OK—HEAR ME OUT.
Some will call us crazy. Some already have.
There are a few things I check day in and day out. Those things include real estate and cheap flights if I am bored. I am a sucker for cheap travel.
Sean and I are so blessed we both have flexible work schedules and that truly is what makes a spontaneous move like this possible.
If you are on the east coast and traveling to Europe is something you want to do, but you can’t spare 10 days at that exact moment that you want to travel—hop on that red eye, drink a few glasses of wine before the flight takes off, and wake up in sunny Barcelona. (OK FINE, I took a small amount of zzquil as well…sue. me.)
Before I hand over our “pretty seamless” itinerary, I do want to share this story with you.
I was at home bored on a Friday evening and I stumbled upon cheap flights to Barcelona through Norwegian Airlines.
Sean and I promised each other every February we would travel to celebrate our anniversary one year before our wedding. We went to Jamaica exactly one year before we got married in Jamaica and decided we would always do our best to honor this pact we had made.
It was a crazy month! So not much thought went to where we might go. On this Friday evening, I had one hour of down time before my family arrived at our home. Apparently, you give me an hour and I can do some real damage. I’v been this way since I was a child.
One ticket costed $386 round-trip from Newark, NJ (NYC) to Barcelona, Spain. I’m sorry…what? I am embarrassed to tell you the highest price I have paid to go to Miami, Florida.
Now that we know it is possible to fly to Barcelona, Spain for less than Miami, let’s proceed.
This will resonate with my ladies…
My husband was still at work when I sent him a series of text messages one after another in excitement (I’m one of those and I am not sorry). The series of text messages included:
Want to be spontaneous?
Now I sent a lot of text messages and that is just a glimpse. There was a lot of filler words. Now I will tell you the yes seemed vague to me. Sean is famous for skimming through my craziness during his work day and only catches up when he walks through the door.
Once he found out, we departed Monday evening…in two days. It was a bit of a hassle to schedule certain meetings he had planned for Tuesday. SO, I had to call up Norwegian Airlines and reschedule for the following week. (You have four hours to cancel or reschedule free of charge)
So instead of two days, we departed in ten.
We each packed a light carry on and got on an international flight. It felt so weird packing so little to go abroad!
I knew with limited time, the bulk of our itinerary needed to be planned. Here is our itinerary over the next 36 hours.
11:00 PM: Departed NWR
11:45 AM: Arrived in Barcelona, Landing 30 minutes early. (WIN)
It took a about 20 minutes to travel from the airport to the Gothic Quarter. Super easy commute. We went outside and got a taxi from the stand. Total was $30 euros. You can pay in cash or credit card. Tip is not necessary, but always appreciated when you tip a euro or two.
12:30 PM: Checked in at Hotel Call (Gothic Quarter)
We booked Hotel Call through expedia. It was significantly cheaper waiting as close to the time of arrival. Some can’t handle the unknown, but it always works out for us and we get the best deal. Make sure you research city activity a head of time.
The only EH about our room was there wasn’t much light coming through the window, but we only slept and showered there.
12:45 PM-1:30 PM: Showered, napped, and freshened up
1:30 PM-2:15 PM: Walked to Lunch at El Xampanyet***
Address: Carrer de Montcada, 22, 08003 B
El Exampanyet came across our radar when we were watching an episode of chef’s table that took place in Barcelona. The chef featured walked in the episode made his way into this local tapas spot, established in 1929! This was our first meal in Barcelona. If we are being real here, we came to Barcelona to eat.
District: El Born
Popular dishes: Patatas Bravas, Fresh anchovies in vinegar
Butifarra, Catalan Sausage
House specialty: chipironescon mongetes, warm plate of baby squid and light beans.
Order your dishes with a beer or some cava! You’ll see most ordering their food with a sparkling white wine.
This place is popping and fast pace!
Swing by El Xampanyet is a few steps within the Picasso Museum.
2:30 PM-3:45 PM: Barcelona Cathedral & Sangria stop
The Barcelona Cathedral, of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulaia, was constructed from the 13th and 15th centuries. Pay attention to the roof! This cathedral is notable for its gargoyles and other animals, both real and mythical. You are able to access the rooftop of the cathedral as well.
As this is a tourist area, you will easily find sangria at any corner since it is a tourist area. We saw tables outside around the corner and decided to take a sangria break.
“When the sangria hits”
4:00 PM-5:00 PM: Walked to Granja La Pallaresa (CHURROS!!)
Address: Carrer de Petritxol, 11, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
I did a solo research project on Churros before we arrived and this place crossed my path. Side note, churros are my favorite dessert. Granja La Pallaresa is an old-school churro eatery! Locals and vistors both fancy this place. Order crispy churros with thick hot chocolates and a plate of wipped cream, pastries, and ensaimadas, which is sweet bread dusted in icing sugar.
Also if you are close to me and do not know I love churros, are we even friends?
5:00 PM-6:30 PM: Continued to walk through the Gothic Quarter, weaving in and out of shops, and analyzing the breath-taking architecture.
The Gothic Qaurter is a mix of old and new. Surrounded by the old Roman village walls with more buildings that originate in the mid evil times. Known for excellent selection of bars and restaurants, as well as shopping
6:45 PM-7:45 PM: Tapas and Sangria at Sant Jordi (Close to Hotel Call-In Gothic Qaurter)
Address: Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 3, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
You caught me. We went to this place because my name is Jordy. It was excellent though. 4 Tapas and Sangria for 11 EUROS.
8:00 PM-9:30 PM: Relaxed & freshened up
9:30 PM-1:00 AM: We walked to Arume (about a mile), Waited for a spot to eat for an hour, drank artisan cocktails while waiting, ate dinner & dessert, and made our way back to the hotel.
Address: Carrer d’En Botella, 11, 13, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
We walked in without a reservation into the bar area. There was a long wait and as we were deciding a couple tapped us on the shoulder and told us not to leave and wait for a spot in the bar area. The food and atmosphere was SO worth it. Despite how busy the staff was they were friendly and super attentive! I suggest you make a reservation ahead time and I also suggest you make this place a priority. You are welcome in advance.
6:30 AM: Woke up & Got ready for the day
7:15 AM: Took Taxi to Park Guell for a guided tour of Parc Guell
To save some time, we asked the front desk to arrange for a taxi the evening before. The taxi was outside waiting for us when we came down from our room.
7:45 AM: Parc Guell Guided tour begins
Parc Guell is yet another masterpiece from Architect Antoni Gaudi. Parc Guell’s journey began in 1900. This amazing park was considered a public park in 1926 and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Parc Guell is a symbol of modern architecture and resembles nature like most of Gaudis work does. You’ll find plenty of greens, sculptures, and mosaics.
You can spend hours here. Parc Guell is huge! We prefer to beat the crowds. It was so nice to enjoy the park before tourists flooded the area. You can head early during the morning and walk with your coffee or even later in the afternoon! Pack a lunch and enjoy.
I would make Parc Guell a priority to see if weather permits during your visit.
8:45 AM: Grabbed Coffee and croissant at the Café across from Parc Guell
9:00 AM-10:45 AM: Walked from Parc Guell towards Casa Mila, Sat down and had breakfast while we waited to go to Casa Mila
11:00 AM- 12:00 PM: Casa Mila (Pre-purchased tickets)
Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrea, which means stone quarry. It will allow you to see how Antonio Gaudi lived.
12:15 PM: Headed back to Hotel Call in Gothic Quarter
1:00 PM- 2:00 PM: Regrouped
2:00 PM-3:00 PM: Salterio (In gothic quarter) for drinks and tea
Address: Carrer de Marlet, 6, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
I really enjoyed this spot in the Gothic Quarter! It is cozy spot where you can enjoy mediterranean dishes, tea, and spirits. It is tucked away in a little side street. Loved the mystery about it every time we walked by that we finally made our way in.
3:15 PM-5:00 PM: Beers,Tapas, Gelato in the Gothic Qaurter
5:15 PM-5:45 PM: Walked to Casa Bastillo
6:00 PM-7:00 PM: Audio Guided Tour Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo: designed by Antonio Gaudi.
We went during off season and it wasn’t terribly crowded. We did a self-guided audio tour.
7:00 PM-7:45 PM: Walked to La Barceloneta
Neighborhood by the sea. Lively during the summer months. Home of arguably some of the best seafood paella.
8:00 PM-9:20 PM: Enjoyed some fancy Sangria. And by fancy, I mean 8 euros a glass
9:30 PM-12:00 AM: Dinner at Somorrostro
Address: Carrer de Sant Carles, 11, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
7:15 AM: We gathered our things and had them ready to go
8:00 AM: Stopped at a café for a quick coffee and morning sandwich
8:30 AM-9:30 AM: Walked to Sagrada Familia, Arc was along the way (We took our time walking)
10:00 AM-11:00 AM: Sagrada Familia
11:20 AM-11:40 AM: Sat across the street and had a beer while gazing at this crazy structure!
11:50 AM: Grabbed a taxi back to our hotel
12:00 PM: Check-out. We brought our things to check out
12:30 PM-2:30 PM: La Boquera and La Rambalas
This market gets its very own post because of my obsession with food. La Boquera is ranked globally for international food markets. Its also one of the oldest. It dates back to the 1200s. Click the link below,
We went right before noon. It fills up slowly.
3:00 PM: Took taxi to airport
It took about 30 minutes with traffic to get from our hotel to the airport.
6:00 PM: Flight departure
We loaded up on food from the market to bring on our flight.
Our trip was quick, but successful. We did a lot of eating, drinking, and wandering. Some people are not cut out for a quick trip across the pond, but if you can spontaneously book a trip– I say do it. There is a huge thrill about waking up one day with 0 plans to travel and not knowing you might be in Europe a few days from that moment packing nothing but a carry-on! We did not feel cheated on time and also did not put pressure on ourselves to do everything and anything, which was really nice. We were there to relax and break our day to day.
What’s the most spontaneous trip you’ve booked? I’d love to hear!