Been to Barcelona? If not, start planning now and book a flight there asap! As the second largest city in Spain, loaded with all the sights and sounds of a typical big city, but with the feels of a small one, Barcelona was one of my favorite cities I’ve visited to date.
It’s modern, has a bustling city vibe, separated into neighborhoods that all have their own look and feel, it’s historic, multi-cultural, has an amazing food scene featuring Catalan dishes and tons of seafood, and so much nature all around!
We spent 3 full days in Barcelona and only scratched the surface of all that this city has to offer. We definitely hit up all the highlighted spots and I’ve included my recommendations of restaurants, coffee shops, cocktail bars and things to see and do below.
Cabs are plentiful and very safe. We used the MyTaxi app to hail a cab from the airport to our hotel and it was so easy to use, and it’s linked to your Paypal account so you don’t have to worry about carrying Euros. If you’re traveling light, you can hop on the Metro from the airport and it takes you into the city.
They have a Barcelona Card that you can purchase from any major metro station and if you’re planning on visiting Barcelona for at least a couple of days, I highly recommend purchasing one. It is valid on all modes of public transportation, gets you in to several museums and sights in the Fast Track lanes, and even gets you discounts at many spots throughout the city.
Barcelona is very walkable so be sure to have a great pair of walking/running shoes and explore the city that way. You’ll miss so much if you cab or drive everywhere, so take advantage of the beautiful city, paved sidewalks and roads and get your walk on! We averaged about 11 miles on foot a day! We earned every bite of food and sip of drink we consumed on our trip 🙂
Sights to See
Ok, we just hit the tip of the iceberg and saw the highlights for sure. I’d like to go back to visit again so I can see even more. But in the meantime, if you like architecture as much as I do, Barcelona is known for showing off quite a bit of Gothic architecture from the world-reknown Antoni Gaudi.
Gaudi’s designs are truly one of a kind. Kind of whimsical in nature, IMO. Some of the spots that feature his work and were musts on our itinerary were: Palau Guell, Casa Batlló , Parc Guell, and La Sagrada Familia. You can see these beauties in the Vessel map up above at the start of this post as well as map out your trip!
Remember when I told you that you’re going to walk alot? Well, plan on giving those tootsies a workout while visiting La Rambla, El Raval, the Gothic Quarter, El Poble Sec, Paisseg de Gracia, and Gracia.
If you love art (who doesn’t?), pre-book your ticket to the Picasso Museum online. It is not to be missed. We enjoyed our time there so much and gosh, I can’t believe he painted all that. It was fun to see his transition from starting off painting when he was very young to the abstract art he’s famous for now.
And be sure to walk by the Barcelona Arena. That area is gorgeous.
A famous market that will give you a true one of a kind experience of all the sights, food, sounds of Barcelona is Mercat de la Boqueria. Be sure to walk through it…you might even find some gifts for yourself or to bring back for friends and family. And be prepared to snack there too!
Oh, there is a Magic Fountain that has a show Friday nights from 9-10PM. Find it and go!
Planning a trip to Mexico City? I’ve got your dining and beverage recs right here for ya -> Mexico City Dining Guide
Where to Eat
Being a foodblogger, of course I planned my meals ahead of time 🙂 Honestly, there are way too many good places in Barcelona to eat, many of which are Michelin rated. We obviously couldn’t hit up every single one and in fact, only made a dent in the list. But none of our meals disappointed. Here are some of my recommendations:
Brunch and Cake – this was quite possibly the most Instagram-worthy restaurant I’ve ever been to; great for anyone with dietary restrictions as well. They’ve got coconut and almond milk!
Firebug – incredible grub!
Hoja Santa – Michelin Star – make a reservation; we choose it because it has an a la carte menu so you don’t have to do a tasting
Centric Bar – this place is small so you’ve got to reserve. It’s very loud inside and tables are tight but if you like tapas, this is your spot!
Bar Mut – if you don’t dine anywhere else, you have to dine here. Seriously, make a reservation NOW! They don’t have a menu. They have select dishes available daily and one of the staff will come and review those with you. Such a unique experience and hands down our favorite meal!
Quimet y Quimet – this is a super popular, world-renown spot that you’ve got to hit up. Go as soon as they open or be prepared to stand in line for a while. These guys know what they’re doing. If you like cold stuff (raw bar), this is your spot! We loved it so much!
Others that were recommended to us but we couldn’t get reservations or find the time to visit: Tickets, Tapas24, Xampanyet, Gasterea, Bodega 1900
Where to Drink
Who would have thought the Cocktail Game in Barcelona would be so strong? I had a very long list of recommendations from friends before going and we definitely tried a few based on where we were at that particular moment.
I definitely suggest stopping by Dr. Stravinsky. It’s in the Gothic Quarter and is gorgeous inside. They have bar seating as well as downstairs and upstairs seating. I’d suggest sitting upstairs so you can look down towards the bar for an overhead experience. Be sure to click on the pin in the Vessel map above for pictures of the bar and the drink I enjoyed!
Another epic cocktail bar with quite a different vibe from Dr. Stravinsky is Solange Cocktails & Luxury Spirits. Their menu is truly one of a kind. Imagine a really nice magazine – that’s all I’m going to tell you but you can take a look at the video in my map for a sneak peak. I ordered a drink that came with a cotton candy top on it! And you tear some off and add it to your drink to sweeten as you like. It was stunning and absolutely delish. We loved sitting at the bar and watching the bartender make drinks. True mixologists there!
For a super fun vibe, visit Old Fashioned Gin Tonic and Cocktail Bar. Be prepared to wait as this spot is very small. We got seated at the bar which is the best seat in the house in my opinion. Their drinks are so creative and very tasty. I forget the name of the drink I ordered but it was quite a sight (again, a picture of my drink and videos from the space are in the map above). Highly recommend visiting Old Fashioned!
I want to go back!
We’ll definitely visit Barcelona again in the future. It’s such a fun city with so much going on. They have beaches there too but we didn’t hit them up since we went to San Sebastian from Barcelona. Stay tuned for a Travel Guide to San Sebastian coming soon!
Feel free to comment below if you have any questions or need more recommendations for your upcoming trip to BCN!