Barcelona: Exploring the Heart of Spain's Mediterranean Gem
Arts & Culture
Food & Wine
Welcome to Barcelona, Spain—a captivating blend of history, art, and contemporary energy. Along the Mediterranean coast, this city showcases Gothic wonders and Gaudí's imagination. From vibrant markets to sun-soaked beaches, Barcelona's essence is best discovered by wandering its lively neighborhoods. From the iconic Sagrada Família to the bustling La Rambla, this guide is your key to unraveling the heart of this dynamic destination.
The Fora Difference
Book with Laura to access exclusive perks and experiences on your trip.
Free upgrades, spa credits and more—we got you
Customized travel planning for your style
Expert advice from people who’ve actually been there
Where to stay in Barcelona, Spain
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.
$100 food / beverage credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Adults-only hotel located in the Gothic Quarter with polished rooms and suites.
$50-100 activity credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Hotel Neri Relais & Châteaux
A vibrant, stylish escape, housed in two meticulously restored buildings in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter.
Unlock perks by contacting Laura to book your trip.
Things to do in Barcelona, Spain
Exploring the Gothic Quarter
Lose yourself in the labyrinthine streets of the Gothic Quarter, where medieval alleys lead to charming squares, hidden courtyards, and architectural gems like the Barcelona Cathedral. It's a journey through time and a reminder of the city's rich history.
Explore the city's architectural wonders, from Antoni Gaudí's spellbinding creations like the Sagrada Família and Park Güell to the intricate facades of the Gothic Quarter. Barcelona's diverse architectural heritage is a testament to its rich history and artistic innovation.
Passeig de Gràcia
Passeig de Gràcia is a must-visit avenue that perfectly encapsulates Barcelona's charm and elegance. Lined with stunning modernist architecture, including Gaudí's Casa Batlló and La Pedrera, it's a paradise for architecture enthusiasts. In addition to world-class shopping at upscale boutiques, this boulevard offers a delightful blend of cafes, restaurants, and cultural landmarks, making it an essential part of any Barcelona itinerary.
Thriving Art Scene
Immerse yourself in Barcelona's thriving art scene, home to museums like the Picasso Museum and the contemporary delights of MACBA. Wander through the Raval neighborhood to discover dynamic street art that adds a modern layer to the city's artistic tapestry.
Embrace the Mediterranean lifestyle at Barceloneta Beach, where sun, sand, and relaxation beckon. Enjoy beachside strolls, take part in water sports, or simply unwind at chiringuitos (beachside bars) as you soak in the stunning views of the sea.
Bunkers del Carmel
Seek stunning panoramic views from Bunkers del Carmel, a hidden gem that offers an unrivaled vista of Barcelona's skyline. As the sun sets, the city's lights begin to twinkle, creating a magical atmosphere that's perfect for capturing unforgettable moments.
Indulge in the culinary wonders of Barcelona, from savoring tapas in local bars to enjoying seafood paella along the coast. Immerse yourself in the local market culture, whether it's the bustling La Boqueria or the authentic Mercat de Sant Antoni.
Barcelona's tapestry of experiences is a blend of history, art, beachside bliss, and vibrant traditions. Each adventure you embark upon adds a new layer to your understanding of this captivating city, making every visit a unique and unforgettable one.
Just a short train ride away from Barcelona, Montserrat is a stunning mountain range that houses the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat. The dramatic rock formations and breathtaking views make it a favorite day trip destination. You can take a funicular or hike to the monastery, explore the Black Madonna statue, and enjoy the serene surroundings. The Montserrat Boys' Choir also performs at specific times, adding a musical touch to your visit.
Girona and Costa Brava
Girona, a charming medieval city, and the nearby Costa Brava coastline are perfect for a day of exploration. Wander through Girona's cobbled streets, visit the cathedral with its famous Gothic nave, and take in the colorful houses along the Onyar River. Afterward, head to Costa Brava to enjoy the picturesque beaches, hidden coves, and crystal-clear waters. The town of Tossa de Mar, with its historic castle overlooking the sea, is a popular spot along this coastline.
Both Montserrat and Girona/Costa Brava offer a taste of different aspects of Catalonia, from its spiritual heritage to its natural beauty, making them fantastic day trips to complement your Barcelona experience.
Places to eat & drink in Barcelona, Spain
An innovative culinary venture, Pakta fuses Japanese and Peruvian influences in its dishes. Part of the Adrià brothers' culinary empire, this Michelin-starred restaurant provides an exceptional tasting experience that showcases the intersection of flavors and cultures in a uniquely Barcelona setting.
This Michelin-starred restaurant, led by Chef Jordi Cruz, offers an elegant and refined dining experience. ABaC's modern approach to Catalan cuisine, coupled with its dedication to seasonal ingredients and impeccable service, makes it a must-visit for food enthusiasts seeking a blend of creativity and sophistication.
With a Michelin star, Disfrutar is a culinary gem created by three former El Bulli chefs. The restaurant offers an avant-garde approach to Catalan cuisine, transforming traditional flavors into artistic presentations that tantalize the senses and offer a truly unique dining experience.
Although located just outside of Barcelona in Girona, El Celler de Can Roca is often considered one of the world's best restaurants. With three Michelin stars, it's a culinary masterpiece created by the Roca brothers, offering an unforgettable gastronomic journey that blends creativity and innovation.
Offers a culinary experience that beautifully blends traditional Catalan flavors with a modern twist. With a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, Berbena delights diners with creative dishes that showcase the region's gastronomic heritage while embracing contemporary culinary techniques. The charming ambiance and impeccable service make it an excellent choice for those seeking a memorable dining adventure in the heart of the city.
Need to Know
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Lisbon: Where Past and Present Embrace.
Get in touch with Laura
Did you like this guide? Reach out to customize and book your own experience. Or, just to chat about travel in general.
You can normally expect a response from Laura within a business day or so. You'll also be subscribed to our travel newsletter (you can unsubscribe at any time).
This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Barcelona.