5 Things to See & Do In Barcelona

Barcelona was our second European destination we visited on our trip last year. As our plane landed, our phones were going off with messages and calls enquiring after our safety. The tragic events at Las Ramblas had taken place whilst we were flying from London. A little shocked by the attack, we chose to spend our first day in our hotel and only exploring the nearby area to it. The following day we felt more at ease and so began to discover this lively city. 

I've compiled the 5 things I would recommend as must sees and dos:

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1/ STAY AT HOTEL PRAKTIK BAKERY

If you love the smell of freshly baked bread, then you would agree that nothing could be more heavenly then waking up to that scent every morning. For a unique stay in Barcelona, check out the Hotel Praktik Bakery.Where guests stay above an extremely popular bakery in Barcelona. The rooms are on the smaller side but have everything you need. You can open up your large window to waft in the bakery smells, and of course go down to the bakery to enjoy a 'guests only' buffet breakfast. I also love that you can see the bakers at work, with large windows into their kitchen. We enjoyed our stay here thoroughly and would highly recommend. Image from their website.

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2/ Take a free gaudi walking tour

Barcelona is basically Gaudi's world so you best learn a thing or two about him! We took a free tour through Runner Beans. If you've never taken a free walking tour before, the way it works is that you decide the price! The tour run on a donation basis. The Gaudi tour runs for around 2.5 hours. You will need a train ticket, as some of the tour points will require hopping on the metro. Don't worry if you don't have a ticket, the guide will help you out at the station and you all travel together. Our guide was brilliant. It just wouldn't have been the same to see the sights without having a guide to answer all your questions. To see what sights are included in the tour, click here.

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3/ Visit Park Guell

I recommend a visit to this magical park after you have taken the walking tour because you'll have a good background on the man Gaudi. Park Guell is home to the famous fairytale looking houses and gorgeously painted tiles. Pictured here is one of the houses you'll discover in the park, Casa Rosa. Everywhere you look is beyond photo-worthy. You will need to book your tickets in advance, and pick a time slot to visit. I also recommend getting a cab up the hill on the way there!

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4/ Brunch at 'Brunch & Cake'

If gram-worthy bites are your thing then don't miss stopping by 'Brunch & Cake'. With sweet and savoury options, they definitely took my order of smashed avocado to the next level. And the juice smoothies were amazing! The staff are super friendly as well, which is always a plus.

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5/ Watch a flamenco show

A trip to Spain isn't complete without seeing an authentic flamenco show. We saw the 'Gran Gala Flamenco' at the Palau de la Musica. The theatre itself is a sight to see, so why not make it a full experience by booking tickets to a show. The performance was jaw dropping and probably my number one highlight from our entire stay in Barcelona. The theatre did not allow photos during the show, so pictured is an image of the theatre itself.

Travel: Bath, England

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Our only other stop in UK besides London was Bath. I have wanted to go here for SUCH a long time. As a Jane Austen fan, I was definitely wildly curious about this high society hang out. This little city was absolutely darling! We arrived by a beautiful scenic train route (took 2 hours), and stayed for two nights before heading back to London to fly to Barcelona. 


STAY

We booked our accommodation on AirBnb, and it had to be one of the most comfortable bnbs that I have ever stayed in. Only a 2 minute walk from every attraction, beautiful interior and gorgeous typical bath building. It was also so well equipped. We were met by our host that showed us around and had even stocked the fridge for our breakfast the next day (how lovely!). Would recommend this AirBnb in a heartbeat. Only a 5 minute walk from the station also. You can take a look at the listing here


SEE

Top attractions to see are the Roman Baths and the Abbey. We didn't encounter any lines at either, but we went early morning or late afternoon. The baths are actually open quite late. 
The Baths were super interesting, there is a lot of history there. You can get an audio guide at the entrance to learn about it. You can even try the water when you leave. Paolo and I gave it a go - it tastes awful just so you know!! 

Also, the Royal Crescent and The Circus. Both so iconic, and gorgeous to see the rows of terrace houses. We took a walk from the centre of town. Bath is the kind of city that you walk everywhere. 

We also did a half-day tour to Stonehenge. It was only an hour hour, and going with a tour we had all our tickets ready to go and could enter immediately. The tour gave you 2 hours to explore Stonehenge - which was 1.5 hours too long in my opinion. It was brilliant to see, but once you see it that's it right! I think you only need 2 hours if you choose to listen to the audio guide from absolute start to finish. 


EAT

We weren't really overwhelmed with food options. Only one place of note: Sally Lunn's Buns. And we were lucky enough to be staying just outside it! These are so wonderful, you definitely have to go up to the cafe to try, and then take some away with you for later. 


SHOP

I didn't do any shopping in Bath. But there are the usual shops - H&M, Urban Outfitters etc. There are also a few speciality boutiques scattered about selling handcrafted items. It's lovely to look through. 

Travel: London, England

Hello to my first travel post. Note: these posts share where I stayed and my favourite things I saw, shopped & ate. I don't feel that I know each city well enough to classify this as a guide - just my own favourites from my stay. Hope it is helpful anyway! Happy travelling. x

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STAY

We stayed at The Nadler Soho, a new boutique hotel. Located in Soho, a trendy area with many lovely options for food and shopping. The hotel is walking distance to Carnaby Street & Oxford Street shopping. Closest tube stations are Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Circus, both in walking distance. There's also a supermarket down the road. 
The room is modern and bright. On the smaller side, but I found that most hotels and AirBnb's in London were small. 
It was reasonably priced for a hotel. We would've preferred to find a cheaper AirBnb, but sadly few were available.


SEE

There is an overwhelming amount to see in this City. Our mere 3 days were just not enough. I think at least 5 days would be better. We did try to pack in all the big tourist spots, in a morning and afternoon. Here's how:

Morning Walk (Big Ben + Westminister Abbey + Buckingham Palace) 
Take the tube to Westminster, you'll pop up right beside the bridge and Big Ben. We didn't go in, but decided to take some snaps here. Then continue down the road toward the crowds of people at Westminster Abbey. You must head inside! I suggest booking online, you'll be waiting in line for a fraction of the time of those who didn't. There's a brilliant audio tour. Be aware that it's very crowded in there, and have patience. Following that, we decided to take a walk through St James Park toward Buckingham Palace. We didn't time it to see the change of the guard, but you definitely could. By this time, you should be ready lunch - so head toward a tube station. 

Afternoon Walk (Tower of London + Tower Bridge + River Thames + London Bridge)
Take the tube to Tower Hill, then walk towards Tower of London. Afterward head to Tower Bridge. Take some snaps walking over the bridge, it's so very pretty! Once you've crossed over, walk along River Thames toward London Bridge. There's also a tube station nearby. 

Besides those big attractions, take a look at:
Brick Lane Markets + Vintage Markets
Colourful houses in Notting Hill


EAT

Great food options were easy to find in London. Our favourites include:

The Breakfast Club for breakfast, of course! Arrive at opening, we came 30 minutes after and there was a line (on a weekday!). I ordered the pancakes with maple syrup bacon. Staff here were incredibly nice as well. The menu has a lot of options and is reasonably priced.

Bone Daddies is a Ramen restaurant. We chose to have a late lunch here. I didn't actually order the ramen, as I just wasn't super hungry that day - but my husband did...  He ordered the Tonkotsu Ramen, which had a really nice pork broth that wasn't too heavy. The servings there were generous and prices reasonable. I ordered the Soft Shell Crab Salad. Definitely follow up with your favourite Mochi (Japanese ice cream) flavours.


SHOP

We did the majority of our Europe shopping in London. There are plenty of shopping areas - Oxford Street & Carnaby Street being my favourite. Prices aren't too different from Australia, but there are some stores that we don't have access to normally. Shops of note:

Topshop is huge in London compared to our little mini version in Sydney. I picked up plenty of things here. One of my all time favourite stores.

Brandy Melville is a one-size fits all store in Europe and US. Lots of basics, slogan tees, printed dresses and cute pants. I always go a little crazy when I'm in here because the prices are so good & their website doesn't ship to Australia. 

Size is a sneaker store with a really good selection of Adidas, Nike & Converse especially. 

Skinnydip has super adorable accessories. Think glittery rainbow coloured bags, phone cases, jewellery etc! 

Monki is a really cool 90s / Japanese clothing store. Really affordable fashion and I pretty much loved everything I found in there.