One of the weekends in January we had a family reunion in Barcelona for my Dad’s 60th birthday. My parents flew in from Latvia, me and Ben from Brussels and my sister – from Los Angeles. As my parents have expressed a wish to see some places outside Barcelona, we rented a car. These are the things that are feasible in 1 weekend, coordinating wishes of 5 different personalities:)
This place is one of the «must see» places in lot of guidebooks and that we haven’t visited yet. Santa Maria de Montserrat abbey is 48 km outside of Barcelona and it takes you approximately 1 hour to get there. I wouldn’t say that all the drive is going to be scenic, but the last 15 minutes you can be sure to have a lot of «wow» moments.
You can decide whether you want to park in a lower parking and take a funicular up to the monastery (that costs 9EUR return ticket. Prices might be subject to change. Please check them on the website of the abbey) or go up right to the monastery in your car (parking is (5EUR per car. And suggestion – as with any touristic object – be there early) and explore the area from there.
When you get up to the abbey, the views… Simply stunning!!! Ben made a remark on the fact that monks always know how to choose a spectacular location. Indeed, you can not ask for more. Being on the top of the mountain, having valleys on every side you look and rivers and all that peacefulness… What else would you like to have on a Saturday morning?
If you are a hike lover, this is an area made for it. Even me, who is rather neutral towards hiking, would go for a hike there. Bring along your sandwich, lemonade and enjoy the wonder of the nature from the top of one of the mountain peaks!
After our morning on Montserrat mountains, we did not have enough of mountain views and we headed towards Tibidabo. It is 512 m high mountain in Barcelona where an amusement park is located and that reminds me of an episode from «Friends». Besides that it is also a place where you can get spectacular views of Barcelona.
We went to a place called «Mirablau» (thanks, Anete, for suggestion) that is not only located on the side of the mountain, giving amazing views, but also serves great tapas. And for me – Spain is a lot about tapas. And wine 🙂 So, yes, this was a perfect combination.
Musical fountains are something that my parents really wanted to see. At first we were quite sceptical about the fact that after a full day of activities and before Dad’s birthday dinner we still should fit in something that sounded really touristic. However it was worth it. Musical fountains at Plaza Espanya give a spectacular 10 to 15 minute show that starts every half an hour from 19 to 21 in winter on Fridays and Saturdays, adding Thursdays and Sundays during summer.
Not only you are able to see the interaction of music, water fountains and people dancing to the music, but also you can enjoy a beautiful (and very romantic) view to Barcelona in the night. For more information, click here.
Initially our plan for Sunday was to go to Besalu and Banyoles lake – a beautiful medieval stone city and a beautiful lake where a lot of rowing during Olympics in 1992 happenned, but as our plane to Brussels was in the evening, we decided to go for a safer (and closer) option – Tarragona.
Tarragona is famous for its Meditarenean balcony – a terrase where you can have your weekend stroll and enjoy a view to the sea, amphitheater, gardens and port. Main street with an alley for walking in the middle is a way of seeing the city as well. One of the interesting things about this street was a monument that portrayed a typical activity of the Tarragonians – they make human towers here.. They even have a festival that is dedicated purely to this purpose.
Sidenote: couple of food/drink addresses in Barcelona
- Catalan cuisine in Barcelona: restaurant «Pitarra». This restaurant serves typical Catalan dishes in a rustic ambiane. Something that you can really enjoy if you are travelling with your parents and you would like to show them what a typical place in Catalunya would look like (and once again, Anete, thanks for the suguestion 😡 )
- Spectacular views to Barcelona can be also seen from the roof top bar of hotel Barcelo Raval where you can enjoy the sunset with a glass of wine. really. This one is recommended indeed.