The Face of Catalan Architecture

A whirlwind tour of Barcelona from the open-top bus gave us further glimpses of the city. If time permitted, we would have had make it a point to get down at every stop to get closer to the city, but it wasn’t the case. We only had 2 full days in the city and must make the most out of it. Hence, the decision to see the city from the bus was fair enough.

There’s a lot to feast the eyes

We alighted at Casa Batlló, but didn’t pay to get in. As much as we respect Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece, we felt the entrance fee was a bit too steep. After taking few photographs of the building from outside, we left for another Gaudí’s masterpiece.

Casa Batllo
The “free” view

Then, the funny thing happened. As we geared up for the guided tour of Sagrada Família which we booked online, somehow we overlooked the booking date and the tour was supposed to be on the next day! There was nothing we could do so we left the place feeling lost. I’d blame the lack of sleep attributed to this mistake.

After the date confusion debacle, we didn’t give up so we took the bus to another Gaudí’s masterpiece – Park Güell. The park is located at a hilly terrain, and took us quite a walk to reach the entrance. Little did we know that there is timed entry and each entry only allows a limited number of visitors. We were there around 3PM and the next available slot was at 5PM. We were in dilemma because 5PM would be quite late for the visit and furthermore we had to find something else to do to kill time while waiting. After much deliberation, we decided against the visit.

Park Guell
Poor man’s version of Park Güell

We took time to walk around the free-access area of the park as consolation. At the top of the hill offers a commanding view of the city, a good spot for sunset as well.

Park Guell
The free-access area of the park
Park Guell
Great view of Barcelona
Park Guell
The entrance to the park
Catching the last light of the day

Well, after two disappointments in a day, we wanted to find something to make up for the day. So, we left the park and boarded the last available sightseeing bus and disembarked at Plaza de Catalunya. A quick search on Foursquare revealed plenty of options for our dinner. We found a few with good ratings but we ended up at El Nacional.

El Nacional is the first restaurant in Barcelona with different areas where we can try traditional recipes from around the Iberian Peninsula, prepared with high quality produce in unique surroundings. Located at the heart of Passeig de Gràcia, it reflects Barcelona’s social and cultural life.

El Nacional
The entrance

El Nacional looks like a great restaurant from the photos taken by visitors. The moment we stepped in, we were left flabbergasted. We were totally unprepared for this.

El Nacional
La Llotja

There are 4 culinary areas (restaurants) and 4 specialised bars that you can choose from. We ended up at this restaurant called La Tapería.

El Nacional
The Cocktail Bar

La Tapería offers a great variety of cold tapas, hot tapas, rice dishes, paella fideuá… The perfect place for some tapas in Barcelona.

El Nacional
La Braseria

We definitely had a fantastic time at El Nacional. The food was nice and inexpensive but it was the ambiance that made the dining experience even better. Maybe there are even better restaurants but this one really exceeds our expectations.

El Nacional
La Tapería

Passeig de Gràcia is one of the many busy streets in Barcelona bustling full with larger than life shops and it’s perfect for evening strolls.


View posts by chleong
A travel addict and food junkie. When he is not traveling, he loves penning his thoughts on his latest adventures, whether food, places or anything that fascinates him. His travelogues often include intriguing photos that capture the moments as he believes a photo speaks thousand words.

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