Flying in a Helicopter over Barcelona
“Síganme y descubran mi Barcelona”
There are so many ways to explore Barcelona. The strolling around Las Ramblas, climbing the never-ending stairs of La Sagrada Familia, but what about the water and the air? What about that true 360 angle. Experience Barcelona in a way you never have before.
A helicopter ride has always been an experience I’ve wanted to do. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s the sense of floating. Maybe it’s the thought of being the perfect height where the people and the cars look like ants below, whilst the buildings and monuments stand tall and proud.
I’d seen photos and videos of helicopter experiences before and every time, it looks a blast. I never considered that one day I would have the opportunity to fly in one, especially not over Barcelona, one of the most iconic cities in the world.
Alex and I travelled to Barcelona from Rome. I must say, that was a very good summer. Flying from East Midlands Airport to Rome, Rome for a few days and then off to Barcelona before taking the night bus to Benidorm.
I had all these massive plans for that summer. I’m not even too sure how we executed them all. Go to Rome, see the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain, go to the Vatican and see the Sistine Chapel, travel to Barcelona, climb La Sagrada Familia, explore Park Guell and still spend 5 weeks in Benidorm, where I still wanted to visit the island and do Keeper for a Day at Mundomar. You can imagine that Alex wasn’t too impressed when I started googling more things to do.
Well, that’s when I came across Get Your Guide.
I found a fantastic looking tour that included a helicopter ride and a boat trip. It also included a walking tour.
The first part of the tour was the walking tour. We truly believed this to be our punishment that we’d have to persevere through in order to get to the fun bit.
How wrong we were.
We had a fantastic guide, Marc, he was not far off our age. He clearly loved his home city, Barcelona. His eyes lit up when showing us the gothic quarter and if anybody could make history come alive, it was him.
Tales of ancient Barcelona, Barcino, were retold with passion and fire. We saw the church where Gaudi prayed, the marks from where the gothic quarter was bombed during the Spanish Civil War and even the settings of recent films. We even took part in some lucky rituals. Touching the lucky turtle and walking backwards under the archway.
We were seeing Barcelona in a way we’d have never found ourselves.
We then headed through La Boqueria on Las Ramblas, the famous public market, where we had a fruit smoothie before heading down to the port for the second part of our trip.
The boat trip was a nice addition to the trip. We took a straight ride out of the harbour and saw the coastline of Barcelona. The boat was a relaxing break from all the walking in the July heat. However, there’s not much to see when you’re sat on an open-top boat as the rain begins to pour down.
I had done my research. Always book a helicopter ride for the earliest time on your trip. Don’t leave it as a big finale. Otherwise, you could end up not doing it, at all, which happened to quite a few people. Some things you can’t predict. Some things, like the weather, are just uncontrollable.
When we arrived back at the harbour we were informed the helicopter ride would have to be postponed. We left our mobile number and were told we would be called should the weather clear up, but with the thunder already starting to sound, it seemed very unlikely. We were told if we didn’t get in the air today, we would be a high priority for the next day.
Much to the dismay of the other group, who had their transfer picking them up in less than 4 hours. They had saved the tour as a firework closer to their holiday and instead were left disappointed.
We decided to stick around central Barcelona. We were on standby to meet back in the port and be up in the air if it was safe to do so. We ended up walking back around Las Ramblas, searching for a Pandora, that doesn’t actually exist as a standalone shop and visited some more of Gaudi’s work.
A few hours later, the storm had broken and we were given clearance to fly.
Arriving at the heliport is a surreal experience. I was nervous and excited. Seeing the helicopter lifting up, I began to wonder what I’d got us in to. After all, it was all my idea.
You have to check in at the heliport, just like an airport. Showing your tickets and your passport at the security gate. We then had to go through customs, bags went through the scanners, we went through the scanners. It was like a supermini airport. Nothing could be taken on the flight, but it had to pass through customs to go in the lockers.
Once we were through, I was invited by the pilot to take the front seat with him.
The pilot told me that he would take off by raising slowly, with the nose pointing downwards. Sitting up front, I wasn’t sure how I was going to take this. But, as soon as it starting to climb, all nerves dropped.
There is a strange sense of calm, mixed with the ultimate buzz, when you’re in the air and below you is just sea and stunning architecture. I wanted to look in every direction of every window, I didn’t want to miss anything. Seeing La Sagrada Familia out of the window is a memory, I always keep. It was only for a few brief moments, but I’m glad I saw it.
We followed the coast along, before looping and turning back. Even though it was a very short ten-minute ride, it certainly had an impacting wow factor.
I would definitely fly in a helicopter again.
We took the 360 Barcelona Tour experience that was organised by Get Your Guide. We paid £118 for two adults, which in my opinion was an absolute bargain. Upon viewing their website, this experience has now risen to £99 per person. You can view the excursion and find more details by following this link*: 360 Tour of Barcelona. We booked on July 9, 2016 and attended on July 22nd, 2016.
Other activities in Barcelona I would recommend are:
Skip the Line at La Sagrada Familia: Fast Pass La Sagrada Familia with Tower Access
Entering Park Guell, to the paid area: Skip the Line at Park Guell
Camp Nou Experience: Camp Nou Museum and Tour
Have you been to Barcelona? Have you flown in a helicopter before? Let me know!