Suggestions for My Upcoming Solo Trip to Spain

Good morning everyone.  Happy New Year’s Day!  I just got back from 10 glorious days in my south Florida hometown and now I’m having a difficult time re-adjusting to the chilly Charlotte weather.  In a little over 1 week, I’m heading to Barcelona, Spain for a week and I was hoping to get some suggestions from you beautiful people on what I should do while I’m there.  It will be my first visit to Spain and my first solo trip internationally.

Air:  A few months ago, I snagged a roundtrip ticket on TAP Portugal for $300 via Priceline.  Spain has always been high on my wish list and I figured $300 was probably as good as it gets for roundtrip fare.  I’ll be on a redeye from JFK to Lisbon, Portugal and then a 2 hour 45 minute layover around lunchtime before continuing on to Barcelona just in time for dinner.  I’m assuming 2 hours and 45 minutes isn’t enough time to leave the Lisbon airport even if it’s just for lunch…right?  I used Citi Thank You points to get my flight from Charlotte to JFK.

Hotel:  I’m staying at the Alexandra Barcelona by DoubleTree for the first 2 nights and then was thinking I could take a train or get a cheap flight on Vueling to Nice, France for a side trip.  The last 2/3 nights I’m staying at the Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona.  I still have Hilton Diamond status so I’m hoping I can get decent room upgrades on my stay.

Side Trip to France:  I’ve never been to France and I’ve never been on a train so I thought maybe I’d make a 1-2 night excursion out of it. I didn’t want to travel too far so I figured France was good since it’s right next to Spain and I like the idea of staying near the water.  I could have done Montpellier or Marseille but I wanted to use a Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrade because they are expiring soon so that’s how I settled on Nice.  I was thinking the Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée.  Does this sound silly?  Should I just stay all 6 nights in Spain?  I definitely plan on returning to Spain at some point during the warmer months so that I can experience the beaches and Ibiza so I don’t feel like I have to cram all of Spain into this trip.

Barcelona: Given that it will be too cold (for me) to soak in the sun, I plan to spend most of my time sight-seeing, eating & drinking.  Bring on the chorizo, manchego, cava, paella & delicious olive oil.  I was thinking about using the EatWith.com site for my first dinner in Barcelona.  Maybe I’ll meet some people who might be interested in going to an FC Barcelona game with me.  Some of the sights on my radar include La Sagrada Familia, Teatre-Museu Dali, Delta de l’Ebre and Montserrat, Catalonia’s sacred mountain.  I am a sucker for a hike to a breathtaking view…anyone have any suggestions on where to go?  Maybe somewhere in the Pyrenees?  Would anything be open in January?

tapas

This is my very loose plan thus far.  Is there anything that you think is a must do that I haven’t mentioned?  Anything you think I should book ahead of time (keeping in mind that January is low season)?

27 thoughts on “Suggestions for My Upcoming Solo Trip to Spain

  1. Ms M

    We spent six nights in Barcelona and considered going to France but decided against it. We did take a couple of day trips to Monserrat and to the UNESCO city south of Sitges and that provided enough diversion for us.

    Barcelona has a lot to do and you should not have any issue filling up six days. We visited in October but I still think you will find enough to do in and around Barcelona over six days. We actually though about all of the activities we did not do and realized that we could easily come back for an extended weekend and not repeat much.

    Hope this helps.

    Reply
  2. Chris

    If you go to Nice, consider a day in nearby Antibes, a small and delightful city also on the Mediterranean. There’s a great Picasso Museum, interesting streets and markets and so on.

    Reply
  3. tscateh

    Go to as many Gaudi things as you can – they are amazing. Watch out for pickpockets, con artists and thieves. There are a lot of spectacularly good restaurants in Barcelona, but avoid most of the ones frequented by a lot of tourists – they’re not that great and they’re crowded and expensive. Have a great time!

    Reply
    1. Whitney Post author

      Yes I didn’t mention that in the post but I definitely plan on seeking out cool art from Gaudi to snap photos of. Thanks for the tips!

      Reply
  4. Dia (@TheDealMommy)

    Hey Whitney,
    In six days I would skip Nice. The suite upgrade is Nice, but unless you’re there in summer you’re really missing the value of Nice and Cannes Hyatts: exclusivity. I used mine in Cannes in August and the highlight was the obscene wealth of the other guests- the hotel was nice, but not worth a two hour train ride from Marseille just for the suite.

    Reply
    1. Genise

      I used to own a property close to Barcelona on the Costa Brava and hangout locally, hence my following suggestion: take a day to travel (by bus or train) to visit the Salvador Dali museum in Fiqueres, his birthplace – about 145 kms away – its awesome !
      If you have more time, visit his estate in a very pittoresque little village named Portlligat, located on a beautiful Mediterranean bay- a short scenic ride through the neighboring mountains.

      Reply
    2. Whitney Post author

      Hmm, ok I’ll look into Marseille as well then. I really hate the idea of letting DSU’s expire :-\

      Reply
  5. Dimi

    I’d highly recommend for you to spend an evening at Palau de la Musica Catalana, an intimate and gorgeous concert hall designed by Lluis Domenech y Montener, especially if you’ll get tickets for their highly acclaimed Maestros de la Guitarra show.

    Reply
    1. Whitney Post author

      ooh I’ll look into that for sure, thank you! do you think I need to book them ahead of time or is it something I can plan once I get there?

      Reply
      1. Dimi

        I booked 5 days prior to my trip but my trip was in June. While I don’t expect that there will be a high demand in winter, I would definitely book good seats ahead of time. I just checked and we were seating in Zona A – Block Pit box – Row 10 – Seats 1,2,3 (it was a first row of the box- excellent seats!). Actually you can see an approximate view from your seats before you buy them on their site. Bear in mind that their ushers do allow the audience to remain in the theater for another 20 minutes or so for taking as many pictures of the beautiful Modernista surroundings as you wish. Also, you can take pictures with maestros after the show.

        Reply
  6. bluecat

    YES!, Nice as a side trip from Barcelona sounds very silly. Especially for the reason you cite!

    If you get tired of Barcelona, someone else mention Figueres. Yes. Or go to Carcasonne if you must go to France.

    Hope you figure it out! I know there is a temptation to cram in a lot if you don’t travel much but resist it!

    Also, good luck getting soccer tickets! I’ll be in Valencia in Feb and will have a better chance…mainly because that team is not Barca!

    Reply
    1. Whitney Post author

      Ugh I know I just hate the idea of letting DSU’s expire :-\ I do travel a lot in relation to most people but compared to other travel bloggers I don’t travel nearly enough. Something I plan on changing in this new year. You hit the nail on the head with the temptation to cram things in though…I’m definitely guilty of that. Thank you for the reality check!

      Reply
      1. Tonei Glavinic

        I’m in the same boat – I have 3 DSUs expiring next month and I can’t for the life of me figure out what to do with them…

        Reply
        1. Whitney Post author

          maybe we all get adjoining suites at FTU Seattle? we’ll call it the TWG headquarters at FTU. haha

          Reply
  7. Dimi

    Even though I’ve been a huge soccer fan for the last 35 years, personally I wouldn’t pay outrageously high prices they charge for Barca game. You can’t buy them at face value so be prepared to pay a huge, almost a Superbawl level of a premium. Also, IMHO, the Barca Museum/stadium tour is an absolute tourist trap which both my family and I called “Disney World on steroids”. I’d have to disclose that I’ve never been a Barca fan anyway. Now I root against them even more :-)

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  8. JTN

    I am so excited for you…I visited Barcelona in 2009 it was an amazing trip. Don’t miss Parc Guell, we went on our last day and regretted not having more time to spend there.Take the train to Montserrat it is breathtaking…highly recommend. On Las Ramblas the petty crime was rampant when I was there – just stay alert and you’ll be fine. Enjoy!!!

    Reply
    1. Whitney Post author

      Oh great, someone else suggested Montserrat as well so that will give me a chance to take my first train ride. I will definitely checkout Parc Guell as well and not save it for the last day. Good to know about Las Ramblas too. Thanks so much!

      Reply
  9. Bas

    Hey Whitney, I live in BCN so if you need anything while you are here or want specific restaurant tips feel free to send me an email. I would skip France for this trip and rather focus on Barcelona and its surroundings, there is more than enough to do and see in and around the city. The south of France is worth a trip of its own if you ask me. Also check Girona (the last season of Game of Thrones was recorded there and it is a lovely city for a day trip – http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2016-07-02/game-of-thrones-visit-the-real-braavos).

    Barcelona is small and public transport is great but still Diagonal Mar is far from the action..

    Reply
    1. Whitney Post author

      Aww man, wish I has seen this before my trip. I did end up spending the entire time in Barcelona and I’m glad I did. And I agree that Diagonal Mar was beautiful but a bit far away for me. Had it not been winter then an 8 minute walk to the subway wouldn’t have been an issue but i’m a wuss in cold weather so i ended up taking a taxi anytime I wanted to go anywhere. I definitely plan on returning during the warm months so will consider Girona then. Girona is actually the hometown of the chef that hosted my first EatWith.com event while I was there. Thanks so much for the input!

      Reply
  10. Pingback: My Delicious Experience using EatWith.com in Barcelona

  11. Alice

    Always be prepared for your health, especially before each trip, so that the trip is not interrupted due to health problems arise.

    Reply

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