Barcelona is beautiful. It’s streets are linked together like lattice-work and its art nouveau architecture is unique in the world. I’ve had the opportunity to visit twice now and on this second trip, I was introduced to its Crossfit community.
Where to sweat
When we weren’t eating churros or visiting monumental buildings, we got in quite a few workouts in Barcelona. Of the trip to Europe, I actually enjoyed the Barcelona Crossfit community more (sorry Italy!). There were a lot of boxes to choose from (just a quick Google search shows me 20 within the city) and they were all very welcoming to drop-ins. The style reminded me a lot more of American Crossfit boxes, too. They were quick, focused, and hard.
Crossfit Sant Martí
In general, Crossfit affiliates in Europe seem to open a teensy bit later than the ones in the US. In this case, the earliest time we were able to go was at 7am, which still left enough time before my conference began. (I love being able to get in a workout before heading into conference sessions whenever possible.)
The space at Sant Martí was so ample that it left enough room for us to do open gym, even while classes were ongoing. (My husband took full advantage of this.) It’s situated in an old warehouse, so as you walk in, the building opens up to the side, allowing for multiple areas with racks, weights, and other equipment.
Most mornings, the classes rotate, so while we attended a regular Crossfit session one day, we ended up going to a special weightlifting class the next focusing specifically on the clean. While I like the simplicity of schedules that allow you to do the same thing every morning, it was cool to see the different styles of coaching.
On our final day in Barcelona, we stayed in a hotel much closer to the Sagrada Familia. Surprisingly, there’s a fair amount of Crossfit affiliates in the center of the city and AlphaLink was just a few blocks away. If you’re thinking of visiting Sagrada Familia but want to get a workout in the same day, this is definitely the place to go.
We only got to stop here for one day, but it was a great community. The head coach actually trains in Brazil quite a bit, so it was fun to chat with him about his experience. He gave us a few challenging EMOMs that got both Gustavo and I panting like dogs:
12 push press (35/25kg)
Every 10 minutes for 30 minutes:
30 kettlebell swings (24/16kg)
12 strict pull-ups
It was super cool for us to be able to run around in the historical part of Barcelona and, at night, it was a nice way to still get outside and see the city while working out. There was a pizzeria right next door though and the smell made running super difficult – I wanted a pizza!
When walking is your WOD
During our two weeks in Europe, we tried to go to Crossfit as much as possible but there were a few holidays interspersed throughout our stay. Since I’m not a huge fan of running, especially when traveling since it irritates my knee, I try to opt for walking as much as possible.
In Barcelona, we weren’t able to do as much sightseeing since most of my days were filled with the conference I was attending. Nevertheless, a few highlights were:
Tapas in the Gothic Quarter at L’Antiquari. We stumbled upon this place at night when they had live music playing outside under the stars. The balatas bravas and tomato bread were especially savory here.
Sagrada Familia, the epic cathedral that’s still under construction and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Definitely book tickets with a time online before so you don’t end up waiting in line and to take advantage to the climb to the top of the tower for some amazing views. Pro-tip: we stayed at the Ayre Hotel, which is directly in front of the Sagrada Familia. You can get a room that looks on the church or you can visit the publicly accessible rooftop to get some amazing views.
La Boqueria, a market in the center of Barcelona. You can find all sorts of local foods here. While we didn’t make it this time – remember, it’s closed on Sundays folks – I went last time I was in Barcelona and was impressed with its sheer size. If you like jamón, it’s a must.
The subway system in Barcelona works really well and is affordable. We bought a 10-trip ticket for 20€ and were able to walk everywhere in between. So when all else fails, I highly recommend exploring on foot – it’s the best way to find little treasures throughout the city.