Barcelona welcomed us with great weather
Our Airbnb Villa had a nice front terrace with a gorgeous ocean view! The villa itself is small and a bit outdated decor wise. But it was overall comfortable for our two families of 5 adults and 3 kids. And the terrace and the view made up for everything else!
Our villa is located on the quiet side of the Sant Pol Del Mar town. The stretch of beach in front is not crowded during the week. Most people seem to sunbathe naked on the beach but it’s not difficult to find an empty spot away from the nude sun-tanners if that’s not your thing.
One of the best meals on this trip! The restaurant seemed very local with mostly Spanish patrons. They only serve prix fixe menu for lunch - €13 pp for a 3-course meal plus salad plus house wine! What a steal! I had the squid ink seafood paella which was probably the best I have ever had.
Parking was quite painful as the town is on a hill and most streets are one-way narrow streets.
If you search for Barcelona on Instagram, you often see photos of this majestic church located at the top of Tibidabo. It’s a bit far out from the the city center Barcelona so we didn’t get to check it out until this trip. It’s quite a unique site. Get the ticket to go to the top of the church. The panoramic view on top is definitely worth the trek!
The market is always fun to visit. We sampled a few different stalls but nothing stood out. I think we are spoiled by Restaurant Margot! We also tried a freshly opened Uni but it didn’t taste as good as the ones we had in Japanese restaurants.
This is a small museum dedicated to Piccaso. It doesn’t have some of his most famous works but I found Picasso’s interpretation and rendering of the famous Spanish painting " Las Meninas" really interesting. Buy tickets online one day in advance to avoid lines.
We come back to Bar Central in the Boqueria Market every time we visit Barcelona. It’s doing so well that it has expanded to a restaurant on the back of the market. The restaurant doesn’t have the same fun atmosphere as the bar seating in the market. But if you travel with young kids, the restaurant has proper outdoor seating that are more comfortable and spacious.
The prettiest and most creative ice cream I have ever had!!! The flower cone includes 5 different flavors.
Visited "Jardin Botanico Marimurtra" (botanic garden) in Blanes ... very beautiful garden along the cliffs with amazing views ... reminded me a bit of Son Marroig in Mallorca (Son Marroig) but this was even more beautiful. It also reminded us of the city Dorne in GoT.
An amazing dining experience - the food was creative and delicious. The desserts were an even bigger hit with everyone! It’s a Michelin Star restaurant but we found it reasonably priced relative to the other Michelin restaurants we have been to.
Girona is a cute town with a main canal (with colorful houses along the banks) and lots of old stone buildings (an impressive cathedral and fairly intact city wall).
Toured Castell de Santa Florentina, where they filmed Horn Hill, House of Tarly (Sam Tarly) for Season 6 of Game of Thrones (episode 6). The castle is only by appointment so make sure you book online in advance.
Lunch at Banys Iluis - this is probably the most popular restaurant in the area. We didn’t have a reservation but we got there pretty early (11am) and through a lot of handwaving conversation with the host, we finally got a table right on beach. We ordered a bunch of seafood and Paelle. Everything was decent but much more expensive than any other local restaurants we have tried (230 euro total bill for 5 adults + 3 kids). The lunch turned into an afternoon hanging out on beach and despite food just being ok, we really enjoyed the whole experience.
It was quite tricky to find this restaurant if you are driving ... we actually tried on Mon but failed to find it by following Google Maps. We failed again the second time so a couple of us got off the car and walked along the beach to eventually find it. There is no direct access to this restaurant by car. You can try park your car behind El Sot del Morer (which is a restaurant across the street from the beach). There is a large open corn field where you will find a lot of people park there. Then find the stairs on the side of highway to walk down to beach level. Then through an underpass, you will walk underneath the highway and the train track to get to the beach on the other side.