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Hello my Aviator,
in August 2016 I moved my home base from Berlin to Barcelona. The original plan was to stay longer than three months, but then I received a new job offer which forced me to move back to Germany. Since then I did not get back to Barcelona until this summer. I was excited to return to my happy place for two weeks of vacation. I really missed the city because it feels like a second home. Unfortunately, the new network of the Airbus does not include Barcelona with an overnight. In this blog post, I will not only share with you my highlights of my vacation and give you some great insider tips, but also share my experiences during the cruel attack on Las Ramblas.
Happy place Barcelona and my insider tips
Barcelona is a great city to do sight seeing. Around every corner, you can discover something new. I recommend renting a scooter to do sight seeing but only when you feel comfortable driving in high traffic situations. Moto rent offers affordable prices. A scooter gives you so much freedom to go to different places in a minimum amount of time.
Since I did already a lot of sight seeing during my past stays, I did not do much this time.
What to do?
Bunkers el Carmel: A must visit if you want to enjoy one of the best views of Barcelona and the sea. Turó del Carmel is a hill with a bunker on top. Best time is during sunset and sunrise. Take something to drink and don’t think you will be alone 😉 The entrance is still free.
Casa Batlló: Barcelona is the city of Gaudi. His architecture is world famous. One of the highlights is the Casa Batlló. I have walked by this townhouse many times before because it is centrally located on the Passeig de Gracia. If you like the outside of the building you should dare look inside. It is really impressive to discover the passion Gaudí has put into this building. I literally was overwhelmed by the beauty that I got glossy eyes. Each guest receives a smart phone as a tour guide and that way you can explore the building also in the virtual reality.
Insider tip: For most famous sights, you can buy tickets online. This way you can skip long lines at the entrance.
Boat trip: One of my highlights was a boat trip with Barcelona desde el Mar. I have seen Barcelona many times from the cockpit but to discover this amazing city from the sea was a unique experience. It gave me a whole new perspective of Barcelona. My little cruise lasted around 2 hours and I enjoyed a beautiful sunset from the sea.
Insider tip: Book the boat „Sa Nina“ for yourself and take your friends with.
Where to sleep?
During my three months in Barcelona, I lived in a shared apartment in the historic Gotico. It was a great experience to live right in the center of this vibrant city. For this vacation, I stayed at several hotels in different parts of town.
I had the chance to spend part of my vacation in the Arts Hotel Barcelona. Its unique building characterizes the skyline of Barcelona and was first opened during the Olympics in 1992. It belongs to the luxurious hotel chain Ritz Carlton. As a pilot, I have slept in many 5 stars hotels around the world but the Arts Hotel is exceptional. Not only the temporary design but also the great team make the difference.
Over the weekend I almost did not leave the hotel, so I could enjoy all their facilities. The day typically started with a tasty breakfast. I spend some relaxing hours in a cabana at the pool and became a big fan of the Club Lounge on the 35th floor. This lounge is a bar, restaurant, cafe and relaxing area at the same time. It is like a hotel inside the hotel. It is more private since only few hotel guests have access to it.
Do not miss out on the Spa 43, which offers luxury facilities paired magnificent view of Barcelona. Convince yourself in a 360 degrees video from the terrace in 150 meters height. For the first time, it took my VIRB360 of Garmin on a journey. This compact camera takes your photos and videos to whole new level. Besides a brilliant resolution up to 5.7k/30fps, it shoots in 360 degrees. The viewer can decide himself where he wants to look at and you can even share videos in real time with the VIRB360. Check out my first 360 degrees photo from the cockpit on my facebook page. From now on you have the chance to fly with me in 360 degrees.
Insider tip: Get a cocktail prepared by Diego. I was lucky to taste some of his creations. He is the funniest and coolest bar tender.
If you are interested to stay in Eixample I can recommend the Ohla Eixample hotel. It is a five-star hotel with a minimalistic design and a roof top pool. I stayed in a spacious junior suite. The location grants you close proximity to all kind of different attractions, bars, and restaurants.
Which season is best to visit Barcelona?
Barcelona is great all year around. If you want to enjoy hot weather at the beach then you need to visit during the summer months. But if you come to do sight seeing and to discover the city, then I recommend avoiding the high season. That way touristic places are less crowded and waiting times are less. Additionally you do not have to walk through the city in extreme heat.
Insider tip: Visist Barcelona in the spring or late summer. My favorite months was October. Of course the weather is not that stable, but the city is less crowded and you have the chance to go wave surfing. Additionally the prices for a hotel room are less expansive compared to the summer.
Where to eat?
Barcelona offers diverse dining options. There is much more than tapas. Catalans eat late. Either be early or make a reservation. Here are my all time favorite places to go:
Väcka: Vegan restaurant and Cafe. Try their vegan classic burger and have a raw treat. Gracia
Teresa’s Carles: Vegetarian food and juices (only indoor/more for dinner) El Raval
Flax and Kale: Healthy restaurant offering a diverse menu (all day) Make a reservation and request a table on their outdoor rooftop garden. Don’t miss the brunch on the weekend. El Raval
Surf House: Restaurant right by the beach. The menu offers healthy food but also tasty burger for a cheat day. Try their waffles! Barceloneta
Vinitus: In my opinion one of the best tapas restaurant in Barcelona. After 8 pm it gets really busy. You can choose your fresh fish from the display at the bar. Eixample
Petit Brot: completely raw café, daily menus, and juices (breakfast and lunch) El Raval
Casa Gispert: Dried fruits, nuts and so much more. Best dried mangos I ever had. El Born
BeBo cold pressed: Tasty healthy juices, raw snacks (more for to go) Eixample
Barraca: seafood and paella overlooking the beach of Barceloneta (lunch and dinner)
Cafè Jaime Beriestain: high-class food in a concept restaurant (more for dinner) Eixample
Nuba: fancy restaurant with live DJ, nice interior and outside seating (more for dinner
Meet and Greet in Barcelona
After a Meet and Greet in Berlin, Munich and Los Angeles, I was excited to meet my Aviators in Barcelona. One day prior my scheduled event the cruel attack happened on Las Ramblas killing innocent victims. I was at the sight just a couple of hours earlier and when it happened I was safe at the beach. The whole city was shocked and frightened that day. In the evening everyone stayed at home and Barcelona turned into a ghost town. But already the next day people were on the street again to make clear that they are not afraid „No tinc por!“ This was a great signal to the world and to the terroristic organization. I decided as well not to cancel the Meet and Greet, because this would have been the signal that we restrict our freedom.
Thanks to all my Aviators who came to see me. I was really happy to get to know over 20 people. We met for one hour at Placa Catalunya to have a chat, take photos and to show that we are not afraid. Together we can create a more peaceful world!
Fantastic weather, interesting sights, cultural events, the beach and of course friendly people make Barcelona a perfect vacation spot. You can choose from a great variety of restaurants and hotels. The prices for food are decent, but the hotel prices can be expensive during high season. My dream is still to live in my two favorite cities Berlin and Barcelona!
In which city could you imagine to live as well? Please comment below and do not forget to subscribe to my newsletter with your email below.
Safe travels and happy landings!
your Pilot Patrick