Park Guell in Barcelona

Travel: Barcelona

June 12, 2019

June 12, 2019

A while back I posted an overview of our 3 months in Europe, and while that was definitely not a short post, I feel like I have so much more to share about my favorite places. So here’s the first in a series, an overview of one of my favorites, Barcelona.

Where we stayed: Luminous Apartment near Sagrada Familia (airbnb)

Length of stay: one week (September 21-28)

Favorite activity: watching the correfoc (fire run) as part of La Merce Festival

Favorite meal: all of the paella and sangria at La Cuina de Laietana


Barcelona Gaudi architecture


I’ve been to Barcelona twice now, once while studying abroad in college and on our recent trip through Europe, and it is still my favorite city all around. It has basically everything I love in a city from the beach, to the amazing food, and the unique architecture. The city has this positive energy that somehow strikes the perfect balance between fun and relaxing. There’s always so much to see and do (into all hours of the night/morning), but you can also simply sip sangria by the beach and just enjoy each other’s company.

That energetic spirit was especially alive the week we were visiting, since we happened to be there during La Merce Festival, a week in September honoring the Patron Saint of Barcelona and closing out summer in a big way. All day and night there were events throughout the streets, most interesting of which was the correfoc (fire run). This was the craziest parade I’ve ever seen, where parade walkers basically threw giant sparkler/firework-esque flames into the air and sometimes the crowd.

Between the festival and the perfect weather, September was an ideal time to visit. Every day we enjoyed time walking through the markets and parks, admiring the Gaudí architecture, and chatting by the pool or beach with some sangria (seriously, drink all the sangria you can because it’s just not the same in the States).


Park Guell in Barcelona


Things we did:

  • walked through Park Güell and enjoyed the colorful, Seuss-like, tiled architecture as well as great views of the city
  • visited La Sagrada Familia- there’s literally no other cathedral like it
  • walked along the beach
  • enjoyed many activities of La Merce Festival
  • ate and drank all the paella and sangria
  • enjoyed our friends’ hotel rooftop and pool
  • explored the markets along La Rambla street
  • walked around the Parc de la Ciutadella


La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona


Tips and tricks:

  • Get tickets in advance for Park Güell and La Sagrada Familia- they are completely worth it but book up in advance.
  • We loved where we stayed in the heart of the L’Eixample neighborhood- cheaper since it’s not as close to the beach, while still being within walking distance to many attractions as well as easy transportation.
  • Visit in September during La Merce Festival (for the many reasons I’ve already mentioned).
  • Stay for as long as you can- you won’t run out of things to do and can really enjoy your time without feeling rushed to fit everything in.


La Sagrada Familia interior view in Barcelona

La Merce Festival in Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Barcelona architecture

Rooftop pool in Barcelona

Drinking Sangria poolside in Barcelona

Barcelona beach

Ice cream at night in Barcelona