I had the privilege to visit Barcelona twice, but in very different circumstances. The first time, was by the end of summer with my husband and two kids, the second one by the end of winter with my sister and I had a great time on both trips. I adore to walk the cities I visit, I only use public transport or taxi when there’s bad weather or when my companions give me the bad look hahaha…, and I can say that I walked this city from end to end.
There’s so much to do so you should plan in advance to make the most of your time there. To visit the Rambla is a must, and probably the first thing you’re going to do, when you get there you must stop at Boquería Market, this is a food market from the XIX century that offers from Serrano ham cones to delicious and fresh fruits (for the fittest of you, I chose the cone of course), and if you travel with kids there are plenty of chocolate and sweet stalls that they’re going to love. Walking down the Rambla towards de sea to your left you will find the Gothic Quarter, the oldest part of the city, and for history lovers like me a wonderful journey in time. There you’ll find Barcelona’s Cathedral, which for the surprise of many, is not La Sagrada Familia (Holy Family Church), more gothic churches, squares, museums and the Palau de la Música Catalana (Catalan Music Palace) that is magnificent in the inside and on the outside as well. While in the area, I recommend having lunch at Sagardi Restaurant they serve pinxtos to die for. By night, having dinner at Plaça Reial is a really good plan, there are many cool restaurants but here’s a tip: the Do Hotel has in its terrace a lovely restaurant with great views of the square.
If you’re an architecture fan, and if you aren’t you should do it anyway, leave an entire day to visit Gaudi’s artwork. Casa Batlló – La Pedrera – Sagrada Familia – Park Güell, I recommend doing this circuit on Sunday because all the shops are closed that day, only restaurants and coffee shops are open. The work of this genius is pure color, nature and energy, it’s impossible not to feel the good vibes when you visit these sites.
Tip #1: get your tickets in advance, the entrance is by time slot and there might be no availability when you get to the entrance.
Tip #2: buy the ticket with audio guide for La Sagrada Familia, without the explanation you’ll miss half of what you’re seeing.
If you’re looking for city views, you must definitely go to Tibidabo mountain. You can go all the way up on the funicular or if you want to do some heavy workout you can climb it on foot (my trip companions weren’t up to it). At the top you’ll find a wonderful church, the one you can see from almost everywhere when you’re down in the city, and an amusement park with many levels for kids and grown-ups too. As I told you before, I couldn’t climb Tibidabo mountain on foot but I did climb the Montjuic, where I could visit Castell de Montjuic, an old fort, Poble Espanyol, an open-air architectural museum which recreates Spanish villages, and the Magic Fountain of Montjuic, if you visit by night there is a water, music and lights show worth seeing.
In spring or summer season, la Barceloneta is a great choice to spend a day in the sun and have a relaxed lunch in the small restaurants by the beach. If you’re willing to explore other beaches you may want to visit Casteldefels (Messi lives there) or Sitges, a picturesque small town, both 15 and 25 miles from Barcelona.
There are tons of things to do, but to list them all would make this post endless. Last recommendation get yourself lost in the small streets of this amazing city and discover your own spots!
If you travel with kids, there’s a pretty big zoo located by the end of Parc de la Ciutadella. Another nice plan to do with children is to visit the Science Museum Cosmo Caixa, Merlí fans will know what I’m talking about.
I simply adored El Nacional restaurant, located in Passeig de Gracia street, with 4 areas with different ambience and gastronomic offerings . You can go more than once and still think you’re dinning in a different restaurant each time, it’s pretty cool.
Pacomeralgo and Cervecería Catalana are two great choices to eat insanely tasty tapas.
Eat a lot! Don’t worry about calories, the food in Spain is delicious you’ll thank me when you get back home. I would kill for papas bravas and huevos estrellados right now!
If shopping is your thing, Barcelona has a wide variety of options. You can visit Arenas de Barcelona and Maremagnum malls or the department store El Corte Inglés. If you walk Passeig de Gracia Street you’ll find all the top designer stores.
What did you like the most about Barcelona? Are you planning to visit soon and have questions? Just write to me!