance sell some beautiful souvenirs like Gaudì style tiled cups and earrings. Walk back to the old part of town over the Passeig de Gracia, do some shopping if you want and marvel at Gaudì’s Casa Milà or Casa Batllo.

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La Boqueria

If you need a break before continuing head back into Barri Gotic and stop by one of my happy places: La Granja (c/ Banys Nous 4) for some amazing liquid chocolate or excellent coffee. This is one of the place I’d come to if I needed to get away from the world for a moment. It’s one of those place you probably walked by a million of times and never noticed it. But once you’ve found it and you step inside, the rest of the world just quietly falls away. After refueling walk La Rambla all the way down to the harbor but make a pit stop at La Boqueria to load up on a smoothie or some fruit.

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Walk along the harbor in the sun all the way to the beach. Relax. Soak in the sun. Watch the people. Dip your feet in the ocean. One of the best parts of Barcelona is that it such a cultural city but it also has the beach.

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After getting sun soaked it’s time for a drink so head to the Champagneria (c/ Reina Cristina 7)and load up on some cava. If this tiny place is too busy for you (because it usually is extremely crowded) consider buying a few bottles as a souvenir if you can squeeze yourself in between the people to the back of the place. Take the pink cava, it’s the best. If you’re not having your cava here, go have it anywhere else in this area on a terrace in the sun or near the beach.

Dinner doesn’t start early but the Spanish are always up for a good apero. For dinner head back to Plaça Nova, where the Gothic Cathedral is and eat pintxos at Bilbao Berria (Plaza Nova 3). When friends visited me, this is where I would always take them the first night. The best part of pintxos and tapas is that you don’t have to choose, you can just eat it all and the gastronomic diversity of this place will just blow you away. If you’re more up for paella La Fonda (c/ dels Escudellers 10) is an excellent place to end your night, perhaps right where you started on Plaça Reial.”

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