I’m not going to lie to you. Barcelona NEVER made it onto any of my adventure lists.
When I found out that our Mediterranean cruise launched from Barcelona, I had to jump onto Google to confirm that yes, indeed – Barcelona is a city in Spain! I’ll admit that I was initially disappointed when I learned that we’d be spending five days in a city that I had hardly even heard of.
But Barcelona took me by COMPLETE surprise! It was nothing like what I expected and everything I could have hoped for in an adventure-rich destination. Here are the reasons why I think you’ll fall in love with Barcelona too.
1. THE FOOD
Oh the food – by far my favorite reason to adventure to Barcelona! Since it is a port city, Barcelona has adopted many different flavors throughout the years. Whether you’re eating at a steak house, a French-inspired cafe, or an authentic Spanish restaurant – fresh seafood is always on the menu!
Spain is known for it’s tapas, or small plate meals. You’d think that serving small plate sizes would be considered a downside, but it’s actually an ingenious way to feast!
At our favorite restaurant, Cervecería Catalana, the vast variety of pre-prepped tapas were displayed behind a glass counter. As a group of friends we’d order several different platters, fall in love with the selections, then have plenty of room left in our bellies to fill up on more!
Delicious tapas like the beef tenderloin montaditos, grilled green peppers, and brie cheese covered in nuts and jam were my favorites!
2. THE UNIQUE ARCHITECTURE
Barcelona is particularly known for it’s stunning and unique architecture. Antoni Gaudi was the mastermind behind Barcelona’s most jaw dropping structures. Gaudi’s work is more than unique, it was before his time, other-worldly even!
Gaudi’s La Pedrera, Park Güell, and Casa Batlló are all marvels… BUT…
…when it comes to being exceptionally unique, La Sagrada Familia Basilica takes the cake! This church has been under construction (and still is) for over 130 years! Our heads were on a constant swivel trying to capture every detail!
3. THE HISTORY
It was a humbling moment when the girl who had to find Barcelona using a map tried to wrap her mind around the long and colorful history of the beautiful city!
What I found to be most impressive about Barcelona’s past was the city’s unrelenting commitment to their unique cultural identity. Barcelona was once part of a region ruled by kings and queens called Catalonia. Despite being conquered, occupied, and even warring with Spain itself, Barcelona has maintained a culture that is unlike the rest of the country. Today, some locals still speak Catalan as their primary language.
And oh – if walls could talk! Every building seems to have a story to tell. The Gothic Quarter is especially spell-binding.
4. THE CITY IS A WALK-WORTHY OASIS
Barcelona’s city planners deserve a well-earned pat on the back! Despite it’s status as a bustling city, the streets of Barcelona never felt overcrowded or dirty. Every street is lined with a lush collection of trees and plants that make you feel like you are walking through a park.
Needless to say, we happily did a lot of walking!
On one such walk, we stumbled upon the famous Mercado de La Boqueria – the market of choice for both locals and tourists.
We probably spent all of two hours walking up and down the colorful aisles as vendors sold everything from whole legs of lamb, to fresh eggs, gelato, fish, bread, produce, and culinary spices!
A City to Remember
So whether you’re in it for the food or the rich history, Barcelona has something for everyone! For a city that was dead last on my list, I would EAGERLY adventure there again! So what are you waiting for?! Book your flight tickets!