Destinations We Revisited in 2017: Barcelona

Barcelona was not a new destination for me in 2017, but it is one of those cities where no matter how many times you have been, there is always more to see and do (and eat and drink!). This was a 3-day quickie and pretty “work-related” (when is it not?!), but I still managed to get in a few fun and interesting activities, reminding once again of what an amazing city Barcelona is.

There are a lot of excellent hotels in Barcelona (believe me after inspecting so many, I can confidently say this city has tons of great choices!). I stayed at Hotel Jazz just a short walk from the top of the Rambles. The location is fantastic, rooms are a good size and comfortable and its rooftop bar and pool are a welcome reprieve after a full-day of sightseeing (or business meetings for that matter).

On my first late afternoon, I took a nice stroll down Las Rambles enjoying the people watching and window shopping. There are plenty of places to eat along the Rambles, but personally they all kind of seem the same. It’s best to get off therein drag to find something truly worthwhile. Save the Rambles for a glass of sangria (hard to make a bad batch!) and soaking up the local atmosphere. Just a short walk from there through some of more labyrinth walkways in Europe (it’s a rite of passage to get lost in Barri Gòtic!), I made my way to the amazing Gothic cathedral. I love to admire the intricate and massive exterior. Nearby is a favorite tapas bar called El Portalón (Carrer Bany Nous 20) where you can order a terracotta jog of the local wine and pick from what seems like an endless list of tapas. Being that I had early morning appointments, I was happy to make tapas my dinner that evening and save my big Spanish night out for the next evening. Buenos noches!

The next morning was filled with hotel inspections (standouts include Hotel Neri and Grand Centrale are standouts) but I was able to take a chunk of the afternoon off to do one of my (secret) favorite things to do in a new city (even if this one was not so new for me!), the Hop On, Hop Off bus. Barcelona has two lines that in 2.5 hours gives you a fantastic overview of the city. It’s my way of making a must stop at Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell, two not to be missed attractions by Antoni Gaudi. A touristy as it may seem, it is also super convenient and a way to see lots in limited time.

That night I headed to one of my favorite restaurants, 7 Portes, for a decadent dinner of paella, the Parellada to be exact.  The delectable rice comes with monkfish, mussels, squid, lobster, minced pork, ‘botifarra’ sausage and rabbit. And as an extra treat, all the seafood is peeled to save you the work! YUM!

The next day, I only had a couple of hours before my flight, so I did one of my favorite things to do in Barcelona, visit La Boqueria. Now, if you have not yet had the pleasure of going to this huge, fantastic market, I highly suggest doing it with a local food expert (and yes, we do offer such an experience). Getting there early morning allows you to see (and taste) the best produce, meats and seafood. By about 9am, it becomes a zoo.

A short but sweet trip to Barcelona was a wonderful reminder of just how special this city is and that, without a doubt, 72 hours is never enough!

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