By Emily on 9th June

I had heard of the gorgeous weather and rich history of Barcelona, but never thought I would get to experience it for myself. When I got off the plane, I was not disappointed— sunny and 24 degrees. I hadn’t done much research before coming, but quickly found there was always something to do in this beautiful city. 

Take the Barcelona City Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off tour 

The double-decker bus tour is a really easy way to navigate the architecture and history of the city. You can snap some pictures from the top of the bus or hop off and explore the tourist attractions on foot. 

The bus stops at Park Güell, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful parks I had ever explored. Some of the best views and architecture of Barcelona can be seen from up here.

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The view of Gaudi’s work at Park Güell.

I saw other amazing tourist sites such as the stunning Sagrada Familia church, the Arc de Triompf and the Olympic Stadium from the 1992 games. Seeing everything in one day gave me the chance to relax and enjoy the rest of the week without worrying about missing out on anything important. A similar tour is offered in major cities such as London, called the Original Tour.

Relax on the beaches…

The Barceloneta Beach is one of the most popular in the area, even though it’s a bit rocky. Caught off guard, I was unaware that there were no gender biases about going topless here. Experience the freedom, if you wish! 

…or venture out onto the sea

One of the best things I did on the trip was rent a stand up paddle board. I saw a surf shop near the beach with paddle boards outside, and asked a native worker, “Rent? Paddle board?” because I didn’t want to break out the Spanish Dictionary. About 20 Euros later, I was struggling to carry a very heavy paddle board for beginners out to the sea. When I was on the water, the view of the city was spectacular. And I only fell off once!

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The stand up paddle board I used on the sea

Stop at Camp Nou

Waiting in line in the hot sun for tickets to the largest football stadium in Europe was worth it. For football fans, it’s exciting to see the press box and the fancy seats the players get to sit in up close. And for people who aren’t huge football fans like me, it was exciting just to see how massive the stadium is and where the press sits and watches during a game.

I was told that “Mes Que Un Club,” the saying painted across the seats of the stadium, means “more than a club.” Looking around at the mass of fans touring the stadium, I could tell that this was the case for many, young and old. 

Run into something unexpected

You can easily run into festivities in such a lively place. A game between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club Bilbao was taking place the day I arrived. Immediately after getting off at one of the metro stops, all I saw was a sea of red and white. Athletic Club fans had taken over this area and were chanting and waving their flag. It was quite a sight.

Athletic Club Bilbao fans lined the streets before a big match

Athletic Club Bilbao fans lined the streets before a big match

Stroll along Las Ramblas in the evening 

Roaming the streets of this busy marketplace, I noticed that a lot of people relax in the evening with the local and popular Sangria drink and some tapas. Many choose to dine outside on this street, where you can get some amazing seafood paella and drinks in glasses almost the size of your head.

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Tourists stroll along Las Ramblas for food and souvenirs

Experience the Magic Fountain

I was so pleased we were staying in Barcelona over a weekend, because this was by far my favourite part of the journey. The perfect way to end an evening, the Magic Fountain lights up the night and is synched to popular Spanish and American music. If you’re a fan of Disney, then don’t hesitate to impress your friends by pretending to know Spanish and translating songs like “Circle of Life” and “A Whole New World.” 

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The colour-changing magic fountain lights up the night

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