I've traveled internationally every Thanksgiving for 7 years and this is my 2nd international trip during COVID (the first was Kenya November 2020 - I'll blog about it some dayyyy), and it is not as difficult as the news media and government make it seem to travel internationally.
I went to Spain visit my friend Ily who I shared an office space with years ago here in Vegas. He sold everything to move abroad to start an art studio in Barcelona then COVID happened, so he's now essentially a local there and knows all the good spots. A family friend of mine also moved there a few years ago and owns a bar called Space Cowboy (H-town represent) so you'll see some images from his bar below.
♥ Click here for my Instagram Reel of clips of all of the places in a 1:00 recap.
♥ Read/see photos below of my time in Barcelona.
Barcelona is ancient and modern; simple and complex. The Catalonian capital is as wildly varied as the artists inspired by it. The towering gothic cathedrals, modernist masterpieces, and millennia-spanning structures make it worth the visit alone. But the architecture is only the outermost layer of this glittering city. Underneath is a flourishing cultural paradise where fine art, music, food, and of course, alcohol can thrive. Grab your Cava. Welcome to Barcelona.
Gaudi and Barcelona are tied together forever. If you’ve never heard of the Catalonian artist and architect when you arrive, that’s going to change whether you like it or not. The Barcelona born Gaudi is responsible for some of the city’s mot iconic buildings and parks, including the astounding (but still incomplete) La Sagrada Familia. Learning about him is learning about Barcelona’s 19th and 20th century development. If you’re pressed for time, La Sagrada Familia is the one to check out. But for those with a few more days, take a Gaudi tour when you first arrive. It'll help find your bearings, highlight some history, and get to see the most significant of the man's work.
Try something Nou Camp
If football is a religion, Barcelona could be the Vatican, and Nou Camp the Sistine Chapel. There’s a fair chance you might have no interest in the sport, or any sport for that matter. But stepping into a Barcelona F.C game is a special experience. Few teams are so engrained in the fabric of a city as Barca, and it's impossible not to get swept up in the atmosphere. Match day is more like a public holiday, and even if you can't make it to the stadium you'll still have a blast. Bars, pubs, clubs, and outside public viewings all provide a recipe for an excellent day. The city comes alive and emotions run long after the final whistle. Celebratory toasts or commissary tipples with 100 thousand fans makes for a night you won't forget. Just make sure to try and buy tickets early. 100 thousand seats go fast, especially for bigger games against teams like Real Madrid or Athletic. Proper fans of the sport will be interested in the Nou Camp Museum too. It’s the most visited museum in Barcelona.
Hit up a city beach
At the coastal end of Las Ramblas, the long pedestrian avenue running through the city, you’ll find some of the best city beaches on the planet. Barcelona is one of the few cities on the planet where high end city life flows seamlessly into sand and sea.Summers don’t go too hot and winters are mild making it a wonderful beach destination.
Small plates, big plates, all the plates
If there’s one guaranteed highlight of your trip, it’s likely to be the food. Everything else could go wrong, but at the end of the day you can sit down at one of Barcelona’s tapas restaurants and everything is right in the world. Home to more than 20 Michelin stars and perched perfectly on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, dining is something the Catalonians take seriously. Paella is typically at the top of everyone’s list. Although most definitely a Valencian dish, an outstanding seafood Paella can be found in Barcelona. With so many restaurants offering the dish, it can be notoriously hard to find a good plate. Of course, you can’t skimp on the tapas. There’s an endless amount of dishes to try at an endless amount of tapas places. Fill up on your cava and ask what’s best at each. Don’t forget the croquettes.
List of Places You Must Try:
♥ Nightlife: Space Cowboy - say Hola to Ryan!
♥ Museum: La Sagrada Familia
♥ Daytime Activity: Hike Montjuic Mountain - leads to where the '92 Olympics were held