“Nothing is invented for it’s written in nature first.”
I had my very first international business trip to Spain last month. While I love traveling internationally, work travel does not come with the same excitement that vacation travel brings. We had read a tip that you should check for award travel deals a couple weeks before the trip as sometimes the airlines will provide deals on award tickets if the seats are open. Lucky for us, the tip was on point and Brian was able to join for the price of a domestic award ticket plus taxes! Yea, another country for us to visit!
I was able to extend my trip therefore we had 48 hours in Barcelona to explore the city. Upon arrival, there are several options to get into the city. Check out the variety of options for transportation from Barcelona airport here. We opted to prearrange a personal transfer and it was flawless.
Once we arrived, we were eager to explore! How did we spend our limited time in Barcelona? These are our 6 not-to-be missed activities for a short 48 hour stay in this vibrant city.
1.Visit La Pedreda
Casa Mila, otherwise known as La Pedreda, is one of many architectural wonders found around the city by Antonio Gaudi. His distinct architectural style draws many inspirations from nature.
We highly recommend the tour inside as it has some of the rooms set-up as they were in the early 1900’s. In addition, the views from the rooftop are fantastic and shouldn’t be missed!
*Travel tip* Buy your ticket on-line! There was a LONG line to purchase tickets, so we quickly pulled up their webpage on our phone to buy tickets and bypassed the line as we showed the purchase from our cell phone. It was a true time saver!
2. See a Flamenco Show at Palau de la Música Catalana
The concert hall is absolutely stunning and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Get there early to take in the beauty of the hall. It’s best to enjoy it during the early evening when the sun is still shining through the beautiful glass!
The show was fantastic and although we don’t speak Spanish, we could feel the emotion on stage through the beautiful dancing!
3. Visit Park Güell
The Park is another work of Gaudi. It includes both walking paths that you can view for free as well as a paid portion to see the architecture up-close. In our opinion, it was worth the small fee to enter!
You purchase a pass with an entrance time. We chose an early time to hopefully avoid crowds. We loved walking around and enjoying the structures.
There were several walking areas to explore within the paid portion. Our favorite was this design which went into the side of the hill.
The best part of the area, is the vast space at the top which has a view of Barcelona! The benches are stunning with the colorful, mosaic pattern.
You can’t control the weather when you travel and we had a very overcast day with periods of rain. We could only imagine the added beauty if there was a bright blue sky to add to the colorful view!
We also exited and walked through a couple of the free walking paths which offered great views and architectural coves as well.
4. Eat Paella
Paella is a traditional Spanish rice dish. We chose to have lunch at 7 Portes and we highly recommend! The restaurant has been around for 175 years and has a rich history in Barcelona. It has a wine cellar which is the oldest to still exist within a restaurant in the city!
To start, we had the white asparagus. It was delicious and we were practically licking the dish clean!
The main dish was the “Rich Man’s” Paella which consisted of various seafoods including lobster! The waiter brought the piping hot pan right to our table. It was amazing!
5. Just Walk
We love just walking around a city and admiring the views. Barcelona has no shortage of beautiful buildings to admire as you walk through the streets.
This is another one of Gaudi’s buildings, Casa Batlló. You can pay to tour this one as well, however due to limited time, we decided to just admire it from the street.
Apparently not everyone is keen on tourists. Although we found people to be extremely friendly to us and helpful when we needed directions, recommendations etc.
This may seem weird, but I was very impressed with the recycling system around the city! They had huge trash bins as well as recycling and food scraps. It is wonderful to see a city encourage recycling and make it so accessible!
6. Sagrada Família
Last but not least, my favorite site during our time in Barcelona. It is also a Gaudi creation although it was not finished before he passed.
It is a Roman Catholic church and the most unique religious building we have seen! The outside is so intricate and busy. But when you look closely, you can see various references to the bible among it.
One of the sides is considered the Nativity Facade and includes references dedicated to the birth of Jesus.
The other side is considered the Passion Facade and is dedicated to the passion of Christ.
As you can see, construction is still taking place. It is not estimated to be completed until 2026. We can’t wait to return to see the completed project!
After spending a good part of an hour admiring the exterior, we decided to go inside and were again blown away!
At first it appears to be extremely busy and overwhelming however after you step back and just admire it you can really appreciate the complexity and attention to detail!
Since Gaudi takes most of his inspiration from nature, you can quickly see his vision of having the illusion of an alter amongst the trees. The very tall ornate columns are reminisent of trees in a forrest with the ceiling making it look like the tree top canopy in a forrest.
After admiring the architectural beauty, you can’t help but be drawn to the stained glass. It is seriously the most beautiful glass I have ever seen. One side is rich in red hues while the opposite side is rich in blue hues.
We also paid extra to climb the tower. While I would not pay for this if we were to return, it was nice to do it once. You see additional areas of the church and get an up close view of some of the architecture as you descend the stairs.
While the climb was nice, it lacked the “wow” factor we had with the rest of the church. In addition, we had taken in the city views from Park Güell therefore if time is a concern for you, we would recommend skipping this part.
Overall we had a lovely 48 hours in Barcelona! It is such a beautiful city and we would certainly return! If you’d like to visit a beach, check out La Pineda which is just a short trip from the city.
Pin this post for later!