Thursday, 21 July 2016

10 Great Reasons Why You Need To Visit Barcelona...

Seventy-two hours was all I needed to fall head over heels for Barcelona. The European city stole my heart in more ways than I thought was possible and I'm already excited about the next time we will visit. If you haven't yet taken a trip to Barcelona, perhaps I can persuade you. Here are ten great reasons as to why the Spanish city should be next on your bucketlist...

1. There's something for everyone. One of the best things about Barcelona is the fact that it has both the city and the beach, meaning there is something for everyone. If getting lost in the meandering streets, captured in awe at the Gothic architecture appeals to you, or jetskiing on the beach, finished with a surf shack burger sounds desirable too - it's all here within one city.

2.  The food is delicious. I ate some the best food while out in Barcelona, making it definitely in contention for the best in Europe. The Catalans sure know how to cook, and especially tapas. If you choose tapas while you're out there (I strongly recommend you do, especially if you want to immerse yourself in true Spanish culture), expect a lot of bread with tomato, Iberian ham, calamari (which I tried for the first time there) and so many more beautiful dishes.

3. It won't break the bank! I was really surprised as to how relatively cheap everything was out there, particularly with the high quality of it all. Everything from cab and train fares, to food and drink, to tickets for monuments such as Park Guell. Of course, this makes this an all the more appealing city, considering the prices of others such as Paris and even London.

4. It's very clean. Now, I don't know where this presumption came from, but I was expecting Barcelona to not be the cleanest of cities. But I was pleasantly surprised to find it immaculately clean. I don't recall seeing one bit of litter on the floor and only minimal graffiti was spotted. I'd actually even go as far to say it's cleaner than most part of Paris, and some of London. I also recently read a magazine article which stated Barcelona had some of the lowest city crime rate - again, another pleasant surprise (but with all cities, keep pick-pocketers at bay by keeping your belongings close with ya!).

5. Amazing transport. The metro is generally the easiest and quickest way of getting your way around the city, and so we bought a ticket for ten rides for ten euros and used that as our transport. The metro runs from 5am to midnight Monday to Thursday and Sundays, 5am to 2am on Fridays, and non-stop on Saturdays (a great bonus if you're planning a night out...London needs to catch up!). There's also buses, which run all night, to places not covered by the metro too, and trams and cabs. My sister and I took a cab from our hotel to the beach one evening and it was relatively cheap.

6. Incredibly friendly people. Catalonian people are so very friendly. Here's and example: on our last day my sister was suffering from painful blisters and two lovely women stopped to give her plasters, one in the metro station and the other down a street. Everyone there was incredibly helpful and caring, with good English. They are also so tolerant to the endless hoards of tourists that visit the city year after year.

7. 'Joie de vivre', 'laissez-faire', 'dolce far niente'. Pardon my French and Italian when speaking of a Spanish city, yet I can't think of three better phrases (at least, not in the particularly little Spanish I know) that sum up the lifestyle in Barcelona. It's a very relaxing, chilled and yet exciting outlook on life. People don't generally eat dinner until 9-10pm, where they'll stay late into the night, discussing anything and everything with loved ones over a few too many glasses of sangria...even on weekdays. Nobody rushes in this cosmopolitan city, they take their time and care which is refreshing when travelling from a hectic London. I remember walking along the promenade late at night and the beach being full of groups of friends laughing as time flew by, crowds of both tourists and locals queuing up for an 11pm gelato fix. Barcelona is a very trendy, young and active place too. During the day, expect to see plenty of skateboarders, segways, cyclists and runners by the beach (as there's a dedicated path just for them) and in the sea, you'll find the calm disrupted by jetskiiers, surfers, parasailers and so much more. To sum up this very long point: the lifestyle in this city is perfect.

8. There's so much to see. You'll never run out of things to do here, particularly touristy sights. Of course, the famous Gaudi architecture is a must-see and is scattered all over, but Parc de la Ciutadella, the Arc de Triomf, musuems, and so much more is all on offer. A true highlight for me was Park Guell.

9. Guaranteed good weather. During winter, the temperature is generally mild and seldom descends below 10'C. In summer, the average temperature is 29'C and is sunny with clear, blue skies all day, everyday (with the rare thunderstorm due to the such high temperatures). We never saw a cloud while we were out there, instead we saw an ocean of eternal cobalt blue hovering above us.

10. Great fashion. Of course, I can't visit a cosmopolitan city without telling you the style stakes, right? Let me tell you, the shops and fashion were bliss. Every shop reminded me of Zara (which yes, is Spanish) or Isabel Marant. Expect to see a lot of folk-inspired pieces, embroidered tops and straw bags. It was definetly style that I loved, and due to it's cool-girl attitude, it instantly complimented the lifestyle of the city.

Have I convinced you to visit? If you still need a little more persuading (oh you tough cookie!), then check out my Barcelona photo diaries.

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