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Travel Diary: How to Spend a Week in Barcelona

I met HBW reader Mickla aka @littlefootlady in Barcelona thanks to a chance connection on Twitter!
After multiple pizza orgasms in Naples, I hopped a plane (via Vueling Airlines) to Barcelona, Spain for the last week of my European adventure. It was such a great place to end my trip because Barcelona turned out to be the quintessential European city – a mixture of Greek, Italian, French and Spanish influences. This city had it all. Plus, I got to meet Mickla, a HBW reader and fellow blogger to explore the city with. (P.S. Check out Mickla’s lovely personal blog, Littlefoot’s Journey).

I spent a whole week in Barcelona so I got to really explore the city without feeling rushed on my way to the next destination. Here’s some of what I did (and what I recommend) while I was there!

Stay at a Party Hostel

Hostel One Paralelo had free breakfast, free community dinners & pub crawls!

Apparently, Barcelona is known for its nightlife. I’m not a big partier but I wanted to experience at least some of it! So I stayed at two party hostels while I was in Barcelona: Hostel One Paralelo and Hostel Sant Jordi Alberg. Both were under 30 euro a night, very clean with fun and welcoming staff. My favorite was Sant Jordi though because it was better located in terms of great restaurants, shops and nightclubs. The atmosphere of both hostels was more like a college frat or sorority house – people talking, drinking, cooking, watching TV and listening to music in the same space. Even though I was traveling alone, I liked that I always had someone to talk to at these hostels, especially at the nightly dinners where everyone got together for a group meal and sangria or wine!

Go Clubbin’ at Club Catwalk

Me & Mickla @littlefootlady on the way to Club Catwalk! I think I’m giving the peace sign LOL

Another perk of staying at a party hostel is getting into the club for FREE! From Sant Jordi, me, Mickla and about 50 other hostel guests and their friends made our way to Club Catwalk via the Barcelona metro. It was quite the interesting journey, with one (tipsy) guy yelling out “Sant Jordi” every five minutes LOL. It was great not having to pay the cover to get in the club because I don’t even pay to get into anything in the U.S. Plus, the hostel prepared a big punchbowl full of sangria for everyone before we left, so we could get a little buzz without having to spend money on drinks at the club. They would have been expensive – me and Mickla split a  small bottle of water once we got there for 5 euro. Yikes! All in all, Club Catwalk was a fun experience – I definitely see why it’s one of the most popular clubs in Barcelona. The music was a mix between hip hop and reggae, with a lot of Rihanna thrown in. Plus, the guys in the club provided quite a bit of eye candy from all over the world!

Have Tapas and Sangria at Catalana (Twice)

Delicious tapas at Catalana in Barcelona – fried small fish, patatas bravas,
codfish salad & tortilla de patates with caramelized onions. To die for!

My fellow foodie Mickla introduced me to Catalana for tapas after we went to Parc Guell. It was DEE-VINE. We had a pitcher of sangria between us, plus an array of delicious tapas (small plates) that were ALL SO TASTY. Seriously, I am still dreaming about this place. It was so good that I went back by myself on my last night in Barcelona, but the place was so packed I had to sit at the bar!

Visit Parc Guell

At the entrance to Parc Guell

You can see the work of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi all over Barcelona. Parc Guell is a garden complex that he designed over the course of 15 years.

Lots of people enjoying the great views of Barcelona from Parc Guell

Gaudi’s house in Barcelona at Parc Guell

I loved the park – the wide open spaces, views of the city and quirky columns and seating areas. It was a refreshing meld of art and nature.

Fall in Love with the Streets of the City

I found Barcelona to be a beautiful, elegant city that never sleeps. The buildings are artworks in and of themselves and there’s always something open to quench your thirst, hunger or need for entertainment. I splurged on a one-day hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Barcelona through Viator (second time I used them to book – so easy!). It was a great way to see highlights of the city!

Photo Gallery: The Streets of Barcelona

[See image gallery at]

Find the Perfect Coffee Shop

Loved my mornings writing and stuffing my face with croissants & tortilla de patates at Le Panier in Barcelona

In Barcelona, I found a cute little coffee shop and bakery called Le Panier where I spent a few mornings eating, writing and drinking coffee. They had free wi-fi and a fantastic tortilla de patates, served cold on a crusty baguette. It was also a great location for people watching!

Eat a Three-Course Lunch with Wine for Just 12 Euro

Get the 3-course lunch at Luki in Barcelona!

I’m all for a good meal deal and Luki was the place to be one afternoon for lunch. For just 12 euro, I had a delicious bowl of gazpacho, a whole lumbina fish with potatoes, a glass of white wine and a lemon tart for dessert. Plus, great service and ambiance. Wish I could have eaten here a few more times while I was in the city!

 Enjoy Churros and Hot Chocolate with an Old Spanish Couple

Amazing churros & thick hot chocolate in Barceloneta

Time for a little story :) One early evening, I stopped to get churros and hot chocolate in Barceloneta where I met the sweetest older couple. He was 92 and she was probably in her 70s. They were obviously still in love.  They only spoke Spanish, but I understood/spoke enough for us to have a basic convo about the U.S., how good the churros were, and did I like Barcelona. Then the husband starts saying how he loves his wife, even after she spills hot chocolate on herself. He gestured like he was smacking her butt LOL. Then the wife asks me if I like fans – I shrug and smile. She pulls a pretty new purple one out of her shopping bag to give to me. SO random but sweet. Then the churros guy starts giving us all free hot churros and I’m stuffed but don’t want to be rude. When we’re all done, the couple kisses me goodbye – they do the two-cheek thing and I just follow along. Lovely folks, them. Moral of the story? You will find nice people everywhere. I tend to fear/avoid strangers at home in the U.S. just like we’ve been conditioned to, but the beauty of traveling is realizing there ARE no strangers.

Go to the Chocolate Museum

Chocolate Museum in the artsy Born neighborhood in Barcelona

I really wanted to go to the Picasso Museum while I was in Barcelona, but being the cheapskate that I am, I waited for the free admission day when it was too packed to get in! So, I decided to console myself with chocolate and some history of one of my favorite foods at the Museu de la Xocolata. There’s a brief history “tour” that takes you through where chocolate comes from, how its made and what we use it for today. The coolest part was when you pay at the door to get in (just 4 euro), you receive a delicious bar of dark chocolate as your “ticket!”

Listen to Street Performers Play Music in Barceloneta

Talented street performers playing Latin music & getting people to dance

In the neighborhood of Barceloneta, down by Port Vell, there was a great band playing Latin music on the street. Lots of people were gathered, with many getting their salsa on. The music was awesome, but the fun, playful vibe of the audience was even better.

Watch a Sunset at the Beach

Dusk on the beach in Barcelona

It was a bit too cold to really be a beach bum like I wanted to. It was in the low 70s for most of the days I was in Barcelona. But I did spend some time down by the water, walking down the smooth strip of sand. It was a popular hangout for young people and there were a bunch of bars right on the sand as well. Just wish we’d gotten some more sun that week!

During my month-long trip to Europe. I had a LOT of fun! But I also ended up learning so much more about myself. my sense of adventure and what I want for my life. The transition back to life in the U.S. has been easy in some ways but difficult in others. But that’s a reflection for another post…

Read My Previous Travel Diaries:

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