We started searching for a sunny winter destination just a couple of weeks before Christmas. From Zürich, you have a ton of direct flights, but with the winter holidays, the flights are pretty expensive.
After an extensive search, we were happy to find Zürich – Barcelona, operated by Vueling, with approximately 400 Fr. (370€) round-trip for two people with great departure hours.
We took the accommodation from Booking, using Bonusway. We always book our accommodation through Bonusway, this way we save 4% at each booking. Read more about Bonusway and see if they operate in your country. We started using this platform about a year and a half ago and since then we received around 250 € cashback from our bookings. Pretty cool!
We booked our room at Room Mate Anna, at a cost of 100 €/night with a delicious breakfast included. I do recommend this hotel, it was right in the heart of Barcelona, near the beautiful boulevard Passeig de Gràcia, just 100 m from Casa Batlló and close to a wide range of shops, restaurants, and cultural spots. Another great thing is that you are literally 100 m from the metro station and pretty close to Plaça de Catalunya, where the airport bus stops.
As with any other destination, I did my homework days in advance, so we were pretty prepared for our week in Barcelona. In 7 days we were going to:
- hang out in Park Güell
- wander the Montjuic Park
- visit Sagrada Familia, Gothic square and famous La Rambla
- make sure we go daily to the beach
- visit Girona outside Barcelona
I am not gonna bore you listings all the attractions in the city, there are tons of websites doing this, no worries. But I do want to give you some useful information especially if it’s your first time in Barcelona.
First of all, we were pleasantly surprised when we got off the plane. 16 °C in the evening! Heaven, compared to the weather in Zürich. Now, I do love the winter, and I am grateful that I live in a four-season country, but it’s always nice to feel warmer temperatures.
In our week in Barcelona, we were blessed with sunny skies, and perfect weather, around 15-19 °C, at the end of December.
Of all the tourist attractions in Barcelona, I loved Parc Güell the most. Even if it’s super crowded in certain areas, but because the park is so big, you could get lost in the lush gardens and find intimacy and excellent photo spots.
We booked our tickets online, and I recommend you do the same, there is no point in waiting good minutes at the cashier. The tickets also include a 15 minutes bus ride(BUS GÜELL) from the Alfons X metro station to the park entrance. All will be explained in the mail you will receive.
Most of the park is free of charge, but for the popular shots, you usually see in Barcelona you need to pay. The ticket costs 10 €/person and offers access to Casa del Guarda, Concierge’s pavilion, the monumental staircase, the Austria Gardens, the Hypostyle Room, the Portico of the Washerwoman and Plaça de la Natura. The ticket does not include a visit to the Gaudi House Museum, which costs 5.5 € more. For further information visit their site.
I think we wandered around 4 – 5 hours through the park. The weather was perfect, you could hear birds singing, colorful parrots flew from palm to palm, Spanish guitar in the background, ah, I wanted to stay forever :))
The park is an amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site designed by Antoni Gaudí, the greatest architect of Catalan Modernism.
We only visited from outside this humongous basilica. Gaudí worked on the Sagrada Familia until his death in 1926. The project is still under construction until 2026. But again, if you desire to visit it, take online tickets. It starts from 20 €/person, you can find more information on their site.
Another great place to escape the busy city is Montjuic Park. This place is packed with history and attractions, which will take up most of the day. Check out more about the park’s attractions on their site. Sadly, the cable car that takes you to the port was closed on Christmas day.
We end up at the beach almost every day. Even in December, there were lots of people, relaxing, playing volleyball and enjoying the sun. Some were brave enough to even swim in the sea. The port is very nice for a walk, with a great choice of restaurants. The city can be overwhelming so don’t forget to take that beach walk to recharge your batteries.
Arco de Triunfo, Gothic square
Arc de Triomf, Casa Batlló, Gothic square, Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi and famous La Rambla can be visited on the same day on foot. I also recommend you take a walk on beautiful Colom boulevard till you reach the Mirador de Colom, a 60 m tall monument at the bottom end of La Rambla. The wide boulevard is full of palm trees on both sides with nice views over the port.
To be honest, we ate tapas every day. I just love the idea of small delicious portions that can be shared at the table. The price was reasonable, staring at 3€ – 4€/tapas and going up to 10€ -15€ if you ordered seafood. We saved some famous restaurants, but unfortunately, they never had available seats, and besides that, there were always people waiting outside. I don’t know why, but I don’t like to book a table in advance when I’m on holiday. It’s the stress that I have to be in a certain place at a certain hour…
In fact, we managed to catch a table at the famous La Paradeta on the 24th of December. I honestly don’t know how this happened, because when we left the restaurant there were like 30 people waiting outside. The restaurant serves fresh fish every day and you can choose the fish you want to serve at the table. I wouldn’t repeat the experience, it felt like expensive fast food.
I do recomend Bubo dessert shop in the Gothic Quarter. My God, their cakes are divine! You can’t go wrong no matter what you choose.
Regarding restaurants in Barcelona, I do have one tip. You can purchase the Restopolitan card, which is perfect for a lunch/dinner in two. The least expensive meal from the bill will be deducted. The card is 9.99 €/month and right now it can be used in Spain, France, Italy, and Luxembourg. We managed to use this card in Paris, Valencia, Bologna, Florence, without any problem. Have a look over their site for more info, it’s worth it.
Staying in the city center is definitely a plus. You don’t get to use the metro every day, which, let’s face it, is not the biggest joy in such a busy city.
Nonetheless, you do need transportation for certain attractions like Parc Güell, Montjuic Park or even to go to the beach. If you stay in the heart of the city and you enjoy walking I recommend you take the 10 journey ticket which costs 11.35 €. Find out more about passes and tickets on this site.
From the airport, we took the Aerobus for 5.90 €/person.
Day trips from Barcelona
Because we had one week in Barcelona, I wanted to rezerve one day to explore the surroundings. We chose Girona, one hour from Barcelona by train and we loved it! I will write more about it in a separate post.
Shops open on Christmas day
On December 25th and 26th, all shops are closed, but you will still find restaurants open so no worries, you don’t need to book in advance. On the 24th of December, shops are usually open until 6 pm.
Barcelona is a vibrant cultural city, with tons of attractions, amazing food and weather.
If you hurry up, you should still be able to find some awesome discounted flights and hotelsr
Have an amazing day!