I arrived at Barcelona Airport at 8:30am after a 20hr flight from Melbourne. After that long-haul flight, I went straight to the taxi rank and made my way to my accommodation. By the time I arrived at Travelodge Barcelona Poblenou Hotel, it was just after 9am and too early to check-in to my room. So I quickly freshened up, changed from jeans to shorts, left my bags with the hotel and off I went to explore Barcelona!
As I was staying in El Poblenou, I had to catch the metro into the city centre, which turned out to be a very smooth process. The nearest train station was only a 5min walk from the hotel. I bought a 3-day ticket, which was convenient, navigated my way through the station to find my platform and then off I went on the metro headed for Plaça de Catalunya.
This is going to sound ridiculously touristy but with such a short time in Barcelona, I was looking for a convenient way to get around the city. So I opted for the Barcelona Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing bus. I personally believe this bus in this city is fantastic. There are three routes and you can dedicate a day or two for each route, depending on your preferences and time. I made a bee-line for the astonishing La Sagrada Familia. As expected, there were tourists everywhere by the time I arrived so if you plan on going I suggest getting there as early as possible to avoid queues and crowds.
From La Sagrada Familia, I hopped back on the sightseeing bus and made my way to Park Güell. Being a solo traveller, it’s easy for me to get a single seat on the top deck, where I can watch the city zoom past, feeling the sun on my skin and the wind in my hair. The bus stop for Park Güell is NOT CLOSE to the entrance, and I walked uphill for 20mins in the heat before finally making it. I basically spent the rest of my afternoon at Park Güell. After exploring the free areas, I bought a ticket to the Monumental Zone. This is a new thing. When I was in Barcelona in 2008, a ticket was not required. I guess it has grown in popularity. However, my favourite section of the park was Carmel Hill, where you can get amazing panoramic views of the city. I sat there for ages!
By dinner time I was exhausted. From Park Güell I made my way back to my hotel via the sightseeing bus and the metro. I checked-in to my lovely room and had the best shower ever, because if you hadn’t noticed, I did not have access to a shower since prior to leaving Melbourne! Once well rested, I ventured out to hunt for food and explore the night life in El Poblenou. It’s lively, not as crowded and ideal if you want to feel like a local.
I woke up and remembered I was not home anymore. I also realised I did not pack enough summer clothes, as I didn’t think the weather was going to be as scorching hot as it was in September. So I made a mental note to do some shopping later in the day. After breakfast, I made my way to my next accommodation, which was a hostel as part of the group tour with G Adventures that would commence in the evening. This time, I carried my 20kg luggage on the metro. Once checked-in, as promised to myself, I went shopping.
For me, the obvious place to go was La Rambla and surroundings. Clothes are so much cheaper in Europe compared to Australia. H&M will always be one of my favourites but if you are a bargain hunter like me, it is worth checking out the local stores. Although, after rummaging through clothes I managed to find a cute orange dress in Top Shop for €12! That night, I met my group and we went out for paella and sangria – I know… super predictable but totally awesome!
My third and final day in Barcelona was spent exploring the Gothic Quarter. Everyone has different needs and wants when travelling. I am a wanderer, and I admire architecture, so I spent hours aimlessly wandering around the Gothic Quarter, snapping photos, feeling so far away from home and loving it. I decided to have lunch by the water so I headed to Port Vell, where I spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying my food and ice-cream before returning to my hostel to prepare for my departure.
What would you do with 60 hours in Barcelona?