You can get to Barcelona from Madrid pretty quickly by plane or train–but you’re gonna’ pay for it. I chose the most affordable way–a seven hour bus ride on ALSA, which cost €32 for a one-way ticket ($43). Now that I think back on the bus ride though–I would not recommend it for people like me who have trouble sleeping on public transportation. I must have fallen asleep and waken up every ten minutes for seven hours straight! I left at almost midnight so that I would be able to get an early start in Barcelona. With only 48 hours in this beautiful city–I had no time to spare!
I must say that St. Christopher’s Inn was five steps up from Cat’s Hostel in Madrid–and it was also cheaper! For only €11 a night (about $15), I got to experience a more modern hostel with piping hot water (the water at Cat’s was lukewarm to cold most of the time), a privacy curtain around my bed, and amazing wifi! The bar downstairs was also more lively and the bartender knew how to make the most amazing mint mojitos.
One of the girls that I met in Madrid was also my bunk mate in the hostel–talk about irony. After I got settled, I was off to explore the city!–and when I say explore, I think that is even an understatement…
One of the must sees that should be at the top of anyone’s list who plans to visit Barcelona is all things Antoni Gaudi. This man was an absolute genius! The city is laced with his distinctive architecture–from his most popular Sagrada Familia to Casa Battlo, I encourage you to see it all!
Some of Gaudi’s amazing sights were within walking distance from the hostel, but others were far enough that we opted to take the metro to save us a little more time. On my last day in Barcelona, I even ended up taking a tour around the city–it was just so many fascinating things to look at and I definitely needed to see as much as my eyes could take in–plus I always wanted to experience a double decker tour bus–they just look so cool.
La Rambla–a street filled with restaurants, shops, street vendors and some of the coolest buildings is also a must. After spending almost two hours exploring this “pedestrian mall”, I discovered that I’m in love with Spanish architecture…
I definitely can’t forget about the delicious tapas that I enjoyed after all of my exploring–there are so many restaurants to choose from on La Rambla and it’s really just a cointoss on where you decide to go. I ended up going to a place called Egipte. Each tapa cost about €3 ($4) each. I tried the mushrooms, clams, and red peppers!
Barcelona is definitely a beautiful city! I had been hearing for a long time how amazing it is and I am so happy I got a chance to experience it firsthand and judge it for myself–and well–everything that everyone said is right! I think I spent most of my time in awe at how everything I looked at was beautiful and vibrant–so full of personality, fascination and history.
After visiting both Madrid and Barcelona, I can honestly say that you just can’t compare the two cities–as cliché as this sounds, Madrid is an apple and Barcelona is an orange! One is not better than the other. The experience that I got from each city was unique.
Before I took my trip to Spain, I read countless reviews and opinions online about which city is better between the two in hopes that I would be able to base what I read on my decision of where I would visit. I am so happy that I decided to visit both. It truly depends on individual preferences. In my opinion, both cities have different characteristics that together make anyone’s trip to Spain truly unforgettable. If you ever go to Spain, I think it’s only right that you visit both!
Have you ever been to Barcelona? I would love to hear all about it!