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12th May 2014

48 Hours in Barcelona: An homage to Catalonia

There's plenty to do in Barcelona, even if you don't fancy watching the football team. Apparently they have a decent one?


There’s plenty to do in Barcelona, even if you don’t fancy watching the football team. Apparently they have a decent one?

This particular JOE will preface this travel trip with a few of the more colourful personal anecdotes about our time in Barcelona. Our relationship with this city is somewhat like that which Homer in The Simpsons has with New York. We’ve been a few times, gotten food poisoning on two separate occasions, been kicked up the arse by a hobo and in general had a baaaad time, ok?

That said, there are plenty of redeeming characteristics to this city, hence why we just kept going back, despite our best judgement. Here’s what to do when you’re there.

How to get there

Aer Lingus and Ryanair both operate daily flights out of Dublin airport to Barcelona-El Prat and Reus airports. Getting into Barcelona from Reus is a bit of an issue, and you have to really time your trip to make sure that you get everything right, because if you miss the bus you’re stuck in Barcelona with nowhere to go, or stuck in Reus which is genuinely one of our least favourite towns to be stuck in. It’s happened, and it’s no craic.

Where to stay

The Ayre Hotel on Gran Via de les Corts Catalans is located pretty handy to a few different things, and a is a very nice hotel for the money. If you book through one of the aggregator sites like you’re sure to get a pretty good deal, even when there’s high demand like there was when we went during a huge music festival.

Ayre Hotel Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 08004 Barcelona, +34 933 67 55 00. Metro: Plaça Espanya

For those on a budget, there are plenty of good hostels to rent too all over the city. Another great way to stay that cuts down on costs is to get your own apartment on a site like Airbnb or any other host of sites that also offer a similar service. Staying near Plaça de Catalunya is a good way to make sure that you’re still central and have access to what you need.

Where to eat/drink


Pic via

If you like a quick tapa and a nice selection of wines that’s slightly off the beaten track and very welcoming, then Vinodromo is the place to go. Happy to speak Spanish, English or Catalan (in case you’re trilingual) the food is delicious and the wine is top notch. This is a spot for a few small tapas rather than a full meal, but you’ll want to stay even longer to get another glass of vino in.

Tamarit 111, 08015 Barcelona, +34 933 25 48 89. Metro: Poble Sec

El Rincón del Cava

Perfect for those on a tight budget, you can walk out of here with a seriously good feed and a few beers on your with change left from a €10. It’s more greasy spoon than haute cuisine but it’s designed to hit the spot, no questions asked. They also have a little quirk of taking pics of their customers and sticking them on the wall, which is strange but fun. See if you can spot our JOE…

Carrer de Blasco de Garay 53, +34 93 441 7031. Metro: Poble Sec

La Caseta del Migdia

Pic via

This one is off the beaten track…well off it, but it’s worth it, in particular of a clear and warm evening, this is a spot where you’ll get an incredible view of the city while enjoying a drink without paying through the nose. It describes itself as a “secret” of Barcelona, it’s situated up near the Olympic Stadium and the hills of Montjuic, so getting there is no easy feat. The best thing to do is grab a bus, either the 55 or the 150 and walk from where it drops you near the cable cars. Alternatively, hop the metro from the Paral·lel station to the cable car stop, and jump out there.

Mirador del Migdia, 08038 Barcelona, +34 693 99 27 60. Metro:Paral·lel to Montjuic cable car

What to do

Sagrada Familia

Yes it’s a bit of a tourist trap and everyone says you need to go and see it, but it is still a fantastic sight. Paying in and going through the laborious process of waiting in a queue for several hours might not be totally necessary, as the outside is impressive enough on its own, but for the full experience head in and get a glimpse. Head round the corner to Tossa at 291 Carre Nàpols for a bite to eat while you’re there, great food where you won’t be ripped off.

Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona. Metro: Sagrada Familia



Getting a cable car is a bit of a touristy thing to do too, we know, but this is an excellent way to get a beautiful view of the city. You can get there from the Paral·lel metro station and ride it right to the top to get to the fortress there, which you can walk around and admire, and then on your way back down, walk from the end of the cable car line the rest of the way down the hill towards the Palau de Montjuïc and the incredible fountain. If you can time your trip down for the evening, you’ll see the amazing show of lights and music that happens at the Font Màgica every night, which is well worth your time.

Font Magica, Pl. Carles Buïgas, 28080, Barcelona. Metro: Paral·lel, Plaça de Espanya

Camp Nou

The football fan in us simply wouldn’t allow us to leave the city without going to the Camp Nou. If you can get a game in then all the better, the atmosphere is decent and although you won’t be in the minority as a tourist, it’s still a spectacle to behold. Not to mention getting the chance to see Lionel Messi in your lifetime (unless you live in Barcelona) is not going to come around every week. If you just take the stadium tour, then it’s also impressive to see the facilities and appreciate the sheer size of the place too.


Carrer d’Aristides Maillol, 08028 Barcelona, +34 902 18 99 00. Metro: Palau Reial

You wouldn’t get this at home

Parc Güell

Another thing that’s a must see is Parc Güell, an incredible work of art that’s also a park. This place is pretty much packed all the time, and the likelihood that you’ll get any pictures that aren’t stuffed with other people that you don’t know is pretty slim, so just soak it all in and enjoy. When you get to the top, there’s a great view of the city too, that really is worth the time. This trip is worth a few hours, but getting there is tricky enough. If you hop the Metro to Lesseps, there’s plenty of signage to mark the way, but there’s not a great selection of places to eat and drink on that track, you might need to go searching. Alternatively bring a bite to eat preprepared and enjoy a sandwich as you overlook the city. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

parc guell

Carrer d’Olot, 08024 Barcelona, +34 902 20 03 02. Metro: Lesseps

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