TIPS FOR A CITY BREAK TO BEAUTIFUL BARCELONA

#ThrowbackPost This post has been in my draft since JULY! It’s 2018, no more nonsense. I often get asked for tips on Barcelona, so it’s about time I got writing. Last summer I found myself in the city twice; firstly to party at Sonar festival and then to enjoy a relaxing city break before heading to France for my friends wedding. It goes without saying, it’s my favourite European city. It’s vibrancy can be felt in every neighbourhood.

Where to Eat:  

The promenade adjacent to the beach is perfect for an afternoon stroll, or even a swim in the sea. Lined with bars and a few restaurants, it’s a great place to pit stop and people watch and from here you can also walk around the harbour. 

Cal Pinxo Platja – This little lunch and dinner spot is full of locals and perfect places to have paella right next to the sea. It’s good quality and good value for money. #casual #local #affordable #eatbythesea #notfancy

Pez Vela  – Situated just under the W Hotel are a line of restaurants. Towards the end, you’ll find Pez Vela, serving a broad menu all day- evening which is another place for tapas / paella but also if you want something standard like a burger. It has a great vibe and we had another great paella here. #bythebeach #servesallday #goodatmosphere #undertheW

Hotel Duqesa de Cardona This is a hotel with a rooftop bar that overlooks the harbour and looks out to the sea and Barcelona harbour. Stop here for a drink before dinner and watch the sunset. It’s super close to the Gothic Quarter so plenty of places to find a dinner spot afterwards.

Ceccioni’s Walking distance from Duquesa de Cardona is Cecconni’s restaurant, a relatively new addition from the Soho House Group. With a brilliant Italian menu and long bar, I highly recommend coming here, especially if you’re a fan of truffle pasta! We came for dinner but they’re also open for brunch and lunch. You don’t have to be a Soho House member. #nomembershipneeded #goodvibe #nicedecor #greatbar #greatfood #gohere

Cecconi’s Restuarant, Soho House

Flax & Kale Located 5 minute walk from Boqueria Market and right next to University Square (Plaça Universitat), this healthy spot has so many good options to try. For example, we opted for the fried watermelon with goats cheese as a starter! #CatalanHipsters #Healthy #ALittleDifferent #GoatsCheeseandWatermelon

Flax & Kale

Federal Cafe  this is a great spot for all day brunch located in Sant Antoni (especially if you’re hanging!) Around this area, cool little places keep popping up, with a slightly hipster vibe. This is more of a local’s spot rather than an obvious tourist neighbourhood to visit. Another is Lando and El Dinamic bar for a drink. #LocalsLiveHere #BecomingHipster #GreatBrunch 

Right: Federal Cafe

Sensi Tapas Our favourite spot after Sonar festival! This is small so you need to book but serves amazing fusion tapas that is really reasonably priced. There’s also two Sensi’s – one serves more traditional tapas, one is modern. It’s in the perfect location to wander round the old town from here and only a short distance from the harbour’s edge also. Between 5 of us, we basically ordered the entire menu and shared everything. #Delicious #LocalTapasBar #Affordable #GoodSangria #5StarsFromKg

Cuines Santa Caterina This is a beautiful marketplace restaurant for all things grown locally with a huge variety; think fresh greens, fish and meat that are then cooked into Mediterranean, Asian or spanish kitchens good for brunch, lunch or dinner! Great vibe, plenty of choice and atmosphere. #Atmospheric #Fresh #Busy

Els Pescadors Considered one if the top 50 restaurants in the world. So only head here if you’re feeling like splashing some cash or for a very special occasion! Located in the old fisherman neighbourhood, they’re famous for having the best fresh fish selection in the city. Traditional Catalan Seaside Cuisine done well. #SpecialTreat #NotCheap

Hotel Casa FusterLocated at the very north end of Passeig de Gracia, you can head to their top roof terrace to enjoy an afternoon drink by their pool. Bare in mind, It’s a London price G&T and not your local catalan cafe.  Lovely views of the city looking downtown towards the sea. (Don’t go too late or call to know if the terrace is open) #CivilisedRoofTop #FancyG&T #SwimmingPool #CentralLocation 

El Nacional An inside, fancy ‘market hall’ almost. This beautiful building has plenty of different spots for eating and drinking and is worth a visit, even just for a look! It’s located in the centre of Barcelona (Passeig de Gracia again) but every time we’ve been here, it’s been very busy. So arrive early if you want to eat dinner here. #goodatmosphere #DifferentRestuarantsUnderOneRoof #CentralLocation 

Fabrica Moritz This is the first beer factory in Barcelona and is seen as a cool hangout, for locally brewed beer but also good tapas for dinner or brunch next to a vertical garden. You can even have tours of their factory. The place is huge, so it’s normally OK just walking in. #BeerFactory #Casual #Spacious #Multipurpose

Happy Pills not a restaurant but a GREAT sweet shop. Maybe I’m drawn in my the gimmick of choosing your own label for your pot but I make sure I also pop in here when in the city! I’m an absolute sucker for a bit of cwtch branding. #SugarRush #PicnMixHeaven #CoolBranding

Things to do:

Sagrada familia Probably the most recognised landmark in Barcelona. Sagrada Familia is the largest unfinished Roman Catholic church in the world, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Tickets cost between €24-29 And i’d recommend booking online before you go to skip the massive cue! This way you’re given a time slot. #Culture #Gaudi #Architecture 

La Pedrera  Built in 1906, La Pedera is another famous Gaudi landmark. Situated on one of the main shopping streets, it’s hard to miss and easy to stop by. #Culture #Gaudi #Architecture 

Left: Plaça Reial / Right: Gaudi’s house of skull & bones

Park Güell Situated a little further out of the city centre, Park Güell is a public park composed of gardens and beautiful architecture located on Carmel Hill. It’s ideal for a Sunday afternoon stroll. 

Magic Fountains – I LOVE the singing fountains! Go at night to catch the fountains are in full swing. They are situated in front of the Catalonia National Museum of Art which is also a pretty impressive building. This is also not that far from Sonar by Day and also where you can catch the bus to Sonar by Night. It feels very unique to the city, it’s pretty and atmospheric; all things I lap up! Perhaps double check online the times before arriving. It’s also stone’s throw away from the big indoor shopping centre.

Plaça Reial – Very traditional Catalan square lined with bars and restaurants located behind the famous street of Las Ramblas. There’s loads of cool spots to sit here at any time during the day or night. 

Boqueria Market  imagine a more exotic Borough market. This is a great place to wander through and pick up a fresh juice, jamon, cheese and fruits here. I’d try and go in the morning or late afternoon to beat the crowds and be slightly wary of some of the restaurants that border the market. They are very touristy and not always the best tapas. Eat IN the market if you want great tapas but beware, it’s slightly pricier here as it’s a prime tourist location. El Quim de la Boqueria is one of them, or Bar Pinotxo for tapas. I’d say be aware of your bag too – just off Las Ramblas means it’s a prime pick pocketing location. 

Boqueria Market

Sant Antoni neighbourhood

Partying Sala Apolo is the only night club I’d recommend, because it’s the only one I know! BUT it had an incredible line- up during OFFSonar and is popular with locals. I’d HIGHLY recommend Sonar by Night (approx. 14-16 June every year) we were there until the sun came up. Sonar by Day was average in comparison and I’m just to experience Primavera Sound so can’t comment but I’ve only ever heard incredible things!

Getting Around There isn’t UBER in Barcelona so get used to hailing yellow, meter cabs. When inside the city, for around €10 you can pretty much get anywhere. The Metro is also super easy to use, and you can buy travel cards similar to London. A T-10 card  is valid for 10 trips across the metro, buses and tram. You can also catch a local bus to the airport to save on the cab fare, or take the Aerobus from several places in the city for approx €5.

When it comes to ‘where to stay’ I’m not a huge help as we usually stay with family or in a friends apartment. That said, I’ve never seen a city with so many hotels, so you won’t struggle. The city caters for every budget, it has every chain, every name you know so just go with the best deal. One time we stayed in one of the H10 hotel close to the gothic quarter but shop around for the best deal. But if you are festivalling, then get your accomo booked up as soon as you can. 

Would I go back again? Absolutely