Penny and Polaroids

by Nuala Gorham

Barcelona Travel Diary & Guide

Posted by Nuala on Tuesday, September 8, 2015

September meant a really hectic month for me and of course, the end of the summer, so I couldn’t have welcomed a holiday in late August anymore. Stiofán and I jetted off to Barcelona for a five day trip and we really had such a good time. We had actually never been to Barcelona before so we were really excited to see it. We had so many plans during the year of where we would on holiday and in the end we just didn’t have the time to take any extended break so we thought Barcelona would be perfect for a five day trip, and it was.

Where to stay in Barcelona

The hotel itself was actually such a highlight of our trip. We stayed in the Ohla Hotel and it really was amazing. It’s a 5* hotel so it is quite expensive but it was honestly so worth it. I wasn’t looking for anything luxurious when I was booking it but I did really want a rooftop pool and most with rooftop pools were quite pricey. The rooftop pool and bar area of the Ohla is so amazing, and if you do visit be sure to try the cocktails. The food and drink at the Ohla is very expensive but I did charge a few cocktails to the room, you can’t resist when they’re taking your order poolside! We were also so impressed with the staff of the hotel, they were all so nice and they would book any tourist attractions for you, get you a taxi etc.; they made everything so simple which I loved as I find organising those things can be quite stressful while away. The location of our hotel was also perfect. We weren’t super close to the beach which we didn’t mind but we were close to the Marina, close to Las Ramblas and very close to the good shopping streets. The buses to and from the airport were also about a two minute walk from the hotel which was ideal.

Things to do in Barcelona 

One of the things I really wanted to do was to go sailing we both love sailing. I was researching it quite a bit before we left and for awhile I was only finding either party boat trips or hugely expensive luxury yachts which cost a fortune. I came across Sail and Sea Barcelona where you can be taking out sailing in a private small yacht for just a couple of hours which is exactly what we wanted. It was such a fun afternoon and the views were amazing. We also jumped of the boat and went for a swim while we were out there.

While I did love Barcelona I would never recommend it if you’re looking for a beach holiday. The beach, albeit huge, it’s completely packed. I love beaches but I don’t like crowded beaches at all, I think it really takes away from it. For this reason we made sure to book a hotel with an outdoor pool and we only went to the beach to walk along the boardwalk which is really nice. We also went to the beach to do Stand Up Paddle Boarding. This was fine as we were out deep in the water so there wouldn’t people around us. We had been SUP boarding earlier in the summer here in Ireland and we had so much fun so we couldn’t wait to go back while in Barcelona. There are a few SUP boarding places along the main beach (one is near the W hotel and the other which we rented from is a sports gear store further down). I think SUP boarding may seem quite boring to some people but you can definitely have you own fun by challenging each other with balancing games and trying to knock each other. It’s perfect for a big group. It was only €30 for both of us for an hour.

What I loved about Barcelona is that while it is a big city, it’s also so easy to get around and there is no hassle with buses or underground trains. We could pretty much walk everywhere. We walked the length of the boardwalk / beach form Port Olimpic to the W hotel one of the days and most of it again a second day. We also walked along the Marina a few times in the evenings which is such a beautiful walk. The only time we needed to get taxis was to visit the Sagrada Familia cathedral (which is worth a visit) and the Barcelona football stadium Camp Nou, and the fares were very reasonable.

One thing I would really recommend even though we didn’t do it is to rent a bike while in Barcelona. We saw loads of people doing this but we had already walked pretty much everywhere when we thought of it so it wasn’t really worth it. I would generally be quite nervous about cycling in an unfamiliar city but most people cycle along the marinas and the boardwalk of the beach so it’s very easy. I would also definitely suggest walking along the beach in full as well Port Olimpic and Port Vell, which is really stunning at night also.

If you have any other questions be sure to leave a comment below or you can also get in touch on any of my social media channels. I’ll have a Barcelona Outfits posts up later in the week with a full list of all my outfit details also.

Until next time,



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4 responses to “Barcelona Travel Diary & Guide”

  1. Genna says:


    I am going to Barcelona on Monday for 3 days and was wondering what you would recommend footwear-wise for someone who pretty much walks everywhere and plans to do a lot of sight-seeing? I’ll be taking flip flops for walking along the beach but when it comes to sight-seeing, would I be better to wear runners or flat boots? Or does it make a difference? Only taking hand-luggage so I don’t have the option to take both!


  2. Nuala says:

    Hi Genna!

    Definitely espadrilles, they’re so comfortable and super light for packing. I love Soludos but Boohoo also have ones that are very comfortable and affordable. You’ll have such a good time! Enjoy X

    • Genna says:

      Perfect, just got a pair today. Sold out in most shops as all winter stuff is in but managed to find some so I was delighted. Can’t wait now!
      Thanks for uou help.

  3. Gina says:

    Hi, I’m going to Barcelona at the end of October for 4 days and was wondering if you could recommend any good areas/ restaurants or cafes?
    Thanks x

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