Relaxing in Park Güell – Barcelona

Often times, when you think of Barcelona one of the first things that comes to mind is Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí was a Spanish Catalan architect that is best known for his masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia, which is one of the most visited monuments in Spain. Gaudí’s artistic influence stretches far beyond the Sagrada Familia and can be seen all throughout the streets of Barcelona.

Relaxing in Park Güell - Barcelona

One of Gaudí’s (slightly) lesser known, but just as worthy masterpieces is Park Güell. The park is situated on Carmel Hill, near the Grácia neighborhood, and its location provides stunning views of Barcelona and the sea in the distance. Park Güell is open to the public and is comprised of gardens and architectural components around every corner.

Relaxing in Park Güell - Barcelona

Park Güell has two different areas: the Monumental Zone which requires an entrance fee and a required time slot (I highly suggest reserving your ticket online ahead of time), and the free access area which is open to the public at no charge.

We explored the Monumental Zone which I definitely recommend, it’s the most popular area of Park Güell and the architecture is so unique.

Relaxing in Park Güell - Barcelona

Relaxing in Park Güell - Barcelona

Relaxing in Park Güell - Barcelona

Relaxing in Park Güell - Barcelona

This area is known as the Hypostyle Room and the interior of the room used to serve as a market for the estate. The columns in this room are huge and the ceiling is formed of small domes built using the Catalan vault technique.

Relaxing in Park Güell - Barcelona

Relaxing in Park Güell - Barcelona

My favorite area in the Monumental Zone was Nature Square which sits above the Hypostyle Room. The bench weaves around the square and is decorated with tile-shard mosaic and cylindrical pieces of pottery. The decoration covering the bench is incredibly vibrant and each section of the bench boasts a unique, attention grabbing design.

Relaxing in Park Güell - Barcelona

Not only are your eyes immediately drawn to the colorful designs blanketing the bench, but the views beyond the bench are breathtaking. Nature Square provides incredible views of Barcelona and the sea off in the distance.

Relaxing in Park Güell - Barcelona

Relaxing in Park Güell - Barcelona

Relaxing in Park Güell - Barcelona

Another one of my favorite areas of the Monumental Zone was the Monumental Flight of Steps. The steps start from the entrance square and are full of detail including more vibrant colors with tile-shard mosaics.

Relaxing in Park Güell - Barcelona

Relaxing in Park Güell - Barcelona

Relaxing in Park Güell - Barcelona

Park Güell is full of unique architectural elements and vibrant colors around every corner. It’s truly an incredible masterpiece by Gaudí and is certainly worth a visit if you’re in Barcelona. You could literally spend hours wandering through the park experiencing all of Gaudí’s architectural influence. Not only is the architecture worth a visit to the park, the views of Barcelona and the sea in the distance are also stunning.

Have you explored Park Güell? What was your favorite part of the park?

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Colorfully Captivating Spain

After traveling through the Netherlands, Belgium and France, arriving in Spain was bittersweet. On one hand we were thrilled to be in a country where we speak the language, but on the other hand we knew Spain meant our adventure was nearing an end. We started our time in Spain in Barcelona which meant a lot of Antoni Gaudí architecture, FC Barcelona, and the beach.

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The Sagrada Familia was my favorite of Gaudí’s work despite it being under construction. A majority of the outside is still being completed but the inside was absolutely incredible. Unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, it was breathtaking. Huge vaulted ceilings with gorgeous white pillars. Stained glass lined the walls letting in light of shades of blue, green, red, and orange. It was truly incredible and something not to be missed if you’re in Barcelona. The entire Sagrada Familia isn’t supposed to be completed for another 10-15 years so I’ll definitely be making a trip back when it’s complete. As a side note, we paid to go up into one of the towers and I would not suggest doing it! It wasn’t worth it- the top part of the Sagrada Familia is under construction so you can’t see hardly any of the building and you can get even better views of the city from Park Güell or Montjuïc, so I would suggest skipping the towers and getting your city views for free.

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Another highlight of our time in Barcelona was touring the FC Barcelona stadium, Camp Nou. Sant and I are both big fútbol fans so we loved getting to see the locker room and stand on the sidelines of the field. The tour is an awesome portrayal of FC Barcelona as a club and all their success throughout the decades.

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Our next stop in Spain was Zaragoza which is a seriously underrated city in Spain. It was beautiful and the Basilica of Pilar was absolutely incredible! A gorgeous church that was so bright and welcoming which was a nice change from all the gothic cathedrals we’ve been in lately that just seem very dark and gloomy. Zaragoza is often overlooked by travelers, but it’s definitely worthy of a visit.

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Madrid was our next stop, which I won’t go into much detail on right now since I’ve written tons of posts about my time studying abroad in Madrid. You can read all my previous Spain posts here. Let’s just say Madrid consisted of a lot of Ópera Pizza, churros con chocolate at San Ginés, and sangria.

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Córdoba was next on our list and was both of our first times being in southern Spain. Let me just start off by saying, WOW, it was really hot. It was quite a shock to go from mid 50s-60s in the Netherlands and Belgium to high 90s in Spain. Anyway, we only got to see a few things in Córdoba since we were there on a Monday and unfortunately Monday is their day of rest so most of the attractions and things we wanted to see were closed.. bummer! Nonetheless, we got to explore the Mosque-Cathedral which is one of the largest and most significant monuments in the Islamic west and it had some gorgeous architecture throughout!

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We also got to explore the Alcázar of Córdoba which the gardens actually ended up being our favorite part of the Alcázar. They were gorgeous and full of beautiful flowers, fountains and ponds.

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Since southern Spain is so hot during the summer, it’s typical for houses to have a patio in which they completely cover with flowers and plants so it gives them a cool place to relax in the hot southern sun. Seeing all the patios was one of my favorite parts of Córdoba because they were so beautiful and unique to southern Spain.

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Our last stop in Spain was Seville which we were both really excited for since it’s the sister city to our hometown, Kansas City. Plaza de España was one of my favorite things in Seville since the architecture at the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City is resembled after the architecture in the Plaza de España. It was really nice to get a little slice of home all they way in Spain.

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One of the other things I loved in Seville was the amazing tapas we had at Dúo Tapas. I really can’t rave about them enough, they were so delicious! Our Airbnb hosts recommended this restaurant to us and I’m so glad they did. We ordered the patatas bravas, duck magret and beef tenderloin and everything was perfect! I highly recommend checking out Dúo Tapas for tasty, affordable, modern tapas in Seville. You won’t regret it!

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Spain has been and continues to be one of my favorite countries in Europe. It’s the country I’ve explored the most, but yet there’s still so much left to see. We are sad to be saying goodbye to Spain, but we know we’ll be back (especially since we’re slightly obsessed with Ópera Pizza, haha). The next and final stop on our European backpacking adventure is London, so stay tuned for an inside look at our time touring the Warner Bros. Studio (Eeek! I’m so excited!).

I’ll be blogging for months after our trip is over about all the amazing things we experienced, saw, and tasted on our adventure. To continue following along, you can subscribe via email to receive notifications of new posts on the right sidebar. Also, you can follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for updates!

Exploring the Segovia Cathedral

Exploring the Segovia Cathedral

The Segovia Cathedral was one of my favorite parts of my day in Segovia. The cathedral is absolutely gorgeous, I feel like the exterior of the cathedral gives off a very bold statement which is a stark contrast to the elegance of the interior. The cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral built in the mid-sixteenth century and was the last Gothic cathedral built in Spain.

Exploring the Segovia Cathedral

Exploring the Segovia Cathedral

Exploring the Segovia Cathedral

It costs 3 euros to enter the cathedral and it’s definitely worth it. Or if you’re like me and my friends, we tagged on to the back of a big tour group and got in without paying.. shhhh don’t tell!

Exploring the Segovia Cathedral

The interior of the cathedral has a beautiful vaulted stone ceiling, gorgeous stained glass and stunning sculptures and altars in the various chapels (capillas). There are more than 20 chapels around the cathedral and some of the most prominent chapels include the Santísimo Sacramento, the Chapel of San Andrés, and the Chapel of the Deposition.

Exploring the Segovia Cathedral

Exploring the Segovia Cathedral

Exploring the Segovia Cathedral

Exploring the Segovia Cathedral

Exploring the Segovia Cathedral

As you can see, the cathedral is massive and there is a lot to explore. It’s definitely worth paying the entrance fee to see this stunning cathedral. You can also get a gorgeous view of the cathedral and the rest of Segovia from the top of the Alcázar tower.

Exploring the Segovia Cathedral

Segovia is a great day trip from Madrid and is a breath of fresh air (literally) to get away from the hustle and bustle of Spain’s capital. If you’re looking for more to see while you’re in Segovia, don’t miss out on the Roman Aqueduct and the Alcázar of Segovia!

Have you been to Segovia? What was your favorite part? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Exploring the Alcázar of Segovia

More times than not, when you think of Segovia the first thing that comes to mind is the Roman Aqueduct, but there’s so much more to see in this picturesque town. One of the best parts of my day in Segovia was exploring the Alcázar of Segovia which is a castle that has served many purposes over the years including a royal palace and military academy. Climbing the tower offers some spectacular views of Segovia and in my opinion the view itself makes the trip to the Alcázar worth it.

Exploring the Alcázar of Segovia

The Alcázar of Segovia is one of the most famous castles in Spain largely due to its amazing architecture. The castle lies inside a courtyard where you can buy tickets to explore the castle in the building to the left of the Alcázar.

Normal admission to the castle (museum) : 5 euros
Entrance to the tower: 2 euros
Free entrance to the museum every Tuesday from 14:00 to 16:00 for citizens of the European Union only.

You have the option to purchase tickets for only the museum, only the tower or both. I strongly suggest spending the extra 2 euros to climb up the tower, the views of Segovia and the surrounding landscape are breathtaking.

Exploring the Alcázar of Segovia
Exploring the Alcázar of Segovia

If you’re headed to Segovia in the summer you can expect to be surrounded by a lot of other tourists, as you can see in these pictures. Don’t let the crowds discourage you from visiting, it’s definitely worth it!

Exploring the Alcázar of Segovia

After purchasing our tickets, we spent time wandering through the museum exploring the numerous rooms including a throne room, chapel room, an armory, a kings room, and many, many more.

Exploring the Alcázar of Segovia
Exploring the Alcázar of SegoviaExploring the Alcázar of SegoviaExploring the Alcázar of SegoviaExploring the Alcázar of SegoviaExploring the Alcázar of SegoviaExploring the Alcázar of SegoviaExploring the Alcázar of Segovia

After thoroughly exploring the museum we decided it was time to climb the Torre de Juan II to find out what all the fuss was about. The staircase is pretty narrow and can get steep but nevertheless around and around we went up to the top.

Exploring the Alcázar of Segovia
Exploring the Alcázar of SegoviaExploring the Alcázar of Segovia
Exploring the Alcázar of SegoviaExploring the Alcázar of Segovia

It was definitely worth the climb to the top for that spectacular view of Segovia and the surrounding landscape. Segovia is about an hour from Madrid and is the perfect day trip for a short getaway from Spain’s bustling capital. Don’t miss exploring the Alcázar of Segovia and witnessing the stunning views of Segovia from the top of the tower.

Have you visited the Alcázar of Segovia? What was your favorite part? I would love to hear what you think- leave your thoughts in the comments below! 

[Photo Essay] Toledo, Spain

Madrid holds a special place in my heart but it doesn’t hold the “favorite Spanish town” award- for me, that would be Toledo. From the moment I stood outside the walls surrounding the town, I knew I was in for a treat. Narrow, cobblestone streets, cozy cafes, towering cathedrals, and an abundance of religion and history all bottled up within the walls waiting to be discovered. I think photos are the best way to show the beauty in Toledo but you can find more details on what to do and see in Toledo here.

[Photo Essay] Toledo, Spain
[Photo Essay] Toledo, Spain
[Photo Essay] Toledo, Spain[Photo Essay] Toledo, Spain[Photo Essay] Toledo, Spain
[Photo Essay] Toledo, Spain
[Photo Essay] Toledo, Spain

[Photo Essay] Toledo, Spain

Cathedral of Santa Maria of Toledo

[Photo Essay] Toledo, Spain

Architecture inside the Cathedral of Santa Maria

[Photo Essay] Toledo, Spain

Inside the Cathedral of Santa Maria

[Photo Essay] Toledo, Spain

Inside the Cathedral of Santa Maria

[Photo Essay] Toledo, Spain

Alcázar of Toledo

[Photo Essay] Toledo, Spain
[Photo Essay] Toledo, Spain[Photo Essay] Toledo, Spain

What are your thoughts on Toledo? What town steals your “favorite Spanish town” award? I would love to hear what you think- leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Hop on the Teleférico for the Best Views of Madrid

If you’re looking for the best panoramic views of Madrid, look no further!

Hop On the Teleférico for the Best Views of Madrid

Hop on the Teleférico de Madrid or more simply put, the cable car in Madrid that transports you from Parque del Oeste over the Manzanares River into Casa de Campo Park. This short ten minute ride offers spectacular bird’s eye views of Madrid and Casa de Campo, one of the city’s largest parks. The ride costs 4 euros for a one-way ticket and 5.8 euros for a round trip. To make it even cheaper, look for coupons in booklets handed out at hotels/hostels.

Hop On the Teleférico for the Best Views of Madrid

Crossing the Manzanares River offers impressive views of the Royal Palace and Almudena Cathedral sitting atop the hill (white buildings in the picture below).

Hop On the Teleférico for the Best Views of Madrid

Moving farther over Casa de Campo gives you an idea just how massive the park really is – about five times the size of Central Park in New York! There are trees covering the ground for as far as you can see.

Hop On the Teleférico for the Best Views of Madrid

Looking back toward the city provides stunning panoramic views of Madrid.

Hop On the Teleférico for the Best Views of Madrid
Hop On the Teleférico for the Best Views of Madrid

The ride ends at a building with a bar and restaurant, we grabbed some ice cream, sat, and enjoyed the lovely views of Madrid before hopping back on the Teleférico and heading toward the city again. The Teleférico is a fun, affordable way to get stunning views of Madrid and explore part of the city’s largest park.

Have you taken a ride on the Teleférico? Would you ever go? Have any other suggestions for great views of Madrid? I would love to hear what you think- leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Looking for more to do in Madrid? Don’t miss the best churros and chocolate at San Ginés or the city’s stunning bullfighting ring, Las Ventas.

A Must-See in Segovia: Roman Aqueduct

One of the greatest surviving monuments of Roman engineering.

A Must-See in Segovia: Roman Aqueduct || Travel Far, Eat Well

While I was studying abroad in Madrid, a couple friends and I wanted to get out of the city for a day so we purchased cheap tickets, hopped on a bus and headed to Segovia to spend the day exploring and enjoying the small-town atmosphere.

Upon arrival, we hurried off the bus, found a map of the city and set off toward the center for Segovia. After a short walk and several stops to gawk at shops and buildings along the way, we got our first glimpse of the magnificent Roman Aqueduct. I remember gazing at the aqueduct in awe and mumbling “wow” to myself as my friends and I hurried closer to get a better view.

A Must-See in Segovia: Roman Aqueduct || Travel Far, Eat Well

The aqueduct is the foremost symbol of Segovia and I started to understand why the closer I got to it. It’s truly magnificent to stand there and stare at its vast beauty in front of you. The aqueduct is huge (as to be expected), at its highest point, it rises 100 feet off the ground and is a couple thousand feet long. It was constructed in the 1st century AD to transport water 10 miles from the Frío River to the city of Segovia, Spain.

A Must-See in Segovia: Roman Aqueduct || Travel Far, Eat Well

Seeing the aqueduct from the front is beautiful but you don’t want to miss looking down the length of the aqueduct, it’s breathtaking. Climb the stairs on the left side near the aqueduct and you can witness this view too. One thing I noticed while we were there was that there were a TON of birds flying around above the aqueduct. Has anyone else witnessed this on their visit? I thought it was so bizarre and funny story- a friend of mine was worried about the birds pooping on her and she asked “They can’t go to the bathroom while flying, right?” wrong. Literally, a few minutes later a bird pooped on her head.. we had a really good laugh and she took it like a champ. Needless to say, we got away from the aqueduct quickly before anyone else fell victim to the flock of birds soaring above.

A Must-See in Segovia: Roman Aqueduct || Travel Far, Eat Well

The Roman Aqueduct in Segovia is truly spectacular and you don’t want to miss it! It’s a super easy day trip from Madrid and a breath of fresh air (literally) to get out of the city and enjoy the small-town atmosphere.

Have you been to the Segovia Aqueduct? Is it something you would like to see? I would love to hear your thoughts- leave them in the comments! Also, if you liked this post, please share it!