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2 unique ways to explore Barcelona
Experiencing Barcelona by land and by air
Barcelona is a city deeply rooted in Catalan culture and tradition. From human towers (referred to as “Castells”) to cava, this region has a bounty of things to do just begging to be explored. We’d visited Barcelona two times before, but hadn’t truly experienced the city until our latest trip.
Since we saw the Sagrada Familia (in its infinite construction) on our first visit, we decided to switch things up this time around. With only five days to discover the city, we turned to the Expedia Barcelona activities page for help. After debating each activity, we voted on our favorites and couldn’t have been happier with our choices.
Our first tour started with a personal pickup right outside of our hotel. Waiting for us was Nuria, our guide and chauffeur for the day. She was hard to miss as she was standing next our mode of transportation: a motorcycle complete with sidecar. This was my childhood dream in the making. We saddled up—Chris rode behind Nuria while I nestled in the sidecar—and then hit the road.
Cruising through Barcelona in the sidecar
There are only four sidecars in the city, and everywhere we went we were met with stares, waves, and enthusiastic honks. Nuria catered the two-hour trip to what we wanted to see in the city. Since we had already seen a few of the more well-known sights, she opted to take us to places we had yet to discover.
We winded up the hill to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) and stopped to take scenic photos of downtown Barcelona.
The best part of the tour was obviously that we were on a motorcycle, but it was also nice to have a private guide who was willing to go with the flow and cater to our wants. Besides, what better way to get a true 360-degree view of the city than on the backseat (or in the sidecar) of a motorcycle?
Exhausting the coolest means of traveling by land, we took to the skies for our next adventure. Despite our crack-of-dawn wake-up call, the sheer excitement of a hot air balloon ride kept us energized throughout our drive to the countryside.
Since we’ve experienced hot air balloon adventures before, we thought we were well-versed in what to expect. Luckily for us, our pilot had a few tricks up his sleeve.
Viewfinder Tip: Be sure to pack a sweater or jacket for your early morning balloon ride. The mornings in the countryside are quite cool.
We nestled into the basket with six other passengers while our pilot briefed us on flight safety. With the thrusters spewing their familiar flames, we began to float higher and higher.
The small medieval villages began to shrink in size as we soared. Unlike previous flights, we were soon in the clouds, higher than we had ever gone before. There’s honestly nothing like peacefully floating above the clouds. It’s eerily calm and terrifying at the same time.
Our flight took us over Catalan villages and farmlands. The Pyrenees mountains were in the distance, and if we looked closely we could even see Montserrat.
After an hour, our flight concluded with the best landing yet, and the pickup crew was already waiting for us. We then celebrated our successful journey with champagne and grilled cheese sandwiches that were toasted to perfection over the flames of the basket’s burners.
If you’re looking for a hot way to explore Catalonia, this is the way to do it.
What are your favorite ways to explore a new city?
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Chris and Tawny have had articles and videos published on USA TODAY TRAVEL, BBC Travel, Matador Network, as well as appeared as guest stars on TLC Asia's Fun Taiwan television series. When not on the road, you can find Chris and Tawny nestled in their home in Tacoma, Washington fueling up on coffee and cat cuddles while planning their future adventures. You can follow their travels on their blog, Instagram, and YouTube