Hotel 1898 is a classic hotel but fully-renovated with a very nice decor. Our room (#344) was facing the famous Las Rambla but the hotel had great sound isolation - we didn’t hear noise at all at night and slept soundly.
This is one of Gaudi’s buildings in Barcelona. It’s interesting architecture but there is very little to see inside the building (the roof was probably the most interesting, with a typical Gaudi-style design). €22.5 pp entrance fee seems overpriced.We were waiting in line to buy a ticket but then realized we could buy a ticket of the same day online with our phone. So we did that and easily skipped the line.
It was a unique dining experience. We were invited to the chef’s home and mingled with other guests while the chef and his team prepared for our tasting dinner.
3 historic neighborhoods (think cobblestone streets and old houses) are worth a visit in Barcelona: Las Ramblas, Gothic Quarter, El Born.
We were pleasantly surprised by El Born which is a really quaint area filled with narrow alleyways, chic shops, and artsy cafes. It also felt a bit less touristy than the other two. The famous Picasso Museum is also located in this neighborhood but we made the mistake of not booking tickets online in advance (you can’t buy same-day tickets online). After seeing the huge line waiting outside the museum (see in one of the photos), we decided we would save this museum for our next Barcelona visit.
We strolled around, had some afternoon drinks at a cute cafe called "Story", and also caught a local Flamenco performance at Palau Dalmases.
Bad planning on our part thinking that we wouldn’t need a dinner reservation for a Sunday night. We tried Carlota Akaneya first and was told everything till 11pm was booked. Nearby Arume looks pretty good too but required a 20-min wait for bar seats. We ended up to Cera 23 in the end because two bar seats were available right away. Cera 23 was solid.
We originally planned to visit Montserra on our own by train but quickly realized that was too ambitious given our broken Spanish. So we found a travel agency near our hotel and booked a 5.5hr bus tour.
The tour turned out to be a poor experience - it was advertised to be 5.5 hr in total but 2.5-3hr was spent on getting there and coming back (incl. waiting for everyone). Another 0.5hr on guide explaining things and walking around a bit . So you only have 2-2.5hr left to explore on your own. We were on an English/Spanish mixed tour which meant the guide explaining parttook even longer than usual so we had less than 2 hrs left to explore (11:40-1:20).
We spent about an hour just waiting in line to see the famous black Madona (it supposed to bring good luck if you are trying to have a baby ;) . After that, we decided to skip seeing the boys choir in the abbey at 1pm and went on San Joan funicular at 1250. Took a few shots on top and then quickly came down in funicular ... rushed back to bus. We felt it was a place where we could easily spend 4-5 hours exploring/hiking. If all you want to see is the black Madona and the main bascilica, then a bus tour like this would make sense.
The Boqueria market (a heaven for seafood lovers like us) is only a 5-min walk from Hotel 1898. The market closes on Sunday and open till 830pm on other days.
Every stall inside the market looked enticing but a couple of spots cams highly recommended by friends. One is Pinotxo but we went there at 3pm on a Monday which was the worst time to go: almost everything on the menu ran out by 3pm, and they supposedly get fresh delivery every Monday evening. We ordered one egg/prawn dish (that might have been the only dish left) and it was nothing special.
Another recommendation we got for the Boqueria market was Bar Central. We tried their petite octupus, langoustine, razor clams. Razor clams were delicious ... very tasty and juicy. Langoustines were huge and very good too. It was sucha satisfying meal that we went back again the next day.
La Sagarada Familia was truly wonderful.
Last time I tried to visit it was in 2007 and the inside wasn’t open to public yet. This time we were told that 2026 would be the target deadline for total completion. But visits are already allowed inside and we even got to go up in one of the completed towers (Passion Tower).
It was really a work of art and one of the most amazing architecture wonders we had seen. The natural lightshines through the tall painted windows and projects such vibrant colors into the otherwise somber interior. It felt like we entered a fairy tale wonderland.