The magical, the enchanting, the glamorous Barcelona — Europe’s newest “it” city. Whether you are a fan of the football (soccer) team or want to see the world famous Sagrada Familia or venture to Park Guell or lounge on the beach or party until you drop, Barcelona has it all. Since it is such a happening city, I recommend securing your accommodation early. If you aren’t looking for a five-star hotel but something better than your average hostel, Monrooms Guesthouse is the place to be.
Monrooms is located in the quiet and peaceful section of Gracia, Barcelona; it is only a five minute walk from the metro station. You must be buzzed in to enter the building, and the main door can only be opened by key. Upon entering you’ll find clean halls with walls decorated with inspiring travel quotes.
We were hosted by Albert, who envisioned Monrooms while he was backpacking the world; he wanted to give other travelers a satisfying home away from home without sacrificing the social atmosphere hostels have over hotels. In doing so, he made sure there was a kitchen for those of us that travel for long periods of time and don’t always want to eat out every night.
The room was great — quite spacious with an en suite bathroom and will make think you’ve rented space in someone’s home because the feeling is just so cozy. So cozy, that I decided to stay in and get some work done since I had visited Barcelona four years ago.
When we arrived this time around, the weather was lousy, and I didn’t particularly want to repay for sites I’d recently seen. I opted to have Philip roam Barcelona on his own.
While Barcelona has never been my favorite city by any means, I sent him to my two absolute favorite sites in the city: Park Guell and the Sagrada Familia. This is what I heard of his day:
First stop: Park Guell, as it’s only about a fifteen minute walk away from Monrooms. Due to the wait time to enter, he chose solely to explore the outskirts of the park and to skip the most touristic and architecturally famous attractions.
With a zoom lens he was able to see what all the fuss was about and still said he appreciated the designs; he just couldn’t do it from up-close.
After Park Guell he walked thirty to forty minutes to the Sagrada Familia – it’s always nicer to walk and take in the sites and feel of a city if time allows! Barcelona is easy to navigate, and relatively safe (just beware of pickpockets!) so walking is not a problem. Unfortunately, he arrived at the Sagrada Familia to find that there was a three hour wait if you hadn’t pre-purchased your tickets. He hadn’t. It kills me that he didn’t get to experience the inside and the building itself up close and personal, as the Sagrada Familia is my favorite church I’ve entered thus far. Having been all over Europe, I must say I’ve seen my fair share of churches! 5 FT Tip: If you know the exact dates you will be in Barcelona (we didn’t), be sure to pre-purchase your tickets to the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell so that you may enter.
For you football fans, be sure to check out the famous Camp Nou of FC Barcelona. No need to buy your ticket in advance.
The on-premise museum is extremely in depth and covers the team’s history from its inception to its reigning world champion status. Not only can you enter the museum, but you can view the stadium from many sections, including stepping onto the pitch. For diehard football fans, this is the experience of a lifetime.
Later that night, we agreed that those icons of Barcelona are nice, but did not find the city itself to be beautiful. I hadn’t wanted to return to Barcelona during this trip because of that; he, however, wanted to see it for himself. For some reason Barcelona failed to capture our hearts, but it is still a city worth visiting. See it for yourself and when you do, pick Monrooms for your stay!
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**Special thanks to Albert and Monrooms Guesthouse for kindly offering me a complimentary stay. Contributions and photos in this post made by Philip Moreira. As always, all opinions are my own.