I can totally understand why Barcelona is described as one of the best places for a weekend city break. For years people had said how wonderful it was, but it wasn’t until I went there, I totally got it. It’s the perfect balance of cultural/historical things to do and chic places to eat, drink and hang out. Plus, its warm, pretty and has a beach, what more could you want? I love Barcelona city breaks so much, that I’m itching to go back.
Things to do in Barcelona
Gaudi is one of the main reasons people love Barcelona, his beautiful buildings are so worth visiting. Unique, fun and captivating I loved them and was keen to see them all. We went for our 10-year anniversary and have pledged to go back for our 20th as that will be when the La Sagrada Familia will be finished.
Gaudi Barcelona Recommendations
A beautiful park designed by Gaudi, with lovely views across the city. It’s a short trip out of town that includes escalators in the middle of the streets (odd but necessary!)
Casa Milá (La Pedrera)
Built as a residential home and apartment block, its nicknamed ‘the stone quarry’. This, more than the others I saw, feels like a tiered cake that’s dripping. You can go inside to see the beautiful chimney pots, it also boasts a view from the top! It costs around €22.
I absolutely loved this example of Gaudi’s work. Colourful and intricate I thought it was stunning. You can see the inside for €25.
La Sagrada Familia
This was far more spectacular than I expected. I hadn’t expected to be quite so fascinated with it. The level of detail cannot be picked up in photo’s but seeing it in real life the detail is extraordinary. You can go see the inside for €17. All of Gaudi’s work can be seen from the outside without paying a fee, but the insides and rooftops can be worth the admission. There are many combined ticket options, so it’s worth thinking about the ones you want to see the inside of and buying a combined ticket.
You could wander the city for days on end discovering new parks, beautiful architecture and stylish shops, it really is a beautiful place. My favourite street was the quieter Passeig de Gràcia, where the beautiful shops are houses in beautiful buildings. Las Ramblas is a must, a busy street filled with street performers and tourists. I also loved wandering around the Gothic Quarter and EL Born. The Streets are built in a grid format and some of the building are stunning. The Port and the Beach are great places to wander to if you want a bit of sea air and a less crowded vibe, although the beach in summer is certainly crowded!
Miro & Picasso Barcelona
The Joan Miro Foundation in Barcelona is a museum of modern art honouring Joan Miro. Born in Barcelona, his work can also be found around the city. I’ve always been a fan of his work so a walk around the city trying to find his work was right up my street. Picasso is one of the other famous artists whose work is exhibited in Barcelona. Picasso considered Barcelona his home, so it only seems right that he would help to establish a museum in his name there. The museum hosts one of the most extensive collections of his work and is in the beautiful El Born area.
TAST-LLER This is one of the best restaurants I have eaten in. Booked as a surprise for a special occasion it was just that, special. Incredibly hard to get a reservation at, so book in advance, its recommended to do so months before. Tapeo Del Born Another fantasticrestaurant. A small tapas place where we sat at the bar and ate delicious food, whilst drinking great wine. The atmosphere and food were perfect! Milk Great little place down near the port. Good food and great atmosphere. The brunch is the thing to go to. They also run a place called Marmalade, amongst others, which is well reviewed. La Xampanyeria A fantastic recommendation from a friend. A place where locals go get a bite and a glass of cava before heading out/home/wherever. There are no tables, its busy and you have to be bold to get served but I loved it. The Rose Cava is the best I’ve ever tried, if I could ship a case to the UK I would! Mercado de La Boqueria This is a well know market just off Las Ramblas but still worth a visit. Lots f great stalls, where you can get delicious food and find a spot to eat it. Amazing fresh produce and all the foods you’d expect to find plus a few you wouldn’t! Chok The best looking donuts and sweet treats I have ever seen. The shop just off Las Ramblas is Art Deco heaven too! They also have vegan treats.
Coffee Shops Barcelona
Federal Cafe Always on the search for the best coffee, Federal definitely was a strong contender. Set on a pretty street with a stylish interior, serving good coffee, it was a winner in my book. Satan’s Coffee Corner This is another strong contender for the best coffee. We found it in the lobby of our hotel but there is another one in the city too. The coffee is good, and the pastries are yummy.
Best Bars in Barcelona
Where to stay in Barcelona
Hotel Pulitzer This place has a great hotel bar, rooftop terrace and restaurant. Stylish rooms and lovely areas to relax. We went for afternoon drinks and I am tempted to stay there next time we visit. See hotel here Casa Bonay We stayed here, it had recently opened, and we loved it. The bars, restaurants and cafes are great and if you are there at the right time of year the roof top terrace is open too. One of the founders worked at Ace hotel and you can see the chic influence. They built their business with collaboration in mind. Finding local suppliers and designers to make the hotel a true reflection of the Barcelona they love. One of the best hotels I have stayed in! See the hotel here
Day trips from Barcelona
We decided on a whim to take a trip down the coast to Sites. We went to the pretty seaside town for a change of scene and a day out to the beach. It takes about 30 minutes on the train and is easy to do. We walked along the seafront, explored the town, had paella and snoozed on the beach in the warm sunshine. Of our whole trip this was one of my favourite things we did. Barcelona is still one of the best places I have visited, there is something for everyone. It’s a place I can imagine visiting many more times in my life and still finding a new experience. The food, the attitude, the beauty, I love it all. For more travel guides see here