Our final day in Barcelona
Luckily for us, our flight didn’t depart until 8:00pm, which gave us plenty of time to do some more exploring. So, after breakfast we made our way into sunny Barcelona for the very last time.
Bunkers del Carmel
When I’d heard a girl talking English with a Dutch accent on the train to Montserrat the previous day, I’d taken the opportunity to ask her for some recommendations. That seemed to be the exact right thing to do, as this girl turned out to be an au pair, who had been living in Barcelona for the past five months. She recommended us to head up to Bunkers del Carmel. And like the obedient ladies that we are, we did just that on the morning of our last day in Spain.
A local bus took us to the foot of this giant hill in the El Carmel district – Turó de la Rovira – and from there we walked up to the top. The girl on the train (not the novel by Paula Hawkins, but an actual person) had told us that we would have an amazing bird eye view from there. Taken that, together with the fact that the hilltop is admission free, has no crowds at all and features some historic military bunkers, convinced us to tire our feet and make the climb up.
An urban playground
Bunkers del Carmel were built as an anti-aircraft fortification during the Spanish Civil War in 1938, and would have had cannons to protect Barcelona from further bombings. Obviously, the location of the fortification wasn’t a coincidence, as the site overlooks the entire city. That aspect counts for the fact that it remains a popular viewing point until today, long after the cannons have been dismantled and the fortifications have lost their original purpose.
Nowadays, it’s a real urban playground featuring striking 360 degree views and concrete bunkers reminding us of the past. People use it as a place to sunbathe, to climb the constructions and to take jump-selfies (yes, that’s Bunkers del Carmel in my profile picture).
After our visit to the bunkers, we made our way down again to explore what is described in travel guides as: a village within the city. The Gràcia district is mainly known for Gaudí’s Park Guell, but what fewer people know is that the neighbourhood itself actually is an extremely attractive part of Barcelona.
From the bunkers it took us about half an hour to walk down to the heart of the Gràcia district. We noticed an abundance of lovely little alleys with boutique shops, restaurants and bars. While most of the city centre of Barcelona is bustling with people, the pace in Gràcia appeared to be much lower in comparison. People were enjoying their coffees on the patios of their houses, were browsing through the shops or chatting with their neighbours. There was nothing there to remind us of the stressful feeling that we’d experienced in central Barcelona.
Unsurprisingly then that we decided to have lunch on the patio of one of the restaurants on Vila de Gràcia Square. During our lunch, we looked out over the local town hall and clock tower. We were told that the tower was built in a way that one could always see the time from wherever they were in Gràcia. This indicates once again that Gràcia simply used to be an independent town before it was ‘swallowed up’ by Barcelona. However, the ‘village-feel’ remains in this part of the city, making it one of my favourites of the districts I’ve visited so far!
After our late lunch, it was time for us to head back to the hotel to pack our suitcases.
They always say: third time’s a charm, which really holds true for me in this case. This was my third-time visit to Barcelona, and where I had a bit of cold feet during my first visit, the third visit proofed to be an absolute success. Barcelona, you’ve managed to convince me of your beauty!
Our flights and accommodation were kindly sponsored by WowTrip. However, all the views and opinions in this post are my own.