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Barcelona, Beach and City Break
Tuesday 23 October 2018
Barcelona a beach holiday and a citybreak
When researching holidays for September I knew I wanted a warm location with a beach but also somewhere that I could do excursions and day trips. Barcelona was the answer! It is a perfect getaway for someone who loves the beach but is adventurous and likes exploring a city. Beach holidays are great for relaxation, but I love to explore a new place. The accommodation can be pricey but I didn’t mind too much as I knew the destination would be worth it! We chose to stay five nights to divide our time up into the excursions we wanted to do and to have time to relax also!
3* Park Hotel
We stayed 5 nights in the 3* Park Hotel. The hotel was about a twenty minute walk from Las Ramblas. We booked a standard double room with a view onto a side street. The room was spacious, included a mini bar, hairdryer, a safe and an en suite. We didn’t have breakfast included but we tried the buffet style breakfast one morning and it had a great selection of meats, breads, pastries etc and you could help yourself as much as you liked. The hotel also had a small rooftop pool overlooking the city. The pool was extremely cold in the morning but worth the visit to the top of the hotel as the views were great! It was a perfect place to sunbathe. The staff in the hotel were very helpful! The temperatures were in the mid twenties when we were there at the end of September. In my opinion September is a great time for Spanish holidays as it’s not too hot for sightseeing but warm enough for sunbathing!
What to do
The city is a fantastic place to visit as you have the best of both worlds with the beach just a short walk from the city centre and Barcelona zoo is less than a five minute walk away. For football lovers you could always take a trip to Barcelona FC's football ground the Nou Camp which is only a twenty minute drive away.
Hop on Hop off Bus
For day trips we took an open topped hop on hop off bus tour which allowed us to see the entire city in one full day. Top attractions of the bus tour included Parc Guell, the amazing Sagrada Familia and the beach. You can also get off at Penneys at one of the stops on the green line! There are three bus routes to take throughout the day, red, green and blue. I would recommend taking the blue line first as this brings you up north outside of the city centre to Parc Guell. We had left this until last and as the sun had set we didn’t get great views or photographs of the park and it gets quite busy in the evening time.
The Magic Fountain of Montjuic
The music fountain in the city is on Thursday night through to Sunday night, it is an amazing spectacle to see. It is called Font Màgica de Montjuïc. The fountain plays classical, modern and film music to the beat of the light show. There are also dancers who do performances in the area nightly. The Magic Fountain is just below the amazing steps of the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. An attraction in itself with extraordinary views from the top of the steps, it even includes an escalator for people who can’t / don’t want to walk the steep steps to the top!
Another great trip was to Portaventura! This was a full day trip and well worth it if you enjoy rollercoaster’s. We had purchased tickets to Portaventura and the new Ferrari land park. We decided to visit Portaventura first and then Ferrari Land but we hadn’t realised that it closed earlier than Portaventura so we never got into the park in the end as we had left it too late. It closed at 5pm and we lost out on the ticket costs. The restaurants in the park all close at 4pm in September. However, September is a great time to visit the theme parks because of the shorter queuing time for each ride (about 15 minutes maximum, in comparison to one hour thirty minutes in the peak season of July and August.) The parks are great for adopting different themes throughout the year. When we were there the entire park was laid out with Halloween decorations. There were pumpkins everywhere, characters dressed up interacting with passers by and they hosted a great Halloween themed parade at the end of the day with the characters singing and dancing on floats. The best rollercoasters in my opinion were the Shambala, the Dragon Khan and the Furios Baco that flings you at 135km/h in just three seconds. I lost a lovely hairband while on the Shambala so just a word of warning to remove all items from you that could go flying while on the rides! There are shelving units at each ride to leave your belongings while you are on the ride. Lockers are also provided.
5* W Hotel
On one of our nights out we visited the 5* W Hotel on the beach. We got free tickets through their website to enter the top floor disco bar. The hotel was extremely luxurious with the most amazing views of the entire city from the top floor. The bars, restaurants, pools and reception areas were top class! The dress code is formal wear, so you wouldn’t be allowed to wear vests, shorts, flip flops or sports gear to the bar area. I seen a couple who were wearing shorts refused entry.
Food & Drink
I would definitely recommend trying Paella and Sangria! There were great food options in local restaurants including tapas, patatas bravas and paella. I would also recommend an amazing burger restaurant called the ‘Good Burger’. It was great for a quick snack. Off course a visit to the ‘Hard Rock Café’ is a must! The nightlife is great with tonnes of bars and nightclubs! There are plenty of Irish bars scattered around the city too!
Our flights were with Vueling Airlines! They are a Spanish airline similar standard to Ryanair in terms of spacing and food onboard. We chose Vueling because of the better flight times and a cheaper return fare!
To get to our hotel from the airport we got a taxi which cost about €27 euro. Our taxi back to the airport was €32. The journey time from the hotel to the airport was about 35 minutes. You will find you use a lot of taxis if going out at night time. We wanted to try different bars and restaurants in various areas of the city and the city is quite large. To save on taxis you definitely need comfortable walking shoes to get to your destination.
Overall Barcelona is a great city with loads to do! I would definitely return again!