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?
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)?