By Lizzy K
Over December break, I went to Barcelona, which is in Spain’s Catalonia region, and I had so much fun.
In terms of sightseeing, my two favorite spots were Park Güell (which has great views of the city and amazing mosaic designs by Antoni Gaudi that are definitely worth seeing) and La Sagrada Familia (ginormous cathedral also built by Gaudi that has been in the process of being built for 130+ years, a huge landmark in the city). If you are intrigued by Gaudi’s work, I suggest visiting La Pedrera house on Passeig de Grácia and Casa Batlló on the same street.
If you have any free time, Las Ramblas and Passeig de Grácia are great places to go shopping for designer items such as Gucci and Hermes to less expensive things such as Nike and Sephora.
To explore, I would suggest going to the old city section (a ton of fun to navigate through the narrow streets) or the Barcelona port/beach (even if it is too cold to swim which it was for me, the beach is beautiful and the streets are lined with restaurants).
My favorite restaurants were probably Toto, a casual Italian place with many different options, and Botafumiero for authentic paella. If you have food allergies like me, be careful with many of the desserts because there are nuts in many gelato flavors (I also suggest making cards with your allergies on them in English, Spanish, and Catalan to show people at the restaurants, this was very helpful). I especially liked Faborit Cafe for Spanish style dark hot chocolate and Escriba, on Las Ramblas, for different pastries and waffles. If you like produce and meat, the marketplace on Las Ramblas is a must, with tons and tons of vendors to choose from.
Unless you visit the Miró Museum and/or want to go for a short, scenic drive, I wouldn’t spend time on Montjuïc; although pretty, there is not much to do. I also realized that although Barcelona is in Spain, many of the city people speak Catalan (similar to Spanish and is widely used in the region of Catalonia), Spanish, and a good amount spoke English.
Overall, Barcelona was an AMAZING trip, and I would definitely recommend this trip and historical city to others.