Indulge your Senses, Guide to Barcelona

Advisor - Simona Grinnell
Curated By

Simona Grinnell

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  • Spain

  • Barcelona

  • Arts & Culture

  • City Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Architecture

  • Foodie

  • Sightseeing

La Sagrada Familia on a sunny day in autumn surrounded by lush greenery.
Curator’s statement

I have frequented Barcelona in the past, often in the spring and fall, as a means to escape to fair-weather and find inspiration. The best way to explore the city is on foot and finding hidden gems like tapas bars, the best places for gazpacho and pitchers of Sangria. Nothing beats the sunset at the rooftop bars, connecting with locals and exploring the Catalan culture.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay Barcelona

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W Barcelona

An architect-designed hotel on the Barcelona Boardwalk, with 473 rooms and suites and a hotspot rooftop lounge and bar.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Wittmore Hotel

Adults-only hotel located in the Gothic Quarter with polished rooms and suites.

Fora Perks
  • $50-100 activity credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Hotel Arts Barcelona

Luxe high-rise hotel with upscale rooms and five on-site restaurants.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Things to do in Barcelona

Historical buildings on street with few people and cars in Barcelona on clear day.

I like to start my day early walking the streets of the sleepy city. People in Barcelona tend to start their day a bit later, so this is a great time to visit tourist hotspots and take your photos without the crowds. While out exploring your morning attractions, stop by some of the hidden courtyards to enjoy your morning espresso as you watch the city come alive for the day.

If you are looking for inspiration or you simply enjoy art and beautiful architecture, plan to visit La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera, Casa Batlló, Park Guell and many of the other distinct buildings, designed by the renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi.

If you have only dedicated a day to explore Barcelona's architecture - head to Catalunya en Miniatura, where you can see a 35000 sqm miniature theme park devoted to scale models. It is one of the largest miniature parks in the world and the largest of the 14 miniature building exhibitions present in Europe. It displays 147 models of palaces, churches, bridges and other building from Catalonia and Mallorca and it includes all the major works by Gaudi.

To capture some amazing photos with a scenic backdrop of the city you must visit Parc d'atraccions Tibidabo. It's a perfect way to spend the afternoon, taking the funicular railway to the top of Mount Tibidabo, which reveals some of the most picturesque views of Barcelona. If heights don't scare you, venture to the highest point in Barcelona at 550 metres above sea level by taking the 'Talaia'. 'Talaia' also offers the best views of the Sagart Cor church with its crypt, dating back to the early 1900's.

When the sun sets be sure to catch the magic light show at Font Màgica de Montjuïc (The magic fountain of Montjuic castle). The magic fountain is a spectacular display of music, colors, light, motion, and water acrobatics. (Times vary with seasons.)

Another must do in Barcelona is going to a flamenco show as Los Tarantos Barcelona, which is the oldest tablao in Barcelona. Opened in 1963, it still continues to welcome big names in the flamenco world as well as upcoming artists from the local and national scenes.

Places to eat & drink in Barcelona

Hot paella with mussels, shrimp and squid in pan with utensils and drink on the side on charcoal table.

Barcelona is definitely on my list of favorite culinary destinations. If you are a foodie like me, you will probably enjoy one of the culinary workshops that the Paella Club has to offer. Make sure you book ahead as the spots quickly sell out.

Walking around Barcelona you will notice the prominently displayed Jamón ibérico (Iberian ham), either hanging from the ceiling or on a beautiful wooden jamonero (ham holder) that grace all the traditional restaurants and bars. My husband and I never skip on ordering it with our tapas.


One of my favorites is heading to Placa Reial and sitting in the sun at one of the wonderful cafes and restaurants like GreenCo. Another favorite definitely worth checking out is Cremat 11, close to Picasso’s museum.


Strolling down La Rambla, you can get to La Boqueria Market where you can find anything from tapas to fresh groceries to gelato!

If you happen to be around the Gothic quarter – there are so many authentic restaurants and bars to choose from you can almost never go wrong. Some I recommend to check out are El Xampanyet, Bodega La Puntual, Taller de Tapas – Argenteria.

After visiting Park Güell, check out Güell Tapas.

If you are not partaking in a daily siesta, the afternoons are great for rooftop cocktail bars – some great choices are RoofTop Ohla Barcelona or The Pulitzer Terrace at Hotel Pulitzer.


Make sure you are planning ahead and have your reservation for dinner at RAÓ Restaurant.

Looking for fine dining? Disfrutar is the place to go.

For authentic local food that is off-the-beaten-path, Berbena has locally sourced cheeses and charcuterie options. The atmosphere will have you thinking you are in a Spanish grandma’s kitchen.

Finding yourself a top-notch paella when in Barcelona is a must – I recommend heading to Can Fisher. While there might be many options for beachfront paella, this is the spot locals also frequent.

If you are looking for clubs and nightlife head towards the beach – I had a lot of fun at the beachfront club Shoko.

Need to Know

In my opinion, no trip to Barcelona is complete without taking the short flight to Palma de Mallorca for some of the country’s most beautiful beaches.

Advisor - Simona Grinnell

Travel Advisor

Simona Grinnell

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