Barcelona Travel Diary

Barcelona is such a beautiful city with lots to see and do. This blog post outlines a travel guide of my recommendations and experiences in Barcelona, enjoy!

Staying near the Magical Fountains

We stayed at Hotel Catalonia Barcelona Plaza, which is in walking distance to the The Magic Fountains. It has the most stunning rooftop terrace and swimming pool ūüėć

The hotel is close to the train station and numerous bus stops, so it’s super handy for getting around. Taxis are also quite easy to get as the hotel is located just on¬†Pla√ßa Espanya.

I would recommend taking a walk up to the Magic Fountains by day and night, the views and architecture are amazing!

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Barceloneta, a Foodies Dream

Barceloneta is a must when visiting Barcelona, the beach is beautiful and there are so many fab places to eat and enjoy a tipple in the sunshine. I think I could easily spend every evening there eating out. You can also have a peek at all the massive yachts docked in the harbour.

Foodwise, tapas every day, I loved patatas bravas, the prawns and calamari! Don’t forget the ice cold Estrella and sangria! When in Barcelona it’s a must!

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Dancing and Martinis at W

One evening we went to Eclipse at W for cocktails and dancing. W is located at the end of Barceloneta and the cocktail bar is on the very top floor, so the views are amazing – day or night! The music was unreal, we danced all night long and drank numerous Passionfruit Martinis – these guys can make cocktails!

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Walk that Walk

On one of our last days, I went on a walking tour around the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona with Sandemans New Europe Tours, it was one of my absolute highlights! Our tour guide Patrick, was a fountain of knowledge. He took us around everything there was to see in the Gothic Quarter, giving us a backstory to the history and culture of the city.

If you do go to Barcelona, I recommend going on some of the walking tours on your first few days, as you get to know your way around and your guide can give you lots of fab recommendations for places to go. The walking tours are free, your guide just requests you tip what the tour is worth – believe me, it’s worth it! I’m gutted I missed out on the tapas tour!

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If you want to take a day trip out of the city, I would totally recommend Sitges, a quaint coastal town 30 minutes on the train from Barcelona, it’s stunning! You can read about Sitges on my blog.

Jess x

Take me back to Sitges

Last June myself, my mum and sister were planning our trip to Barcelona for my cousin’s hen. We decided to make a bit of a holiday out of it and booked to go to the lovely coastal town of Sitges in Catalonia Spain for a couple of nights before meeting the rest of the hens in Barcelona.

Sitges has been referred to as the St Tropez of Spain, it is truly stunning! The cobbled windy streets, quaint architecture, great eateries, fab boutiques, gorgeous seafront, beaches and promenade make it the perfect holiday escape. It is 30-40 minutes on the train from Barcelona, so it is handy to get to, as well as the perfect day trip if you are staying in Barca.

Where to Stay

We stayed in the stunning Hotel Medium Sitges Park, located in the old quarter of Sitges in a Catalan modernist building. The hotel is only a five minute walk from the train station and down to the beach. The pool and outdoor bar area is fab! They make a great mojito!

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Source: Hotel Medium Sitges Park

Where to Eat

There are so many great cafes and restaurants in Sitges, not forgetting the numerous places to get gelato! We discovered Pizzeria Cap de la Vila on our first evening in Sitges and fell in LOVE! Honestly, some of the best pizza I have ever had and it was just a two minute walk from our hotel. We ate pizza there every day, perfectly accompanied by an ice cold pint of Estrella ?

pizza-sitges-jess-orr-travel-blogL’ Avinyet was a tapas bar a few doors down from our hotel. If you want authentic Spanish tapas that is truly delicious, I couldn’t recommend it more. Their hummus is also amazing!

When on holiday you just have to eat ice-cream every day! There are a number of great places to get gelato in Sitges. Gelateria Olivier was on our doorstep at Hotel Medium.

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Sangria is also a must when sunning yourself in Sitges! We couldn’t get a glass quick enough when we arrived ?

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The Beach, Promenade & Best Views

The palm tree lined promenade is stunning and the beaches are fab! For the best views, you have to walk the steps up to the ‘Parr√≤quia de Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla’, it is so beautiful.

sitges-travel-spain-jess-orr-lifestyle-blogIf you are planning on travelling to Spain, particularly Barcelona, be sure to include Sitges as a place to stop by on your travels, you won’t regret it!

Jess x

When in Berlin…

I booked a city break to Berlin back in November last year as a Birthday/Christmas present for my boyfriend. We went for 3 nights and 4 days at the end of January Рit was very cold and made Northern Ireland seem warm! Berlin is a city full of history, with plenty to see and do, I would recommend it to anyone as a European city break ? This blog will outline who we flew with, where we stayed and what we got up to during our stay.

Day 1 – Traveling to Berlin, Our Hotel & Lasagne

We flew direct from Dublin with Ryanair to Berlin Schönefeld Airport and stayed at the Novum Select Hotel Berlin The Wall. The hotel is only a couple of stops on the train from the airport and located beside Checkpoint Charlie at the Berlin Wall, the Topography of Terror and the Welt balloon. The hotel is four star, affordable, very modern and the rooms are fab! I got the best deal for the hotel on lastminute.com.

We arrived in Berlin in the evening, so by the time we arrived at the hotel we decided to grab dinner nearby at a busy looking Italian called Sotto Sopra – the lasagne was yum!

Day 2 – Walking Tour, Flea Market & Badfish

The only thing I had planned ahead of coming to Berlin was our walking tour with ‘Original Berlin Tours’. I thought it would be the best way to see the sights, hear a bit of history and find our way around the city. So we got up early on the Sunday morning, grabbed breakfast to go from Einstein Kaffee across the street from the hotel and got a taxi to our meeting point for the walking tour at One80 Hostel in Alexanderplatz for 10am.

I could not recommend the walking tour enough! We covered so much ground in 3 hours, seen so many sights and learnt a lot from our fab guide Paul (who just happened to be from Wexford, Ireland ‚ėė). Some of the features we covered included:

  • Alexanderplatz
  • Television Tower
  • The Berliner Dom
  • Lustgarten
  • Neue Wache Memorial
  • Book Burning Memorial at Bebelplatz
  • Checkpoint Charlie
  • Remaining Berlin Wall
  • Hitler’s Bunker
  • The Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe
  • The Reichstag
  • Brandenburg Gate

The walking tour is free, you just tip your guide at the end of the tour. Paul also gave us some great bar and restaurant recommendations.

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As it was a Sunday, our walking tour guide recommended we should go to the flea market on¬†Bernauer Stra√üe. There was a great buzz around the place, with stalls of bric-√†-brac, old vinyl, rails of shearling coats and denim jackets, street food, beer on tap and gl√ľhwein!

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gluhwein-berlin-jess-orr-travel-blogWe ended the day at a bar called Badfish for Angry Hour (aka happy hour), a NYC neighbourhood style bar, which had a load of great whiskey, craft beer, old fashioned cocktails a jukebox and Mario Brothers on Nintendo. Definitely worth a visit!

Day 3 – East Side Gallery, Burgermeister & Cocktails

We took ourselves off to the East Side Gallery, a must see in Berlin! The East Side Gallery is 1.3km section of the Berlin Wall, which is now a International memorial for freedom that consists of paintings from artists across the world.

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We then had lunch at Burgermeister, another recommendation from our walking tour guide. Probably one of the best burgers I have ever had!

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We made reservations at NENI a rooftop restaurant in the 25Hours Hotel behind Bikini Berlin (definitely worth a visit). The restaurant is stunning and the food it great. After dinner we went for cocktails in Monkey Bar, which is next door to NENI and looks over Berlin Zoo. We drank Mai Tais and watched the snow fall that night. If I was to recommend a cocktail at Monkey Bar, go for the Jungle Flake!

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We love finding hidden gems for cocktails, so after conferring with the BarChick app we found a speakeasy cocktail bar nearby called The Green Door, the drinks here are UNREAL!!! Did I mention it is one of the world’s best bars?!

Day 4 – Victory Column, Tiergarten & Currywurst

Snow was well and truly on the ground for our last day! We started the day off with breakfast at West Berlin, a great cafe close to our hotel and Checkpoint Charlie. We spent the morning and afternoon walking through Tiergarten and visiting the Victory Column.

Our trip to Berlin wouldn’t have been complete without trying currywurst, so we went to Curry 36 in Mehringdamm. It was good but I can’t say I could eat a lot of it.

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You can’t go to Berlin without getting some black and white snaps in a Photoautomat booth, which are located throughout the city ?

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When travelling in Berlin, be sure you are purchasing the correct train tickets during your stay, unfortunately we didn’t read all the information at the kiosks and got fined – the undercover ticket checkers take no excuses, even if it was an honest mistake.

I would definitely go back to Berlin, I think it would be amazing in the summer. Something that was so surreal, was being able to drink a bottle of beer while walking down the street!

If you are heading to Berlin, have a fab time and safe travels.

Jess x