As soon we arrived to Barcelona Airport, we were debating if we should take a taxi to the hotel (because we were tired), metro (which involved many transfers), or bus. There is no Uber, Lift, or Taxify. We ended up buying a bus ticket to get to the Central Station of the city. Since we knew that we had to make our trip budget-friendly, taxi was definitely the most expensive option to get to the city (and thus not an option). The walk to our hotel from the bus station wasn't bad at all. We decided to stay at the Regencia Colon Hotel. The room was super simple (it is why I didn't include pictures). We paid about $268 for 3 nights. The hotel was in the perfect location, right in the Gothic Quarter. All stores, restaurants and sight-seeing places were very walkable. The bus ticket from the airport cost about €5.90, but we found out later we could have picked a more economical option.
TIP: I would advise you to buy T10 metro card (cost only $12.86) that lets you use all buses & metro in the city for 10 rides. You don't need to purchase a separate card for each person.
After checking-in to our hotel, we decided to walk around the Gothic Quarter. The first building we checked out was the Cases dels Canonges. It was quite impressive and recognizable by its balcony. Afterward, we decided to just get lost in the neighborhood, and enjoy beautiful architecture and mini stores. We stumbled upon the Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi church (entrance fee €4 per person), and continued our walk toward Carrer de Petritxol street. Please pay attention to the walls, because you will see a lot of different ceramic tiles with colorful stories. According to history, this street was the first pedestrian street in Barcelona, and all activities that happened on this street are depicted on the tiles.
After walking around the charming Gothic Quarter, we decided to find Casa Calvet, designed by the famous Antoni Gaudi. It was built in 1898. I believe Gaudi was a very extraordinary person, whose work is recognizable by its unique design and structure. If you know nothing about Gaudi's work, you definitely need to come here and study it. Feeling so inspired, we couldn't miss our chance to see other buildings that were designed by him, like Casa Batllo and Casa Mila/ La Pedrera. Visiting the buildings from inside was quite pricey. As for Casa Batllo, the entrance fee was €27 per person and for Casa Mila €25 per person . We skipped Casa Batllo because of the long queue and went to Casa La Pedrera. Besides being able to walk around, you get an audio guide that explains the rooms and historical and artistic significance of the building. As a bonus, we got to check out a temporary art exhibition.
TIP: To avoid big crowds, buy tickets online in advance. It is cheaper too! The tickets offices charge fees for buying in person!
Feeling exhausted and hungry, we decided to head back to the Gothic Quarter, and see if we will be able to visit the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia. Earlier, the line to the cathedral was a bit crowded. As soon we got into the shorter line, we realized that the cathedral is open only during certain hours. So, make sure to check out the times before you go. It was a bit of a wait, but we were able to be among the first inside.
On Day 2, we went over to Sangrada Familia early in the morning, thinking that we could avoid the crowds. As soon as we arrived there, we were shocked by how many people were ready to explore this masterpiece. Before we checked-in, we stopped at a nearby cafe for a quick bite. We spent about 2,5 hours inside the Sangrada Familia. We were astonished by this amazing, gigantic work of art by Antoni Gaudi. It looks like a beautiful, unearthly forest surrounded by colossal trees. Sadly, we didn't get the chance to see the Tower of the Nativity Facade due to strong wind, but we got refunded later. After these fantastic hours of inspiration, we agreed to check another work by Gaudi - Casa Vicens. It is the first gem of Antoni Gaudi, built between 1883 and 1885 for his family. We didn't go inside, since we spent out budget to see his other works, but if you planning to see it from inside, the ticket is €16 per person. There is a free admission day on the European night of Museums (usually in May). Our next stop was La Boqueria market. Oh, man! Upon entering the market, my eyes were hungry to try everything from sweets to Spanish dried ham. After filling our tummies with some fruit, smoothies and dried ham, we chose to visit Palau Güell, another mansion that was designed by Gaudi for another prominent family. The entrance fee was €12 per person. After all of this walking, we ended up stopping for some tapas on the way to the old army fortress of Monjuic Castle. Being silly tourists, we ended walking to the cable car, paying €8.40 per person for one-way tickets, and then shelling out €5 euro per person to enter this castle. We didn't know that on Sunday after 3PM, you can enter for free.
TIP: Don't be us! Take bus number 150 with your T10 metro card, or pay €2.15 for single ride ticket per person. The cable car is a tourist trap!
After ascending from the majestic views offered from atop the castle, we decided to stop at the National Museum d'Art de Catalunya. Instead of going inside, we decided to enjoy a different view of the city. What I hate about traveling in winter season is that it gets dark so quickly. To not miss our chance to see the concert hall before darkness, we rushed to the Palau de la Musica concert hall. Ending our day, we walked back to the La Boqueria market to eat more delicious Catalonian dishes. I didn't take any photos of what we ate, but you can check out my highlighted story on Instagram or check out my Youtube channel where I load my insta stories from trips.
Our morning started quite early again, because I booked another tourist trap that I wanted to see before we left Barcelona. This was a good tourist trap though. We went to Park Güell, which, of course was designed by Gaudi. You can get there either by bus or metro, then walk about 10-15 minutes. The general ticket price is €7.50 per person. My favorite part of this super crowded place was to watch the Monk Parakeets / Quaker Parrots. They are super loud, yet adorable. I estimate we spent over 3 hours there. To complete my list of must-see sites in Barcelona, we headed to Tibidabo Amusement Park. The reason why I wanted to go there is because you can see Barcelona in its entirety from the tallest vantage point over the city. We took metro line L7, got off on Av. Tibidabo, then took a bus 196, that gets you to the Funicular Railway (that cost €7.70 per person). The Blue Vintage Tram (another option) also works most of time during tourist season. Before we reached the park, we had to stop at Central Cafe for a quick snack (killer coffee and food!). As for dinner, we dined at El Pintxo de Petritxol. They had delicious pintxos, tapas and sangria. We were very pleased with this fun meal.
For our three nights in Barcelona, we spent about $900.87 for 2 people including hotel, food, transportation and most of the top sightseeing attractions. We probably could have saved some more cash going the hostel route, but my hubby wanted to get some Amex points by staying in a hotel.