Recently had the pleasure of spending three amazing days in Barcelona. It was truly one of our favorite trips + we instantly fell in love with the city. We took a different approach to this trip + it has now inspired us to write about how we achieved the perfect fit vacation without setting foot in the gym!
Barcelona…in a hot minute. Fat Tire Bike 🚴 Tour Day 1 was such a great idea! Thanks Nicky for such an informative tour! We ❤️you! . . . #parqueguell #barcelona #spain #barceloneta #sagradafamilia #gaudi #fitlife #fitfam #travel #fattirebarcelona #fattirebiketours
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Our biggest worry when we plan a vacation is how are we going maintain our fitness goals + avoid feeling like crap. Yeah, if your body is used to daily workouts, it does chemically go through withdrawal symptoms when you take away its drug, in our case endorphins, those happy post-workout hormones. We typically choose hotels around gym quality. After some time on Trivago we decided on a nice + well-priced hotel with an acceptable gym + awesome breakfast buffet. After checking in at the OLIVIA BALMES HOTEL we immediately went up to check out the gym. It’s ok, not great. Just a few pieces of cardio equipment + one of those garbage multi-purpose towers. And the rooftop pool is perfect for lounging, but forget about swimming laps. It’s tiny. Fortunately, the weather was amazing, so we used that limited time in the city, to see/do as much as possible using the journey around as our exercise.
Confirmation: The Breakfast Buffet was even better than expected! Scrambled eggs (without hidden dairy), perfectly steamed asparagus, grilled zucchini, eggplant, peppers + mushrooms? Uber-fresh fruit including our favs, pineapple + kiwi? All the Nespresso I want? SOLD!
BIKER GANG. Our fitness adventure began with a bike tour of the city. We used a company called FAT TIRE TOURS. The excellent reviews on Trip Advisor were true! Booking was easy + the service was great. We met the tour operator, Nicky at the Placa de Sant Jaume in Barcelona’s Gothic District, boarded our bikes + departed on a tour of some of the major landmarks in the city including SAGRADA FAMILIA, Arc De Triomf, Park De La Catalunya, Santa Maria Del Mar, Cathedral of Barcelona + Barceloneta Beach. We enjoyed the pace of the tour (way better than Fat Tire Paris) + gained a great understanding of the city + its level of bike friendliness. There are decent-sized bike lanes almost everywhere + the grid-like nature of the city allows for pretty easy navigation.
BIKE RENTAL. Inspired, we decided to rent bikes for the remainder of our trip. We used a company called DONKEY REPUBLIC. They have bikes stationed all around the city. Using their app, we simply picked bikes at one of their hubs, conveniently right outside our hotel, booked them for 2 days + just like that, we were off. The system was really user-friendly, + locking/unlocking the bike anywhere in the city was easy with their app. We grabbed our Donkeys + rode up to PARK GUELL, the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site designed by Gaudi. It’s a great ride through the hipster neighborhood of Gracia. It’s uphill the whole way so our quads definitely got a good workout, our lungs were burning a fair amount + we built up quite a sweat by the time we got to the park.
TIP: Save cash + skip the “monument section” of Park Guell. Getting the tickets is a pain in the ass + they tie you to a specific time. We were disappointed to learn that there really wasn’t much to the restricted area of the park. The majority of the park can actually be seen + enjoyed from the free general admission area. We spent an hour or so running around + exploring the park while taking in the spectacular views of the city + snapping some great videos + photos.
Next we rode down to Barceloneta beach using the iconic Avenue Las Ramblas, taking in the statue of Columbus + the super yachts in the port of Barcelona along the way. Barceloneta is quite amazing, the whole beach was built especially for the 1992 summer Olympics. They’ve really capitalized on it. It’s in pristine condition with great bars + restaurants all along the boardwalk which runs the length of the beach landmarked at either end by the sail like W Hotel at one end + a giant gold fish sculpture at the other. WE stopped along the way for Whitney to test out her climbing skills on a pretty cool rope structure.
Following our #1 travel rule: When physical activity presents itself…DO IT! Rented bikes, packed bag + nomaded around the sights. Covered so much more of the city in 2 days than could’ve otherwise dreamed! Promise no children were harmed during jungle gym summit, of course, couldn’t resist renting a stand up paddleboard amidst stunning sparkling sea. Despite not having set foot in a gym, not missing it! Loved the beachside bars + restos. LA, time to up your 🌊 game! . . . #barceloneta #Barcelona #beach #playa #sup #standuppaddle #fun #love #active #fitfam #fitcouple #fitspo #travel #eurotrip
PADDLE OUT, BRAH! After all our riding, we were quite hot + sweaty so we decided to cool off in the brilliant blue waters of the Balearic Sea. Right on the beach we found a great company called PUKAS SURF where we rented paddle boards + oars. They had changing rooms, showers + a secure area to leave valuables. SUP rental was totally reasonable, around 12 Euros an hour. We grabbed our boards hit the water for an aggressive hour of paddle. Great way to finish our very active day. Shocker, we then biked home, showered up + biked back out for beachside boozing. How? Tequila + fresh lime! No wasted calories.
CLEAN EATS! The other major stressor for us when traveling abroad is food, specifically whether or not we will be able to find healthy, fresh legitimately ENTREE-SIZED green salads + lean protein. Whitney needs her daily 5lbs of leafy green vegetables or she turns into The Hulk on a rampage (hahaha). We had our concerns about this in Barcelona, land of Paella, jamón + bread. Luckily, the very helpful guide from Fat Tire Tours gave us some recommendations. We were not disappointed. We had two brilliant lunches, one at a place called FLAX & KALE + another at TERESA’S. Owned by the same company, these two restaurants offered a wide variety of organic, healthy, green food, fish + drinks. We even left inspired with some new meal ideas to try + prepare when we returned to LA! Ciao, Food Boredom!
Yes, we’re human! We did indulge a little too. Found an amazing bakery in the Gothic District called La Colmena. Or rather, Whitney almost tripped over her own feet when she saw their window display. So yeah, we didn’t wait til Paris for pastry. Good Call! We ate the most uniquely delicious meringue. Crispy on the outside but marshmallowy on the inside with a gorgeous swirl. It was spectacular + well worth the calories. We also could not leave Barcelona without having tapas, so after a recommendation from our hotel concierge, we tried TELEFERIC which had tasty + healthy tapas, including salmon tartare x2 (Round 1 was that good!), grilled octopus, scallops, + kale salad. O, lastly, there are ample markets to buy copious amounts of insanely cheap bottled water to stay hydrated during your many excursions.
All in all, we had an amazing time in Barcelona! We ate healthy, got tons of exercise + fell in love with a brilliant city. It’s incredibly green, everyone speaks English, plenty of bike lanes, fun to be had during the day + at night, great food + plenty of ways to stay active. So if you’re looking for an active, fitness-forward vacation, Barcelona should definitely be on your list!