We all have days when excitement is at its peak. That definitely happens when your layover is in Barcelona, Spain. I've visited this coastal city once before in 2018, but in Barcelona - there is always something to find. I know very few people who didn't enjoy their time there, as the city has something to offer for everybody. Even the weather is comfortable at +20 Celsius in November, especially for Nordic people. I had a wonderful day, and that's why I'm interested in making your next trip a little bit better to this city, which is one of my favorite places on the planet!
After coming back from Ibiza with my little brother, where we played Spanish International, we reached Barcelona at 09.15 am. The airport is the 2nd largest in Spain, so I'd advise you to have enough time especially before departures. From the airport, it takes roughly 30 minutes to 3-star B&B HOTEL Barcelona Viladecans, which was a very peaceful and comfortable place. There is also a massive shopping center located right outside the hotel.
After leaving our bags, we asked the receptionist to recommend some places for lunch. They advised me to check the shopping mall, but all the places were still closed at 11.30 which felt different compared to Finland where we eat lunch at 11. We did what felt best and started heading toward Camp Nou - the official stadium for FC Barcelona. Buying a 48h ticket (they don't sell 24h tickets) is a perfect way to explore Barcelona with a reasonable price of 15 euros. On the way there, we found one solid "restaurant". It wasn't maybe the fanciest place, but the food was inexpensive and delicious.
After finishing the lunch, it was just a short walk to the stadium. As my brother is a big fan of the club, it was not the easiest thing to be there as a Real Madrid fan but still a good experience; The Stadium was actually under construction at the time, but we still managed to visit their official FC Barcelona Store, which is free for the public.
From there, we took a metro to the downtown to see the world-famous Roman Catholic church - La Sagrada Familia. The funny thing is, that the construction of the church began in 1882, and hasn't finished till this day. The street next to this building is full of people throughout the year who come from all over the world, even the person taking this picture below was from the North-Carolina, USA. Hint! Barcelona is infamous for pickpocketing, so be careful, especially in metros and crowded places.
You can't visit Barcelona without checking out their main street - La Rambla. It's a street filled with people, artists, shops, food stalls, the list goes on. Walking 1,3km through this packed street is a memorable experience, and a reminder of how rich the city's culture is. I'd suggest you start from Placa de Catalunya - Catalonia Square and walk to the end of Monument a Colum - Monument of Columbus - that way you will end your street walk to the seaside.
La Rambla is just a walking distance from La Boqueria Market, another place worth visiting. It's a marketplace with a wide range of food options from all corners of the world. They have fruits, sweets, pastries, ice cream, seafood, smoothies, everything! La Boqueria is 100 meters from La Rambla, which makes it the perfect place to grab some snacks.
By the way, the neighborhood where La Boqueria is located is called El Raval. This place is unfortunately one of the most dangerous areas in Barcelona, so I wouldn't recommend visiting the spot late at night, but during the day you will be fine with tons of other tourists:)
As I wanted to experience the sunset in Barceloneta Beach which is the main beach in Barcelona, I went there earlier while my brother went to check out the Olympic Stadium (where FC Barcelona is playing their games because of the ongoing construction on Camp Nou🙃). I almost missed the sunset because of the "short" visit to the Zara clothing store. Of course, I couldn't leave Barcelona without visiting a single Zara.
Now when I finally arrived at Barceloneta Beach, the moment was magical. I don't know if it's the weather or what but chilling on the beach in Barcelona is something else. People are playing football, jogging chatting, sitting, and just enjoying their evening. As my brother later joined me, we walked the whole beach to the "unofficial landmark" of the beach - the 5-star hotel called W Barcelona that is present in so many holiday pictures.
The fun fact was that while walking through the beach, I spotted a familiar sandcastle. I took a picture of this same piece of art on my first visit to Barcelona in 2018, in the same spot😅. Although the guy had made some improvements!
The day was coming to an end, so we decided to stop by a restaurant on the beach. From there we took a metro to the hotel, which took around an hour. We had a badminton tournament coming up in Finland in a few days, so we didn't want to be out of energy there. Not surprisingly, I was a little bit hungry after arriving at the hotel, so I decided to order a salad in KFC, which was in our "local" shopping mall.
The following morning my brother went to see both Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez's homes in Castelldefels, which both were a short metro ride from our hotel. I wanted to join him, but my legs said no after taking 29 632 steps the day before, and I decided to take a slower morning. We reached the airport on time, and the trip was a success!