12-Day Holiday in Spain

Meet Natalia. Not only is she insightful and caring, she is also extremely knowledgable and successful in all she does! I am so thankful for our friendship. This is a guest post by her about her time spent in Spain including Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, Malagna, Nerja, and Frigiliana!

First stop…Barcelona

We arrived at night so that jet lag wasn’t too bad, we had dinner around the Airbnb and ate some local tapas and drank wine! We had a slow first night so that we could hit the ground running. We stayed in the Poble Sec neighborhood. If I had to do it again, I would stay in the Gothic neighborhood or next to Barceloneta to be near more things, but we were near Blai street which was nice!

Day One…

We woke up SUPER EARLY to go see Park GUELL. Highly recommend hitting it early in the morning, so you miss most of the tourist crowd. Buy your tickets ahead on Tiquets App. Wear comfortable shoes because its a hike to get up there!

Next, we walked and walked and walked to see La Pedrera. We only saw the outside, but I wish we would have gone in. It is another building designed by Gaudi. On our way, we stopped and got 1 EURO croissant and orange juice, and it was SO YUM. After we walked around the strip next to La Pedrera with all the expensive stores (aka LV, Gucci, Fendi, Cartier). We ended up buying Longchamp purses because why not!!

After walking a ton, we went to eat at Brunch and Cake. When I tell you that this was the very best brunch I had in my entire life I am not lying. If you come to Barcelona and don’t go here, you have missed the point!!! Super aesthetic food, super yummy, and not expensive.

Next we went to Sagrada Familia. BUY TICKETS AHEAD OF TIME. We bought our tickets on the Tiquets app. This was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Both sides are completely different and the inside is stunning. I teared up- it is such a special place. Listen to the audio tour!

After Sagrada Familia, we went and chilled at the Airbnb for a little bit then walked over to the Gothic Neighborhood. We ate at Gourmet Tapas by Sensei, and it was one of the best meals of my life. Talk to the waiter/waitress and get their recommendations. Also, get the super yummy Sangria!

Day Two…

We slept in but we had plans to go further explore the gothic neighborhood- OOPS.

Woke up and went to Barceloneta. Took pictures, laid on the beach, haggled with some street vendors. We walked inside of the W and the lobby is beautiful. I would go back and have a drink there, because it’s so pretty.

ADVICE: DO NOT drink any alcohol on the beach, they keep everything cool with sewer water and you can get food poisoned easily.

We had lunch at Pez Vela. We went for the Paella and it was the best paella we had the whole trip!! Also got a pitcher of sangria and I can also say it was the best. On the $$$ side, but worth every penny!

That night we wandered around Blai street, ate tapas, and went back to the AirBnb.

DAY Four – Six…MÁLAGA – NERJA- FRIGILIANA

Woke up super early, called a Taxi with Cabify and took a flight to Malaga. We wandered around Malaga. We walked around the main plazas, a pretty plant bridge, and little parks infested with middle schoolers. Malaga has so many pretty parks and beautiful castle-like structures. We were only here for a few hours, but we bought fans that would be cute to bring home for friends and fam!

We took a bus to Nerja which WE LOVED. A much quieter city in southern spain that had so much character. We ate at la marina (tapas bar), and la dama ( SUPER CHEAP yummy italian food) and ate a meal with our Airbnb host at her place. 

The very best part of Nerja is the Balcon de Europa. Go wander there and watch the sunset or sunrise at least once! 

Day Seven…

While we were in Nerja, we booked a yogi brunch through AirBnb. We contacted Karina, and she picked us up from Nerja to take us to the house. It was in Torrox Costa & was located in this BEAUTIFUL house with an infinity pool to take the yoga class. They fed us a super yummy brunch!! The house (Casa siempre viva) is so eco friendly like they grew most of the food we ate on their property. If I were to do it again, I would stay in this house! You can find the house on Instagram @casasiempreviva

On our last evening in Nerja, we took a bus (super cheap, maybe 3 EURO each way) to a small city, Frijiliana. A super cute little town that felt like Greece. We spent a few hours there, but I wish we would have had a full dinner there and done more shopping because it had a ton of cute local ceramics!

Day Eight – Nine…Sevilla

The next day, we took a train to Sevilla. We were so tired by this point, so we shopped lots in Sevilla. The highlights of Sevilla were Plaza de España, Real Alacazar de Sevilla (buy tickets ahead of time), and Las Setas (a cool architecture structure that you can walk on top of and see the city).

Day Ten – Twelve…Madrid

We took a train from Sevilla to Madrid and arrived at night. We hung out with my SWEET cousin who lives in Madrid and then woke up in the morning and hit the ground running. 

We had lunch at Perrachica which was the most beautiful restaurant I’ve ever eaten at. I want to design my house the same way this restaurant was designed. Had yummy food with a slightly higher price point but SO worth it. We walked around Gran Via which is a beautiful bustling street that has huge stores! A must see.

Later in the day we explored El retiro and did the little boat paddling in the park! Highly recommend because it was so fun!

We finished the trip by getting churros at Chocolateria San Gines which is the original and oldest churro place. Its open super late and always has a line, but don’t leave Spain without eating these churros.

Other Spain Recommendations by City…

Barcelona…

Tips…

  • Enjoy at least one S L O W spanish meal…tapas around 8, dinner around 10 or 11 sit in the streets and talk for a couple hours and then finish with drinks somewhere 
  • Do NOT buy “cold beer, agua, cerveza, mojitos” on the beach–they keep them in the sewers
  • Don’t eat anywhere right next to Sagrada Familia–they will probably rip you off.
  • A lot of places will charge you extra to eat outside, so ask! 
    • Like the same food will literally cost more outside than inside
  • Normal lunch time is about 2pm, so keep in mind when trying to avoid lines
    • Restaurants will start filling up with tapas and drinks around 6 or 7 usually and stay full all night
  • Festival de Sant Juan is in the end of June and a lot of fun
    • There is an all night beach festival and they set tons of fireworks off
    • The whole town stays up all night and the challenge is to make it to sunrise 

COFFEE…look here!

Food…

  • Organic cafe buena ventura 
  • Gelateria on the way to the arc 
  • La taqueria 
  • chechey limona right down the street (good for brunch)
  • El Viti: spanish tapas 
  • Fruit pops at Travessera de Gràcia, 271 08024 Barcelona Spain
  • Granja Petit Bo (brunch/lunch—no wifi here but really good)
  • Firebug: really good tapas
  • Cervecería Catalana: tapas (go at a weird time bc its very popular)
  • Brunch and Cake: brunch THIS IS THE BEST EVER
    •  go to the one right by the beach & the barceloneta stopGo on a week day or at a weird time if you can, its often very crowded
  • Blai Street: go for tapas!! 
    • its like 1 or 2 euros per tapa and get a couple from each restaurant and work your way down the street—a lot of times there are fun bands playing
  • Pizza Nap(oil): so yummy 
  • La Boqueria food market
    • check times because it changes a lot-really cool–for cultural experience, you can eat on the benches outside—try a fruit pop too!
  • Pez Vela Chiringuito: beach side paella-you have to try at least once, its near the W hotel
  • Picnic: if you have time take the train to Sitges, really gorgeous beach town and they have the BEST paella—if you’re going with a group call ahead or go at a funky time, they fill up sometimes
  • El Corte Ingles
    • its like a 9 story department store, the top level has a restaurant/cafeteria that’s really good and has a beautiful 360 view of the city
  • Timesburg: burgers
  • George’s: its corner of Passeig San Juan and Carrer de Valencia 
    • Smoothies the size of your head and get the strawberry nutella crepe!
  • Milk: brunch
  • Bo de B: sandwiches
  • Eyescream and friends: ice cream
  • Makamaka: burgers
  • Rosa negra: closest thing to Tex mex
  • Petit Pot: anything
  • Restaurante La Barca del Salamanca: paella
  • michael columns pub 
  • el osao goloso italian 

Activities…

  • Montserrat
    •  try to do the whole day, there are some great hikes!
    • Take the train right outside the city
  • seven water fall hike 
  • Sagrada Familia
    • go when the sun starts to set and buy tickets ahead of time
  • Parc Güell and anything by Gaudi
    • buy tickets in advance—you can take the metro about halfway and then you have to walk
    • It sells out days ahead of time usually
  • Tibidabo (the castle looking thing at the top of the hill)
    • hike is brutal but worth it, take the tram if you want to, the bus is pretty cheap and picks up from downtown
    • Amusement park at the top, kind of pricey for rides but beautiful view of the city
  • Camp Nou: FC Barcelona stadium
  • Montjuic
  • Placa Espanya
    • fountain show timed with music Thursday-Sunday at the museum at the top of the hill go early if you want a good seat…it’s packed about an hour before, but you’ll be fine showing up at any time.
  • Barceloneta: beach area
  • Parc del Guinardó/ the Bunkers
    • not a long walk from sagrada familia
    •  Its a lookout over the city–go at sunrise or sunset, it’s really beautiful at sunset
  • Arc de triomf and the park near it!
  • mont de rebei: (insanely cool, but you have to rent a car to get there…BLUE river and beautiful sand stone hike—get kayaks too!!
  • Get your feet eaten by the fish at a nail spa
    • Usually like 10-20 EU

Night life…

  • Dr Stravinskys crazy cocktails
  • Espit Chupitos: shot bar sort of near the beach—the bar tenders are really fun & there’s 140 shots! ask for one they light on fire
  • George Payne: really fun atmosphere, kind of an irish-pub with thursday night karaoke
  • check out rooftop bars too! they change seasonally
  • harlem jazz club 
  • hotel condes de barcelona rooftop with live music 
  • Dow jones (fun shot bar)
  • La ovella negra (multiple locations)
  • Le cyrana (get to pour your own drinks)

Clubs…

Join Aashi guest list on Facebook if you’ll be there for a while, as he gets you in to a lot of places free and usually VIP if you message him (he can be sort of weird but it works). these are pretty touristy, but definitely a big night scene—check for good bands and be prepared for higher cover charges—also guys have a certain dress code

  • Opium
  • Shoko
  • Pacha 
    • Usually has cool artists, but sometimes super high cover charges
  • Ice Bar (you have to go down to the beach level and its in the back—book your tickets online and get a student discount)
  • Harlem Jazz Club (SO cool, kind of an older, local crowd and really chill but the bands are amazing)
  • Razzmatazz (lots of levels, fun, but more expensive)
  • CDLC

Madrid

Must-See…

  • Sol is the heart of the city and it connects to all the major shopping streets. 
    • There’s a spot there that starts all the roads in Spain
  • Plaza Mayor is the town square with the famous horse statue and there’s a lot of restaurants around there
  • Past Plaza Mayor is the Mercado de San Miguel which has every food you can think of. I would recommend getting lunch there because you can spot at a bunch of different food stands and everything is around 2€
  • Prado Museum is Madrid’s famous museum and it’s gorgeous. It’s free on Mon-Sat 6-8pm and Sunday 5-8pm. The line looks crazy long but it goes by in like 10 minutes. 
  • Near there is Retiro Park which is basically Madrid’s Central Park. Their fountain is popular there and you can row boats and things like that.
  • Another museum is the Sofia Reina. It’s more contemporary art (to me wasn’t that special) but it has the Picasso exhibit.
  • Gran Via is the huge shopping street there (prepare to have absolutely no money after this!!)
  • Calle Preciados is another shopping street (go to Berksha for cheap cute clothes)
  • Malasaña is a trendy neighborhood with a lot of good local bars
  • Azotea del Círculo has the best view of Gran Via/the whole city and it’s a really cool rooftop bar (I had the best mojito of my life there)

Food…

  • La Mallorquina is Sol’s oldest bakery. Get a cappuccino and a napolitana de chocolate.
  • Chocolateria San Gines is the best place to get churros (not America’s bullshit sugar coated ones).
  • Takos Al Pastor has THE BEST tacos you’ll ever had and they’re only 1€.
  • Madrid has the oldest restaurant in the world…Botin Restaurant
  • 100 Montaditos has 1€ sandwiches and they have Tinto de Verano which is a lemony sangria which is really good (you can also buy it at grocery stores).

Bars & Clubs…

  • All clubs have a dress code so look nice and don’t act all touristy bc they’ll charge you more or even not let you in
  • Always look for promo codes before you go to a club bc most have deals that include drinks and cover
  • Don’t go to a club before 1-1:30 unless you want to look dumb
  • Kapital!!!!! My home!!!!!!! It’s a 7 story club and which level is a different theme. It’s the most touristy club but you have to go. 
    • There’s also promos every night so you can get in for 17€ and get 2 drinks (and the drink are SO strong). Every night, they have different performers, dancers and this huge smoke thing goes off every few minutes. Go on Friday or Saturday (on Thursday’s, there aren’t that many people there).
  • Teatro Barceló is a famous bar a bunch of celebrities have gone to. 
    • It’s more local and a better reputation, so it’s harder to get into. I only went with one person when I went and I had no trouble, but a group in front of us got denied bc they looked too young and touristy (I think I read somewhere you had to be 21 to get into this one but they didn’t check our ID’s). It’s more expensive, and there are 2 sections (at least when I went). The main entrance is more expensive (and for less drinks), but it looked incredible so I would pay the extra money. Thursdays are fun there
  • Joy is big club there too
    • Go on a weekend- I went on a Thursday, and there was no one there.
  • La Vía Láctea is a local bar that has pool, and it’s more laid back.
  • Any bar on Malasana is pretty chill
  • Sidrería El Tigre is a shitty bar that serves free tapas and cheap drinks.
  • Independence is the club everyone goes to on “fucking Mondays” and if you go early enough it’s 8€ for 2 drinks
    • They also have a bunch of theme nights on the weekends
  • Dubliners is for Wednesday nights and they have 1€ shots
  • Gabana (after Dubliners) on Wednesdays, and it’s free entry and open bar until 1:30am.
  • Velvet is fun but you have to go late

Culture…

  • Their meals are later. Breakfast is a normal time, lunch is around 2, and dinner can range from 9:30-1am
  • Most people know English in the city but it’s smart to know phrases like:
    • Check- La cuenta
    • Excuse me- Pardona

Want more of Europe? Check out these posts!

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