Spain will always have a piece of my heart because it was the first place I solo-travelled to. I absolutely loved exploring the city streets, drinking Sangria and eating tapas every evening and being able to explore on my own pace.
Architecture and art really come together as one in Barcelona because of Gaudi. His mark has well and truly been left on this city and you can’t not see a couple of his most incredible works.
Sagrada Familia – this incredible unfinished work of Gaudi’s quite literally took my breath away. I could see the stunning structure as I flew into Barcelona and seeing it up close and personal was unreal. Get the audio guide as you walk through here, as there are so many details to the building that you could easily miss. I absolutely loved the contrast between the older and newer sides to the building and can’t wait to return to the city when this building is at long last finished.
Park Guell – one of the most beautiful parks for its crazy Gaudi sculptures. Like most Gaudi spots in this city, it does get crowded and you do need to book tickets.
Casa Mila – truly beautiful sculpture work on the top of this Gaudi house. The view of the city from here is pretty phenomenal too!
Casa Battló – another incredible piece of architectural art. The mosaic tiles and windows are extremely intricate and beautiful. Even the walk down through the stairway was pretty damn amazing.
MORE ON BARCELONA
La Ramblas – a very busy shopping district. I happened to be there at the right time for the Gigantes parade.
Gothic Quarter – beautiful cathedrals, and streets. Just wander through and explore or take a walking tour!
MACBA – incredibly cool modern art and the outside of the building is an incredibly well-known skateboarding spot. Watch the cool tricks – from a distance as you won’t want to be in the way.
Tapas, Paella and Crema Catalana is all that I ate here.
Alhambra – the reason to come to this wonderful city! Alhambra truly blew me away. It is beautiful Islamic-style palace, filled with seriously stunning details, plus a wonderful view of the city. Get your tickets early as they sell out quickly, or you’ll have to go for a guided tour which tend to be more expensive.
Albazcin – The Arab Quarter of the city, explore the streets and just wander.
Mirador San Nicolas – a fantastic viewpoint of Alhambra, especially at sunset. Get there early as it gets busy!
Hammam Andalusia – indulge in the baths at this hammam when you’re absolutely exhausted from walking through the hills of this city.
Granada Cathederal – a stunning cathedral that is definitely worth a trip outside of the Arab Quarter of the city. It’s ceiling is especially spectacular.
With just 24 hours in Seville, I really didn’t get to do all that I wanted to. But here’s what I did get to see:
Seville Cathedral – spectacular and quite regal.
Real Alcazar – another beautiful palace! The buildings are just as beautiful as Alhambra and the gardens are not to be missed either.
Metropol Parasol – the coolest architectural structure ever! Watch the skateboarders below, and head up above to enjoy the city skyline and the tops of the mushroom-like structure.
SOME PRACTICAL NOTES
- The #1 piece of advice I have is beware of pickpockets! They are ruthlessly good in Barcelona. I almost had my wallet stolen on the first day and clung to my bag the rest of the trip. Get a crossbody or bum bag and have it zipped up with your hand on it when you’re going through crowds.
- Be aware of horseflies in Seville! I didn’t realise that these flies bite, and had so many on my legs the day after I left here.
- Book all your major spots well in advance – Gaudi buildings, Park Guell, Alhambra, museums etc.
- As always, good walking shoes are a must.
- Enjoy your siestas in Spain – an afternoon nap is a great way to escape the heat in summer, and recharge before going out for the evening. Lots of places also close in the afternoon anyways, so you may as well take advantage of this!
- Enjoy your tapas – outside of the big cities, you’d be able to order a drink and get a plate of tapas. The more drinks you order, the bigger your plates will get.
AND SOME PRACTICAL NOTES ON HOSTELS
- If possible, pick a small room with the least amount of beds.
- Check for pictures of the beds, and ideally choose ones that have curtains and lockers.
- Get in touch with your hostel beforehand and request a bottom bunk. I didn’t do this and got very tired of climbing up to the top bunk all the time.
- Make friends by finding out what walking tours or group activities are available.
- Shower shoes. This is a must.
- Get a toiletries bag that can fold out and hang on the back of a door. Super useful in small shared bathrooms.