The Ultimate Guide to Barcelona
Food & Wine
Arts & Culture
There is so much to love about Barcelona. The combination of a cosmopolitan city with mountainous landscapes and endless beaches makes this the perfect location in my eyes. The beyond beautiful and unique architecture, the Spanish and Catalan food that just does not taste the same anywhere else in the world, the walkability, the shopping, and the passionate culture are the things that make Barcelona my favorite city of all time. Don’t push yourself to see it all in one trip – Barcelona is worth returning to often!
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Where to stay in Barcelona
Join the city’s coolest crowd at this 67-room gem, with gorgeous rooftop spaces and a hotspot natural wine bar.
H10 Casa Mimosa
Housed in a 19th-century Modernist building, this chic hotel is located around the corner from Gaudi's iconic Casa Milá.
Cotton House Hotel, Autograph Collection
Refurbished 19th century boutique hotel in Barcelona with wood paneled walls and floral installations.
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Things to do in Barcelona
Barcelona would not be the same city without the architectural influence of Antoni Gaudí, so make sure to look him up before your trip. You cannot miss La Sagrada Familia - this basilica is the icon of the city. My personal favorite Gaudí masterpiece might be Park Güell, which is a beautiful park known for the views over the city and the colorful tile benches. If time allows, Casa Battló, Casa Mila – La Pedrera, and Casa Vicens are all incredible architectural sites, as well.
Gothic Quarter & El Born
The Gothic Quarter and El Born are adjacent neighborhoods that are both characterized by their narrow and winding streets that are perfect for getting lost in. The Gothic Quarter is the old city and rich in history, while El Born is a bit less touristy. The essential spots to see in these neighborhoods are La Catedral de Barcelona, Pont del Bisbe, Plaça Reial, Plaça del Rei, the beautiful Palau de la Música (I regret skipping this on my previous trips to Barcelona), and the Picasso Museum.
Technically outside of these neighborhoods, but worth a slight detour, is the Arc de Triomf and Parque de la Ciutadella.
La Rambla & Passeig de Grácia
La Rambla and Passeig de Gràcia are two of the busiest and most popular streets in Barcelona. These tree-lined streets attract many tourists due to their central location and walkability. They are connected by the bustling Plaça de Catalunya. Off of La Rambla, you will find La Boqueria - a large market filled with fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and more. Passeig de Gràcia, on the other hand, is the destination for luxury and shopping.
There is more to do than sightseeing in Barcelona! I can help to complete your itinerary with fun activities such as sailing on the Mediterranean or taking a paella cooking class. Perhaps you just want to know the best place to watch the sunset - I can help with that, too!
Montserrat (1.5 hours from Barcelona): A day trip to this mountain range is not complete without a visit to the monastery and a hike to Sant Jeroni for the view.
Costa Brava (1.5-2.5 hours from Barcelona): This is a stretch of coastal villages with stunning beaches, amazing seafood, and art museums.
Sitges (45 minutes from Barcelona): Come here for a charming seaside escape.
Places to eat & drink in Barcelona
I love the Spanish and Catalan cuisine, but I have yet to find a restaurant in the United States that is up to par with what you can find in Spain. With that, I highly recommend indulging in the regional specialties while you are here. Don't worry, I'll give you the run down of the essential dishes to try before your trip.
Satan’s Coffee: You will find this specialty coffee roaster on a quiet street in the Gothic Quarter. The shop itself has a modern aesthetic that you will love.
Nomad Coffee Lab: This is the place for every coffee connoisseur! Find this shop in El Born and discover specialty coffee with beans roasted from all around the world.
GoodNews Coffee: With locations throughout the city, this newsstand style coffee shop will definitely bring a smile to your face. You'll know what I mean when you get there.
Lunch & Dinner
Barraca: Do not miss the seafood paella here, as well as the beachfront views at this chic spot in La Barceloneta. Reserve a table upstairs for lunch.
Bar Alegria: Located on a very photogenic corner with a bright red awning, this tapas spot is full of locals, which is always a good sign.
Lo Pinyol: A cozy spot in between Eixample and Gràcia neighborhoods. Everything is delicious, but the croquetas are exceptional.
El Nacional: A beautiful multi-space restaurant offering regional meats, seafood, tapas, wines, and beers.
Dr. Stravinsky’s: An upscale cocktail bar that ranked as one of the world’s 50 best in 2019!
Gats: A gorgeous indoor-outdoor space that serves food and drinks, but I especially love it for an aperitif.
La Oveja Negra: Come here with friends to enjoy liters of sangria and unlimited free popcorn.
This is only the beginning of a VERY long list. Book with me for a curated selection of dining options!
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This is part of our ongoing series on travel to Barcelona, and our longer series on travel to Spain.