Barcelona: My Travels to Spain’s Artsy City
Barcelona, Spain is a metropolitan city full of culture, trade, and art. Impressive artists such as Gaudi, Dalí, Miró, and Picasso have lived here and left their mark on this dazzling city.
My travels to Barcelona, Spain took place in 2007 before embarking on a Mediterranean cruise. What I learned about Spain is that it is full of so many awesome adventurous and impressive things to see and do. Though we experienced a language barrier since very few people spoke English, we still made the best of it and had a memorable vacation with our entire family.
(This was the city we embarked on a Mediterranean cruise from, as well)
During our visit to Barcelona, we stayed at the Hotel Arts Barcelona. The enormous caged skyscraper is visible throughout most of the city and is one of the luxurious Ritz Carlton brands.
My family (my husband, Eddie, and our daughters, Taylor and Peyton) were bumped up to a concierge level room, offering us access to a lounge with five complimentary food and drink presentations per day. Although we were impressed by the selection of cheeses, salads, appetizers, and desserts, we are most excited about the free beverages. This helped us save a ton of money!
Hotel Arts has the most beautiful outdoor pool with private seating groups and lounges that were big enough for my daughters and I to share. The views from the pool level were amazing! Our hotel room was modern and functional with a long corridor between the living room and the bedroom. It had two state-of-the-art entertainment centers, as well. The bathroom was sleek and mostly done in Italian marble.
The time difference in Spain was not easy for the kids so we found ourselves awake at 4AM each morning ordering room service.
Hotel Arts 43 Spa was one of the best that I have ever visited! The girls and I had awesome massages and enjoyed the plunge pools. I even ran into TV actress Sandra Oh in the lounge.
Things We Experienced: World Famous Gaudi Works
Spanish Catalan Architect Antoni Gaudi is the mastermind behind Barcelona’s most iconic symbol, La Sagrada Familia. Tourists flock to the city to see the intricate details of the mesmerizing church. In fact, Barcelona would hardly be recognizable without Gaudi’s contributions to its skyline. The first time that I laid eyes on Sagrada, I sighed out loud at the marvelous structure.
La Sagrada Familia’s architecture is impressive (especially the stained glass windows), but the real magic lies in the intricate Biblical scenes depicted in the external walls. They are so ornate that you can barely look away. The middle of the tower is dedicated to Jesus Christ and the four columns represent the Gospels.
My daughter photographed my husband and I, and all of the other tourists taking pictures in front of the cathedral; that picture was proof of how awesome the giant structure is.
Definitely spring for the entrance fee to La Sagrada! Though still unfinished, the inside of has much more to see. Hopefully, by the year 2027 Antoni Gaudi’s vision will finally be completed.
Exploring the City of Barcelona
Taking the double decker hop on/hop off bus is probably the best and cheapest way to see Barcelona’s most popular spots. My family hopped on the bus and rode around the city for the entire loop. We stopped for photo ops at the Gothic quarter (Barri Gotic), Museu Picasso, the Columbus Monument, and the waterfront. The bus companies in Barcelona offer one of the better city tours that I have done.
On Barcelona’s waterfront, the picturesque Port Olimpico offers tourists a mecca of restaurants, theaters, an aquarium, and gorgeous views of the marina. Port Vell, or the Old Port, is at the bottom of Las Ramblas and is the oldest port entrance to Barcelona. While at the port, my family tried to see a movie, but they were all in Spanish. We ended up just wandering around, taking photos, and eating ice cream.
Barcelona is a walkable city; we walked to see the squares, museums, and markets. The La Boqueria Food Market is without-a-doubt one of the most beautiful markets in Europe. It is in Las Ramblas, the most well-known street in Barcelona.
Las Ramblas runs through the heart of the city centre and is home to a lively promenade where you can see human statues dusted in gold, all done up in gray paint, twirling fire, performing gymnastics, walking on stilts—you name it. The Hard Rock Cafe is there, a favorite of my daughters. They were thrilled to find chicken fingers and burgers on the menu there; we are so American.
A Fantastic Visit to Barcelona
Barcelona is a jewel filled with lovely things to see and do all the while becoming educated with the great history throughout the city. I would gladly go back in a heartbeat and would look for a good food tour this time.
The city left quite an impression on me with its vibrant cultural scene and delicious Spanish food and drinks. Anyone who appreciates architecture or art should make this a vacation destination.
My Travels to Barcelona Photo Gallery:
Check out our other European cruise port cities: