Hola Barcelona! Spain’s second biggest city views itself as an almost entirely different entity to the rest of the country and it’s not hard to see why. The Catalan culture runs through every building that lines the street, every jug of sangria that quenches thirst and every plate of paella that satisfies hunger. It also happens to be one of the few European cities that can boast its own beach. Not bad. Alcatel’s new campaign offering return flights includes Barcelona as one of the destinations so it is definitely worth checking out. Just purchase the excellent POP 4 handset here, and take a look at the details on several destinations across Europe.
A quick two-hour flight from London makes Barcelona an incredibly accessible destination, yet the warmer climate and laid-back lifestyle keep remind you that these two cities are worlds apart. With our luggage collected from the airport, it was time to head to the impressive Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I on the outskirts of the city. You can check out more on the hotel here, but the impressively sharp architecture is concealed by a glass shell and it certainly makes an impact. I spent the most of my time looking up as I entered the vast foyer, praying that we were on the top floor. Thankfully, we were.
After a quick outfit change into something a little more “Spanish” we headed to Barceloneta via La Rambla. Stunning architecture sat behind the tree-lined streets and we were almost swept away in the crowd of people heading towards the beach. However, our rumbling stomachs were quick to remind us that it was time to visit Luzia, an open-plan eatery with food and an atmosphere that they encourage you to share. Being in Spain, we obviously had to opt for a tapas-style lunch, although there wasn’t too much sharing involved. My Bhutan-style Patatas Bravas was too good to leave my plate.
The afternoon and evening were spent in Barceloneta, just by the beaches edge. The beach itself was ridiculously busy so, in hindsight, I probably won’t be planning a trip to Barcelona in July again. Luckily, the streets of nearby Barceloneta provided a great place to shoot and so the trip wasn’t wasted. As the sun set between the buildings, we were able to capture some incredible shots amongst walls of Catalonian flags and beach towels.
Our second day in the Catalan capital was a much fuller day. Our only enemy? The intense heat. I’m not one to complain when it comes to getting a tan, but European cities can be ferocious in the midday sun. That morning we set off early to see the famous but still-somehow-not-completed Sagrada Familia; Gaudi’s emblematic temple. The architecture, while not completed, is stunning and provided the perfect opportunity to utilise the POP 4’s 8MP camera. After snapping away for a good half hour, the tourist hotspot became very crowded, and so we decided to get a better view of Barcelona from above.
Park Güell is a good twenty-minute taxi journey from Sagrada Familia but it is well worth the trip; Gaudi’s gardens sprawl across a vast parkland with incredible panoramic views over the city below. Every wall and structure has hints of the artist’s work, with colourful mosaics and slightly abstract sculptures greeting you at every turn. You could spend hours just walking through the garden and admiring the secrets that it contains. With the clock approaching 3pm, however, our attention turned to the evening ahead. To food.
Dinner that evening was at El Gats, a lovely restaurant situated in an atmospheric square just off La Rambla. Here, we had tapas in style. Every dish was to die for and we sampled most of the menu in our two hours there. The indoor/outdoor theme makes you feel as if you are in someone’s home rather than a restaurant and it was a great place to kick back and relax. I love the time that eating tapas affords you; plenty of time to chat and have a few jugs of sangria with friends. As night closed in, we finished the trip with a stroll to the beach. Again, full of locals and tourist alike, but what else would you expect when you can have the best of both worlds, the city and the beach, in one place?
Be sure to stay on top of all of the incredible destinations in the Alcatel POP 4 project by following the hashtag #makeitpop4 on Instagram (you can also find me here). More importantly, to discover more about their return flight offer, be sure to check out the details here.