Disney - Barcelona
Updated: Aug 27, 2018
We flew to Barcelona 3 days prior to our Disney Cruise...and it was the perfect pre-cruise excursion!
We have several good friends who could not say enough positive things about the Disney Mediterranean Cruise. And one of the common recommendations was: "fly to Barcelona a few days early to get adjusted". So in an effort to account for jet-lag prior to the cruise and an opportunity to see Barcelona, we flew over 3 days early...and it was the perfect pre-cruise vacation!
“...fly to Barcelona a few days early to get adjusted.”
Barcelona is a timeless city with a rich culture. From La Sagrada Familia to Montserrat, we were able to see so much in a short time thanks to our friend Abel Brassi at VIP Barcelona.
WHERE TO STAY -- FAIRMONT - Barcelona
We really like the Fairmont chain as it consistently provides quality rooms and quality service. Plus, we can book connecting rooms in advance without the "requested, but not guaranteed" response that many other hotel reservationists say. And the Fairmont - Rey Juan Carlos I, Barcelona was no exception.
WHERE TO EAT
Bar Cañete - the epitome of the hip tapas restaurant, offering a creative variety of dishes with an attentive waitstaff. We not only enjoyed the laid back, cool vibe but also how we had to walk through the kitchen to get to our table in the back. Look for Roger Waters' (Pink Floyd) autograph up on the wall.
Toto - we loved the great combination of Mediterranean and Catalan dishes on this menu. Sizable tables make for relaxed dining for a large family.
The Terrace - this was the perfect spot for our first jet-lagged night at the Fairmont. Set in a pergola overlooking the hotel garden and pool, the Terrace offers a good variety in a relaxed setting.
WHAT TO DO
VIP Barcelona - without question the highlight of our time in Barcelona was spending time with Abel Brassi, our guide from VIP Barcelona. Abel is proud of his heritage and makes for the consummate host for new visitors to Catalonia. From La Sagrada Familia to Montjuïc to Montserrat, Abel was the perfect guide for our first time in Barcelona.
La Sagrada Familia - welcoming more than three million visitors each year, the stunning La Sagrada Família is a must-see for anyone visiting Barcelona. The towering, still-under-construction basilica is beloved architect Antoni Gaudí’s most celebrated work. The building of this ornamental wonder began in 1882 and remains ongoing.
La Rambla - one of Barcelona's most popular pedestrian strips. This three-quarter-mile road is a hive of activity and is divided into five sections—Canaletes, Estudis, Sant Josep, Caputxins, and Santa Mònica—which is why it's often referred to in the plural as Las Ramblas. Look for the 200-foot-tall monument of Christopher Columbus located at the end of La Rambla, near the harbor.
Montjuïc - this hillside section of the city overlooks the port and features some of the city's finest art collections, such as Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC), as well as the Vila Olimpica (Olympic Village). The first boycott-free Olympics since 1972 was held in Barcelona in 1992, highlighted by the "Dream Team" including Michael Jordan.
Montserrat - a spectacularly beautiful Benedictine monk mountain retreat about one hour northwest from Barcelona by car. More than halfway up the mountain lies the Benedictine Monestir de Montserrat, home to La Moreneta ('Little Brown One', or 'Black Virgin'), one of Spain’s most revered icons.
Park Güell - this modernist masterpiece is a complex of public parks designed by Gaudí and a local industrialist, Count Eusebi Güell. In 1900, Güell's original vision was a housing development interspersed with green spaces, but only two homes were ever built and few buyers showed interest. The residential project was abandoned in 1914 and the city later converted the rest of the area into municipal parks with roads, walkways, a plaza, and gatehouses designed by Gaudí.