Time of Year: December 2019-January 2020
Places I Visited: Madrid & Barcelona
Hostel Names & Locations: (Madrid, Room007 Chueca Hostel), (Madrid, Ibis Madrid Aeropuerto Barajas), (Barcelona, Airbnb in Gothic Quarter)
Highlights: Casa Battlo, Barcelonetta, Opium Nightclub, Sagrada Familia, Font Magica de Montjuic, Arc de Triomphe, Ice Bar, Wine Tasting
Best Restaurants: Barcelona, Rosa Negro-Amazing Mexican Food and Margaritas, George Payne -Blackout Tray, Bo De Be, Cocovail, Madrid, Cantina Canal-cheap tacos and big margs
I started a tradition a few years back of going out of the country every year for New Year’s Eve. This year my boyfriend and I chose to explore Spain with an extended layover in Germany. We first landed in Munich, Germany. We decided to spend our couple hours of layover taking the train into the main square, Marienplatz. It is a shopping center and walking distance to the famous Hofbrauhaus. Outside of the airport was a little ice skating rink and small Christmas shops, super cute and amazing welcome into Germany. We walked to the train terminal which was pretty easy to buy tickets and get to. There was a lot to do while walking around the Marienplatz. There were cheap shops and more expensive shops, we walked around the Hofbrauhaus, we didn’t get to eat or drink inside but you are welcome to walk around and listen to live music. We stumbled upon a little outdoor market that had a bunch of food and we got traditional Bratwurst which was super cheap and yummy.
We then took our flight to Madrid and stayed overnight in the hotel (listed above). The hotel was nice and super accommodating as I had to mail my sim card there for me to pick up, and they also have free airport shuttle pick up. However, we stood outside the airport for over an hour and the shuttle didn’t show up so we had to pay for a taxi. The next morning we had to catch our train to Barcelona- we booked our tickets through the Omio app. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND GIVE YOURSELF MORE TIME TO GET TO THE TRAIN. We literally had to RUN to our train and almost missed it by seconds-which is never fun. Allow yourself about 40 minutes more than you think you need, there are security lines to go through, we had to take our shuttle from hotel to airport and then airport bus to the train station and it was a lot longer than expected. The train was very nice and comfortable and they have a snack cart on the train if you forgot to buy snacks before departure.
Arriving in Barcelona, we would be there for 10 days so we decided to get a pass for the metro. We were able to use one pass for two people until 2020 when they made a new rule that each person needs their own pass. Our Airbnb was in the perfect location, away enough from the street to feel fully submerged in the city but close enough to the metro, shops, and cafes. Sadly, our Airbnb was not what we expected, it was falling apart and not worth the amount of money we paid. If this ever happens, contact Airbnb AND the host immediately. After all was said and done, we were about to get more than 1/3 of the amount we paid for the stay back. They even offered us another location if we needed, they were very helpful. For New Year’s Eve, we went to Poble Espanyol which was crazy and so much fun. We took the train to Place de Espanya, which has hundreds if not thousands of people. We squeezed our way and walked to Poble Espanyol, we bought tickets ahead of time. Tickets include entry, a little gift bag with grapes-12 grapes you eat at midnight, some party wear, and 4 drinks per ticket. Drinks there were not as expensive as I thought, you could see the fireworks from the main square, and it was a nightclub until like 5/6 am. It was such a fun night.
Here’s some highlights of things we did in Barcelona:
Casa Batllo: you can go inside or just tour around outside like we did
Barcelonetta- The beach section of Barcelona which has a lot of shops and cafes, vendors selling things on the street, highly recommend going here during sunset. On Friday and Saturday nights, check out the nightclubs here especailly Opium Barcelona- if you say Aashi Guest List at the Door you get free entry. On Sundays, they have street performers there with a market set up.
Sagrada Familia- still under construction however amazing to see in person. There is a hidden hotel which you can go up to the rooftop bar and take amazing photos from there- you may have to buy a drink in the lobby bar in order to go up.
Font Magica de Montjuic-Something fun to do for a few hours, take some photos here, not much else to do, theres a few vendors and cafes along the sides as well.
Arc de Trimophe Barcelona– This was a day tour apart of wandering around the parks, really cool shows that take place around here.
Ice Bar Barcelona– This was super fun to do for a few hours, it may have been better if more people were there. Tickets get you a jacket, gloves, and a free drink and about 30 minutes to listen to music and admire the themed ice sculptures.
Wine Tasting– We did our wine tasting through Airbnb Experiences, it was excellent. Vivian gave us a personal wine tasting with another couple. I was the perfect amount of wine, information, and snacks. Check out the experience here.
L’Aquarium Barcelona- The only reason I am writing anything about this aquarium is to say it is not worth the money. This aquarium had very little to show for as much as it is promoted and the space taken up. It was mostly made up of walking spaces and closed off sections.
George Payne– This place is great for hanging out, drinks or food. They have amazing and affordable everything. It is loud and a younger person scene. The most famous aspect of this place is the blackout tray, great affordable place to pregame before the club and great option to share with friends.
Madrid-There were a lot of markets and cute shops around where we stayed. It was very tiny as for any small European city but a lot of things to do around. We only spent a few days in Madrid so we didnt have much planned.