Exploring Barcelona: From Iconic Landmarks to Culinary Delights

I’m so excited to share the amazing adventure we had in Spain.  I’ll be sharing in a little more detail about each city we visited, but first up is our Travel day, landing in Spain and our first impressions!

One Suitcase: Spain

Usually we travel with one carry-on suitcase and backpacks, but this time only brought one backpack each. We tried to pack clothing we could wear multiple days in a row and pack more undergarments so that we could have fewer items in our bags. Our clothing packing list for the two-week trip was roughly:

4 shirts & 2 pants

an additional dress for me & Bailey

7 underwear & 7 pairs of socks

Something simple to sleep in

a light jacket that we wear onto the plane

 This helped a ton with laundry as well. When we travel like this, we usually do laundry in the sink. Luckily, we didn’t end up needing to do that because we had a brief stay in an apartment mid-trip that had a washing machine. If you’re looking to travel across Spain like we did, I would definitely recommend packing light. 

As content creators, we knew that packing our travel essentials was crucial, but we also made sure to bring along our trusty video and editing equipment to document our travel adventures. You can see what I packed Here!

Barcelona, Here We Come!

Our journey kicked off with an economy flight on LEVEL by Iberia Airline from LAX to Barcelona, Spain. The flight was very long and not super comfortable, especially for Christopher who is on the taller side, but we did have a great selection of movies to watch that kept us entertained, and the food was actually surprisingly good! In the end, the affordability of the low-cost tickets was worth the minor inconveniences and discomforts. I was worried when I read some bad reviews, but being prepared for the things people were complaining about helped a lot.  

Once we landed, we took a train from the airport (well, several trains!) and found our hotel. After a little bit of rest, we decided to head out to eat at El Xampanyet in the Gothic Quarter. The Gothic Quarter was like walking through mazes of little alleyways, it was so cool! And the food… The food at El Xampanyet was amazing! We got tapas, which are little dishes to be shared instead of a big individual meal. Some highlights were the tortilla (a small potato omelet), Padrón peppers, pa amb tomaquet (bread with tomato spread), and of course the Iberico ham for the meat-eaters in our group. Watch our travel to Spain vlog here.

Day 2 - Exploring Barcelona

Our second day in Barcelona, we got up really early to a very quiet Gothic Quarter. Our goal: grab some breakfast. Something we noticed was that people here tend to stay up really late full of energy and life, while their mornings tend to be more quiet. 

The Churro

We wanted to try the traditional Spanish churros dipped in chocolate for breakfast. We love the Churros in America, but we had heard that these churros were different. Here are some of the differences: In Spain, Churros are often served with a chocolate sauce for dipping almost like a chocolate mousse, they are usually made fresh. Spanish Churros are also typically straighter and thinner and have sugar on top, while Americanized churros are typically thicker and have cinnamon on top. Although my preference is still the Americanized churro because of the cinnamon, everyone else in the group thought the ones in Spain were better. They were so GOOD! 

Museu de la Xocolata

Next we went to the Museu de la Xocolata (the Chocolate Museum)! Yes, you heard that right – a museum dedicated entirely to chocolate. And the best part…our ticket to get into the museum was CHOCOLATE! The museum featured Intricate chocolate sculptures, interactive exhibits showcasing the history of chocolate, and even chocolate-making workshops where students were learning to create sweet treats. It was a deliciously wonderful experience that left us with a newfound appreciation for the art of chocolate making. 

The prices were so reasonable too: adults (which included the chocolate) was €6 and for students (Jacob and Bailey were students) were just €5.10. Kids 0-6 get in free, and the price for seniors was 15% off the adult price. You can learn more about the Museu de la Xocolata, here! 

Park Guell

From there, we took a bus up to Park Guell. It is at the top of a very steep incline, so we highly recommend taking some sort of vehicle up to it. Park Guell is a whimsical park designed by the renowned architect Antoni Gaudí. It’s like stepping into a fairy tale land, with colorful mosaic sculptures, winding pathways, and stunning panoramic views of the city. Exploring Park Guell felt like wandering through a dream, and we couldn’t help but marvel at Gaudí’s genius and creativity. 

You have to purchase a ticket to get into the park. They do sell out, so it’s important to reserve tickets ahead of time. We opted to upgrade a little and go with a tour group. Our tickets were $24 each (We missed the cutoff age for child tickets because the adult tickets are for ages 12-64 ). 

We are so glad that we were able to have a tour guide, as there is so much incredible history behind the park’s origins and Gaudi’s intentions behind it. It was not supposed to be a park at all! It was originally designed to be a housing community for the wealthy residents of Barcelona who wanted to get enjoy clean air, individual houses, and a beautiful nature-inspired community.We learned so many interesting facts from our guide and it definitely enhanced the experience for us all.

Sagrada Familia

Our next stop was the iconic Sagrada Família – a true architectural marvel that took our breath away. We walked there from Park Guell, which takes a little time, but is mostly downhill and flat. Approaching this stunning church filled us with awe. Trust me, photos don’t do it justice. You’ve got to see it with your own eyes to truly appreciate its beauty. 

The Sagrada Família is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. It’s a masterpiece of architectural ingenuity and creativity. Every inch of the building is adorned with intricate details and symbolism, from the towering spires to the ornate facades. What’s truly remarkable is the diversity of styles incorporated into its design – from Gothic and Art Nouveau to Modernism and beyond. Gaudí’s vision for the Sagrada Família was nothing short of extraordinary, and it’s clear that every element was carefully crafted with passion and purpose. Inside the church, the play of light and color filters through the stained-glass windows, creating a mesmerizing kaleidoscope effect. Gaudi incorporated so many elements of nature and functions of natural structures and it was neat making those connections and seeing how he used those designs to honor and glorify God.

 We purchased a guided tour for this trip, as well. The cost of tickets and tour was possibly the most expensive portion of the trip for us, but was well worth it for the education and knowing that the costs go to assist the building and restoration of the church. Our total was 196 Euro, which covered two adult tickets and two youth tickets. You can read more about Sagrada Família, here! Watch our full second day exploring Barcelona, here.

Our Final Day in Barcelona

We had a wonderful breakfast at Brunch & Cake, which was just so beautiful. I had read they incorporated a lot of edible flowers and that made me so excited. Bailey tried a bombon which is a Spanish latte, which she enjoyed very much. Christopher tried his first cortado, and then we had some amazing dishes. Croque madame, Shashuka, Avocado Bennis, Rose temptation pancakes. Everything was so beautifully presented and was so delicious! If you visit Barcelona, you have to check out Brunch & Cake.

After breakfast, we did a little exploring in the bustling mercado de la boqueria off La Rambla, a market that hit all the senses, with rows of colorful stalls offering everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to seafood, meats, and spices. We wandered through the maze of vendors, sampling local foods and soaking in the lively atmosphere. It was the perfect place to immerse ourselves in the rich culinary culture of Barcelona.

Goodbye, Barcelona

After a lovely morning, we packed up and said goodbye to Barcelona. We booked tickets on a train to our next city, Girona! You can watch our last day in Barcelona, here.


Tune in for more of our Spain adventures coming soon! Until then, adios!

More from the Ballinger family

You can read more of our travel adventures here!

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