Food, Wine & Art: The Best of Barcelona, Spain

Advisor - Sari Laufer
Curated By

Sari Laufer

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  • Spain

  • Barcelona

  • Arts & Culture

  • City Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • International Travel

  • Solo Travel

  • Sightseeing

  • Local Food

  • Historical

stairs with city and mountains in the distance
Curator’s statement

The architecture! The food! The cava! Barcelona is a dream destination for anyone who loves food, loves wine, loves naps or loves art but not museums. With Gaudi-galore, every walk down these Catalan streets is a feast for the eyes and the taste buds.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay in Barcelona, Spain

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Kimpton Vividora Barcelona

In the heart of the bustling Gothic Quarter, a stylish sanctuary with splurge-worthy, balconied-suites and a lively rooftop pool scene.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

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

The One Barcelona

A sleek and modern stay in the heart of Barcelona, complete with a fabulous spa, gourmet dining and a dazzling pool with splendid views of the colorful city.

Fora Perks
  • Complimentary bottle of cava and chocolates & 20% discount on spa.

  • Daily breakfast.

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

El Palace Hotel Barcelona

This luxurious urban stay beautifully blends classic elegance and tasteful modernism, all with a well-honed appreciation for fabulous food and art.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit & €50 spa credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

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

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Advisor - Sari Laufer

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Things to do in Barcelona, Spain

palm trees with the beach and ocean in the background during daytime


No one is more synonymous with Barcelona than Antoni Gaudi! A truly sui generis artist, Gaudi is one of the geniuses of Modernism. While his architecture fills the streets, you're going to want to see Casa Mila/La Pedrera, Casa Batllo and Parc Guell at the very least. Go during the day to truly explore the wonders of his creations, but also consider going at night for a hip, sexy night of music.


Five generations of Barcelonians have watched the construction of La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's great unfinished masterpiece. During his work, Gaudi was famous for having said that his client was not in a hurry - and neither, does it seem, is the world. Not only is it the largest unfinished church in the world, but it is now part of a UNESCO world heritage site. Truly, words cannot describe the experience of this site. Give yourself several hours to explore, reflect and explore again. Pro tip: Buy timed tickets in advance, and skip the sometimes very long lines to get in!


If it's Europe, there must be another church to see! Barcelona Cathedral is the Gothic cathedral and seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. If you are lucky enough to be in Barcelona on a Saturday evening or a Sunday, you might get to watch (or join) Sardana dancers! The Sardana dance is important to the Catalans - the dance itself brings people together, and it is a symbol of their national pride and identity.


My husband will definitely tell you that I am not a museum person; part of why I love Barcelona is that most of the art is on the buildings and the streets. But, there are some fun museums in Barcelona - both the art kind and the more comestible side! Here are the ones I recommend:

  • Joan Miro Museum: Dedicated to the art of Catalan painter, sculptor and ceramicist Joan Miro. There are also some lovely outdoor areas to just sit and read and snack.

  • Museu Picasso/Picasso Museum: While Picasso was born in Malaga, and spent much of his life in France, it was Barcelona where the "father of Cubism" spent his formative artist years. It was here where he entered his "Blue Period," and here where he returned again and again.

  • Museu de Xocolata/Museum of Chocolate: Since the 15th century, chocolate has played a role in the socioeconomic fabric of Barcelona. This is a great stop if you are travelling with kids!

  • Jamon Experience Barcelona/Museum of Ham: I cannot personally tell you too much about this (for ritual reasons!), how bad could it be?


While most don't think of Barcelona as a beach destination, locals love and use the beach at Barceloneta, surfing and sunbathing on Sant Sebastià Beach. So, if you need a dose of sun and sea, you should head that way too! Sundays are family days at the restaurants in Barceloneta, so settle in for long, languid seafood lunch.


Barcelona is a foodie paradise, and La Boqueria (the main market) is the center of it all. Wander the stalls, eat lots of different kinds of jamon (I'm told!) and set yourself up for a great picnic at Park Guell or another of Barcelona's green spaces. Or, come for breakfast or lunch, have a seat with locals and order what they're having!


The big green hill of Barcelona, Montjuic was transformed for the 1929 World's Fair. Today, a cable car will take you up, where you can walk around, enjoy the wonderful city and sea views and visit the Olympic Stadium, the castle and fountains and the Miro Museum.


Mostly a tourist trap full of hawkers and souvenir stands, Las Ramblas is still the most famous and iconic of Barcelona's boulevards. While I don't recommend spending a lot of time here, you could do worse than stopping for a crema catalana, and if nothing else, you get to La Boqueria via Las Ramblas!


While this charming, medieval quarter of Barcelona is most bustling at night as people fill the restaurants, tapas bars and clubs, there's plenty to see and do during the day. Wander the narrow streets, shop for leather and jewelry, or hit up the weekend art market.


When you're ready for your tapas crawl, this neighborhood is where you'll want to be. Adjacent to the Barri Gothic, you'll find similar narrow, bustling, medieval streets, and during the day, you'll find designer boutiques and popular cafes.

If you book with me, I'll share my FAVORITE place to get shoes in all the world.....

Day Trips from Barcelona

Girona: Girona has one of the best-preserved medieval Jewish quarters in Spain; but also includes and celebrates reminders of its Moorish, Roman and Catholic past. And, while I would not know it, fans of Game of Thrones can walk in its footsteps, as it was featured in the series.

Figueres: If Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso only whet your appetite for art and art museums, you might enjoy a half-day trip to Figueres, the birthplace of Salvador Dali and home of the Dali Theater/Museum.

Sitges: Around 30 minutes from Barcelona is Sitges, sometimes called the St. Tropez of Spain. If you are just feeling the need for a luxe beach day, Sitges is the place to go. Pro tip: While most people flock in the summer, the microclimate of Sitges gives it around 300 sunny days a year, making it a lovely (if not suntanny) destination year-round.

Places to eat & drink in Barcelona, Spain

plates of food on a wooden table

Like the rest of Spain, Barcelona eats late - anytime much before 10pm and you might feel like you have the whole restaurant to yourself! Here are some recommendations - a combination of fancy sitdown and Boqueria food stalls. Truly, I'm not sure it is possible to have a bad meal in Barcelona, and you'll be well-served to pick a neighborhood like Barri Gothic or El Born and wander from street to street and tapas bar to tapas bar.

Paco Meralgo: While it claims to be a tapas bar, its location in fancy L'Eixample makes it a bit more of a relaxing, upscale dining experience. Plus, they take reservations! You'll find all your tapas favorites here, and you can trust they'll all be good.

Cal Pep: Another tapas experience with a sit-down vibe, Cal Pep is known for its seafood, and for just bringing you food until you say stop! You can try to make a reservation, or just get there "unfashionably" early, say, like, 9pm.

El Xampanyet: Stop by this El Born bar for a late lunch or a midday snack, but admit that what you're really going for is the cava, which has been flowing in this location since 1929. Fight your way to the bar and enjoy a glass (or 5, who's judging?) next to locals and tourists alike!

El Quim: Taking center stage at La Boqueria, El Quim serves up typical tapas in a fun and loud setting. For breakfast or lunch, don't miss the mushrooms in sherry!

Quimet y Quimet: Opened in 1914 as a wine shop, this tiny, standing-room-only spot serves up some of the city's best tapas. Eat cheese. Lots of cheese. Or just tell them what you do or don't eat, and let them keep bringing you delicious bites.

Can Majo: Sundays are for long family meals in Barceloneta, and Can Majo is one of the classics. Family-run since 1968, you can sit on the patio, stare out at the Mediterranean Sea and enjoy seafood fresh from Barceloneta market. I can't speak to it, but I heard the paella is excellent!

Restaurant Can Ros: A little farther inland in Barceloneta, Can Ros has been serving Barcelona wine since 1911 and food since the 1950s. Also family-run, you'll find traditional Catalan seafood staples.

Alkimia: Chef Jordi Vila runs this Michelin-starred restaurant, which (in his words) focuses on the past, present, and future of Catalan cooking. Reservations are required - this is no El Born tapas bar!

Disfrutar: The Eixample location gives a hint of what's to come with this high-end food and a high-end dining experience (with a high-end price tag). The three chefs who opened Disfrutar, which holds two Michelin stars, trained with Adria at El Bulli. So, expect molecular gastronomy, beautiful plates and definitively Mediterranean cuisine with an avant-garde twist.

Plan with me and you'll get an even longer list, plus a hint to some great Catalan hot cocoa!

Need to Know

Advisor - Sari Laufer

Travel Advisor

Sari Laufer

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Barcelona, part of our larger series on travel to Spain.