This week I am throwing it back to one of our favorite trips last year – Barcelona!! I was heavily pregnant during this trip, so much so they questioned me when I boarded the flight and I had to show them medical documentation confirming I was safe to fly. We were meeting our very good friends there whom were on their honeymoon as unfortunately we were unable to attend their wedding in Bali a couple of weeks earlier due to the distance from England and the late stage of my pregnancy. But a weekend in Barcelona was the next best thing and what a fabulous time we had. So much so that we decided to return this year for a weekend away also. We hadn’t been to Barcelona since our Contiki tour in 2008 and all I remember from that visit was too much sangria and a very sick boyfriend on the bus ride the following day (I will spare you the details!!).
In my wisdom I decided I would fly to Barcelona 1.5 days earlier than everyone else so that I could do some shopping and exploring. It was only on the drive to the airport that I realized how silly it might be to fly to a foreign country on my own at 30+ weeks pregnant. I drove to Leeds Bradford in the rain (getting lost along the way and finding myself on the most narrow of country roads with oncoming traffic) and caught a direct flight to Barcelona with Jet2. As I was on my own I organised a chauffeur driver through Welcome, which is basically the AirBNB of private drivers. However, taxis are easily and readily available from the airport.
We decided to stay at the same hotel our friends had chosen and it turned out to be fabulous. It is part of the H10 chain, H10 Casa Mimosa, and overlooks Gaudi’s La Pedrera building. The rooms are ultra modern, spacious and tastefully designed with scandi furnishings (my favorite!). It is located centrally for shopping and restaurants and the very special thing about this hotel is the rooftop pool. This seems to be an unknown gem of Barcelona as it looks over La Pedrera where on Friday and Saturday nights (May – September) there is a live Jazz concert on the rooftop. You basically get a front row view of the concert for absolutely free. The drinks are surprisingly well priced and there is a small food menu if you want a bite to eat whilst up there. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time on that rooftop.
- I had been very keen to eat at Tickets as it had been named as one of the Top 50 Restaurants in the World in 2017. However trying to get a reservation was impossible. So instead we ate at one of the sister restaurants, Nino Viejo, which was excellent and one of the most memorable meals of last year. At Nino Viejo, they want you to live and feel the experience of being and eating in Mexico. It is inspired by all the haciendas with large tables to enjoy the parade of food as well as the service. It is one not to be missed if you cannot get a reservation at Tickets yourself.
- This year we ate at Pau Claris 190 and Vivo Tapas. Both were in close walking distance of the hotel and rated highly on Google reviews. Both were lovely restaurants in their own right and were baby friendly enough i.e. they had high chairs and didn’t fuss at food being thrown on the floor .
- Markets – I really enjoyed my time wandering aimlessly around La Boqueria Market with all of the sights, smells and colors. I was a bit nervous to eat a lot of the produce because I was pregnant and most of it appeared to be on the ‘unsafe’ list. But I would love to return now and try all the local delicacies, especially given that Mackenzie is at an age where she could try a lot of it.
- Chocolate | The Sweet Walking Tour of Barcelona | I love walking food tours and they have some excellent ones to choose from in Barcelona. I especially liked the sound of the wine and tapas tours, but given I was pregnant I opted for the chocolate walking tour instead. If you have a sweet tooth and would like to understand a bit more about the food scene in Barcelona, I would really recommend this. I find walking food tours to be more personal as they are generally quite small groups and I always try things that I would never have known about. Plus they will generally give you some good local recommendations for restaurants or bars to try.
- Jazz & Chill Out Sail | When everyone else arrived we boarded a jazz sail cruise. You could buy drinks on board and it was a lovely way to spend a relaxing 1.5 hours. An inexpensive way to see Barcelona from a different perspective and one to be added to your ‘to do’ list if you are visiting the city.
- Shopping. Every time I have visited Barcelona I have loved the shopping. There is so much range in shops such as Zara, H&M and Mango. Plus there are all of the high end designers, but it is nowhere near as busy as the likes of London or Paris. The range of baby clothes is epic and I could have easily filled a suitcase with stuff for Mackenzie alone.
- You can easily get lost in the streets of the Gothic Quarter. So many interesting little shops, restaurants and bars. If you want a true cultural Spanish experience, head here!
- This is probably a no brainer but the Gaudi buildings in Barcelona are something to be marveled. The architecture is so different to anything else you have ever seen. Make sure you head to Sagrada Familia and take a selfie – rumor has it that construction is finally due for completion in 2026. And whilst I haven’t visited yet myself, I am hoping to take Mackenzie to Park Guell in the future.
Next up is my Travel Diary for Budapest. Stay tuned x