As mentioned before, we love to make city trips in Europe during Christmas time. Christmas time is city trip time! First because we love travelling and second because it’s cheaper and less crowded than in summer. Well, at least according to our experiences.
Furthermore, we love beautiful cities. And during Christmas time, every city seems to become even more beautiful. Everything is illuminated and everyone’s overindulging at Christmas Markets knowing being on a diet this time of the year is not only reasonable but also unhealthy. In the winter months, it’s important to cultivate one’s rich man’s belly to be prepared for the cold months!
Barcelona – City with the friendliest people
We know one weekend is not enough for judgments like these. But during our stay there wasn’t even one grumpy person crossing our way. Everyone was helpful, friendly and making jokes. Of course, your mind prefers these kind of memories.
We stayed at the Ella Hostel. It’s located in the Eixample quarter, a ten minute walk from Plaça Catalunya. It’s clean (I’m really fussy in this context), has everything you need plus a sun terrace. It might be a very popular place in summer.
For us it was perfect as we were on the road a lot. And it’s really cheap for Barcelona. But what we liked the most were the incredibly friendly stuff. Saludos to the gorgeous women, if they read this. We totally recommend Ella Hostel!
While talking to people in restaurants, bars or during sightseeing, some claimed Catalans were friendly just to tourists because they were so strong regional patriots. We can confirm that a little bit as Catalan flags were hanging everywhere.
But we think there’s friendliness deep inside the Catalans. That might sound a bit exaggerated but this is our impression. More important: First impression counts!
Barcelona and urine
Unfortunately, this disturbs our impression of Barcelona a little bit. But firstly it disturbed our noses: Lots of alleys smell of urine.
We were twice witnesses of people letting their kids urinate in public. And not the hidden way, just in middle of a main square. Of course, they’re kids and it’s not that bad but this urine-mentality keeps going on to an old age. And unfortunately, it kept our nose busy every now and then. In some alleys it smelled bestial. We really don’t want to think about the smell in summer.
Of course, it can be smelly everywhere. For example the Danube shore in Regensburg during festival times. A place you should avoid then. Maybe we were just expecting more in Barcelona!
As regards criminality in Barcelona: The city is known for it, but we cannot confirm that. It’s not more or less dangerous than any other European city.
Barcelona – Gaudí is everywhere
This might sound a little bit like the title of a horror movie and arts and architecture are maybe a matter of taste – but we are totally in love with Gaudí architecture. Park Güell, La Sagrada Familia or Casa Batlló – you see them and you just know they’re made by Gaudí.
During his lifetime (1852-1926), he marked the city with his sustainable way of construction and is the most famous Catalan architect worldwide. You definitely have to see his buildings.
Christmas is all around in Barcelona
Is it worth making a city trip to Barcelona during Christmas time? YES! Everything is beautifully decorated.Christmas decoration makes me somehow happy. Maybe because the countless lights irradiate me.
Around Sagrada Familia and the Barri Gotic, you can even find Christmas Markets. Not only lame hand made stuff things, but also food. Especially sweets! It was definitely better than in Madrid!
Especially the Corte Inglés seems to be very motivated – excessive Christmas consumerism and perfect decoration. And to complete the insanity of all that, there were Santas in front of every door, taking pictures with the kids.
Yeah, it was a bit embarrassing standing in line with the kids but I was really happy afterwards.
So, how much can you see during a 48 hours trip?
Gaudí created this place in the beginning of the 20th century. Originally it was planned to be a recreation area and living place for the aristocracy of the city. Well, it didn’t work out like it was planned but today, together with the Sagrada Familia, they’re the most visited sights of Barcelona.
It’s famous for its colourful and wavy seat bench made of mosaic stones. Also for the salamander fountain in the middle of the park. The most interesting thing here is the love for the details. And a park like this only exists once.
We would recommend you to book the entrance tickets in advance. You can do this here. It could be difficult to buy tickets only there, especially in main season.
Continue to Part 2 and the next to Gaudí!