I'm relatively new to these forums but everyone here has been super helpful with my trip planning thus far. I went on my first European trip in October, with 9 nights in Spain spread out across Barcelona, Granada, Cordoba and Seville.
I took some diligent notes throughout my trip to not just serve my memory better, but for you folks to help plan future trips around. I've provided just bullet-points and some occasional commentary to keep things succinct.
BARCELONA (3 nights, October 18-21)
-- Stayed in a Airbnb in El Born on Carrer de Sant Pere Mes Alt, right down the street from Palau de la Musica Catalana and near the Urquinaona station. This is a fun neighborhood if you want to be in the thick of everything while not surrounded by the Ramblas hoopla.
-- I arrived in Barcelona fairly late in the afternoon. By the time I was settled, it was already approaching dusk. I completed the Barri Gotic walk, on which I had my first tapas experience at a lively bar near Palau de la Generalitat.
-- I had a unique experience at the Roman Temple of Augustus, which was closed when I meandered past. However, a woman noticed me snooping around the building and invited me in. There was some type of board meeting going on in an adjacent room, but I was allowed to briefly observe the Roman columns completely alone. Pretty awesome moment, and the woman who let me in joked that I had "won the lottery."
-- La Sagrada Familia (did not disappoint at all)
-- Spontaneously walked up to Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau for a quick tour (well worth it!)
-- La Pedrera
-- I had my best meal in Barcelona at a somewhat upscale restaurant (the name escapes me) on Passeig de Gracia in Eixample. I had a salmon roll, filled with cheese, wrapped with ham and placed on potato slices. The servers aggressively pushed me to buy dessert. I acquiesced and ordered a crema catalana glazed with a sweet chocolate swirl. Delicious.
-- Casa Batilo (not as interesting as La Pedrera, though it has a very cool video guide)
-- Las Ramblas walk (not worth it)
-- I met a trio of French women who spoke no English at a wine bar directly across from Palau de la Musica Catalana. I know un peu de francais from my high school days, so we had a fun, broken conversation about politics, soccer, my hometown in the U.S., the best places to visit in Europe and more. An enjoyable way to end the evening.
-- Took a cab to Park Guell. The main sights in the Monumental Zone are crowded, but it only takes a bit of wandering and climbing up the hillside to find solitude among gardens and Gaudi's architecture.
-- The neighborhood directly beneath Park Guell is well worth exploring if you want a brief glimpse of "everyday" Barcelona.
-- Funicular to Montjuic, a place where I sorely wished I had spent more time.
-- Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. Most people seemed happy to just sit on the steps and enjoy the views, but I visited the actual museum. I am not much of an art guy, so I found grew weary after an hour or so. The frescoes are lovely.
-- I had a fun dinner at La Flauta in Universitat. This is a lively place where the bartender and guests are half of the entertainment. I met a Taiwanese photographer, a pair of Swedish women and a local couple. The Taiwanese photographer snapped a picture of the group of us enjoying tapas together. A lovely moment!
-- Went to Camp Nou for an FC Barcelona match. Very expensive and crowded, but highly recommended. European soccer matches are not at all like American sports experiences. Much less frills and crowd-pleasing mass entertainment, much more serious enjoyment of the action.
-- Finished my night with wine and champagne near Santa Maria del Mar
Departure to Granada
-- I did not get to see Picasso Museum, Palau de la Musica Catalana, Santa Maria del Mar, Fundacio Joan Miro, Montserrat and others...