Barcelona, a city I’ve called home for some time now, loved by tourists and locals alike. Lots of people have their own opinion on the best food, attractions and beaches that the city has to offer, so today I thought I’d walk you through the city myself. My own mini guide to one of Europe’s most beloved hotspots.
Firstly and most importantly in my opinion; where to eat? You can’t enjoy the rest of the city if you’re fighting the stomach grumbles now can you. Of course Barcelona is famed for its Tapas, Pintxos but you can please even the most picky eater with a wealth of choice and restaurants available.
El Arbol – Brunch is fast becoming an institution throughout the city, with new restaurants popping up every week. This one offers modern twists on Brunch classics. A perfect cure to any hangover if you’ve been out partying with the locals the night before.
Antic Teatre – One of my favourite spots within the city. Originally an abandoned theatre, the bar came to be when its owners needed to find a way to keep the project going. Mull over the days events in the courtyard decorated with fairy lights, it offers a space of tranquillity in the middle of Barcelona’s bustling streets.
Sol Soler – Located in the neighbourhood of Gracia, this is one of my favourite spots for Tapas. THE best chicken wings I have ever had. It also gives you the perfect excuse to explore the area, with its laid back cool vibe, it’s a popular hotspot for the young and old.
Okay, now that you are suitably satisfied. Where to visit? Barcelona is one of the few cities I believe truly has something for everybody. You can spend the morning on the beach, watch the sunset from the mountains and visit a football stadium in between.
Palau de la Música: A place I still think remains under the radar for most long weekenders. While Gaudi remains at the top of everybody’s list, this offers something a little different. Situated in El born, the concert hall doesn’t look like much from the outside but behind closed doors is a marvel of 20th Century modernism. Definitely worth checking out.
Estación de Francia- Functional and beautiful, the station is the second busiest within the city. Built in 1926 and opened in 1929, the building is full of hidden statues, and marvellous structures. Be sure to find the station’s two owls if you visit, strategically placed to keep away those pesky pigeons! The city’s Zoo and Arc de Triomf are all within walking distance too, the perfect afternoon.
Bunkers el Carmel – City air got too much for you? Breathe in some fresh air away from the hustle and bustle and get amazing views at the same time. While there’s no denying the place can feel a little over crowded. It’s my favourite place to get a view of the whole city. My top tip would be to get there around 6pm, carry up some take-away pizza and watch the sun go down. Perfect.
If you’re spending more than just a weekend here, or you’ve visited before and want to try something new; the city is a stone’s throw away from other iconic Spanish destinations.
Montserrat: Just an hour outside of Barcelona by train, Montserrat is truly breathtaking. Take the Cable Car up to the top for the best views!
Sitges: Well known in Catalonia for its Carnival. Sitges is a compact little town South West of the city. Quiet during the off-season the town comes alive during the Summer months, boasting all night parties and fun. Full to the brim with galleries and museums, Sitges can satisfy anybody’s taste buds.
Penedès Region: The perfect backdrop for any countryscape photograph to remember your trip. The region is world renowned for its production of Cava and other catalan wines. With a variety of companies offering tours of vineyards and tasting experiences, block out an afternoon to explore the rest of Cataluna with a glass of bubbles, you won’t be disappointed!
Top tips for Barcelona
Ask the locals – The high volume of tourists throughout the year means a lot of places are busy year round, making it easy to fall into the trap of only seeing one side of the city and a crowded one at that! Speak to the locals to find some hidden gems.
Satisfy your Wanderlust – Barcelona is full of winding streets, it’s one of my favourite places to ‘get lost’ in. Put down your Google Maps for the afternoon and see what you can find.
Don’t just go to the beach – The biggest mistake you can make is just sitting on the beach. Most of the authentic experiences to be had in Barcelona take place away from the sand. If you want a ‘beach’ holiday there are plenty of other Spanish cities with nicer beaches too!
Live according to ‘Spanish’ Time – This is one of the things I found the hardest when I first moved to the city but it really will help you make the most of your time in BCN. It is perfectly normal to still be eating dinner at 1 am, so pack some snacks!
Be vigilant but enjoy yourself – Over the years, the city has built up a reputation of pick-pocketing, while it’s something to keep in mind, particularly in tourist areas. Make sure you still enjoy yourself. You’re in one of Europe’s best cities after all!
Have you visited Barcelona? Where were your favourite places in the city?