Sunday, 24 September 2017

Barcelona Guide - Part Three - Where to stay & must see attractions

Writing about our break in Barcelona has given me mixed feelings, its making me miss it already, so much so that we are already planning a return next year, perhaps combining it with the experience of going to see the Formula One, while also getting to see some of the places that this time we didn't have time to experience. With friends and colleagues having seen the first couple of posts, they have asked me about my time there and its been great to tell them about it and equally as enjoyable to put these guides together.

Where to stay 

Whisper it quietly, but myself and Beth stopped in a three star hotel.....I can assure you that it really wasn't evident and you would be stretched to find a hotel providing such value combined with style, location, comfort and facilities.

The Andante Hotel was the ideal place for us to be located, Las Ramblas, the marina are only a few minutes walk away providing a great central starting point to each day. 

The hotel has spacious rooms, with all the amenities you would come to expect, with zero noise considering you are in the middle of large city, comfortable beds, amazing black out curtains & upon the roof is the cherry on the cake, with a sun terrace and infinity pool, providing stunning panoramic views of the city.

They have a large emphasis on sustainability, saving waste & being eco friendly, as well as being contemporary in its design, it was an ideal place to recharge after hours and hours or walking. 

With the starting point established, it was now to the places that would fill up our days. 

The Camp Nou Stadium - Home of Barcelona F.C 

Whether a football fan or not, this place is stunning, a church of football with bold plans for the future development of the stadium. With the amount of people visiting you need to pre book your tickets. I would advise to set aside around 90 minutes for the tour, where you get to see nearly every part of the stadium. For me, having made Barcelona my favourite Spanish team as a youngster, I was really keen to take in all the history of the club and what is such a huge and fantastic stadium.

Again due to queue times I would recommend that you book tickets in advance, the site that was meant to be a unique housing area, however now has become a must see place that I would describe essentially as an open air art gallery.

It does get extremely busy so when taking photos you need to be quick. Beth isn't particularly keen on metro travel so we took the bus, you need to get the number 24 which takes around half an hour and drops you right outside one of the main entrances.

It's difficult to describe the feeling when you arrive here, but having your breath taken away by such stunning architecture is almost indescribable. The constant and ongoing development of this monumental building is mesmerising, its almost impossible to take it all in, the colours of the stained glass windows and the way they direct and manipulate the light, which creates a vision of what I would expect heaven to look like, I think you'll understand what I mean by that when you see it.

When booking tickets here, be sure to select one of the towers as part of the visit, with this you are given a time window to go up the towers elevator, they are strict with timings so be sure to plan this in. 

A vast park, which is also where the city Zoo is located, and a stunning fountain that just pops up draped in striking bright gold statues and figures.  There is something going on in every part of it, people playing music, practising yoga, dancing, having picnics, families playing, also keep a look out for the giant mammoth statue. We took a walk around and came across a small lake, where you can hire a a paddle boat for six euros which we did for around 40 minutes, a great workout to build up an appetite for lunch.

4.2km of golden sands, only 10 minutes away from the city centre. How many cities can boast that? 
We didn't sunbathe here, but it was lovely to take in the sun soaked walk after lunch, alongside the beach you are offered a wealth of restaurants, and for the night scene there are a number clubs over looking the beach and sea.

These are my top places to visit in Barcelona, and yet there are plenty more that we wanted to fit in too. 

I would strongly advise to allow for wandering time, we took different routes to and from our hotel depending where our main destination was located, and along every street there is something to draw you in, keep your eyes peeled because you can be assured that there will be a building or structure on your route draped in Gauid's fine handiwork.

Ensure you take in The Gothic quarter & El Born, close to to here there are plenty of shopping opportunities, from unique independents - one of which I have to mention is Suara, a cat foundation to adopt Cats in need, as well as a whole shop full of cat inspired clothing which is pulled off with unbelievable results, please take this in, it can be found opposite to one of my recommend restaurants Llamber.

These sit alongside recognised high street brands to the exclusive designer stores, surrounding this area are the Cathedral, Arc De Triumph and too many beautiful buildings to list in all honesty.

I pre warn you that fitting all this in within three days nearly broke us physically, that may say more about us than the demands of the city, but we were determined to cram everything in and because of the beauty of the city we travelled nearly everywhere on foot, comfy footwear is essential. 

Barcelona is a city that gives you everything you need and more, in all aspects that you could possibly want, quite simply go and enjoy!!


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