On our last day of the cruise we woke up early, grabbed our bags, and were off the ship and in a cab into Barcelona by 6:15 am! We wanted to spend every moment we could exploring Barcelona. After being away for a luxurious 9 days, I unfortunately had to get back to work, otherwise I would have loved to spend a few more days here exploring. We checked into an amazing hotel, Grand Hotel Central, in the heart of the city, and immediately were out on the town!
We were up so early that the city was still quiet and everything was just opening up for the day. We found an adorable cafe, Taverna del Bisbe, to grab a quick breakfast and some much-needed coffee to fuel us through our busy day! I loved the decor and it was the perfect start to our day. From there we walked over to the Cathedral of Barcelona, and took in the Gothic architecture before we spent the rest of the day marveling at Gaudi’s Modernisme.
From there, we hopped in a cab and headed over to the Parc Guell, one of Gaudi’s most famous architectural accomplishments. I love Gaudi. I have been dreaming about seeing his work in person for years. While I was in college, I took a class on Modern Architecture and wrote my final paper on Gaudi’s work and his desire to capture the Catalonian spirit. It’s incredible to think about how he was creating these spaces over 100 years ago that are still so inventive and exciting today.
All of Gaudi’s sites in Barcelona require tickets, but you can buy them ahead of time online and skip the line. We did this for each of the sites we visited and it enabled us to see everything in one day, which was perfect!
When Megan and I pulled out our outfits for Barcelona, we were cracking up about how similar they were. We didn’t plan to coordinate out outfits, but we independently chose almost the exact same outfits each day haha! That’s how you can tell we’re sisters!
I linked a few similar looks below!
It was so much fun exploring this site. It was originally meant to be the center of a community on the outskirts of Barcelona. There was space for a market, roads, community parks and housing. I wish that the community had actually been built, I’m sure the houses would have been so cool! There are so many gorgeous details– the color combinations, the chimneys, the building materials- that combine to create such incredible spaces. Gaudi used a lot of mosaics to create really beautiful and colorful accents to the buildings and spaces he created.
The view overlooking the city out to the water is breathtaking. I am obsessed with the way these two houses frame the overlook so perfectly.
Once we got to the top of the Parc Guell, we had the most incredible view. We were there early, right when it opened, so even though there were crowds it wasn’t too overwhelming yet. I’d definitely recommend getting there early if you can. (I’m also sure it gets a lot hotter as the day goes on!)
After we wandered around the Parc Guell, we took a cab to the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s incredible, unfinished Cathedral. They have been doing construction on this site for over 100 years. Gaudi took over the project in 1883, and the goal is now to have the main towers finished by 2026. There’s a wonderful quote by Gaudi from when someone asked him how it felt that his great cathedral wasn’t anywhere close to being finished, and he said, “My client [God] is not in a hurry.” It was so hard to narrow these photos down, because the entire site is just spectacular. It is fascinating to see this gorgeous icon under construction, and to imagine what it will one day look like when it’s finished. There is supposed to be a giant tower in the center at the end that will tower over the smaller ones that will surround it. I cannot wait to see Gaudi’s designs come to fruition! I loved seeing Gaudi’s interpretation of a cathedral. I find it so interesting how he took the classic elements of cathedrals all across Europe that we’re all so familiar with, but added such an inventive, distinctive Catalonian feel to it. The interior of the cathedral has been compared to a forest with trees, and I also remember my professor explaining that the columns resemble bones, which makes it like you’re inside a giant body.
The light and the stained glass created the most beautiful rainbow of colors and it was unlike anything else I’d ever seen.
This is a little school that Gaudi designed for the children of the construction workers to attend. I love how he makes simple, standard buildings look so new and different!
There was a great museum underneath the Cathedral, which had all sorts of early sketches and models of what the Cathedral will look like. After an amazing morning viewing Gaudi’s architecture, we took a cab over to Las Ramblas for lunch. Las Ramblas is like Barcelona’s Times Square. There is a huge pedestrian area with stands selling ice cream and souvenirs, tons of tourists and locals walking around, and there are tons of restaurants lining the road. In the center of Las Ramblas is La Boqueria, a giant market filled with fresh food and tasty snacks. It was such a beautiful day when we were there, and I loved exploring this incredible city. We were in Barcelona just two weeks before the heartbreaking attack took place on Las Ramblas. My thoughts are with everyone there who was affected by this senseless violence. I hope that one day we can live in a world where these horrible events never happen. The good people in this world far outnumber the bad, and love will always conquer hate.
I took so many pictures this day and we saw so much that I decided I had to break it up into two posts! Check back soon for my post about how we spent our afternoon and evening in Barcelona!
For the other posts from my Western Mediterranean Cruise, check these out:
Day 2: Portofino and Cinque Terre
Day 5: Nîmes and the Pont du Gard
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