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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Our dream Barcelona mini break!

It is safe to say that Barcelona is one of my favourite cities. I have visited with our small children 3 times now. I love how laid back yet vibrant the city is and how everything is very easily accessible by public transport. One minute you could be strolling around an art gallery and the next you could be relaxing on a beach. There really is something for everybody! We have already visited the main sites with the family. The Sagrada Familia:-

La Rambla:-

Barcelona zoo:-

and I've even been subjected to the Camp Nou stadium tour:-

Therefore if I could plan my dream trip to Barcelona now, it would just be for myself and my husband and we would hopefully get to see the more of the unusual attractions and hidden gems that Barcelona has to offer.

As working parents of 3 young children, we rarely get a chance to properly relax so our first day would be spent in one of Barcelona's many city spa's. We would probably choose the Mayan luxury spa in the 5 star El Palace hotel. We were very lucky to visit some Mayan ruins in Mexico 11 years ago and it is where Steve proposed to me so I always feel like I have a special connection with Mayan culture and would love to be reminded of that special day. Hopefully the hotel's signature treatment which is based on ancient Mayan rituals would do the trick.

Our first evening in Barcelona would definitely be spent trying out a few cocktail bars! At home we have pretty much mastered the perfect margarita and I would be very interested to visit Boadas cocktail bar which claims to be the oldest cocktail bar in Barcelona. The cocktails promise to be mixed the old fashioned way and I would love to see how they compare to our homemade versions.

Hopefully our hangovers wouldn't be too bad the next morning! One of our favourite ways to immerse ourselves in a city's culture is to take part in a local cookery course. BCNkitchen run a market visit and tapas course which would be perfect for us. The chef's are local and give you insights you just wouldn't gain anywhere else. They take you around one of Barcelona's fabulous food markets, giving pointers, tips and sharing their invaluable knowledge along the way. Then it is back to the kitchen to use the ingredients you have bought to make authentic tapas which is then enjoyed with your group for lunch. We took part in a similar course in Marrakech a few years ago and it was the highlight of our trip. What we learned in those few hours was far more than any guide book could tell you.

Continuing the traditional theme from the day, our evening would be spent enjoying a flamenco show. There are lots to choose from, but we would probably go for the Tablao flamenco Cordobes show which is in a beautiful restaurant located on la Rambla which would be ideal for a pre or post dinner stroll. If you've never been to la Rambla, you need this place on your bucket list! It is a beautiful street in the heart of Barcelona filled with street theatre, beautiful architecture, caf├ęs, restaurants and stalls.

Our next day would be spent going on a little day trip to Sitges. The rail network in Spain is fantastic and the cosmopolitan city of Sitges is only 20 minutes away via train. Sitges is a city of Culture. As you walk around the cobbled streets you will pass an art gallery and craft shop on every corner. It is the perfect place to window shop and there are lots of places to buy uniques gifts. The atmosphere is relaxed and I can think of nothing better than enjoying a cold beer on Sitges beach and just watching the world go by.

We would head back to Barcelona for the evening and dine in one of the many lovely restaurants located in the upmarket port area of the city. The highlight of our evening however would be a visit to the ice bar! Visiting an ice bar is a surreal experience and I imagine ice Barcelona to really mess with your head as it is -5 degrees inside yet situated on the beach! The entire bar, decor and even your glasses are made of ice. I can't think of any better way to cool down.

On our last day in Barcelona we would soak up some of the culture in Park Guell. Some of the architecture here is like nothing else in the world and looks like it belongs in Hansel and Gretal. A stroll around this beautiful area and actually have the chance to take some lovely photographs instead of running around after 3 children would be the perfect way to end our mini break.

I would love to hear any hidden gems you have found in Barcelona and if you have any personal recommendations.

This blog post in an entry to the tots 100 Barcelona Blogger challenge in association with holiday gems.


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