¡Me Encanta España!
I traveled to Spain in July 2017 & can honestly say it was the trip of a lifetime and largely responsible for me catching the “travel bug.” Keeping it real—I went to Spain for the Paella! However, I fell in love with its beauty, the beaches, the culture and the history.
Let’s get to it!
¡Vamos a Espana!
Barcelona is known for hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics, has its own language, “Catalan,” (which put the Spanish I do speak to shame), and has fantastic architecture. I stayed at the Hotel Mercure Alberta Barcelona. This hotel is situated close to the center of Barcelona. I enjoyed my stay.
As with most European destinations, I suggest bringing your walking shoes. You will do a lot of walking, but the public transportation system is easy to navigate and clean.
The first activity I did in Barcelona was a Bar Crawl. For €15, you visit bars all night and enjoy free tapas, one free beer or sangria, free club entry, etc. I was surprised at how much American music I heard that night *cues Unforgettable, French Montana, my jam of Summer 17’.* I had a nice time!
The next day changed the game of my international travel. I did my first photography tour. I will do a separate blog on this topic alone but for €53 I did a 90 minute photo shoot where I was given the opportunity to both discover Barcelona and take home fabulous shots.
You simply cannot visit Barcelona without checking out La Sagrada Familia. This is Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece and one of Barcelona’s most-visited landmarks. I suggest following the above link or an alternate vendor to gain fast track entrance or be prepared to wait in long lines.
Those are the highlights of Barcelona for me. I also suggest doing an interactive paella cooking tour, a free walking tour and checking out the Camp Nou Stadium and the passionate Catalan fans!
Palma de Mallorca
I consider this city to be a European Miami and absolutely loved it! I stayed at Meliá Palma Marina, a 4 star hotel with fabulous views, pools, and an awesome location! The very first thing I did was a 3 hour and 30 minute bike tour that came with tapas. This was the perfect opportunity to burn off all the paella I indulged in and see the beautiful city. We were led by a local guide and got to see some amazing sights such as the Basilica of St. Francesco, Parc de la Mar and Palma Cathedral Upgrade.
The next day I did one of my favorite things…a catamaran! The cruise was 5 hours and came with lunch and non-alcoholic beverages. I got to swim Majorca’s Mediterranean waters and soak in the breathtaking views. It was so relaxing and beautiful and I honestly couldn’t stop thinking of how blessed I am.
That water tho!
My final highlight of Palma de Mallorca would be going to Nikki Beach. Nikki Beach is an international beach club that is both chic and sophisticated. We ate, drank and relaxed all day. I now understand why it is universally considered to be one of the best day party venues in the world.
Madrid boasts many historic and amazing restaurants but is also known to be an art capital. I’ll be honest, my luggage was lost for 1 of the 3 days I spent here so my saltiness had held me back from enjoying everything this city had to offer. Thanks, Norwegian. We stayed at Hotel Mercure Madrid Plaza de Espana and it was just as fabulous as the Mercure in Barcelona.
My favorite (and only) highlight of Madrid would be a Flamenco Show I thoroughly enjoyed this. Again,I love culture and appreciated the re-creation of the old cabaret style in a tablao and restaurant in the most traditional part of Madrid. I purchased the upgraded option and enjoyed a 3-course gourmet dinner with drinks in addition to the show.
The biggest lesson I learned on this trip was to make lemonade. Yes, my luggage was lost, but was it the end of the world? No. Everything always works out one way or another. My luggage was returned to me; all of it, nothing missing. Had I stayed in my room the entire time it was lost, I would have missed out on a lot of stuff. I would not have gotten that vacation time back.
Thank you for reading my Spain traveling highlights. I hope this sparks your interests to visit this beautiful European country.
See some world, y’all!