Have you ever taken a spontaneous trip? The type of trip that comes around so quickly that you don’t have time to get your head around where you actually are, let alone pack a remotely useful suitcase?
Spontaneous breaks can be the most fun (and surreal) because weeks, if not days before hand, you had no idea you would be in such an exciting new place. This was certainly the case for me last weekend where I was invited on a last minute weekend mini break to stay at the W Hotel in Barcelona – with just TWO DAYS notice! Here’s the story…
The invitation kindly came with a +1, so I surprised my friend Katie with the option to join me (it’s a good job she’s spontaneous too). After a late Friday night and 6am wake up, we jumped on a train to Gatwick bleary eyed on Saturday morning. Before we had even properly woken up, we were taking off on the plane to Barcelona and laughing to each other about how surreal the moment was.
As the trip was so last minute, we didn’t have much of a plan, but I had visited Barcelona a few years ago so I had a good knowledge of the city and how to get around it. After we landed at Barcelona Airport we hopped straight on the AeroBus, the airport shuttle bus that takes you straight to Catalunya, right in the heart of Barcelona at the top of Las Ramblas.
The AeroBus is an absolute steal at only 10.50 Euros for a return, so much cheaper than a taxi! 20 minutes later, there we were in the middle of bustling Barcelona, amazed at how easy it seemed to get there!
With our bags in tow we took a stroll down Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s famous and most touristic street. Las Ramblas is a wide promenade filled with outdoor restaurants, cafes, bars, ice-cream stands, street entertainers and caricature artists. A walk down Las Ramblas is an absolute must for anyone visiting the city, but watch out for pick-pockets and rip-off tourist prices.
The restaurants on Las Ramblas are popular due to their location but predominantly serve over-priced and average tasting food to tourists. For more authentic tasting tapas, veer off from Las Ramblas and get lost in the side streets. That’s where you’ll find the best restaurants for half the price!
After our walk down Las Ramblas we headed straight for the W Hotel to check-in and drop our bags off. The reception staff gave us both a very warm welcome and the porters whisked our bags off to our room, perfect 5 star service. Our twin room was amazingly spacious and had a spectacular sea-view stretching for miles down the coast line.
Along with huge rainforest shower, dressing table, cloud-like beds, white robes and slippers, it was all we could have dreamt of for a luxurious Barcelona break. With it’s iconic sail-like design on Barceloneta beach, The W Hotel is a landmark in itself and can be seen from miles away.
All this excitement had us working up an appetite, so it was time to leave the hotel in search of some delicious Spanish tapas. Although the sun had gone in, we were still determined to have a sea-front lunch, so we browsed the menus until we found Can Majo, the little perfect spot!
As it was still Winter, the outdoor restaurant area was sheltered with a gazebo and patio heaters, allowing guests to stay cosy whilst still enjoying al fresco dining. We were dying to try some tapas, so we ordered calamari, goats cheese salad, iberico ham and pan y tomatoes (Spanish bread with tomato that is a real Catalan tradition and comes with practically all meals!).
Of course, with the tapas undoubtedly came the most delicious Sangria. We sat for 3 hours and had the most glorious long lunch, still in shock of how we ended up so suddenly in Barcelona!
Feeling extremely satisfied and a little tidily from the Sangria, we head off on a spot of afternoon sight seeing. The Barcelona Metro system is easy to navigate and incredibly cheap, so we hopped on at Barceloneta station in search of the Sagrada Familia.
Although I had seen this amazing building before on my previous trip, I was really wanted to show Katie, who I knew would be amazed. The Sagrada Familia looked spectacular against the blue sky and despite lots of scaffolding, Gaudi’s iconic creation still managed to blow me away.
As we headed towards the end of our first day, we started to think about the night ahead. With just one night in Barcelona, we intended on making the most of it. We started our evening with drinks at the W Hotel’s Opium Bar with amazing cocktails and views of the coast line followed by dinner at CDLC, otherwise known as Carpe Diem.
Carpe Diem is a chic water-front sushi restaurant on Barceloneta beach. The atmosphere is amazing and the decor is super sexy. Perfect for a hot date or a girls night out.
The next morning we woke up to gorgeous blue skies and sunshine so went for a look around Port Vell, Barcelona’s super-yacht lined harbour. There was a Sunday morning food market on at the Port, so we got a fresh orange juice and some Spanish Churros for breakfast which were absolutely DELICIOUS and a total treat.
We carried on wandering through the city until we reached the Gothic Quarter and the visited the Cathedral of Santa Maria. This cathedral is hidden away in the middle of a rabbit warren of little streets, but well worth discovering. It is beautiful inside and is surrounded by lots of quaint al-fresco restaurants and cafes, such as Casa Delfin on Passieg del Born.
As with many of my trips, my time in Barcelona was a bit of a whirlwind to say the least. But despite the little time I had, I felt like I got to see a lot of the city and really optimised my time. Getting to stay at the gorgeous W Hotel made the trip feel even more special, and the best bit about it was that I got to experience it all with one of my best friends, who also loved every minute of it.
This adventure was done in just 1 weekend, with no time off needed. I arrived home feeling exhausted but so lucky to have had such an exciting experience. So if you’re looking for a mini-escape before summer but are tight for time and money, why not do the same and visit a European city for just one night? Go on, I dare you!
What did you think of my weekend in Barcelona? Have you visited the city or are planning a trip there? Are you inspired to take a weekend city break? If you enjoyed reading this post, please comment in the box below and let me know! 🙂
Banner image courtesy of W Hotel Barcelona